Tuesday, February 26, 2019

On Friday, Val Was Public Enemy #1

We visited The Pony over the weekend, for his birthday. One of the gifts was yet-to-be purchased: a new cell phone. The Pony's has been shattered since last fall. It still worked. He has a repair plan as part of his phone contract. But I guess after three years, a kid these days gets to hankerin' for a newer model.

With limited visit time, the plan was to purchase the phone online through Sprint, have it shipped to a local Sprint store (or get one there in stock), and have The Pony save all his data crap ahead of time, (there's even an instruction video for idiots like me), so we could just make an appointment and walk into the store and get it. Thing was, I had to be present, with the credit card I used for payment, and The Pony had to be present, because it was his phone. Kind of puts the kibosh on either of us getting that phone without the other. I don't understand how all this phone tomfoolery works, but that's how Sprint does things, and we've had Sprint since Genius decreed that's who we would use as our carrier. Even though he, himself, shuns Sprint now with his iPhone, but is still on our plan, having his Garmin discount phone perk applied to our bill.

Bear with me. I'm about to get to the part where I'm a criminal.

We had it all lined out. We checked into our hotel, set up HIPPY my laptop, and The Pony picked out a Galaxy S9. The S10 doesn't come out until March, and we won't be there then. Besides, The Pony said he didn't need anything that fancy, and replacing his S7 with the S9 was what he wanted.

We put that S9 in our virtual cart and headed to checkout. Filled in the credit card info and selected the store where we'd pick it up. The Norman Sprint store had terrible reviews, so we were headed to Midwest City the next day, just a short trek up the road, where we go have lunch at Steak n Shake when we visit. The Pony clicked the button to complete our transaction. I couldn't believe how easy that was!

Except a red banner showed up at the top of the screen, saying my credit card had been declined!


That was preposterous! My credit is excellent! There were only a handful of purchases on the card this month, and we pay it off completely every month. I was discombobulated. The screen said to contact my bank (meaning the one the credit card was through). I told The Pony that maybe I shouldn't have my middle initial in the NAME section. I never do that when I used my credit card, even though it's on the card itself.

The Pony took out the initial, and tried again. Same DECLINED message.

We changed the street address from DR to RD. When we first moved out here, the address had one, then changed to the other. Nope. Same DECLINED message.

The Pony wanted to try it with Hick's name. Same DECLINED message.

We changed the street initials again. Same DECLINED message.

"Why does this always happen to me? I plan everything out, and something stupid goes wrong! I HATE dealing with Sprint!"

I called the automated credit card number. It asked if I recognized FOUR CHARGES for that phone! Which was NOT cheap! I poked the number to talk to a person.

"I'm in Norman, Oklahoma, trying to buy my son a phone and pick it up in Midwest City. My card has been declined, and I'd like to know why. In fact, it's been declined FOUR TIMES!"

The mostly-unaccented rep wanted my full credit card number, and the three-digit thingy on the back. I was not happy about reciting it, because we had been hearing people talking in the next room. I hope they didn't write down my info! The mostly-unaccented rep said, "Oh. Yes. I see that you've tried to buy 4 phones."

"No. Just one phone. Four times. We thought there was something wrong with the information I put in. I didn't know it would show up as four purchases."

"Let me add some info here on your account. There. Now it should be fine. Just do your transaction again, and it should go through."

"Okay. We have to type in all our info again. So I won't keep you on the line."

Of course it didn't work. I was DECLINED for the fifth time! I got right back on the phone, and got a different rep, who wanted my full credit card number, the security code, the primary cardholder's name, and the primary cardholder's mother's maiden name. Because, you know, if I was committing fraud, that's what I'd do, call the credit card company to complain that my card wouldn't work!

This rep said he didn't see any changes in my account from my call a few minutes ago. "Your credit is fine. This is well within your limit. There shouldn't be anything holding it up. Did you go back to the same page? Maybe you should clear your browser and start over. Or use Google Chrome instead of whatever you're using now. There's nothing wrong with your card."

