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Target's Belittling Guest Services

Posted Wed January 30, 2008 12:00 pm, by Angela C. written to Target

Write a Letter to this Company  |  Rate this Company

This is in regards to:
2640 Enterprise Dr
Opelika, AL 36801

I currently have a TARGET VISA card which my husband and I used frequently for purchases. Our normal routine was to pay our monthly payment via check at the Customer Service counter then proceed to do some shopping within the store. We had been doing this for over a year without problem until last Saturday - 1/26/2008.

Every payment that had been made was done using my husband's checking account. During this particular transaction we were informed that our check would not be accepted since it was a "starter" check. The check number was 228. We were informed any check under check number 500 was considered starter. My husband has had this checking account well over 4 years. When we explained to the associate that this was not a starter check, the next excuse given was the checks did not have an address on them. My husband did not have addresses printed on his checks since he has moved for school a few times and did not wish to have his checks go to waste or use checks with an incorrect address. We tried to explain that we had made payments using these same checks at this same store for well over a year without issue. We explained that we would be happy to fill in the address if that was an issue with accepting the check. My husband produced his drivers license with correct address (matching our bill) and our additional TARGET VISA with his name on it.

Even after all this identification and explaining that we were trying to pay a bill and had proper identification, the associate said she would need to have her manager approve it. At this time apparently few managers were available (approximately 4:30pm central time on January 26, 2008). Finally someone came by and followed up that they would not accept the check since it was a starter check. We again explained how we have been paying this same account with same checks for over a year without issue. We were informed that every prior associate that took our checks did so in error and "were probably fired".

We did not feel that we were being treated fairly since the checks were clearly not starter checks and that there was no problems in the past. Another manager - his tag listed as trainer, looked at the check and also said he would not accept it. The attitude we were given by the associates and managers was that we were not to be trusted and were doing something improper trying to pay our bill in their store via check. They all acted as thought we were trying to "pull something over" on them. We asked him for his last name (so we could reference in this communication) and he refused to provide it - only pointed to his name tag.

We are totally disgusted by the way were treated by the associates and do not feel comfortable shopping at TARGET anymore. We have considered canceling our TARGET VISA once the balance has been paid off.

We would like to hear back from TARGET customer service and the local store manager regarding our terrible experience this past weekend.

TARGET needs to have a capable manager on duty at all times when store is open to customers. We were treated rudely - these lower managers and associates need to learn to treat customers with same respect they would expect from any retailer they were spending their hard earned money at!!


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by Ubaldo Posted Sat June 6, 2009 @ 11:29 AM

I've bought many things at Target with my checking account for years
but mostly items that totaled under $50. dollers or so. This week we
tryed writting a check at Target for a TV. The total was $314.99 but
was refused. The clerk was friendly and tryed running it through a
number of times but it was still refused. The check machine printed a
1-88 number on the back of my check. He had the manager call the
number only to find out they told her there were no issues with my
checking account but would not accept it due to the high ammount.
($314.?!!) The person on the phone said I would have to provide the
store with a "check writting history" but also admitted she did not
know how that could be done. The store manager had an idea. I wrote
one check for $175.00 and it went through fine. Another check was then
written for the balance of the payment due and that too went through
fine. Both checks went through by writting them with ammounts under
the limit Target had set for writting one check. The store manager
said she was surprised to find this out and would use it again for
other customers who want to pay by check as opposed to credit cards,
which they would prefer. It appears Target is doing whatever they want
to do to discourage customers from paying by check.

by Joyce2008 Posted Mon November 24, 2008 @ 4:42 PM

I am not surprised that Target did not accept your check. Although
you have had the account for 4 years, any check number less than 500
IS considered a newer account. I know it doesn't make sense since
some people don't write a lot of checks. Usually you can request a
higher start number on your checks (500 or 1001) when you order them
at your bank. Due to an increase in check fraud and account
takeovers, it is important that checks have an address printed on them
if you want them to be accepted by stores. The only places that
accept checks like the ones you have are utility companies. They
really should not have gotten an attitude with you and they should
have explained it more thoroughly and shown you the store's printed
policy on accepting checks.

