Some financial advisors and gurus urge all of their audience to use cash only. They argue if you use cash, you can’t overspend. Further, they say you’re also more conscious of your spending when you use cash. While these arguments may be true for some credit card users, they’re not for all. Many people can use credit cards and stay within their budgets. In addition, paying with credit cards offers several advantages, one of which is particularly important.
The Biggest Reason to Always Pay with Credit Card
The biggest reason to always pay with a credit card is the purchase protection. I saw this in effect recently with my mom and a $450 treadmill she purchased last fall.
The Credit Card Purchase
My mom is trying to improve her fitness level, so last September, she bought a treadmill on Amazon. The treadmill was never perfect—she complained about how hard it was to walk on it. When I visited her recently, I tried the treadmill, and it felt heavy and slow. A few days into my visit, the treadmill would turn on and off, but you couldn’t get the tread to move.
Customer Service Was a Bust
We discovered the treadmill company is in China, and the only phone number for support was a Chinese number. I emailed support and told them what the problem was. The company took two days to get back to me and then asked for a video demonstrating the problem. I sent that and then waited another two days for a reply. Next, they told me how to disassemble part of the treadmill and send them more videos showing the problem. I did, and then I didn’t get a reply for several days.
Contacting Amazon Didn’t Help
Meanwhile, I contacted Amazon to ask for a refund. Amazon said they couldn’t help me because the return window closed in December. When I mentioned that the treadmill had a one-year warranty, Amazon said I had to work with the manufacturer.
Customer Service Still Refused to Help
By now, I had been going back and forth with the treadmill company’s customer service for approximately 10 days. Finally, I said I wanted a refund as the treadmill was under warranty and shouldn’t break after five months of ownership. The company told me to contact Amazon to activate the warranty, which I had already done, to no avail.
Contacting the Credit Card Company Made the Difference
I then contacted the credit card company and explained what had happened. After taking down all the details, the credit card company issued my mom a full refund. Having the ability to go straight to the credit card company to get a refund when all else fails is the biggest reason to always pay with a credit card.
My opinion to always pay with a credit card, especially with large purchases, was reaffirmed with this situation. Further, I learned that when purchasing something on Amazon, checking out reviews is not enough. I must also verify where the company is based. A company based in China may be challenging to work with and receive assistance.
We used my mom’s credit card refund to purchase a new treadmill from a company based in Arkansas. If she has trouble in the future, I’m confident communicating with the company will be easier.
Melissa is a writer and virtual assistant. She earned her Master’s from Southern Illinois University, and her Bachelor’s in English from the University of Michigan. When she’s not working, you can find her homeschooling her kids, reading a good book, or cooking. She resides in New York, where she loves the natural beauty of the area.