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 cards...so, 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?