by eckounlmted609 Posted Tue February 12, 2008 @ 1:45 AM

I dont know why anyone even uses checks anymore? Let alone why they
even offer them. But thats besides the point... I believe anything
under 100 is a starter check, but they probably wouldnt have cared
about that so much because they'll get there money if the check was
good. But not having an imprinted address on the check is a risk
because even if your showing ID and all that it doesnt prove that its
really your account. I'm pretty sure its a industry wide practice of
not accepting them because of the risk of fraud involved with that.
You can most likely set up online bill pay threw your bank or the
Target card which makes it a hole lot easier, or even if you have a
debit card hit an ATM and take the cash out before you go to Target to
pay your bill.


by Adam W Posted Sun February 3, 2008 @ 11:24 AM

I can understand why this policy is in place. However, in your
situation it is silly not to accept it. You were only paying your
bill. You couldn't really rip them off since you wouldn't be leaving
with any merchandise.

I paid in store before and decided it is easier to do it online. It
took several days for the in store payment ot post. When I do it
online it only takes a day.

by robinbird Posted Sun February 3, 2008 @ 5:18 AM

Do you receive your Target Visa bill by mail? If so it might just be
easier to just mail the payment using these same checks instead of
paying in person. You can avoid the entire hassle by just mailing it
in the pre-addressed envelope. I've never had a problem doing it this
way when I have a new checking account and need to pay my bills.


Yes via mail surely would work by Angela C Sun February 3, 2008 @ 9:30 AM

by dulynoted Posted Sat February 2, 2008 @ 6:38 PM

Many places will not even take a personal check unless the home
address and in most cases the home phone number are listed on these.
And in some stores you have to sign up for a check cashing card to use
along with your ID if its over a certain amount.
You say that Target has always taken these checks as payment to your
Target credit card account in the past but there may have been
problems that arose which may or may not have to do with your account
personally, but made them change the way they took personal checks.

As for starter checks I was always under the assumption that these
were checks that were numbered from 100-500. At least that's the way
it used to be at places like Sears. They would never take a check that
did not start at 501 or greater...but that was back in the 70's when I
first opened a checking account.

Personally I do not think you were treated wrongly at all as I would
rather shop at a place that has a more secure policy in effect when I
am cashing a check.


by Chadg Posted Sat February 2, 2008 @ 7:51 AM

Strange, when i got my checking acct, my starter checks were numbered
92-99, when my permanents came in they were 101 and up, i have used
checks in the 100's with no problem, these are NOT starter checks,
starter checks are identified because the name is not on them, i haver
had checks rejected because i have a po box on them, i cant receive
mail at my home adress


Same thing by Gizmo. Sat February 2, 2008 @ 8:40 AM

At our store we don't take checks numbered below by gb Sat February 2, 2008 @ 2:24 PM

by SiouxFan Posted Sat February 2, 2008 @ 12:41 AM

Angela, have you tried calling Guest Relations? They may have more
information on why they couldn't take it or why they should have.


Let us know what they say as I'm interested because this is a unique


Re: Target's Belittling Guest Services by cissy Fri February 1, 2008 @ 6:32 PM

Checks suck by Evil N Fri February 1, 2008 @ 11:10 PM

Yeah checks suck but... by Angela C Fri February 1, 2008 @ 11:53 PM

by RedheadwGlasses Posted Sat February 2, 2008 @ 6:22 PM

I write checks. When I'm told the total, I already have everything
but the dollar amount filled out. Writing out the dollar amount takes
under 10 seconds. Someone who waits until the last minute to start
writing their check would be someone who waits until the last minute
to dig out their credit card, deep in a billfold at the bottom of
their bag under a bunch of stuff. It's not the process, it's the


by Hello Kitty Posted Sat February 2, 2008 @ 7:23 PM

A rude person is going to be rude whether they pay with a credit card,
debit, cash or check. It has nothing to do with the check process

