Sunday, January 17, 2016

What's in My Wallet

Right before moving back to the US, I decided to obtain credit card with better rewards, since we generally charge everything and pay off the bill at the end of the month.  We settled on a card and used it without incident, until a little over a week ago.

On the last day of my Austin trip, the bank denied my charge at a donut shop that I had already visited the past two days.  I paid the $6.54 with cash and left.  I received an email from the bank saying that there was suspicious activity on my account and asked me to call.  I called and confirmed that the two suspicious purchases were indeed mine and was informed that my card was fine.  

On the way to the airport, I stopped and tried to use my card for gas and the charge was denied.  When I got to the airport I called the bank's 800# again, and was informed that I needed to speak to a fraud specialist.  After 20 minutes on the phone, we reviewed a half dozen or more transactions, all of which were fine.  The agent told me that my card was available for use again.  Unfortunately, this did not turn out to be true.

During my layover in Houston, I tried to pay for a meal and once again the bank denied my charge.  When I called them this time, the message said that my bill was 3 days overdue.  Using my phone, I schedule the payment for the entire amount for that evening (as soon as possible).  I called back the bank and asked them to unfreeze my account because they could see I had a payment scheduled, I was only 3 days late, and I had been on the phone twice with them earlier that day and there had been no mention of it being late.  If they had told me the first time, I could have actually driven to a Capital One branch not far from where I was staying and make a payment.  Even if they had told me during the second call, I wouldn't have had the annoyance of the waitress telling me that my card was declined.  

I told them that if we couldn't unfreeze the account, that I was going to close it down.  After 30 minutes I was told that if we could do a 3 way call to my bank and get the payment done immediately, that they would unfreeze my account.  I told them to forget it, and decided that I would find other credit card and gradually spin this one down ( I need to spend all the remaining rewards and I used this card to charge the rental car that I drove when I was in the accident).  

The next morning I get a message that there was suspicious activities on my wife's card.  We have the same account, but she has a different credit card number.  The listed 4 transactions, 3 of which were the same amount from the same vendor.  Tim said that there should only be one of the 3 charges, so I clicked a link saying there was possible fraudulent activity.  I was instructed to call, so one again I am on the phone with the fraud department.

I asked the gentleman about the 3 identical charges, and he explained that no, there really weren't 3 charges.  The merchant had run it incorrectly, backed it out, and then corrected the charge.  Great, the email makes it look like there was a problem when there wasn't.  Okay, everything is fixed, right?  Well, maybe not.

Tim went out shopping several hours later, and when she returned she told me that the card was denied again.  At this point I am about to go apoplectic.  The agent from earlier didn't unfreeze the account.  I don't yell at the agent or curse her, but there is no mistaking that I am extremely angry about this.  She "gave me her word" that it was resolved and that there was no longer a problem with the card.  The next day they deny Tim's card again.  When I called back that day, it took a lot of restraint not to scream at the agent.  After 5 minutes with the agent, she tells me that this happened because I had indicated that there was potential fraud on the card.  She said that there was not record of me calling the previous day.  Unfortunately, I didn't have the names of the two previous agents.  

A few days later after filling out the customer survey (they didn't get high marks), I tried to find an email address to send a complaint.  They don't accept emails for that.  If I want to complain, I can pay for a stamp and send a letter.  

So I did some research and decided to apply for and was approved for a few new credit cards.  I was expecting them to come early next week.  This morning I got an email from one of the credit card companies with a message about suspicious transactions.  Since I hadn't gotten my card yet (it was sent by Fedex), I was pretty sure that this was legitimate fraud.  I called and spoke to their fraud department and it turns out that someone had already charged about $3k on the new card.   Fifteen hundred of that was a balance transfer of a Best Buy credit line.  They closed the account and are sending me a new card.  Someone must have either grabbed it somewhere within Fedex or grabbed it off my front doorstep.  I tend to believe the former, as there aren't a lot of people that walk down here.  

No comments: