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Author Topic: Be careful with your credit cards!  (Read 6942 times)

Carol Haynes

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Be careful with your credit cards!
« on: November 27, 2009, 03:29:46 AM »
I just renewed my subscription to an American magazine using a special offer couple and filled in my credit card details. The offer said the three year subscription rate was £59 charged in pounds sterling but when I got my credit card statement it says they charged me $119 US (which translates as £73.85).

I contacted my card company (HSBC) to report an unauthorised transaction only to be told that they couldn't do anything about it unless the magazine provide written evidence that they charged the wrong amount and refuse to do anything about it.

OK £14.85 isn't a huge loss but there is a wider issue here ...

If you give your credit card details out over the telephone, internet or in a written instruction (i.e. any transaction completed without you present to check the details and enter a pin code) the seller can charge you for any amount they like and it is up to you to get them to provide written evidence that they committed fraud before you have any protection via your card company.

Be warned - if you give your card details you may suddenly find yourself financing someone's trip to the Bahamas and unless they admit they did wrong you will have to bear the loss!!!

Apparently in the crazy credit world fraud pays!

nudone

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Re: Be careful with your credit cards!
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2009, 03:49:06 AM »
oh dear. sorry for your loss, but thanks for letting us know. very easy for us lot to use credit cards online without ever giving it a moments thought.

potential for some new scams there perhaps - create a company, sell online, charge your foreign buyers twice (or more) the published charge. it's obviously a perfectly legimate way of doing business these days.

tomos

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Re: Be careful with your credit cards!
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2009, 04:10:12 AM »
that's very scary - and a bit surreal - someone has write that they ripped you off and then say write more or less 'so there'
did you contact the magazine to ask for a refund?
Tom

40hz

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Re: Be careful with your credit cards!
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2009, 08:26:05 AM »
Miserable thing to have happen. :(

I think a lot of to has to do with HSBC's internal policies. I've run into similar billing issues, but I've never had a problem getting it straightened as long as I used Amex. Ditto for my MasterCard through a major US bank. A phone call (on one occasion two) was all it took to get the purchase canceled.

Didn't stop one magazine from trying to put me into collection since they continued to send me their magazine no matter how many times (via phone, letter, and registered letter) I told them to cancel the subscription. But that was hardly MasterCard's fault. (I won that one too BTW.)

I'm guessing the UK doesn't have much in the way of consumer protection laws that cover disputed credit card purchases?

« Last Edit: November 27, 2009, 08:27:58 AM by 40hz »

iphigenie

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Re: Be careful with your credit cards!
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2009, 08:41:45 AM »
I would push a bit on the HSBC side - that doesn't seem logical on their part, and it might be the person you spoke to didnt quite understand?

Carol Haynes

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Re: Be careful with your credit cards!
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2009, 08:52:41 AM »
did you contact the magazine to ask for a refund?

Yes - but I have yet to get a reply.

For the record this isn't a tin-pot little mag - it is Scientific American.

I have to say their magazine is brilliant but their customer service SUCKS.

I am not kidding when I say that every single time I have made a payment to Scientific American there have been issues!

Carol Haynes

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Re: Be careful with your credit cards!
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2009, 08:53:14 AM »
I would push a bit on the HSBC side - that doesn't seem logical on their part, and it might be the person you spoke to didnt quite understand?

I have now spoken to 4 people including a fraud detection supervisor.

gpetrant

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Re: Be careful with your credit cards!
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2009, 11:24:14 AM »
Excellent warning.  I've adopted the strategy of always using my credit card through PayPal (whenever possible).  If any vendor tries to stiff me (by violating the terms of sale), PayPal gets contacted immediately and I register a dispute with them against that vendor.  From PayPal:

'If you are unable to resolve a dispute with a seller, you may file a claim that a PayPal investigating agent will review.  If you are unable to resolve the dispute, the next step is to file a formal complaint. At this point – depending on fund availability in the seller’s account – the funds are frozen for the amount of the transaction.  PayPal will contact both parties. If our investigation team finds the claim in favor of the buyer, the amount of the transaction, if available from the seller, will be transferred back to the buyer.' (Plus, they can revoke the vendor's account with them.  As the world's premier e-commerce transaction agent, that can be quite crippling.)