Sorta off topic, but same idea: I went to my local Kroger to get a cup
of coffee at Starbucks. It was approximately 830am on a weekday. I had
the misfortune of getting behind a woman who decided to purchase 30
10-dollar gift cards. At a corporate store, this probably wouldn't
have been a big deal, but the smaller ones inside grocery stores - not
exactly smooth-going. The baristas finally figured it out and then
counted them back to her in front of her and gave her the receipt.

The sucky part, for me, came when she proceeded to recount the cards,
but NOT MOVE ASIDE to the smaller space so that I could order my
drink. Then she proceeds to slowly put her wallet away and arrange her
purse just so, right there at the register. At this point, I was
starting with my jaw open and the two baristas were staring at her as
well, so I really think it was intentional.

Point of my long-winded rant is, some people are just entitled and
rude. She didn't care that she was holding up a line of people and
could have easily moved aside to count her cards and arrange her purse
and belongings.

People who don't have their checks ready and their wallets out at
registers are the same way. They just don't care about anyone but
themselves, unfortunately.


Grrrrr!!! by Beeracuda Sat February 2, 2008 @ 9:22 PM

My favorites.. by Harleycat Sun February 3, 2008 @ 10:42 AM

It's a little more complicated than that.. by Adam P. Tue August 5, 2008 @ 8:57 AM
by Angela C Posted Sun February 3, 2008 @ 9:32 AM

We have the check filled out completely for our bill (since we know
the amount) and are ready to pay when it is our turn at the register!!

by T. C. Posted Mon February 4, 2008 @ 8:54 PM

don't tick me off. It's the idiots that say just a sec and I'll run
to get money from my car. DUH!


by MA Cunningham Posted Fri February 1, 2008 @ 1:13 PM

I think the concern should have been more over the lack of address
than the check number. I didnt even think you could order checks
without an address on them.

Here in Ohio, they run the check through the register and it is
scanned (routing and account numbers at the bottom of every check)
electronically so they dont have to worry about ensuring information
is correct like they used to. Maybe your store has an older method
they're using, although in this day and age, I'd be surprised if they
were handling it that way.

I have a feeling there may be more to the situation than either you or
the team members were letting on.

by WarEagle04 Posted Fri February 1, 2008 @ 11:56 AM

Just more in a long line of dissatisfied, insulted Target customers.

Policies are important and vital to a business, but policy has to be
sound and the people enforcing it should be allowed to use their
brain. Every situation can be different, and for a multi-billion
dollar corporation, sometimes it is okay to view the evidence
presented (ID, bill, etc.) and say "okay, I will keep this
customer happy and take the risk."

When/where the breaking point of the "risk" is what is the
issue here, and I agree with Angela that the assessment of Target's
managers on staff of the perceived risk was incorrect. Clearly an
exception could have been made.

Also worth noting here is that in the modern credit industry, a
considerable percentage of income is from fees and default APRs, etc.
On this note, Target had very little to lose by accepting a check for
payment on an existing Target Visa account. Worst-case scenario in
case of a bad check is assessing a late/bad check fee and increasing
the customer's APR to the godless rates.


Good Point by Evil N Fri February 1, 2008 @ 11:14 PM
by Marty5223 Posted Fri February 1, 2008 @ 9:11 AM

Wow....A lot of stores will not take Starter Checks...but in this case
it was totally crazy not to take it. All they would have to do is
charge your credit card back if the payment with the check did not go
through. And on top of that add any fees they charge for return

If you were attempting to cash the check or buy merchandise with it
then there policy is sound...but so wrong in this case.

The reason stores don't take starter checks is because anyone could
present them with ID and you would not know if they were really their
checks or not. Point of ID in part is to match it with the name and
address on the check. It is just very easy to do a fraudulent check
transaction with these checks. However that said there is NO RISK for
a credit card payment to be taken by a starter check.


