Friday, July 11, 2008

Always Trust a Store Card...

...to rip you off

About a month ago I decided I needed new summer shoes. Yes, as far as life decisions go it was a minor event.

So at my friend's recommendation I dropped by Fashion Bug and found a bunch of disposable, clearanced cuteness. Roughly $50 later I was at the register, VISA in hand when the cashier offered to open a store card and receive a 15% discount. I'm a big fan of short term, no commitment credit cards and always willing to open an account in order to receive the initial discount then close it as soon as the bill is paid.

In retrospect I should have been leery when she made the card application process seem like a huge deal. I was applying for a store card, not a black card. Anyway I was approved for a "Premier Account" and received a silver sticker to prove it. The shoes and I went home.

That was three weeks ago. I've received the real card in the mail but there was no sign of a bill. I tend to be anxious about unpaid bills so I logged on to the website today and figured out how to create an account without a bill.

Imagine my surprise when I saw my "Premier" account came with a $25 yearly fee! Why would anyone PAY to CARRY credit!? I immediately called the (not toll free) number and had the card downgraded and the fee removed. I made sure the agent understood that I had applied for the no-annual fee card and was not asked if I wanted to be upgraded or what "Premier" entailed. She didn't seem surprised so its possible this is standard shady practice in their stores.

She was able to easily cancel the upgrade since I'd "called within 30 days of receiving the initial benefits." Of course I pointed out that if I'd just waited for a bill to show up I would have been past the initial thirty day "trial" period for this card. She didn't seem phased by this either.

I'm going to enjoy closing this account once the bill is paid. Oh and the shoes? Big hit, compliments all around :)

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