Issuer giving me the run around and denying fraud claim

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Kolya
 
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Issuer giving me the run around and denying fraud claim

Postby Kolya » Wed Nov 20, 2013 11:28 pm

Back in July I received my statement towards end of month and noticed almost $13,000 in unauthorized transactions from what appears to be foreign merchants. At first I was shocked and wondered how on earth my card wasn't frozen. Well on July 14th and the day before receiving my statement I actually did receive a call from B of A Fraud Detection. They put hold on card and needed to verify some transactions.

Funny thing is that the transactions they questioned were actually valid charges and were not a part of the $13,000 in question. I contacted the B of A fraud dept. and started a claim. This is my first time having to deal with this so I unfortunately placed too much faith in B of A. I was given a provisional credit and 2 - 3 weeks later received affidavit.

I signed it and noticed it was missing a few of the unauthorized charges so I added those and mailed it in. I received a letter day after sending in affidavit stating they were still waiting on my affidavit, so I called to let them know it was on it's way. When I told the rep I had additional charges not listed and needed to add them, she said she would have to start a new claim because the first one was closed. Naturally this was great news and it appeared to me that this process was proving fairly painless. Ha, little did I know at that time. A few weeks following that call I received a letter saying:

"Thank you for your recent inquiry regarding the above referenced claim. We have concluded our investigation and have determined that one or more merchant credit(s) posted to you account totaling $45.32. As a result, the temporary credit for $45.32 that was previously issued to your account will be debited from your account on September 21, 2013. We now consider your claim resolved."

Even more good news so I thought. Apparently, B of A uses the word claim loosely. When I read my claim was resolved, I didn't know it only meant that one charge. There were 69 charges on that one claim, so I would assume that if they were referencing that one transaction that they would have been more specific. I didn't learn this until the day came that I opened a letter stating that they found no error occurred and will be debiting my account. I called B of A and the rep said that they contacted (2) out of the (19) merchants and those two verified my name and address. Then she said that since they show I logged on to my online account during the time frame the transactions occurred that I would of been aware, assuming that I log on and actually proceed to scroll through transactions. Lastly, she said I verified charges when they contacted me back in July. I asked which charges and she didn't know. I requested that the claim be re-investigated, that an investigator contact me, and to send me the documents used to determine their decision. Due to B of A's lack of an investigation, I realized it was time for me to step it up. I wrote a letter refuting their decision, requesting it is re-opened, that I receive documents used, and that they provide more details of the supposed proof that supports their decision. Other issues I discovered were that the two merchants they said they contacted who verified my name and address are two of the merchants who issued me a credit. B of A was trying to tell me that those specific charges were valid because merchant had my info., so why would the merchant turn around and give me my money back? Of the (74) total charges, (22) had been credited, indicating that B of A did attempt to contact or start the chargeback process. If these charges were actually authorized, then why would almost a third of merchants issue credits so easily and how can B of A think the other almost identical type charges are authorized? Out of the (22) charges I received a credit for, I only received notification for (5) of those credits. For the (5) I did receive notification for, it appears that when the merchant issued credit, B of A recognized that the merchant issued a credit for a transaction involved in my claim, and could therefore consider that charge no longer a questionable item as well as debit my account for the temporary credit B of A issued. EFTA Sec. 205.11 Procedures for resolving errors.

(iii) Corrects the error, if any, within one business day after determining that an error occurred; and
(iv) Reports the results to the consumer within three business days after completing its investigation (including, if applicable, notice that a provisional credit has been made final).
Bank of America did not notify me at all of (17) credits issued back from merchants. When I received denial letter, the total amount of claim that was stated at the top still included these items. I’ve tracked every charge, debit, credit, very thoroughly and found that no major errors were made in regards to debiting me or crediting me, except for one credit that was issued by merchant, B of A debited their temp. credit twice. The other mistake was regarding a credit received by merchant that B of A said they would debit for temp. credit on Sept. 24th but did not do so until Oct. 27th. When I recently called back I asked why I still haven’t received documents and the rude rep says the documents they used are internal and only for them, that I don’t have permission or access to them and would have to have court issue subpoena to get them. I called numerous departments to get them to tell me the charges I verified back in July but no one could answer me.