Agreed!! by Angela C Fri February 1, 2008 @ 8:57 PM

Yeah in this case they goofed by Marty5223 Sat February 2, 2008 @ 7:48 AM

Your Situation is an exception to the rule.. by Adam P. Tue August 5, 2008 @ 9:07 AM

by LadyMac Posted Fri February 1, 2008 @ 7:38 AM

When I signed up for my current checking account (and I think that was
1997), I recall the bank asked me what check number I wanted to start
with. So Target's policy of not taking checks below number 500 really
doesn't hold water. Someone could use a new bank "starter"
check that had number 1000 and the store would never know while people
like the OP are penalized.

You wrote a good letter with a valid complaint... I hope you hear back
from them.


I agree by Chris M Fri February 1, 2008 @ 10:44 AM
by Jackie Wilson Posted Fri February 1, 2008 @ 2:47 AM

Actually if it was in payment for the credit card then
State I D and the visa card should have been enough. Since they all
ready had the address or you would not have gotten the bill in which
you were trying to pay, in
the first place.

by Nicole F Posted Fri February 1, 2008 @ 1:37 AM

I can sort of see where the Target employees are coming from, but then
again, I feel that perhaps they should have taken the check because it
had a name on it, along with proper ID. They could have just written
everything on it; after all, it's just a payment. Running it through
the machine should work just fine. Perhaps they had some problem with
people doing this? Perhaps it's a new policy? Perhaps they don't know
what they are doing? Who knows...I think they should have accepted

However, I agree with the employee with regards to refusing to hand
out his last name. It's none of your business and makes people feel
threatened (I know it makes me feel that way) when someone whom I
don't know wants my last name, particulary because it's a uncommon
last name and I'm paranoid like that. All you will get from me and
most other people in the retail business is our first name and our
associate number--sometimes I don't even hand that out unless I did a
transaction. I understand that they knew your last name because it was
on the check, but you willingly gave it, but it doesn't mean the
employee has to give theirs. Just my two cents.

Good luck.


by Gino Posted Fri February 1, 2008 @ 1:29 AM

I honestly don't understand the store's stance on this issue. I have
worked retail years ago, and one store's policy was similar to this.
As a manager, I had the option to override with two forms of ID, one
being photo, and only if it was not an out of state check. The checks
we accepted were run though the register, which basically confirmed
the routing number/account number, and if there were enough funds to
cover the amount (without us knowing the balance).

I can see the clerk's action of pointing to the name tag and body
language as percieved "rudeness". Perhaps if they had a
written policy about check acceptance procedures, it would have been
easier to take.

The fact that you can do "Check by Phone" tells me it can be


by Adam D Posted Fri February 1, 2008 @ 12:57 AM

How stupid! Just another example of Target dropping the ball. You
would think they would have some record of you making payments on a
regular basis at that store. I hope you hear something reasonable
back from Target!


We hope so too by Angela C Fri February 1, 2008 @ 9:04 AM

Don't count on it by Adam D Fri February 1, 2008 @ 1:12 PM

I guess we won't bet anything on a response by Angela C Fri February 1, 2008 @ 9:06 PM

I've heard back from Target every single time n/t by RedheadwGlasses Sat February 2, 2008 @ 6:30 PM
by bernie r Posted Fri February 1, 2008 @ 12:17 AM

most of these big stores have Electronic Check Acceptance ( ECA ) and
can tell you if your check is no good. if you had an id with you then
they should of taken your payment

i use telecheck when a customer writes me a check, i put it in the
machine and type in there id # and get a yes or no in 7 sec


Was thinking hte same thing.... by petrohd Fri February 1, 2008 @ 1:32 PM

by T. C. Posted Thu January 31, 2008 @ 11:54 PM

All they had to do was run the check. If there was a problem the
system should kick it out.

by Angelic Princess:) Posted Thu January 31, 2008 @ 11:35 PM

If checks under #500 are considered starters.. then I've accepted ALOT
of starter checks at work! haha, I know at my job, we technically
aren't supposed to take checks, I believe, if it has a PO box on it as
the address, so I just usually write in the address while the customer
isn't looking lol.


by donno Posted Thu January 31, 2008 @ 11:26 PM

Can be tricky. I know I have patronized establishments that do not
accept checks without preprinted addresses. There isn't a good way to
prove that is your check, and not someone else with the same name.


