Fine print, Protecting yourself

A-Rod wrestles with buyer’s remorse after credit card spending spree

Matt Schulz

Everyone gets buyer’s remorse sometimes. But as New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez discovered, it’s not always possible to return a purchase and get your money back, even if you’re a future Hall of Famer.

Photo by Keith Allison

Here’s what happened: According to the New York Post, Rodriguez — also known as A-Rod, the tabloid magnet who has famously dated such Hollywood starlets as Kate Hudson and Cameron Diaz — took his 20-year-old niece, Michelle Silva, and his current girlfriend, former World Wrestling Entertainment Diva Torrie Wilson, on a shopping spree at an upscale boutique in New York City’s Bowery. The Blue & Cream boutique is apparently such a favorite of stars such as Justin Bieber that the store even has a blog that tells the world when a famous face has visited the store.

So, the ladies shopped, to the tune of $17,000, and A-Rod put it all on his American Express Black card. (You can do that when you’ve signed two of the three biggest contracts in the history of sports.)

But then trouble arose. A-Rod’s sister — Silva’s mom — wasn’t very happy with the spending spree. She didn’t want her extravagantly-wealthy brother spoiling her daughter with all the pricey gifts and demanded that the gifts get returned.

Then, according to the Post, “Rodriguez’s people then called the store repeatedly asking to return the clothes, but were informed Blue & Cream doesn’t issue refunds, only store credit.” In other words, “Sure, Mr. Rodriguez, you can return that $1,250 pair of Chrissie Morris shoes and the Herve Leger dress that you bought your niece, but we’ll only be able to give you store credit for them.”

The Yankee slugger wasn’t happy, and he eventually decided to dispute the charges on the card with American Express. It seems unlikely that AmEx would let A-Rod off the hook for the charges. These disputes are typically reserved for more legitimate gripes, such as when a product that you bought online arrives broken in the mail. (See our story on “How to dispute a charge with a merchant” for more information.) Plus, Blue & Cream’s return policy couldn’t be much more clearly stated: “ does not issue refunds. only issues Return Authorizations for items purchased online in exchange for an ONLINE STORE CREDIT which may be used to purchase goods online at but may also be presented at Blue&Cream retail locations for use in person.” It is possible that the store may have a slightly different policy for things bought in-store rather than online, but there was nothing online to indicate that.

So A-Rod may be in the position of having shelled out a lot of money and having nothing to show for it. Kind of like the Texas Rangers.

Still, all may not be lost for A-Rod, since sometimes the rules are different for the rich and famous. (Shocking, I know.) It’s entirely possible that American Express, not wanting to anger a high-profile, big-spending cardholder like A-Rod, will side with the slugger in the dispute, knowing that he’ll probably go on another spending bender before too long. There’s no guarantee, however.

The lesson in all this is simple: Don’t make big purchases rashly. Whether your idea of extravagance is a $100 pair of jeans, an $800 iPad or a $4,000 dress, you can’t always undo what you’ve done. Before you buy, walk away for a little while, think about whether you can really afford it, and then decide what to do. After all, while AmEx may look the other way when one of the greatest hitters in baseball history gets buyer’s remorse, they probably won’t do the same for you.

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