Saturday, September 06, 2008

Costco Ridiculousness

Those of you who have read my blog for years, know my dyspepsia for all things poor in customer service. This week, it is Costco's turn. The other day, my friend Ketra and I took the kids to Costco on her membership. When we were ringing out, she attempted to use her debit card. The debit card has a Visa logo on it, which Costco doesn't take, but they do take debit, she swiped her card. Now, for the last week or so, she has been dealing with the fact that her debit card has lost its mojo...its swipe is gone.

She thinks it had a run-in with a magnet somewhere, but it no longer works as a convenient method of payment. Stores across Connecticut have been forced to retreat to 1988 to process her card, pulling out carbon impression machines and typing in numbers by hand. It's been a real pain. The bank, Bank of America of course, is very in tune with her challenge and is only making her wait TEN days for a new card, but that's neither here nor there, this is not a blog about BofA (been there done that). This is about Costco.

So, there we are at the check-out at Costco, we explain that the strip is defunct on the card we want to use and ask if they can simply type the numbers in. In a word, "no." No, we cannot type the numbers in...which wouldn't have peeved us if it hadn't been for the reasoning. No, we cannot enter the numbers manually on this card because we do not take Visa. Um...whaaaaaat???? It's a debit card! It just has a dead strip. Instead of inputting the data via a magnetic kiss with a swipe machine, we want you to enter the code. Escalation occurs to the managers and it is confirmed. Nope. Cannot do it. That Visa logo, which usually serves to make the debit card more useful, has in this case, rendered it useless.

The explanation centered around a specific exclusivity agreement with American Express. I understand that Marketing and Business Development are important pursuits, but to the exclusion of customer service and satisfaction? In my world, that's not right.

So, I write this blog, specifically addressing it to James D. Sinegal and Joseph P. Portera of Costco to ask their help in fixing this problem. In this day and age, when we have learned to rely on our plastic debit cards, there has to be another alternative for situations like this. Please?


Rebecca said...

Well, I understand your friend's frustration, but Costco has an exclusive partnership with American Express. If a debit card needs to be processed in the same manner of credit card (due to her Visa Card's malfunction), it's true, it can't happen. And it shouldn't. The bank that issues her debit card should replace it, or she can pay at Costco via cash, check, a functioning debit card or an American Express Card. Costco believes passionately in customer service, but they're not the ones who failed her. Her issuing bank is.

Amelia's moms said...

Admit it...Costco is far more powerful than you are :)

Watty said...

reminds me how we don't take checks at work. "How dare you! We have a gazillion dollars in our account" Ok, well, swipe your ATM Card and let's get this puppy started! lol