Stealing my own identity
Oh, the things I will do for 0% financing
My husband took a new job in a new state during the hot housing market. After living apart for three months and losing four bidding wars, we finally secured a place.
We left our Michigan home under the stewardship of our adult offspring, and moved to our Illinois home. And what a home! Like my husband and me, it was born in the ’70s and was having a mid-life crisis.
The windows were original and not in an antique-roadshow-romantic way. There were seven different carpets, several shades of beige walls, one poorly hung ceiling fan, and a large mouse nest behind the 23-year-old stove.
I quickly learned where Lowe’s was.
We painted, cleaned, and dreamed. Maybe we’d fence in the yard, screen in the deck, or buy a stove from this millennium. Then the pipes broke under the kitchen sink, and the water heater started leaking rusty tears.
New dream: replace the hot water heater and install a softener.
According to the three plumbers who quoted the job, the only way to make space for such things in our jam-packed utility closet was to replace the ancient, side-by-side washer and dryer with their sleeker, stackable equivalents.
Fortunately, Lowe’s had an appliance sale. Double-fortunately, they offered 0% financing if we applied for their credit card. So we applied, expecting the instant approval that comes with good credit. Instead, we got “under review,” which would take longer than the sale would last.
My husband suspected it was the two addresses in two different states, so the salesperson gave him a phone number to speed things up.
And it did. We got instantly denied.
We could buy the appliances without the financing, but we had plumbers to pay. So, I applied again online, careful not to mention my new address.
We went back to Lowe’s with my husband’s truck. Since I didn’t yet have a card, they sent me to the customer service desk to complete the purchase.
Lowe’s customer service department called the credit card’s customer service department, who called the fraud department, who called me. The fraud people sent me a link where I was to upload a video of myself and scan my ID.
The store was Sunday-afternoon-appliance-sale crowded, so I took my proof-of-me video by the outdoor BBQs, eyes squinted in the sunlight, face flushed with embarrassment. I uploaded the results.
Denied. The robot couldn’t locate my eyes.
The fraud department sent another link to my husband’s phone, as mine was “locked out,” and requested I repeat the process indoors.
Did I mention it was Sunday afternoon during an appliance sale?
The least busy place with the least lousy lightning was the cart carrel. While my husband filmed me, three different front desk people came out to give us the stink-eye. I was starting to feel suspicious of myself.
Another upload. Another call from the fraud department.
“What are you doing in Illinois?”
I bit my tongue.
...don't be sarcastic, don't be sarcastic, don't be…
Story told, identity confirmed, we returned to the customer service people, who were very surprised to see us. They apologized for the confusion, but it wasn't necessary.
We were out-of-state people trying to buy appliances 344 miles away from “home.”
I appreciated their efforts to protect my identity, even from myself. And I’m sure it will all work out in the wash, provided the washer ever gets in my truck.
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