A Shopper Bites Back (or, Thanks, Consumerist, for giving me a consumer backbone)
As I've previously mentioned, I'm pretty sick and tired of being asked to show ID whenever I try to use a credit card for purchases. Not only does it do nothing to protect either party from fraud, it's also expressly disallowed by both Visa and Mastercard. Today is the story of how I fought back with blazing speed and may have won another credit card fight.
Shauna's car had stopped turning over last night and I drove out to meet her mom to give it a jump-start. After 45 minutes of trying to jump it and charge the battery, I figured the battery was dead and needed replacing. The brace holding it in place was secured by bolts in such a position as to be virtually inaccessible, so I decided that I'd have it towed to the Saturn dealership tomorrow to get it replaced. I've been taking Saturns to dealerships since I bought my LS2 about eight and a half years ago and started doing so for Shauna's SL2 when we got married. We've probably dropped several thousand in maintenance and repairs at Saturn of Salt Lake in the last three and a half years and I've spent a lot more at Saturn of Henderson.
As I always do, I attempted to pay for the repair with a credit card. The receptionist then asked to see ID with the card. "No thank you," I replied. She then smiled and said that their policy is not to accept any credit card without identification. I then asked if I could please speak with the manager. The manager then came out and I explained what was going on. He re-iterated the policy and I replied that Visa does not allow a merchant to require ID as a condition of acceptance. I even kindly referred him to the Rules for Visa Merchants manual and even provided the page number of this restriction.
Then came what I didn't expect. The manager then asked me "so you no longer want to be able to bring your car here?" The implied threat that I would be blackballed as a customer for asserting my cardholder rights is absolutely incredible. I ended up going back and forth with him for a couple more minutes before I pulled out my drivers license and advised that I would be filing a complaint with Visa.
As soon as I got home, I looked up information on filing complaints with Visa over at Consumerist and found the appropriate number to call. Within 10 minutes, I filed a complaint with "Tony" (who sounded very unlikely to be Tony) over at Visa HQ. I then called up the customer service number for Saturn Corporate and filed a complaint with them. Louise, the woman who assisted me, was very helpful and even called the dealership while I was holding the line. She spoke with the same service manager I did, Paul Jeff, and forwarded the complaint to the general manager of the dealership.
I don't know what the final outcome will be or if the service manager at Saturn of Salt Lake will make good on his very thinly veiled threat. What I do know is that I've spent thousands of dollars at Saturn dealerships and never had a customer service issue like this. The quality of their work is always top-notch and I intend to still go for service, but I will not sit back and let them bully me around.