Friday, April 26, 2013

Saving the world $25 at a time (an open letter to Kohl's)

Dear Kohl's,

The sweet people who read my blog know that I am upbeat, and intensely loyal.  My loyalty to you has been no exception.  I am your favorite kind of shopper, the one with the kids who outgrow their clothes and shoes at least once per season.  The one who lives closer to you than to the nearest mall.  The one whose only paycheck is scoring on a good deal, who salivates when she sees 30% hiding under the lottery ticket sticker with Kohl's cash to boot, and who may or may not be giddy enough to post about it on Facebook every so often.  The one who pays her bill in full every. single. month.  I am your bread and butter, Kohl's.

But today?  You have pushed my loyalty to its end.  Today I received my third $25 late fee, and I am on to you.  You kept me quiet for a long, long time by making me feel foolish for neglecting the payment of my bills, but no more.  It has been a trap all along.  Here's how it works:

1.  (And really, the only one that matters.)  You do not have an auto pay setting.  Every other credit card company I deal with has an auto payment setting so that I never miss a payment and never have a late fee.  But not you.  It looks like you are just a little behind the times and haven't quite gotten there yet, but really?  This is NO accident.

2.  Every time you send me an email reminder the subject line says this:

Your Kohl's Charge Statement and Annual Privacy Notice Is Available Online

You would only send that one out once a year, right?  So I already paid that bill.  No worries.

3.  When I go to pay my bill, the default payment is for the minimum.  You've never gotten me on that one.  Pretty normal.

4.  When I pay the bill, I click "submit".  Then there is another screen that comes up that is a confirmation screen--but you have to confirm to actually make your payment.  If I close the window, there is certainly no dialogue box that asks me if I'm sure I want to leave before I actually pay. (No, that would NOT be too annoying!) And even though I am vigilant and catch the email, and make the payment, somehow I manage not to get through this level.  I am not sure how you do it, because I am so wary of you now.  But I promise, it will NOT happen again.

5.  You even have friendly customer service people who (if I will wait my turn in the phone cue) will remove the $25 fee.  But how many people are willing to ask to have a fee waived, when, in truth (or so they think), they did not pay their bill on time?

6.  Because I am the conscientious type, when I see that my bill was NOT actually paid and I now have a service charge to boot, I of course log in immediately and pay my entire bill AND the fee as fast as I can and make SURE I see it through to the end.  So you've got all my money plus $25 more within two days of the due date.  Good deal for you.

I checked with my friends on Facebook to see if I was the only lame person who can't manage to pay her Kohl's bill, and you know what I found out?  Several of my smartest, most organized and money-savvy friends have had EXACTLY the same thing happen.  I know.  You weren't counting on me having the guts to come clean and ask, but we all take our chances from time to time.

All of this could be SOLVED if you would offer an auto bill pay feature.  I'll look forward to shopping with you again when I get the email with that in the subject line.

Now if you'll excuse me, spring has FINALLY come to Minnesota, and my kids need new clothes for the season.  I have to figure out where I'm going to buy them.  Meanwhile, I'll be looking forward to that email with those magic words, AUTO BILL PAY.

Sincerely,
Tracy P.

P.S.  I really hated to take this so public, but since you have neither an email nor a snail mail address on your website, you left me no other alternative.

P.P. S. (to my regular readers)

Winter gave its last blast on Tuesday, which melted in about a day.  Spring really is here friends, so in spite of this not-so-upbeat post, there's a lot of happy dancing going on here.  :-)

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