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Tales from the coffee shop: SEE ID!

Have you ever had someone ask to see your ID when you pay with a credit card/debit card? Does it fill you with a blind rage? Do you smart off to the person asking for your ID?
No?
Instead, do you politely show your ID, proving that you are in fact, the owner of the card? If so, thank you. Thank you so very, very much.

Here's the story:
There is a woman who has been coming to my coffee shop for at least 2 years. The first time she came in, she handed me an unsigned card. The name on the card was a man's name, so obviously, I asked her for her ID. She informed me it was her husbands card. I said that was fine, as long as she could show me her ID and they had the same last name. She said they didn't, so I said I couldn't take the card. A 10 minute argument followed. Finally she just paid with cash.

This went on for about a year. At least once a week we would have the exact same argument. Finally she just gave up and always brought cash in. For at least a year I have not had to argue with this woman over this stupid debit card. Until yesterday:

She came in, ordered, and handed me the card. I sighed internally, and asked for her ID.
"Seriously? I forgot it. It's my husbands card, you know this!"
"Well, I'm sorry, but I've never seen your husband, I don't know him, and I don't know that it's okay for you to use this card".
"EVERYONE here has taken this card before. Everyone. You're the only one who gives me a hard time about it."
"Well I'll make sure that we have a staff meeting about it and get that cleared up. Because no one here should be taking this card" (Side note. She was lying. One person took the card before, I caught him doing it, and we had a discussion about it after. It's never happened since)
"If this card were signed you would have to take it! I don't understand what the big deal is"!
At this point her voice is getting higher and higher pitched, so I tried to stay calm and diffuse.
"Even if it were signed I wouldn't take the card. You don't have ID proving that this card belongs to you. Honestly, how upset would you be if someone stole this card, and no one checked ID for it? It's honestly for your own good that I'm asking for ID"
"I'm going to just have you call him, and he'll tell you it's okay. This is just ridiculous! I can't believe I seriously have to walk all the way (Interjection: all the way is about 100 yards here) to the ATM machine!!!"
"Look, I'm sorry. But a phone call won't let me check ID. You have to get cash, otherwise I can't run this transaction".

She gave a frustrated kind of gurgle noise and stomped out, returning about 5 minutes later with cash. I spent those 5 minutes practicing deep breathing in the back room, trying to calm down.

It would be one thing if she and her husband came in together a lot, and I knew them well as customers. I would be less apprehensive about letting her use his card. But I have never, ever, seen her come in with anyone other than the women she meets and hangs out with. I have people that get aggravated when you ask for ID (my favorite is when the card says "SEE ID" on the back and they get furious with you for checking, since they actually don't have their ID on them.)and that's fine, it's inconvenient. But actually getting angry at the person who is looking out for YOUR best interests, and trying to protect you, is infuriating.

Anyone else have horror stories about people raging about ID checks?

7 Responses to “Tales from the coffee shop: SEE ID!”

  1. I used to point out the fine print on the card that says it is invalid if not signed. I hated customer service.

  2. Keep asking! I thank retailers for asking to see my ID. Because I don't want some asshole thief to use my card if it gets stolen!

  3. I write SEE ID on my cards too. Except some places will not take it unless it's signed, no matter what. Joyce Leslie (clothing store) made me sign my card with a pencil in front of them to accept it. That pissed me off.

  4. http://consumerist.com/2008/07/10-things-you-might-not-know-about-your-credit-card.html

    An interesting post about the merchant agreement

  5. Mastercard and Visa put in their merchant agreements that merchants CANNOT ask for ID as a condition of sale. Also the card must have a valid signature on the back. So actually you're both wrong. The correct answer is the woman Crooked Knitter is pissed off at.

    There are a couple of reasons for this. 1) an ID is the easiest thing in the world to fake. 2) accepting an unsigned card may open both merchant and cardholder to fraud liability, which would be solely on the card issuer if the card were signed properly 3) signatures have absolutely nothing to do with cardholder identity, they are merely a verification that the card agreement was accepted.

  6. That is actually a slightly gray area. We have a merchant processor that runs our credit cards. Our agreement with the processor is that we HAVE to check ID. If we don't, and the card was stolen, and we were found to be negligent (ie, we didn't check ID, not that the person had a bitchin fake) WE would be responsible for the charges. So someone could buy $400 worth of stuff, stolen card, I don't check, I not only am out the $400, in many cases I would pay a penalty, and could even lose my ability to process cards.

  7. Also the big override? Any store can refuse a credit card transaction for ANY reason they see fit.

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