Policy is not clear by Angela C Thu January 31, 2008 @ 11:45 PM

by RedheadwGlasses Posted Thu January 31, 2008 @ 11:22 PM

I just want to say... we have that wonderful rare find... a letter
writer who can disagree with the criticisms of her complaint, or just
parts of the letter, reasonably and respectfully, without the whole
"why are you attacking me?" or nasty attitude back. I love
OPs like this!


Thanks! by Angela C Thu January 31, 2008 @ 11:36 PM

by petrohd Posted Thu January 31, 2008 @ 11:03 PM

I'm really surprised that Target does not have some kind of record of
your payments in light of the fact that they have accepted these
checks before. The only thing I could think of is that they
implemented new rules and regulations at the beginning of the year.

Do you get a photocopy of your cancelled checks every month? A
suggestion might be to get copies of these old checks and bring it
with you to your local Target and if they give you problems produce
the copies of the other checks.

I don't blame you for being upset about this especially since you've
had no problems before. If nothing else, try patronizing another
Target (if there is another store in your area) and see if you get the
same kind of service.

Good luck.


Thanks for understanding by Angela C Thu January 31, 2008 @ 11:11 PM

by Gizmo. Posted Thu January 31, 2008 @ 10:49 PM

I agree that it is a silly policy to have, especially since you were
just paying a bill. I mean, if a person pays a bill with a check that
bounces, all the company would have to do is charge their account with
a late fee and/or a bounced check fee.

But since it is their policy, I have to agree with them for sticking
by it. When I worked retail, I wish I would have managers that would
back me up in situations like this. I used to work at a grocery
store, and one particular policy the company had was that we were not
supposed to cash paychecks with P.O. Box numbers. Many people would
try to cash them, and when I told them no, they would complain that
"So and so" cashed it for them last week. They would then
demand to see a manager. Well, our store manager was known to give in
to every demand of the customers, so he would always make me cash
them. Of course that would make most of these customers feel like
"big guys" and they would then demean me during the whole
transaction and tell me how I don't know what I'm doing, etc, even
though I was just following corporate policy! And then to make it
worse, the store's bookkeeper would always get on me the next day
about cashing a check with a P.O. Box number! I would explain that
the manager made me do it and they would always get mad at the manager
beacuse their bank had a policy where if a check with a P.O. Box
number bounces, they don't get credit for it. They lost a lot of
money this way and I can't believe the corporate office never got mad
at that manager.
Sorry that story was so long!


A little common sense on associates can be good by Angela C Thu January 31, 2008 @ 11:18 PM

Please do not insinuate that employees do not have common sense because of one situation. n/t by SiouxFan Fri February 1, 2008 @ 1:33 PM

by Michelle O Posted Thu January 31, 2008 @ 10:03 PM

the checks had no address, but DID have his name printed on them - is
that correct? If so, you are absolutely correct and they are not
starter checks.
I honestly don't understand the issue here - seems to me as though
they were a bit over zealous in their attempts to protect their store.
I would be frustrated too.


You are correct - Name is printed on checks by Angela C Thu January 31, 2008 @ 10:16 PM

that is how I read it by Michelle O Thu January 31, 2008 @ 10:23 PM

by ♥Venice♥ Posted Thu January 31, 2008 @ 7:54 PM

Am I missing something here? The letter writer said it was not a
starter check, which was the original reason they wouldn't accept it.
It was only then that they made an issue over the address.

