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Costco, Credit Cards, Contract Breaches And Employment…

Costco opened in Wichita as a rival to Samsclub and I was quite excited about the prospect plus we got a free membership as Costco in Wichita were offering a two for one membership, my mother-in-law got herself a membership and gave us the second free membership. On Sunday we went to Costco, spent 90+ minutes picking our groceries, only to find they don’t accept Discover or VISA credit cards, of course they were quick to offer us their co-branded AMEX, which I immediately turned down and left the store.

This was a huge inconvenience to us as we only had those two hours to buy our groceries and because Samsclub closed at the same time, we could not get our monthly grocery shopping done. Because of work commitments, we don’t have time to go grocery shopping during the week, hence my clear annoyance at Costco’s inflexibility in accepting mainstream credit cards. This is not a unique situation in stores, Samsclub has an exclusive deal with Mastercard/Synchrony, so doesn’t accept VISA or AMEX credit cards.

As a business decision, I simply don’t understand the logic of these big warehouse stores pigeon-holing themselves into exclusive merchant deals where they can not contractually accept other credit cards. I personally don’t like being forced into using a credit card merchant of their choosing to shop at their store and I certainly wouldn’t get a co-branded credit card where I can only see cashback benefits at their store.

Costco’s inability/unwillingness to accept all major credit cards made me take a look at AMEX and I liked the terms and benefits of their Blue Cash Everyday credit card. So I went ahead and applied for the card online and got approved for a $6,000 credit line within 60 seconds with my 717 credit score.

Although AMEX’s online system is disparate from their offline system, it allows for instant obtaining of card details, but the four digit card ID number is a temporary number and I can not set up my online account until I receive the physical card despite the welcome Email they sent me saying otherwise. I had to call to find out this info, AMEX need to get their online and offline departments on the same page.

Moving on to contract breaches, for supplemental income I have a 12 month contract with a property management company here in Wichita worth $300 each month. But in recent months they have been in breach of contract three times for late payment, the agreement states that for services to continue, payment must reach me by the first day of the month, I also allow a few additional days for USPS delivery.

I have had to chase payment five times in nine months and now I can not get any response from the property management company via Email or telephone. So I have cut my losses and stopped marketing their properties and took down their website, enough is enough, today is the 14th, a whole two weeks after the due date. I don’t work for free, they can have their website back if/when I receive the remaining pro-rated website creation fee, the fee was pro-rated over 12 months and there is 3 months outstanding.

Finally, after being forced to take a job 2 1/2 hours drive outside of where we live because of the small minded property management community here in Wichita, my wife has just handed in her notice to take a job just 30 minutes from where we live. The job pays a dollar less than her current job, but the savings in fuel for the car alone makes it worth the pay cut, it costs about $170 a week to drive to her current job.

Plus the job she is leaving has some odd business practices, for example, they have property management software, but the property managers are not given access to the system, everything has to be sent to the corporate office for input while the community offices have a paper based system. The staff that work at the two properties that my wife manages want to be fired; and in an attempt to get fired are doing a completely substandard job. Personally, I would have walked away after the first few days.

Because of this job, we are close to $3,000 in the red as my wife has only received $300 in wages while having to pay for gas, food and other expenses incurred from working over 100 miles from home. Additionally, our regular household expenses are not being covered by my income alone, which hasn’t been helped by the afformentioned property management company’s non-payment of contracted fees.

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