A woman has revealed how opening a store credit card at Home Depot ruined her credit and jeopardized her chances of buying a home after she forgot about a $9 paint charge.
Television producer Cassidy Gard, 31, from Los Angeles, California, shared a tearful public service announcement about the dangers of store credit cards in a viral TikTok video that has been viewed more than 5.1 million times.
Gard, whose handle is @cassidygard, explained that she usually says no when store employees ask her if she wants to open a credit card, but she made an impulsive decision to sign up for one in May because ‘the lady at Home Depot was so nice.’
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Candid: Cassidy Gard, 31, from Los Angeles, California, shared a tearful public service announcement about the dangers of store credit cards in a viral TikTok video
Big mistake: The television producer explained that she impulsively agreed to sign up for a Home Depot credit card in May because the employee was ‘so nice’
‘It just seemed like it was really special and important to her that I open a card,’ she said. ‘So I opened the card, and then I forgot. I just totally forgot that I opened a card.’
Gard was in the process of buying a house when she realized four months later that her credit score ‘plummeted over 100 points.’
‘For a $9 can of paint, I am now probably not going to get a mortgage on a house,’ she said through tears. ‘This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever done.
‘Just don’t open credit cards at stores,’ she added. ‘It will ruin your life.’
The candid video received nearly 17,000 comments, some of which were more sympathetic than others.
More than a few people pointed out it was her fault for missing the payment and questioned how she would handle the responsibility of owning a home.
Oh no: She admitted that she forgot about the card until four months later, when she was in the process of buying a home
Hard lesson: Gard said her credit score ‘plummeted over 100 points,’ which will likely prevent her from getting a mortgage
‘Opening the card isn’t the problem. Not paying your bill is the problem,’ one person wrote, while another added: ‘Seems like you forgetting is the problem not the store.’
Others were more empathetic and encouraged her to reach out to Home Depot, agreeing that everyone forgets something at one time or another. Some even shared their own store credit card horror stories.
‘Lotta people in these comments acting like nothing has ever slipped their minds before.’ one TikToker pointed out. ‘A $9 charge could potentially cost her a literal home.’
‘I think it’s time we unite and force retail stores to stop harassing employees/consumers to apply for credit cards,’ someone else shared.
Gard responded to some of the comments, explaining she was traveling over the summer and missed the bill. She stressed that she takes full responsibility for what happened and knows it is her ‘fault.’
‘Yes, I am the problem,’ she wrote. ‘That is why this is a PSA. So if other people like me have a horrendous memory, they realize how damaging this can be.’
Disaster: Before Gard was alerted to her ruined credit store, she made a non-refundable down payment on a home. Now, she might not even qualify to buy the property
Owning it: In the comments of her post, she stressed that she takes full responsibility for what happened and knows it is her ‘fault’
Just say no: ‘Just don’t open credit cards at stores,’ Gard said. ‘It will ruin your life.’
In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Gard pointed out that the Home Depot employee actually used different language when she asked her to sign up, calling it a ‘rewards card’ instead of a ‘credit card.’
‘I don’t even think I was totally aware that I was applying for a new line of credit,’ she admitted. ‘All I knew was that I was getting a discount on my current purchase for the can of paint.’
She recalled being ‘in a hurry and frazzled’ when she started the sign-up process for the card, which later resulted in her initial charge becoming delinquent.
Gard said she reached out to Citibank, the company that handles the Home Depot credit cards, for help without success.
According to the producer, the company initially agreed to make a one-time goodwill adjustment to help her fix her credit score, but when she followed up with the head of financial services with Home Depot, she learned they wouldn’t be making the adjustment after all.
Before Gard was alerted to her ruined credit store, she made a non-refundable down payment on a home. Now, she might not even qualify to buy the property.
‘Even if I do finally qualify for this mortgage, my mortgage rate will be 3 percent to 5 percent higher than it would have been based on my credit score before this mistake happened,’ she said. ‘The mistake vs. the consequence was not proportional.’