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Apr 20, 2009
Apr 20, 2009
Internet Fraud with HSN? I see 4 Red Flags!
As a brand new customer with no history with this company, I find them to be rude, dishonest, and lack any semblance of integrity.
I ordered a desktop computer from them using the flexpay option. My card was immediately billed a pre-authorization charge for that item. That's normally typical of most merchants. What's not typical is for a product to not ship out within a day or two when it's already in stock.
I checked on the status of my order online and there was a big "cancel" button close to the status description. That was certainly odd. I had never before seen a merchant make the cancel option so blatant before; most merchants do NOT want you to cancel, so they hide that option away one a "Frequently Asked Questions" page somewhere on their site. Not so with HSN. But was was the strangest fact with this order was that after reading reviews from people who had received their untit within a couple days of placing the order, my order had not even shipped out yet! That did not match up with what I had read from other buyers.
I called up customer service to find out why my order had not shipped out after two days. I was told that all new customers need to verify their identity before they will ship out a product--especially when the item is a major purchase like the computer I had ordered. They used "internet fraud" as their excuse.
I moved less than five months ago. My experience is that a card's billing address is not always updated to reflect the current physical address; it's many times still linked to the original address. So I input my billing address as my former address.
The customer service representaitve told me that they verify identity by calling up the bank and checking the billing address. I told the customer service representative that it's possible the bank may have updated my card to my new address. "Will they know to ask if the shipping address is the billing address if there's an issue?" I was assured they would.
Over the weekend, I learned that the bank had in fact updated my card to the new billing address. But again, I was promised this would not be an issue by the HSN representative.
Today I checked on the status of my order again. This time it said, "CC Declined". That was a complete lie because my card had already been charged the pre-authorization charge and those funds were still tied up. So I again called customer service at HSN. This time I spoke with a very rude woman who could not give me any clear answers. She even went so far as to say that the verification department had tried to call me yesterday. I was home all day, have caller ID, and also have voice mail. No calls came through at all. Even if I was on the other line, they still should have reached voice mail. There was nothing from HSN.
I pointed out what I see as four red flags about thier company:
1.) My card was billed a pre-authorization charge. Those funds are still tied up and will not be reversed for at least another couple days.
2.) This is closely related to number one, but when a pre-authorization charge goes through, it pretty much guarantees payment, so how on earth could my card then be declined?
3.) My physical address (i.e. shipping address) is in fact also my billing address. This fact should have matched up when they made thier supposed verification call--IF THEY REALLY FOLLOW UP WITH THE SECOND ADDRESS, AS I WAS TOLD THEY DO.
4.) I have no record that HSN called me. No stamp on Caller ID shows up, and there are no messages. If they really did call, where is the proof?
I don't know about the rest of you, but a company that is so paranoid about "internet fraud" is certainly showing characteristics that point toward a lack of overall integrity. I have not yet been able to speak to someone in their verification department to get to the bottom of this. But quite honestly, I don't really want the computer after seeing so much deception. I can understand their desire to be prudent and not set themselves up for fraud, but my goodness, what is their problem with my order? The only thing that did not match up was the billing address, but that's only because it matches my shipping address! Hence there is a match that proves that I did in fact order this and that I will in fact pay for it!
I think I'll find a unit from QVC instead. I have never shopped with them before, either, but by what I've read of them and also HSN, the other company seems a bit more customer-minded. All I want is my computer! NOT a migraine over the ridiculous drama HSN creates for its new customers!
They seem to only cater toward their existing customer base, and the only new customers who can get orders without issues seem to be those who make tiny first purchases. They certainly are not skilled with providing good customer service, or even good old fashioned honsety! I have to say "buyer beware" of HSN.com.