So, I was at the checkout at Canadian Tire, just having bought a number of things, when I noticed that one of them - a $10 item - was defective.
Me: "Oh, look -- it's defective. Actually, it's a crummy product, so can I just get my money back?"
Cashier: "Oh, sorry - having just cashed you out, I can't do that without calling the manager." (Glances nervously at growing lineup.) "Would you mind just going over to customer service?"
So, noticing growing lineup, I went to customer service, showed them the bill, the item I'd just bought, and the VISA card I used to pay for it. However, whereas all that was enough for them to take my money, it wasn't enough to give it back. They wanted my address and phone number to enter into their data base.
"But you didn't need my address and phone number when I bought this about 90 seconds ago; why do you need it to give me my money back?"
"Company policy - to prevent fraud."
Synopsis of subsequent events: the manager is called; refuses a refund without me submitting to personal information being entered in their data base; a phone call to head office is placed; I speak with a senior administrator and explain that a) I want my money back and b) I don't want my personal information in the data base. 45 minutes from the time I bought the item, I got my $10 back on the understanding from the senior administrator that he was going to authorize this as a one-time only exception.
I maintain that Canadian Tire is using this policy to collect personal information. A moment's reflection will reveal that their ostensible justification, namely fraud prevention is a smoke screen. Consider:
To perpetrate a fraud, you'd need the following three things: 1) a stolen item; 2) the credit card with which the stolen item was purchased, and 3) the store receipt showing the stolen item AND the (obviously also stolen) credit card used to pay for it.
To prevent this elaborate fraud, Canadian Tire offers the following safeguard: the putative fraudster verbally relates their address and phone number. (Technically, there's a requirement that you have to show photo ID; however, a) they only ask for it if you give them a hard time like I did; and b) if you've managed to steal the item, the receipt, and the credit card, you probably won't have trouble stealing some ID as well.)
What I want:
I want Canadian Tire to change their policy, since its true purpose is clearly collection of personal information. Alternatively, I challenge them to point to a single incident where a fraud was prevented under the circumstances as outlined above -- again, that a person in possession of an item, a receipt, and a credit card was prevented from perpetrating a fraud by being asked for their address and phone number.
Thanks for starting Gripevine.com - brilliant!
phone number and address withheld
681 Danforth Ave
Toronto, ON CA