The Best Buy Credit Card Scam

First off, the term “scam” should be taken with a grain of salt, hopefully one of many stuck to a margarita glass. Secondly, what HSBC Best Buy has going can definitely be termed a racket.

The Pitch: Open a Best Buy Credit Card and pay no interest 24 months!!

The typically skeptical Consumer thought process: Hmmm, free financing; what’s the catch? OK, so this is actually an HSBC bank credit card, sure… nothing else jumps out as odd in the immediate fine print.

This seems ideal for a large purchase like that washer and dryer we so desperately need. I’ll read the minimum payment from my first statement and put this baby on auto-pay. Score.

The reality:

  • Month 1-6: minimum payment $10
  • Month 7: minimum payment $23; auto-paid $10 minimum payment insignificant; $35 late fee assessed
  • Month 8: minimum payment $36; oh shit, what’s all this now? LATE FEE? WTF!

According to a HSBC representative, “a new law was passed in January and you received a notice in the mail about your minimum payment.” To date, I have yet to find said notice. I did however, find the exact same claim from a blog post in The HSBC Monitor, “there was a new law that passed in January that requires them to charge a higher percentage of the balance” which, interestingly enough was posted in 2006.

Eventually, the representative passed me to a “manager” and the late-fees were waived. All was ok, I was alright even though I had spent hours on the phone talking to human script reading machines. I Had Won. So, I figure OK – boost the auto-pay amount to $30, well above that old minimum and I’ll be good. Then *two* months go by.

Minimum payment: $46. Auto pay shy of $16. Late fee bitch +$35.

Conundrum: call HSBC, waste hour(s) pitching how wrong they are to charge this fee. Or, pay it, stfu and take it.

Moral of the story: Signing up for a free financing offer means to mentally prepare to add that to your monthly checklist. Do not rely on auto pay to “beat the system”. Pay close attention to each and every message sent from the company providing that “free” credit. They Will Try To Screw You out of some money.

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  2. Went to Best Buy to day and tried to charge $60 on my BB CC. Declined, ok why, never missed a payment, never been late.
    Now we have been buying all major electronics in our house for the last 7 years from BB, always getting the free interest and always paying far more than minimum and always paying off early. Very carefully to never be late, even when I did not receive a statement. Over the years we have bought two 50in big screens and a couple of 46s. along with sound systems, Ipad and at least 4 computers. And lots of little things like cameras and GPS etc. The last major purchase was a 40in HD TV, which had 24mo interest free. I just send then a few hundred every month. Well in early summer I happened to notice a finance charge, so I went back and noticed it was on every statement since I bought the last TV. Call and got the usually runaround. After being transferred I threatened to cancel my account if they did not get it straightened out. After another 30 minutes on the phone I thought all was well. Continued to send $500 every month for the next several months, with a final payment in October of about $475. For the first time in many years I did not owe BB credit. Well they did cancel my account, and a call to them, they would not reinstate my account. They said I could reapply. I am guessing here, but I bet the HDBC buys the paper from Best Buy at face value and expect to make money when people fall behind and interest is charged. The Looser is Best Buy. I probably did not need or at least could have easily lived without much of what we bought. So Thanks HSBC. You have done use a huge favor in your scheme of greed and fraud.

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