Much to the chagrin of the 100% anti-credit card types, a credit card can save the day under the right circumstances.
A friend of mine sent his wife and two daughters to an out of state band competition a few months ago. They searched online for the cheapest possible room and paid cash when they arrived. Shortly after they settled into their room, the air conditioner stopped working. Now this was south Louisiana and going without air conditioning in late summer isn’t an option. To make matters worse, the hotel was an independently owned property and the on-site manager/owner wasn’t willing to refund any money, saying that air conditioning was a “luxury” and didn’t affect the fact that the room was still available. She was intimidated and just accepted her situation. So my friend’s wife and children spent the night sweltering in the 90+ degree heat. They were on the first floor and didn’t feel safe with open windows. To make matters worse, the manager wouldn’t even move them to a higher floor, saying that two rooms would have to be cleaned and he wasn’t going to incur the cost.
Had they used a credit card, I believe the hotel owner would have been more accommodating. Why? If you challenge a charge on your account, you may be able to get it reversed and most merchants know that. My friend’s wife had paid cash and she was stuck. No amount of pleading worked.
Using a credit card requires a large amount of responsibility and anyone using one should know his or her limitations and temptations. But in certain cases, using a credit card gives you protections that paying cash or even using a debit card does not. Some states offer more protections and options for charge-backs than others so take a minute or two to find out what your state’s protections are.
Photo by Andres Rueda