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The "Identity Theft" Problem, Part IV

For my reference: parts I, II, and III.

Called Wachovia today to see what was going on because I haven't heard from them since they claimed that they received my fax (part III). I wanted to see if, possibly, they've resolved the situation.

I called at 5:00 and was on hold for about 12 minutes. I got "Jay" or "Jaye" or "Jaya" or some other feminine way to spell something that sounds an awful lot like "Jay." No, they show no record of my faxes. No, it is still not resolved. By the way, I need to get a new card. I inform her that I have done so, already. "Why don't you go fax it one more time, sir, and I'll wait on hold."

I print out the letter and fax it one more time. Granted, this takes about 10 minutes because I get behind someone printing 10 copies of a 22-page report (I counted). I get back. No signal. She hung up.

I call at 5:22 and was on hold for 12 more minutes. I got "Kia" or some other feminine way to spell something that sounds an awful lot like "Kia." Why, yes, my faxes from February arrived fine, but there was another problem, and they have sent me another letter, requesting further information. By the way, I need to get a new card. I inform her that I have done so, already. "Please hold, sir, and let me check something." <5 minutes of hold music> I'm thanked for my patience, and here is Tasha (or some other feminine way to spell something that sounds an awful lot like "Tasha") to tell me what I've won what's going on. The first thing she says? That I need to get a new card. I inform her—somewhat impatiently, at this point—that I have done so. They mailed the new letter to me today because...

It seems that in all the faxes I've sent, I neglected to actually state that the charge was unauthorized.

I'm going to say that one more time, because I'm still having a really hard time coming to grips with the words that I heard.

I called the disputes line on 1/31 and reported a fraudulent use of my card on 1/29 which resulted in $200 being removed from my account on 1/30. I received a provisional deposit of $200, but had to call T-Mobile myself to try to dispute the fraudulent charge. I couldn't, so I faxed them four times saying that T-Mobile wouldn't give me any information, and that I don't have an account with them, and that the card was used fraudulently. I used the word "fraudulent" more than once.

And yet I never indicated that the charge was unauthorized.

I have to reconsider my choice of banks, at this point.

So I have just faxed them a signed affidavit stating exactly and precisely what "Tasha" told me to state: my name, today's date, the card number, the date of the transaction, the amount of the transaction, who the transaction was with...and that it was unauthorized. I repeated everything three times and tried my level best not to show the amount of anger and frustration that I feel. I also included a print-out from their own website showing the disputed, unauthorized, fraudulent charge. I signed everything. I faxed it.

Yes, I know that T-Mobile is probably the one requiring the "unauthorized" bullshit, because they get to hold onto that $200 for another month. Meanwhile, the person who committed the crime has undoubtedly committed others and is long gone and cannot be located. And if they contact the person whose account received the payment, they'll be told some bullshit story which will be accepted (if not actually believed) without reservation, while I am having to jump through hoops.

I'm in a foul mood, now. I was going to go home and enjoy an evening of installing Ubuntu on my laptop and possibly getting some reading done. But now I'm too angry to get behind the wheel of a car. I'll just stay here at work for a while and write really compact C++ code as a way to take out my frustrations. Because beating random people to death with desktop office supplies is considered bad form, and could likely get me written up by HR.

Who wants to take bets on whether this is actually over, now? Will I ever convince anyone that I am the victim? Will T-Mobile ever actually cough up the dough? Will the person who committed the crime go unpunished? Will I spend another half-hour of my life on hold to wait for <slurred recital of feminine-sounding name> to spectacularly not help me again? Stay tuned to find out.

Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  


( 18 hisses — Hiss at me! )
Mar. 6th, 2008 12:48 am (UTC)
Wachovia makes you call the merchant to claim fraud? what kinda crapola is that??

And what kind of claim form doesn't have in the statement you are agreeing to that the above charges are all unauthorized???
Mar. 6th, 2008 01:31 am (UTC)
Whew. I had about half convinced myself that I was going to get a comment from you saying, basically, "SOP, snake. Suck it up." (But much nicer. :) It's refreshing to hear that I'm not insane.

Or at least not over this. :)

All of this has been done over the phone, and I have to wait on hold for 12 to 15 minutes every single time I call, and about every other time, they hang up on me, or I get someone who is completely incompetent (see "Jay" above). It is clearly not in anyone's interest but mine to get this resolved.

Apparently, the "calling the merchant" bit came from VISA, or at least that's what Wachovia is claiming. Apparently, I have to try to get the merchant to refund the charge before they'll step in. Never mind that any company who is at all SOX compliant simply cannot give out information to someone who isn't the customer for whose account the payment was made. So what this tells me is that even though I'm the victim, I'm 100% guilty until proven "maybe not quite guilty." Wachovia & VISA are convinced I've paid T-Mobile and just won't admit it, or something.

