So… If you signed up for a Best Buy credit card in Canada (or Future Shop, its sister store) prior to January 2011, beware: your account may be locked or shut down without warning for no logical or legal reason. How do I know this? They told me that they’ve done it.
This past Friday (May 20th) I went into Best Buy to grab a few movies for the weekend. Although I had cash available, I always charge Best Buy purchases to my credit card from there, as I use it to keep tabs on how much money I spend on non-necessities. My $34 transaction was declined. Confused, namely because I had well over $400 of available credit, we tried again. And again. After the third ‘declined’, a passing manager offered to take me to customer service to call Chase; I gladly agreed, as I was now concerned that my card had somehow been compromised. What I discovered, however, was far more shady and disingenuous.
After reaching a representative, he informed me that my account had been closed, due to “missing personal information on file”. I then demanded to know what, precisely, was missing, given that they had just confirmed my name, address, date of birth and account number before telling me anything. He placed me on hold, and transferred me to another representative (who later informed me she was very new to the call centre). The second representative told me that banking regulations had changed in Canada as of January 2011, requiring that photo ID be presented to obtain credit in store – “things are more strict now,” she added emphatically – and a mass review of accounts had been undertaken since. I then informed her that I have always had to show photo ID to obtain credit for store cards and otherwise; in my twelve years of being a credit holder, I have always had to prove my identity. I then told her that I was standing in front of, ironically, the same store employee who had opened my application, and she had seen my passport on that very day last November, so it was obviously not a new policy. The representative tried to insist this was not universal; I had an employee confirm otherwise beside me while she was on the line.
I then asked why I wasn’t contacted about this supposedly outstanding identification, as I have been getting my statements promptly each month. Surely, I told her, if this was a problem since January, they would have contacted me before outright closing my account? She advised me that she could see a letter was sent “recently” and that some accounts were on hold while some were closed. I asked why my account wasn’t on hold then, pending notification of me; the representative said she was new and had no idea how it worked. I asked how to re-open my account, after emphasizing how utterly humiliating the whole process of having my card declined was, which was when she told me the kicker: because they shut down my account, I would have to re-apply for credit to have a new one, thus incurring a credit score hit. I again pointed out that this was ludicrous, stressing again that my passport had been scanned into the computer for the application to Chase(!) in November, and that there was absolutely no way I would tolerate another score hit for their error. I then demanded that someone with authority regarding the closings phone me back; the representative informed me there was no way to schedule a callback and that she didn’t know who would have closed my account, “but I could ask my supervisor.” She asked, and returned with a PO Box address in Ottawa. I again stressed wanting a callback; she said she would take down my phone number and give it to her supervisor and see if she could.
I then asked if my current no payment plans would hold with the account closed (I purchased a laptop on a year plan with no payments or interest, hence applying for the card in the first place); she had to check as she wasn’t sure. I was assured all was in order, but the card was now useless for new purchases.
I have been making payments monthly; there was no reason to flag my account for closure over a hold, as my score is exceptional. The fact that there seemed to be no rhyme or reason, nor any notification or actual knowledge of credit policies in Canada, is extremely disturbing. This was a review undertaken on ALL Canadian card holders at Best Buy and, conversely, sister store Future Shop; there are others out there who have been unknowingly terminated.
As I informed Chase and the store, I will not give another cent to the chain until Chase is no longer their credit provider, which is a shame for them, given my spending habits and my fiance’s love of electronic gadgets. I also refuse to incur a hit on my score for foolishness. I urge you to do the same, and please, check on your account as soon as possible.
Way to fail, Chase. Way to fail.
EDIT: THE SAGA CONTINUES! MORE CHASE LIES ON THESE CLOSURES HERE!