TJ Maxx — declined checks
Hello, I am one of the customers whose card number was stolen or whatever. My credit card company replaced the card and I suffered no ill effects.
However, twice now, in State College, PA and Williamsport, PA, I have had good checks declined by your system. I nearly always used a credit card before, but I switched to checks because of the card snafu. I buy a couple thousand dollars worth of merchandise from your company yearly (in fact, just a couple months ago I bought over 150.00 dollars worth of things from the store in Morgantown, WV, paid by check, and nothing terrible happened).
Now, I know you have a new system, but both times it was personally humiliating and without precedent or purpose. There I am, a fifty-one year old tenured college professor, who paid back all my loans for the Ph.D, and also own a thriving jewelry and antique store. I always had my ID, never spit on the floor, or otherwise showed myself to be a risk. But I go to a store, gather up 128 and 178 dollars worth of merchandise (respectively), am asked for my driver's license, the poor helpful clerk makes a phone call, and both times I am declined by your system.
Both times I asked to speak to the managers, who, while apologetic, explain that there is nothing they can do (ah, corporate America), offer to hold the merchandise (what? so I can slink in later with cash to prove I have the money?), and generally I am made to feel like a potential thief.
I called the number myself, where I finally talked to a person, who said their computer says it is a risky purchase (!!!!)! My check numbers are somewhere in the 900's, I have mortgages on a home and a commercial property, and am a thoroughly upstanding literature professor who does not seem to fit into any of the risky categories (I don't spend 1500 dollars in checks in a few days, which manager # 2 thought might make that computer suspicious).
Here's the thing. I know you don't need me. But, by God, I want to know what is going on. First my credit card is at risk, simply because I used it at your stores. Then when I try to make purchases with a check, I am treated like a pariah. Frankly, I have had it. You have got to explain and make it right with me. I don't care if you don't have the information to explain--you should get it. When I spoke to customer service after the first check decline, the man simply parroted what the guy at Certegy said ("we don't have anymore information; all we know is that it is a risky purchase").
I also know you customer service folks work hard and don't need me either, but I burst into tears in both stores. It actually hurt my feelings that a company I have been so loyal to would treat me so badly. That's how "risky" I am.
There is a long term employee in the State College store who I have chatted with for several years about his family, his workday, and what he plans for holidays. He is a bit shy but a kindly man; since he did not wait on me the day my check was declined, I had to see him at the next checkout as I was sent on my way, looking embarrassed and sad that I would turn out to be a thief.
Dr. Sara Postlethwaite
Lock Haven University
Lock Haven, PA