No Interest scam, three ways.
MCALLEN, TEXAS -- A couple of years ago, we got a front loader Whirlpool Washer and Dryer from Conn's in McAllen, Texas. They were promoting a "No Interest" payment plan. So, like naive idiots, we jumped in with both feet, since our washer was on the fritz. They had the monthly payment price figured so the interest would kick in, so we asked the salesman to figure the payments so we would have everything paid off in full by the final payment, with no interest. He did (supposedly) and we made our payments of $118 on the due date, or during their 10 day grace period, though they released the hounds on you, calling you with extremely harassing calls if you were in the "grace period". We were never, ever late.
Well, we were getting down to the last payment, and I noticed that if I made my last payment of $118, I would be $3 short of having the total amount paid off, and the $500 of interest would kick in. I realized that despite our request to have the entire amount paid off before the interest kicked in, they were making it a few bucks short so if we didn't catch it, they would still make their money from us off the interest. Feeling good that we didn't get caught in their little deceptive trap, I knew I had to pay $121 on my last payment (August 2009), and I'd have it paid off, and would be saved from having to pay $500 in interest. I went in a Conn's store on Monday, August 3rd to make my final payment, and was told that because I didn't make the final payment the day before on Sunday August 2nd, that I was going to have to pay ALL the interest. I told the checker that I didn't even know they were even open on Sundays to take payments, which she said they were. I asked her what about the 10 day "grace period" to make the payment, and she said that it doesn't apply on the last payment. She said that all the interest was accrued at midnight on August 2nd, and even though I was paying just a few hours after that, I would have to pay ALL the interest, and not just some of it for being a few hours "late."
So, we got the people on the phone at Conn's "Customer Service" and they gave me the same old lines they probably tell all the other "suckers" like me that had been screwed over by Conn's on this deceptive "no interest" program. So, I asked for a manager, and she explained to me that she could put in a request for "forgiveness on the cash option," and that it would be reviewed by senior management, and that I would be notified within a week.
Never heard from anybody after a week, so I called them up, and was told that the request was on file, but it had not been reviewed yet. She said that there were so many of these requests, that they were taking a long time to get through all of them. I guess a lot of other people were getting screwed over too. She finished the conversation by saying that I should call by the end of the month. So, I called at the end of the month, and was told the same thing (hadn't been reviewed due to huge backlog of similar requests, and to call again next week). Well, today, on September 4th, we started getting harassing calls from their collection people wanting us to pay up. So, I called to talk to the customer service, and was told the same thing, it hadn't been reviewed and to call back later. I told her if I did that, the payment would be late, if it wasn't "forgiven." She said that's all she could do, so I talked to her manager. This person, who was talking so ghetto, I could barely understand her, started out saying the same thing. She said I could fax in the receipt with an explanation, and that would be reviewed by Senior Management, which had never been mentioned by any of the previous people I had dealt with at Conn's. Then after going around and around with her for about 10 minutes, she finally came out and said, "No one is going to even look at this, because you were supposed to make the payment on that Sunday, and even if you didn't know we were open, and made your payment a few hours later on Monday, all the interest is now due. There's no way out of it, and there's no use in waiting any more, because you will be denied." Then, when I tried to explain the situation, she wouldn't even let me explain, she would just butt in during the middle of my sentence, saying we had nothing else to talk about! When I told her I would appreciate it if I could finish my sentence, she started getting really rude! She said there was nothing more for us to talk about and I had to pay the extra five hundred bucks, and there was no way out of it. That she was the highest level of management I could talk to, since senior management did not take phone calls. I asked her, so why she told me to fax the receipt to them then, and she just kept telling me how I just needed to make the payments, and then she hung up on me.
So, beware of Conn's "no interest" program, because if you make every payment in full, and on time, they'll figure the payments deceptively so you'll have to pay the interest anyway. And, they'll set it up for you to make your final payment on a Sunday, (which isn't a typical day I pay bills since I'm in church and spending the day with my family), so you'll hopefully pay a day late. Then, they'll tell you to keep jumping through hoops and giving you hope after the fact, and wasting your time by telling you they're going to review the situation, which they were never planning to do from the start. None of the things that they said was true, and all they are out for is a one-time customer, and not return customers.
Our next purchase after getting this washer/dryer paid off is for a 52 to 55 inch LCD flat screen TV, and Conn's would have been one of the companies we would have shopped. But after their deceptive practices, we will NEVER, EVER step foot in a Conn's store again!!!! Somebody else will be getting our business. And with a family of four young children, we will be buying a lot more appliances, computers and furniture that Conn's could have been considered for. But not now. Plus, we own a photography business, which uses camera and computer equipment which Conn's sells. Sorry Conn's, after this little rip off scheme you pulled on us, you burned the one and only bridge between us! You, Conns, are the losers in the long haul. And it's kind of a bad time to be alienating and ripping off your customers that have made on time payments over two years, when the economy is this bad. As a business owner, we know it's much easier to keep an existing client, than to go beat the bushes to find another faithful client. We'll make sure to tell all our friends and family (which are a bunch), and will post this all over the web and on Facebook, on which we have hundreds of friends. The good thing is we have come out a little wiser (though this lesson cost us $500) to these types of schemes and will hopefully be able to not fall for this sort of thing in the future. We just hope this helps someone else out, and can keep someone else from getting ripped off by Conn's (which is such an appropriate name!!!)!!!!
Lance and Deborah Krueger