PS - Of course, the above is in addition to the protections offered by my individual credit card issuer(s).
Shywolf

Carol Haynes

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Re: Be careful with your credit cards!
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2009, 11:29:25 AM »
I usually use PayPal for that reason. The problem here was that the discount subscription was only available by post. I could have sent a cheque from the UK but I wasn't sure if/how much the bank would charge when it was cashed in a US account.

I figured that a company the size of Scientific American would at least be honest - I was obviously mistaken.

CWuestefeld

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Re: Be careful with your credit cards!
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2009, 11:42:58 AM »
This morning I got into work and saw that our site had gotten 9 orders yesterday. Since we market to businesses and not consumers, and most of our customers are in the USA, I thought that was odd, so I looked at the orders in a little more detail.

With all five in front of me, and a little common sense, it's obvious that five of these were fraudulent. So obviously we're not processing the orders, and the accounting guys are contacting the credit card companies to have the card#s blocked. Sucks for the people whose cards were stolen.

Every fraudulent order I've looked at here has come from IP addresses in Africa. I'm thinking about having the web site block users, or at least orders, from anywhere in Africa.

iphigenie

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Re: Be careful with your credit cards!
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2009, 03:28:53 PM »
I've ran a web agency that had lots of ecommerce websites - our clients had some truly fraudulent orders, some that common sense should have spotted - and a good number of fraud claims turned out to be fake fraud, i.e. people trying to claim they didn't buy the things they did once the credit card bill hit (a spike of those in January). Strangely enough the banks did not seem interested in correcting those, even when presented with the evidence that the signature on the delivery slip at that "not my home" address was the same as that on the crime report (which means either they did it, or perhaps their son imitating their signature, or something along those lines)

I think nowadays the web is safer than the phone, because banks are more likely to take your word for it, refund, chargeback to the merchant or claim it on insurance.

Although I suspect in the case of April they are a bit careful because to them it does not look like fraud, just an "honest" mistake around exchange rates - and a "proper" company on the other side. Although normally in case of mis-billing, all you need to do is show that you tried to get it rectified (in short, wait a while) then write and they do cancel. I had that with a subscription service once, and hsbc made me write a letter explaining what I'd tried, (to cover their ass) then did a chargeback

If they don't, appeal to the card "brand" - mastercard or visa - they might do something as some of these things are part of the "card guarantee" long shot, though
« Last Edit: November 27, 2009, 03:33:37 PM by iphigenie »

Innuendo

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Re: Be careful with your credit cards!
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2009, 09:33:19 AM »
Although I suspect in the case of April they are a bit careful because to them it does not look like fraud, just an "honest" mistake around exchange rates - and a "proper" company on the other side.

You mean Carol and not April, yes?

Curt

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Re: Be careful with your credit cards!
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2010, 09:21:02 AM »
isn't there some homepage where we can go and check if a company have been accused several times for credit card fraud? I have one of these situations at the moment; I really don't dare to click "buy", because the site is located in Russia...

zridling

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Re: Be careful with your credit cards!
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2010, 09:35:34 AM »
Wow, thanks for the alert, Carol. I've had "after charges" applied to my card a couple of times, claiming that the stated price didn't take into account shipping to my location. But that's bull.

parkint

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Re: Be careful with your credit cards!
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2010, 10:29:09 AM »
I usually use PayPal for that reason. The problem here was that the discount subscription was only available by post. I could have sent a cheque from the UK but I wasn't sure if/how much the bank would charge when it was cashed in a US account.

I figured that a company the size of Scientific American would at least be honest - I was obviously mistaken.
A great (new) feature of PayPal that I enjoy is the ability to generate one-time use credit card numbers.
I have watched this work in a few situations where the vendor 'pre-authorizes' an amount before processing the charge.
PayPal denies the additional charges.  I love the idea of a credit card number that can be used only once.
As long as the numbers don't run out (like GUIDs).

Carol Haynes

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Re: Be careful with your credit cards!
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2010, 10:31:51 AM »
A great (new) feature of PayPal

Is that just a US PayPal thing - haven't seen it PayPal (Europe) ??