So... I hung up. Looked at The Pony. He said he has all kinds of trouble with Chrome on the school website. I don't want Chrome. I use Firefox. So we decided to wait and go to the store and get his phone, even if it meant a 2-3 hour session of waiting. Hick decreed that we were going to the Norman store, right then, despite their reviews. It had shown up as having the Galaxy S9 in stock. So off we went. Without an appointment.

We signed in (okay, I needed The Pony's help with that gadget sign-in thingy). We waited. Not too long, although only one other customer was being served, and about five extra employees were roaming around and talking about somebody getting a Wii. A guy came over and asked how we were doing, and Hick said we were fine, just waiting to be waited on, and that we'd signed in. WELL! That guy was there to wait on us. Which he could have communicated more clearly, like saying, perhaps, "How may I help you?" Which we would have understood as an offer to...oh...I don't know...maybe... HELP US. Not just a generic greeting of "How ya doin'?"

Anyhoo... That Guy went in the back room and brought out an S9 and The Pony picked out a protector thingy which we'd agreed on while waiting. That Guy looked at our account, and tried to push me into a lease instead of purchase (which Genius said was not a good idea, because any little scratch on a leased phone at the end of two years is an excuse for them not to honor their agreement), so I fought to pay more and purchase the phone outright. Using, you guessed it, my credit card!

I have never sweated out a purchase like I did that S9! I've never had a problem buying anything! But I must have looked guilty as Not-Heaven, doing everything but whistle nonchalantly, cutting eyes at The Pony, while awaiting approval after jamming my card into the chip-reader.

IT WENT THROUGH! No problem at all. That Guy got The Pony's info off his old phone, and onto his new phone. The whole thing took about 45 minutes from the time we entered the store. That Guy was polite, even though two other employees wandered over, wanting to make small talk with him while he was doing his job. I don't know what's wrong with this generation!

The Pony has a new phone. Val possibly has a stop-and-hold order for credit card fraud.


  1. Sure hope you got the 5 previous purchases off your card.

    1. They are listed as declined transactions, and should stay that way unless I call and push the issue. I assume...

  2. I'm thinking your multiple charges are going to show up sometime. Buyer beware. WHY does every transaction have to be so complicated for us retired teachers?

    1. Wait until tomorrow! It gets worse!

      I've been calling the automated line for my credit card every day. Only the one phone sale has been charged to my account. You can bet I'm going to call it every day for the next week. At least!

    2. The multiple charges will only show up as declined transactions as Val says in her comment to Catalyst. Being declined means no $$ charges, nothing at all to worry about. No money will be lost from her bank account.

  3. I wouldn't be worried about any stop and hold credit card fraud. The online person said there was nothing wrong with your card, so their system must be wrong. Interesting that the store with the poor reviews got you your phone quickly and without any fuss, apart from ignoring you before you got served.

    1. I think Sprint's system is all wonky. We've always had trouble with assorted issues, from way back when Genius had his first phone, a Razr. Hick was incenses when he had a problem with HIS phone, and stopped by the closest store (in town near his work, where we always went for our phone needs) and they told him they couldn't do anything, because the bill was in MY name! Which we'd done so I could take Genius and buy or upgrade phones, since they'd denied ME that option when the bill was in HICK's name!

      I was quite pleased with our service at this Norman store, despite other workers trying to derail the efforts of our salesman with small talk during our transaction.

  4. I am so glad that HeWho buys all our vehicles also buys our phones. He does it all on line and they ship them to us. He will usually do some sort of upgrade that will include free phones. He is wise in such matters. Or maybe just doggedly patient?

    1. We used to get free phones with our upgrades, but now all we can get is $180 off if we LEASE instead of buy. Genius says it has something to do with not locking us into a contract for two years now. The original attraction of Sprint was their UNLIMITED internet, which my game-playing boys used to the fullest degree. Genius is our phone wizard.