08 October, 2015

One of the Occasional Joys of Living in Belize

Yesterday

Dianna, Carl, and I headed off to Chetumal. We were headed to Home Depot to look at floor tile, grout, bathroom fixtures, ceiling fans, pocket door hardware, and whatever else caught our eye.

We found just the floor tile we were looking for, as well as the grout. Since they didn't have enough here in Chetumal, we made arrangements for Home Depot to bring the balance of the boxes down from Cozumel, and we would pick up the whole load of 45 boxes of tile and 12 bags of chocolate colored, unsanded grout at Home Depot in two weeks. They drew up an invoice to that effect. Good so far.

Finding the bathroom fixtures went just as well. We found a hand-held shower head we liked, and found an extra-long hose extension for it. We picked out a couple of ring-type towel holders, three towel bars, toilet paper holder, wall hooks, shower control assembly, and shower knobs, and a few other pieces, all of which went into our cart.

When we were done, we headed up to the checkout. We were going to run the invoice separately from the cart purchases, because we would be bringing the items in the cart across the border first, and the invoice items of the tile and grout two weeks later. We thought it would be cleaner and easier from Belize Custom's perspective to have separate receipts. So far, so good.
It's All the Same Difference
The clerk rang up the invoice, and I handed her my MasterCard. That's where things hit a roadblock. Declined. WTF? I had just gone through something similar about a month or two before this with my dental visits over here in Chetumal. I had called Citibank and found that their 'Early Fraud Detection Unit' or something like that, had put a hold on the payment of my dental work, as it was coming from Mexico and not from the home town of my listed mailing address.

It took a bit of talking, but I got that all squared away, and confirmed with them that there would be no further problems with us making purchases in Chetumal and surrounding area. I had to explain to them that, no we were not traveling, we lived near to Chetumal and that we would, from time to time, make purchases over here. Fine and dandy. the dental bill went through without a problem. I thought the issue was resolved successfully.

Till yesterday, when we hit that roadblick. Since I was too far away from a Belize cell Tower, I to use Home Depot's phone to call the 800 trouble number for Mastercard and got their 'Early Fraud' people again. Same reason as before. I told them I thought this had been settled a month ago. No. They wanted to text a message to my cell phone. I told them I couldn't retrieve it due to no service. Then they wanted me to check my email. or have someone check it for me. Well, that wasn't going to happen. So, the hold stayed in place.

Obviously, I was going to have to spend some time the following day (today) on the phone with them to try and get this sorted out once and for all.

After that, and to cool me down, we went and had some lunch. With cooler heads prevailing, we decided to head back to Home Depot and try to run the invoice, this time using my Visa debit card. Should be a piece of cake, since it was with a different bank and all, I thought. Wrong. Same roadblock all over again.

Alright, so there's two places I have to call to try and get this sorted out. We'll see.

Just thought I'd relay this bit to you as something else to look forward to if you decide to move to Belize. Keeps things fun and entertaining.

The Following Morning

Well, I just spent half-an-hour on Skype with Citicards. Besides the fact that the connection was marginal, they are very hard folks to convince that what you want to do is what you want to do. Anyway, with some luck, they will not refuse transactions that take place in Mexico. I tried to get them to set it for anything within the state of Quintana Roo, but that apparently, is beyond their capability.

We're thinking we may be going back to Chet sometime today and give the card a go... again.

I have to wait another hour to call the people to hopefully reset our debit card. With luck, we may be back in business. To be honest, there never developed a real warm-fuzzy with those folks at Citi. However, I have high hopes.

And, That Afternoon

Carl and I headed back over the border to Chetumal and Home Depot. We hunted up the Assistant Manager, a young lady who had helped us the previous day. Today, she had slightly purple hair. She recognized us and I was surprised to see that she remembered my name. She printed out a new copy of the invoice for the floor tiles that were going to come down from Cozumel.

Filled with confidence that the modern banking and credit system was going to work this time, we headed off to an open check-out lane. Well, maybe not that full of confidence. I did have a pocket full of five-hundred Peso notes, just on the off-chance that it was refused again.

