புலம்பல்கள் - PULAMBALGAL

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

CREDIT CARD FRAUD


Last year september i travelled to kansas city on an official visit along with two of my collegues. As per company policy, we were to share a single rental car for the whole duration of the trip. As I had plans of visiting my friend that weekend, i returned one day earlier than my collegues. Since i didnt have a car, i booked a cab* (suggeted by Hilton) to reach airport. The desi cabwala was quite friendly and did lot of chit chats and it was good trip back to the airport. I paid (79$) the cab using credit card (CC)and thats where the problem started.

As you all know, in US getting a cc for the first time is very difficult and also the credit limit will not be substantial. Also, staying in hilton and eating at exotic places resulted in almost maxing out my cc. At the end of the month when i check my cc statement, the bank has charged me 40$ for expenditure overlimit. Being a thrify spender (miser??) i was obviously shocked. I was never an impulsive spender, and never once paid any interest on any credit card. It was really a surprise that i overspent on my CC. Anyways, I went through all the statement and found the cabwala has charged me twice, which resulted in overshooting the limit and landed that penalty. I called the cabwala and the guy who spoke over the phone was bit rude and told he will take care. Somehow I was not convinced at all..

I tried the "dispute a charge" link on the bank's website, and Mr. Murphy was in full flow. After entering all the details, if i click on submit, the screen just cleared whatever i typed and asked me to enter again. I tried a few times and gave it up. I m not really comfortable on phone with strangers, but i had no choice but to call the customer service. After a long wait on the automatic menu options, i told my plight and the bank reversed the duplicate charge and waived the penalty after my persistent haggling. Phew!! what an ordeal. (it took more than 2 hrs to solve this).

So why am i telling all this now in febrauary? Yes.. Now the same cabwala has charged me 179$ for a "ghost" trip on his cab in febrauray 07 in kansas city. When i disputed the charge with the bank, (i dont want to haggle with the cabwala) the bank said, they have asked for the receipt from the merchant's bank and it will take minimum 35 days for the other bank to reply. So do i have to pay this charge as my billing cycle falls short of this 35 day limit?? I have asked the bank to clarify. Lets see how this turns out.

What worries me is, the amount is 179$, exactly 100$ more than the previous bill. So what if the cabwala has forged a receipt by using a copy of my old bill. I have absolutely no idea what i have to do in that case.

Lesson learnt : Carry cash during travel. Use credit card only with trusted merchants and especially not with cabbies who have the age old manual swiping machine.

Sariyana thollaiappa!!

-S

* 3R & LIMO, LEXANA, KS
posted by ACE !! at 9:40 PM

17 Comments:

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what happened finally? Have you got the $179 back?

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