If the check was not up to Target's policies, I can understand them
not accepting it for a purchase, but I don't understand why they
refused to take it as payment on a bill. What's the worst that could


Thanks! by Angela Cook Thu January 31, 2008 @ 8:44 PM

by SiouxFan Posted Thu January 31, 2008 @ 7:38 PM

I also don't see how they were being rude. If you had gotten away with
using starter checks previously then that is just luck (and uninformed

But if they were truly rude, you need to provide what they said.
Without that, it just looks like another case of "No=Rude".


Please Read thoroughly before making comments by Angela Cook Thu January 31, 2008 @ 8:51 PM

Two things by RedheadwGlasses Thu January 31, 2008 @ 8:56 PM

Final Payment by Angela Cook Thu January 31, 2008 @ 9:04 PM

Still, how? by SiouxFan Fri February 1, 2008 @ 1:32 PM

Did you read the whole thread and replies? by "El Cid" Fri February 1, 2008 @ 9:42 PM

Thanks for coming out of the woodwork by SiouxFan Sat February 2, 2008 @ 12:30 AM

Could you clarify? by Steve-Oh Thu January 31, 2008 @ 9:04 PM

Check #282 on a 4 year old checking account by Angela Cook Thu January 31, 2008 @ 9:06 PM

Sorry - was 228 by Angela Cook Thu January 31, 2008 @ 9:12 PM

Checks last longer than ever! by RedheadwGlasses Thu January 31, 2008 @ 9:37 PM

To Clarify... by SiouxFan Fri February 1, 2008 @ 1:29 PM

by Harleycat Posted Thu January 31, 2008 @ 10:15 AM

I don't see where Target did anything wrong. If their policy says an
address must be printed on the check and they choose to enforce that,
that is their right. It truly doesn't matter if they accepted them in
the past.

As Redhead said, no does not equal rude.


No Address by Angela Cook Thu January 31, 2008 @ 9:09 PM

RE by RowdyRetailer Fri February 1, 2008 @ 9:17 AM

by RowdyRetailer Posted Thu January 31, 2008 @ 10:10 AM

You can still use your checks if the address isnt correct. I take
checks like that all the time at my store.

Also, why are you worried about his checks and not his license? Is
his license blank too? I have never ever seen checks that werent
starters that didnt have an address on them.

The trick about the numbers on your check is right, you choose the

Also, if you pay your bill online, you dont have to worry about it
all, or use a 41 cents stamp!

Good Day


Not necessarily true.. by Harleycat Thu January 31, 2008 @ 10:13 AM

RE by RowdyRetailer Fri February 1, 2008 @ 9:14 AM

by RedheadwGlasses Posted Thu January 31, 2008 @ 8:40 AM

I support businesses that don't accept "starter" checks or checks
without addresses. The way around the "starter" checks is to order
checks starting at a certain number--you can pick ANY number you want.
I once started with something like 2501. The businesses don't know
the difference.

But you do need to have an address on the checks. All you have to do
is cross out the old address and write in the new. Businesses
understand that people move and checks don't always arrive in time.
I've done this tons of times without any hassles. But I'd never
expect any business to accept a check without an address printed on
it. That clerks accepted these repeatedly for a year shows that they
either didn't care, or didn't know company policy.

I don't see how you were treated rudely. "No" does not equal rude.
You were told repeatedly that your checks were not acceptable. I know
they had been in the past, but they aren't now. It's time to accept
it, order new checks (they're very inexpensive through places like
Current) with your current address printed on them, and be done with


Umm OK by Angela Cook Thu January 31, 2008 @ 8:56 PM

Here's an idea, Angela by MA Cunningham Fri February 1, 2008 @ 1:51 PM

Debit Cards Have Daily Limits by Angela C Fri February 1, 2008 @ 7:15 PM

That is what happens when you don't have an address. It is your decision. by donno Fri February 1, 2008 @ 5:36 PM

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