Hah! What magic. Of course it was refused again. And after those Citicard jerks had told me on the phone earlier in the morning, that my card was now unlocked anywhere in Mexico, that there would be no problem with the card now. They outright lied. Oh, wait. Maybe they meant that it was good anywhere in Mexico - except in Chetumal or elsewhere in Quintanaroo. I'll bet that's it. Sure.

So, I dug into my pocket and pulled out the wad of five-hundred Peso notes, counted out the correct amount and settled up with the cashier. We got the receipt and the invoice, all married up with a staple by the purple-haired manager and we were good to go.

Except we still had to corral all the bathroom fixtures, and to try the debit card. I had forgotten the list that Dianna gave me that had all the items on it, but Carl and I were confident that we could remember all that it contained.

We rounded up everything and filled up our cart. We even found hardware for the two pocket doors that Carl and his crew will be installing. We did forget one thing - Hey, we're men. We're not perfect. We forgot the shower floor drain.

Back we went to check-out. This time, I handed the clerk the debit card. Let's see how this one flies, I thought. Well, "Surprise, surprise," as Gomer Pyle used to say. It went through. There are good things to be said about small town banks. It worked.

Bundling up our purchases, we headed back to the border, with a well-deserved stop at a roadside restaurant in Chetumal for some ice-cold Sol beer (was that ever refreshing) and some fresh conch, and squid seviche. Great stuff. Watch out for the shredded habanero though. That is some killer stuff. Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of the place. They do have a small zoo there as well, for the kids, if that's any help.

All in all, a good day. Boy, I can't wait till I call Citicard and see just what their excuse is now.

Final Update (I Hope)

I borrowed this part from an email I sent to Julian about this posting. He cracked me up when he suggested, tongue in cheek, that I might want to look into getting a Mexican credit card.

Hmmm, now that is a thought, isn't it? I was on the horn with Citi again this morning for about a half hour. Seems part of the problem is I have an 'older' card, even though it doesn't expire till 2016. I'm sure the new one has some enhanced gizmo or other to enhance my protection.

Anyway, some progress. I was royally PO'd as we went back to Home Depot yesterday afternoon, and the card was declined again, after they assured me specifically that it was good to go in Mexico.
 
The upshot is, they're FedExing us our new cards overnight. once I activate them, they swear on the heads of their first born or or a bowl of ice cream, that these cards will work. I'll believe that when I see it.

4 comments:

  1. Hi Dave,

    Just thinking... is there a way to get a Mexican credit card?? LOL

    Still trying to get a comment to post here.

    Julian

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Julian,

      Hmmm, now that is a thought, isn't it? I was on the horn with Citi again this morning for about a half hour. Seems part of the problem is I have an 'older' card, even though it doesn't expire till 2016. I'm sure the new one has some enhanced gizmo to ensure my protection, or something.

      Anyway, some progress. I was royally PO'd as we went back to HD yesterday afternoon, and the card was declined again, after they assured me specifically that it was good to go in Mexico. Anyway, the upshot is, they're FedExing us our new cards overnight. once I activate them, they swear on the heads of their first born or or a bowl of ice cream, that these cards will work. I'll believe that when I see it.

      I may copy this as an addendum to the post, if you don't mind.

      Cheers,
      Dave

      PS - hey, it looks like you might have gotten a comment to post. I'll let you know. - d

      Delete
    2. Just tried to comment and it went into the ether (or tubes, or somewhere). So I'm trying again. Have to select a profile FIRST, and then enter stuff here. Interesing...

      But to the point - copy by all means!

      Delete
  2. Hot diggity dog! The last comment actually went thru using my Google Account. Interesting.

    Glad to see you're up and posting again. All you needed was another minor project to get you going. Wow.. now maybe I can rent the wooden house someday... that would be neat. Would pool privileges come with the deal?

    Seriously, this is a neat, major project and I wish you well with it. Looking forward to watching it unfold.

    Julian

    ReplyDelete

We want to get your thoughts about our posts, and what you would like to see here.

Unfortunately, adding an image to your comment can't be done directly. The only way you can do it is to include the URL of the image from a hosing server, which means that first, you must upload your image to Flickr, Dropbox, or some other image hosting server.
Not very good, but that's all that is available right now.


To post a YouTube video, simply enter the video URL in the comment box. It will appear in the comment box ready to play.