I don't know if this is a result of the credit tightening or just mindlessly poor service by Wal-Mart credit as provided by GE Capital
To Whom It May Concern:
The following complaint is about our Wal-Mart credit account. I understand that a third party runs this service, but we have exhausted ourselves attempting to get satisfaction from Wal-Mart credit. Further, I don't think at this point there is anything you can do for us, as we are already in the process of shifting our business to other suppliers. However, I wanted to acquaint you with our situation.
We are a seasonal campground business with 175 campgrounds in rural locations across the country. As such, Wal-Mart has always been an important supplier for us, both for our internal supplies needs as well as a source of goods for resale in our stores. We have done business successfully with Wal-Mart for literally decades. Because Wal-Mart is an important supplier for us, most of our managers and many of our senior employees have Wal-Mart credit cards.
This month, I was disappointed to find that despite sending in payments, Wal-Mart credit still showed our account as having no available balance. I was getting five or six calls a day from my employees in the field who were standing in a Wal-Mart checkout lane with a full cart calling me to tell me their card was declined. Upon calling Wal-Mart credit, I was told our last two payments checks were being held for three weeks. Apparently the computer said our account had unusually high activity compared to past months and so this was their mandated response.
I found this odd after holding the account and paying on time for so many years, but I tried to explain that ours was a seasonal business. We open all of our facilities every year in May and June, and so we always have a spending bulge this time of year as inventory is restocked. While spending was high vs. March or April, it was absolutely normal compared to last June, or the June before that.
I was told that the computer did not look at past years. I understand this. What I could not understand is why there was no way for a long-time customer to get a human being to look at his account and override the computer. Even a cursory examination would show that our spending habits were just the same as in past years. My guess is that our spending habits hadn't changed, but the computer algorithms had.
Anyway, I was told that Wal-Mart credit was unwilling to do any such examination on my part. I was told that if we wanted to check our bank every day and watch for cleared checks, we could fax evidence our payments had cleared to the credit office and they would unlock our account. I suppose I could do this, but why bother? I have plenty of other retail and credit relationships that value my business, understand my seasonality, and don't impose extra work on me just because their computer models don't look at more than a few months of history.