I could go on and on. At this point it seems easier to push the fact that they have violated EFTA in order to get my money back as opposed to scrutinizing the transactions. At this point they have provided nothing of substance to me and continue to give me the run around. I’m finalizing a second letter that I will send out this week stating my expectations and their liability for violating EFTA. From what I understand according to EFTA is that if a financial institution violates a consumers rights during the resolution process (i.e. not providing the documents I requested), then I am entitled to refund of all the charges regardless of whether or not error occurred. Am I correct in my thinking? Does anyone have any advice that can help me with this since I’ve never dealt with it before and quite frankly it’s getting very time consuming.

Thanks for any help.


MemberSince99
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Postby MemberSince99 » Fri Nov 22, 2013 12:10 pm

I'm not a lawyer so I don't know.

What I can say is what does you being online at the time the charges occurred have to do with anything? You may not notice "pending" transactions and that's all they would be. Even if you were, so what? Sounds like they are just trying to grasp at anything to see you bite it for the charges.

It seems like you will utlimately need a lawyer's advice. Reading things like this almost scares me off of credit cards. Any of us could have our info stolen and the card fraudulently used, and while the bank is "supposed" to protect you (after all the droning on and on and on they do about how deeply they are concerned for your security) in reality from the stories I've read it seems reasonably likely they will choose the course of trying to limit their losses by letting you pay for the fraud instead. Reading these issues is really making me wonder if I want exposure to that or if I'd be better off just to go back to cash and say to hell with it. You know it's one thing if I'm a moron and I rack up 20k in credit card debt, and it's another thing if someone uses fraud to try to leave me on the hook, and they both get treated the same way. At least if I do it in theory I got something for it. It makes about as much sense as someone stealing your car, running a red light and slamming into a school bus, and flees the scene and they can't find that person so they charge you with it instead. What a f'd up system we have in so many ways, as my high school political science teacher used to say with a smirk "the best government money can buy".

Anyway good luck and thanks for sharing. I would see a lawyer.

DoingHomework
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Postby DoingHomework » Fri Nov 22, 2013 4:35 pm

MemberSince99 wrote:I'm not a lawyer so I don't know.

What I can say is what does you being online at the time the charges occurred have to do with anything? You may not notice "pending" transactions and that's all they would be.


Actually it makes all the difference in the world. You have a certain time period to dispute charges measured from when you should have known they were fraudulent or incorrect. Logging in to your online account puts you in the position where you should have known just as receiving a mailed statement does.

As far as the rest of the OP's issues, I think you are generally doing the right thing by trying to dispute them but given the magnitude and complexity of the problem I agree with Member that you might need to contact a lawyer. I have been through the dispute process you described but in my case it worked out properly. In your case it sounds like there was miscommunication and you need to get that corrected. Having a lawyer deal with it will help make the communication better. That's fundamentally what lawyers are good at - precise and accurate communication.

My sense is that you will win this in the end. But I am a little troubled by the fact that they were able to verify charges with the merchant that they believe you disputed. If you disputed a valid charge then you might have made a very serious mistake. That alone could cause them to not believe you on the other charges.

Kolya
 
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Postby Kolya » Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:24 pm

From what I've researched, EFTA and Reg E. state that you have 60 days from the date you receive your statement, nothing else. You could also say if I made a deposit I should have known because my balance was on the receipt. I habitually will log on to different online sites (gmail, facebook, bank account) with the intention of doing something on that site, by 9 times out of 10 I get busy with work or other things (7 month old son) and since bank sites log you off after a period of time you have to log back in. There has been days I probably logged in 8 times and never even did anything on it.

[color="blue"](b) Notice of error from consumer--(1) Timing; contents. A financial institution shall comply with the requirements of this section with respect to any oral or written notice of error from the consumer that:

(i) Is received by the institution no later than 60 days after the institution sends the periodic statement or provides the passbook documentation, required by Sec. 205.9, on which the alleged error is first reflected;[/color]

I think you may have misunderstood me based on your last paragraph, but considering I was trying to make it as concise as possible and it was late at night, I'm sure I may have not made perfect sense. As far as disputing valid charges, I never did that. In July, before I was aware of the activity occurring on my account I received a call from B of A and my card was frozen. It's happened a couple times before so I didn't think much of it. When I called in they wanted to verify a few charges. Sure, no problem. They've never told me charges in the past that I didn't make so I was worried. The (3) charges that they asked me if I made were indeed charges I made (bills paid online, order on Amazon, etc.). My point with this is that the investigators said I verified charges in July, which is correct, but I didn't verify any of the charges that were unauthorized. I did not dispute any valid charges. What I wanted the investigators to tell me was if they say I verified charges, then tell me which specific charges, because when they tell me the charges I verified aren't part of this dispute, that reason for denying me is no longer valid. What's crazy is that these charges started happening at the beginning of July and it took two weeks before they froze my card and called me. What's crazier is that the charges they wanted me to verify weren't even any of the unauthorized ones. Really? Amazon looks suspicious but JDY TDS 188845363 seems legit?

