Federal laws and unauthorized use of your credit card remains a questionable situation to recover costs. Stronger Consumer Protection laws are needed, with many new laws being added to make banks and credit unions react according to the law, rather than how they can profit on questionable activity.
It’s in the news that Consumer Protection Laws, especially when banks, savings and loans, credit unions, and credit cards are involved, will become more protective toward the general public. In reality, the day when placing your money into a bank where it was safe, no longer exists. Many financial institutions take the side of Visa or MasterCard policy rather than Federal and State Laws meant to protect the consumer.
Here we discuss John Q. Public and how his credit card was abused. This shows that unless you are knowledgeable in their process, banks and credit unions do establish a large profit at your expense. There can be no doubt that banks are actually adversarial toward their customer and user friendly toward other large business and credit card companies.
“There is no current motivation, by law, for them to treat the customer respectfully. The nice-people advertising aspect is simply untrue when it comes to financial institutions,” stated Consumer Protection Advocate James Danner.
John Q. Public receives an invoice, July 14, 2011, in his e-mail from the Norton Company. It stated he was going to have an “Automatic Withdrawal” taken from his credit card, which is directly connected to his checking account, in the amount of $65.
The invoice was portrayed as an annual subscription service. The problem here is he has no subscription, nor did he subscribe earlier, in 2010, when purchasing a single event software service from this company. It was one purchase and the software removed within a month as being unfriendly to his computer setup.
He’d already lost money on the transaction, but no refund available, as that company charged John Q. Public for not only support, but a per-minute charge to cancel the subscription that he did not signup for. Apparently, this company automatically subscribed, that is anyone purchasing software or their service over the Internet, into an Automatic Withdrawal System approximately a year later.
John Q. Public immediately contacted his credit union at Pacific Oaks. He told the representative he did not authorize the amount Norton Company invoiced him, as he neither had the software on his computer any longer, nor did he subscribe to the automatic withdrawal service.
The credit union representative stated the amount had not incurred yet and that it probably would not happen. She also stated that she would send the paperwork for John Q. Public to fill out and send back to them that would block the account from this happening in the future. She then stated specifically, and this is important here, there was nothing else they could do.
Costly to a 15 Year Customer
Ultimately, because of the credit unions representative’s misinformation, this becomes quite costly to John Q. Public. Two days later, July 16, 2011, the credit card action took $65 out of his account, which placed his account into overdraft status. The credit union made $60 in overdraft balance fees off of the situation, Norton Company made $65 off the situation, and John Q. Public’s money is gone.
The Credit Unions Response
The Pacific Oaks FCU response: Norton Company representative stated, “They did however indicate that the anti-virus service was in fact currently being utilized under your name. They have requested that you contact them for assistance and information regarding your account at 1-800-745-6061, reference case #505676014.” She went even further, stating “. . . Unfortunately, to further assist you VISA Regulations require. . .”
The 800# given was a situation where John Q. Public had to use his credit card to pay for speaking to a representative at the Norton Company. His credit card no longer valid, his account overdrawn, but ethics certainly must play within the process somewhere, so we would think. Federal Law also supersedes VISA Regulations, but this was ignored in total by the Pacific Oaks FCU employee.
Should this of happened? Absolutely not! The laws are definitive in this situation, but apparently ignored. It is not such a long stretch of the imagination to consider the profit to be made by the credit union in this circumstance. Because the situation was addressed by John Q. Public before the actual transaction occurred, Consumer Protection Laws do protect him, especially in regard to this situation.
“The Federal law is specific in this situation. The credit union employee should know this, and more than likely does, but she chose the path of profit over their customer’s needs. Because John called before the transaction this is nothing more, or less than what is termed “unauthorized use of a credit card” caught in time by the credit card holder. The credit union employee should have simply voided the situation within their system,” states James Danner, Consumer Protection.
Two Credit Card Disputes
There are two credit card disputes that are common, and approached quite often by many consumer protection advocates. Ironically, these same issues are mandated by Federal Law, and many of the financial institutions and credit card companies know of these same laws, but continue to ignore them until a complaint is made, or profits acquired in certainly an illegal and unethical process.
“The first involves unauthorized use of your card, when someone steals, borrows, or otherwise uses your card or card number without permission. Under current Federal Law, your obligation for unauthorized use of your credit card is limited to $50. This means that if someone steals your card, for example, your credit card lender can charge you a maximum of $50 no matter how much the thief has charged on your card; Although, this limit may not apply to a “debit” card,” James Danner says, Consumer Protection.
John Q. Public, in this case, fulfilled his mandate under the Federal Law, by calling the credit union before the transaction took place. As soon as he knew of the unauthorized use of his credit card, he called the lender to make a report, actually two days (i.e. July 14, 2011) before the actual transaction (July 16, 2011) with his credit union.
The Law – Try to Call Before Activity Takes Place
The Federal Law also goes further and basically states, in summary here, that if you call before unauthorized charges are incurred, you cannot be charged even $50, since the lender can take steps to cancel your card, then afterward send you a new one. If a charge unexpectedly appears on your bill for something you did not authorize, you can also use your right to dispute the charge.
Is your money protected in this credit union, or is your credit card safe from unauthorized charges? Absolutely not! As a matter of fact just the opposite occurred here and in many other cases more extreme and more costly.
Credit Union Ignored the Law for Profit
The Pacific Oaks FCU employee ignored in total Federal Law, and in a condescending manner toward John. She also took what the Norton Company representative stated as a fact, without thought toward them perhaps covering up their error, and she decided to humiliate and even disrespect their ongoing customer of 15 years.
Eventually she allowed an unauthorized credit card transaction to take John Q. Public’s money, when told two days before the transaction occurred it was not authorized by him. No tangible or an intangible item was exchanged for the amount, nor was there a service provided, as John Q. Public’s computers are not hooked up to the Internet and the Norton Company software is on none of his computers (witnesses provided).
Current Information from Banks and Credit Unions in Error
There exists reasonable Consumer Protection, and mandated under Federal Laws. Today credit card companies, banks, and credit unions want us to assume their policy and regulatory management situation is placed above Federal Law. Consumer awareness is mandatory these days, perhaps then we can force credit unions to be honest with their customers.
It is time that the reality be rearranged, whereas, the consumer and the customer is priority, greed, corporate profit, and adversarial strategies to steal a consumer or customer’s money take a back seat in this life of ours here in America. How we leverage this disease to take back America is entirely up to us.