Kokua Line

June Watanabe

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Macy’s requires date
of birth with checks

Question: I went to Macy's to purchase a baby gift. When I presented my personal check, the clerk asked for an ID. She preferred my driver's license over my Macy's charge card. After inputting my Social Security number, she asked for my birth date. I refused to give her the information because wouldn't that be wonderful, besides my Social Security number someone would also have my birth date. She couldn't give me any reason for needing the date other than the computer needed it to process the check. Her supervisor eventually overrode the request and accepted my check. I've written checks at Macy's before and have never been asked for my birth date. Several friends had never heard of that being a policy as well. We also were discussing how each Macy's seems to have a different policy for accepting coupons -- some allow you to use a coupon on sale items and others not. Could you clarify why policies seem to differ from store to store and even department to department?

Answer: If you want to cash a check at any Macy's store, be prepared to give your birth date.

According to a statement from Macy's headquarters in San Francisco, "We use numerous data sources to help validate the check writer's identity, including date of birth and driver's license information," said Holly Bush, of Macy's advertising department in Hawaii.

While you're concerned about this leading to identity theft, Macy's believes asking for this specific information "helps to prevent fraudulent transactions and helps to protect consumers from identity theft."

Regarding coupons, "there should be no discrepancy," said Bush. "It's usually very clear on the coupon itself."

However, Bush allowed that customers may become confused because, although the coupons are "always good on sale and clearance price (items)," once in a while, they'll include regular-priced merchandise. Also, some coupons are good for a single purchase only, while other times they can be used in several purchases.

But, all that should be spelled out on each coupon, Bush said, noting that because there are such strict rules about this in California, where Macy's is based, Macy's makes sure "everything is well covered."

If you encounter a problem, Bush said just ask to speak to a store or floor manager.


To all those who came to our rescue when our boat capsized last Wednesday in the Ala Wai channel. Kainoa McGee and other surfers acted instinctively and knew exactly what to do to ensure the safety of the crew and others in the area. Numerous surfers risked their own lives and ushered the boat to deeper waters. The Fire Department and Coast Guard were quick to respond. Within minutes, all the crew was on board the Coast Guard's rescue boat and safely brought ashore. The Fire Department righted the boat and towed it to Keehi Lagoon for us to retrieve. Quick thinking and response by all those involved prevented it from becoming a potentially life threatening situation. All of you are heroes. God Bless each of you. -- Sincerely Grateful, D.P., J.B., G.J. and G.J.


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