I need an army to beat this. I don't have the money to pay a lawyer.

Kolya
 
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Postby Kolya » Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:31 pm

DoingHomework wrote:But I am a little troubled by the fact that they were able to verify charges with the merchant that they believe you disputed. If you disputed a valid charge then you might have made a very serious mistake.


I just realized you may have been referring to the fact that they contacted (2) merchants that gave them my name and address. That's just the thing, not only did I not make those charges, whoever did doesn't have to work too hard (especially if they know what they are doing) to find out my name and address. That alone was proof enough for B of A. What's messed up is that those vendors, when charged back and unable to provide solid proof and receipt of purchase, had no choice but to credit me back and yet B of A still thinks I authorized it. When I asked B of A why the merchant credited me back since I have never made contact with this merchant ever before, they said that they wouldn't know why because they don't know what relationship I have with the merchant. How on earth could they not know why a chargeback credit was issued? They are the ones who made that possible.

MemberSince99
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Postby MemberSince99 » Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:34 pm

I know you have a certain period to dispute. However, that doesn't mean you have live logged into your lender's site, hitting "refresh" on the pending transactions constantly for fear there might be fraud going on. Or that you should even be EXPECTED to monitor pending transactions while you are logged in. The law gives you sufficient time to spot charges that are fraudulent, and if BofA is claiming it's his fault because he wasn't monitoring his pending transactions on a constant basis, that seems more than a little ridiculous. I don't monitor mine continually. I check every few days and I certainly don't look them over every single time I log into a site. They'll post in a few days anyway.I think that argument is stretching it as far as a reason to blame him, but when you are looking to dodge thousands of dollars in fraud loses I guess you will take whatever you think you can run with.

I would turn that argument back on them and say it's YOU who are always howling about how deeply you care about the safety and security of my account and YOU should have caught those fraudulent transactions since you find out about them before I do and stopped them. I can't be held liable for your negligence in failing to properly deal with those transactions that YOU approved without a second thought even though they were clearly suspicious. Let them chew on that one.

DoingHomework
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Postby DoingHomework » Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:07 am

Kolya wrote:I just realized you may have been referring to the fact that they contacted (2) merchants that gave them my name and address.


Yes, that is basically what confused me.

I am sorry you are going through this but I would reiterate my suggestion to contact a lawyer. If it were me I would definitely rather pay a lawyer $1000 or so to help me resolve this rather than lose $13000 in charges. But that is your call. Remember, just because you are right does not mean you will successfully get your money back. You also have to be able to clearly articulate the situation to B of A and to provide them evidence supporting your position.

MemberSince99
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Postby MemberSince99 » Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:53 am

Proving that you did not authorize charges is impossible because you cannot prove a negative - it's logically not possible to do that. You could claim I authorized Merchant X to charge a billion dollars on my card, and I can't prove I did not authorize it because I can't prove a negative. It's your word against mine. I can SAY I did not authorize it, common sense would tell you I did not authorize it and that it should not be allowed in any case, but I can't PROVE I did not authorize it.


But semantics aside, I don't think there is any choice but to get a lawyer here, especially if the dispute it coming down to the legal terms of the agreement. Maybe you can't afford a lawyer but it sounds like you can afford to lose this fight even less, as DoingHomework says. Put the cost of the retainer on your BofA card :)


I would get the CFPB involved as well. Seriously all kidding aside if you want to fight them on legal grounds, well as the saying goes only a fool is his own attorney (and you see plenty of these guys charged with mass murder demanding to represent themselves - have you ever seen one actually win the case? I can't say I have. They stand up and rant and rave about how it's someone else's fault or the voices in their head made them do it and prove how wacked they are, the jury finds them guilty and judge throws the book at them...different sort of thing here of course but you don't do well trying to play lawyer when you aren't one in a real court).


So maybe you can't afford a lawyer but you can't afford not to have one. At the companies I work for, the executives never like the cost of backing up the vital company data. When you try to persuade them this is vital, they always moan about the cost, we can't afford that. Ok it costs you X per year, it's insurance, now what would it cost you if you lose all the company's data? Cost of doing business, is what it is. You can write it off. But you gotta do it.



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