Frankly, it has me very frustrated and upset. I've already sent a very carefully worded email to Wachovia over them not informing me I had to put the card number on the first fax, and I'm considering sending registered letters to the officers of the company, assuming I can find one, about this new bullshit.

Edited at 2008-03-06 01:32 am (UTC)
Mar. 6th, 2008 02:05 am (UTC)
While the suck it up thought has crossed through my head before (and I am sure it has yours when reading my journal), not about that.

That is fucking asinine.

Lemme give you the executive summary of how it works here.

"You have fraud? Okay. How do you want your claims form: fax, mail or email? (answer) Okay, now the claims dept won't send you that form until the charges post to the account because the merchant may not collect on the funds. if you have any questions going forward here is the claims #. Oh and we'll send you a new card."

For now we will assume they posted. you get the form, you fill it out, you send it back. Pre-schoolers could fill it out correctly. Seriously.

Claims gives you a provisional credit while they research the claim. I forget just how long they have to get that credit into your account. If you have never done business with the merchant before, its pretty cut and dried. They may have to get a signature file from the merchant if it happened at a store, but if its internet you can usually assume it will be back in your account, in permanancy, within about 48 hours.

You go on with your life.
Mar. 6th, 2008 02:28 am (UTC)
Oh, if only.
Mar. 6th, 2008 02:07 am (UTC)
Yowch. :P Registered letters to the officers of the company might just do a bit of help. Esp. if you threaten to take your business elsewhere. (like to a small local bank, which I recommend you do, as an ex-banker's daughter.)
Mar. 6th, 2008 02:27 am (UTC)
My paltry net worth is but a drop of red dye in the sea of green that represents Wachovia's holdings. It would be similar to a single protester with a picket sign outside McDonald's claiming he'll never eat another burger. The "I'll take my business elsewhere" gambit only works if you have a lot of business. Otherwise, they just laugh at you.

I am sending a letter, but it will serve to point out the deficiencies in the system, and how frustrating it is to attempt to get anything done. I will point out that I have two accounts plus a substantial (to me) IRA and a second mortgage through Wachovia, so they'll understand that I'm not some kid with $12 in a savings account, but I won't go so far as to threaten to take my ball and go home. :)
Mar. 6th, 2008 02:47 am (UTC)
Yeah, don't be that guy.

we hear that ALL DAY LONG. "I'm going to take my business elsewhere."

Okay, don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

Now granted in this instance the bank really is at fault and you aren't some kid that has 12 bucks in an account, but believe me when they will just roll their eyes.

Now the guy at the branch who gets bonuses off your money; he might bend over backwards for you. Anyone you deal with over the phone? No.
Mar. 6th, 2008 02:48 am (UTC)
ah! Good point. Ayup, just deficiencies in the system would be a good thing, along with stating what business you have with the corp.
I'm just reminded of the "Dear Bank: You make me nervous." type of thing, except with more details to it. ;-)
Mar. 6th, 2008 02:27 am (UTC)
You might also look up the fair credit reporting act and mention its provisions in all sorts of nasty letters.

Perhaps a local newspaper has an ombudsman column that might be interested in this, too.
Mar. 6th, 2008 02:34 am (UTC)
totally off subject
"installing Ubuntu on my laptop"

Uh, what? WHAT?
Mar. 6th, 2008 02:54 am (UTC)
Re: totally off subject
Yeah, that one leaped out at me too.
Mar. 6th, 2008 03:16 am (UTC)
Re: totally off subject
See my reply to adsmguy :)
Mar. 6th, 2008 03:16 am (UTC)
Re: totally off subject
What about it? I'm sick and tired of having to wait ten minutes for the machine to boot Windows. I'm equally sick and tired of having FireFox crash and burn every time I try to read gmail. I have all but quit using the laptop because of the frustration level associated with having to deal with all its problems.

So...I backed the important information up last night and tested Ubuntu from a CD. It looks interesting. What's the worst that happens? I reformat and put something else on it.

And yes, Mr. Suse-freak, I know what you're implying. :) I don't care what flavor of Linux I install at the moment. I just want to play with it.

Edited at 2008-03-06 03:27 am (UTC)
Mar. 6th, 2008 05:20 pm (UTC)
Re: totally off subject
So what. I have been playing with Debian for the past couple of weeks in a guest OS and as an alternate boot for my home desktop.
Mar. 6th, 2008 03:34 am (UTC)
so, would it piss you off about your bank, if I told you that when I had an issue with my ccd, I was able to get a letter sent to me. When I figured out what the situation was with the charge, I didn't follow up initially with the letter. I got a call, an email, and another letter asking about the charge.
Mar. 6th, 2008 03:40 am (UTC)
Not any more than I'm already pissed off. I have to ask which bank it is, though, just for future reference. :)
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 6th, 2008 04:44 am (UTC)
Golly! I hadn't thought of that! I'll have to get on that right away!

Edited at 2008-03-06 04:46 am (UTC)
( 18 hisses — Hiss at me! )

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