Thursday, January 19, 2006


So, my bank enrolled me in this "thank you points" program wherein I receive one point for every $2 spent with my signature or for every $3 spent with a PIN. In a month or two, I've racked up some 848 points (not sure if they're counting online bill paying -- otherwise it seems like I must have started with some kind of bonus number of points).

Anyway, to prevent scamming, the program specifies that if if you buy something and return it, the points you received will be subtracted. However, my experience with debit purchases has been that when you return something, you get your refund in cash. I can't see how the bank would really know about it. So couldn't I rack up points by buying things with debit and returning them?

For instance, last month I bought a $150 dress at Banana Republic and then returned it (I was going to wear it to my birthday party but then I took it home and couldn't get it to work with a strapless bra), and was somewhat surprised to receive $150 in cash. I could buy and return a $150 dress, um ... every day. I could buy the dresses three at once and then return them. Now, I have to imagine that the store would have some limit on the amount of money they'd hand someone in cash as a refund, maybe a few hundred dollars. So, three dresses it is. That's $450 and 150 points -- per day.


1:04 AM