SKesselman

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Re: Be careful with your credit cards!
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2010, 12:06:21 PM »
I love the idea of a credit card number that can be used only once.
As long as the numbers don't run out (like GUIDs).

That's the best idea ever.
Too bad, the banks should know by now that if it's a dispute with a magazine subscription, to assist he bank customer, to assume they're correct.
I'm in the US, & I've never had a magazine subscription that didn't rip me off.
They even had to make laws here that prohibited companies from 'auto-renewing because the customer didn't mail a card back requesting to cancel'.

I'll go to the bookstore and send you the monthly issues if turns our that nothing works out for you, if you like.
It would help me get gifts out by getting me to the post office and help me actually go buy books I'm interested in.
If I wanted a monthly issue of any magazine, I'd do that for myself.
I'm also suspicious of them selling your name & address to junk mail companies here in the US.
As much as people hate spam, junk mail is even worse.
At least with spam, most of it gets sorted from you regular mail and I've often found my important paper mail buried inside junk mail.
But that's another issue. Anyway, you have another option.  :)
-Sarah

Target

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Re: Be careful with your credit cards!
« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2010, 04:42:43 PM »
interesting that everyone has taken issue with the banks stance in this instance, yet no one seems to query the fact that Carol responded to a publicised offer to renew at a given price

In this case there it would seem there is an obligation on the seller to substantiate their claim (the bill!!) and/or meet the advertised price, or to refund your purchase.

I don't know what the consumer laws are where you guys live but here it's called false advertising when you advertise at one price and charge another. 

International purchases will undoubtedly make things more difficult, but it may be worth inquiring to the relevant authorities about the magazines (not necessarily the banks) behaviour...


Stephen66515

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Re: Be careful with your credit cards!
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2010, 04:55:09 PM »
This happened to a good friend of mine, but instead of a Magazine Subscription it was to pay a brokerage firm to arrange a personal loan.  The fee quoted was £49.95 but they had £128.50 taken from their account, when asked why, they refused to answer and upon looking into it he found that there where several forums dedicated to people who had lost money to the same firm and received no results.  The banks will not do anything if you paid via credit card, but will reverse the payment if you use Direct Debit.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Be careful with your credit cards!
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2010, 05:11:30 PM »
The banks will not do anything if you paid via credit card, but will reverse the payment if you use Direct Debit.

Actually in the UK the banks should respond to both claims as credit cards purchases are covered by the Consumer Credit Act.

The problem I encountered was the the bank insisted I get the magazine to confirm that they charged me the wrong amount. This seems an unlikely scenario to be acheivable and they wouldn't accept a copy of the order form I submitted as proof of price.

After arguing and insisting on speaking to a supervisor I got the bank to refund the difference on a temporary basis whilst they request further information from the magazine. I also contacted the magazine subscriptions department.

Strangley the subscription department never responded to my request but they did refund the overcharged amount to my credit card without further comment (about 6 weeks later). They obviously never responded to the bank requests either because the temporary refund the bank made has never been recinded so ironically I ended up with a double refund.

It still didn't really compensate for the bad feeling about future renewals via credit card (next time if I renew with an offer I will simply send a UK cheque for the amount specified) and it certainly doesn't compensate for the hassles, time and effort involved trying to convince a difficult credit card company and an uncommunicative subscription department.

cranioscopical

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Re: Be careful with your credit cards!
« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2010, 06:12:08 PM »
Quote
I will simply send a UK cheque for the amount specified...
and wait for an issue to appear in your letter box, and wait... and wait...

Despite my personal belief that just about any magazine subscription is a scam waiting to be perpetrated, I'm informed that we've never yet had a problem -- that's in Canada. All due issues have arrived, for ourselves and others for whom we arranged gift subscriptions, and no publisher has actually tried to rip us off. I did have a lot of problems trying to sort out some underhand stuff that my mother once walked into, in the U.K.

What we do get is a round of increasingly hysterical notices, first warning us that we're about to lose the opportunity of a lifetime if we do not renew, and then offering decreasing pricing levels that one can't help but feel should have been offered in the first place.  ;D