Thursday, December 31, 2009

Welcome home, Money!!

OK, so, I had a little drama around here over Christmas – because nothing says, “Merry Christmas!” like logging into your checking account on Christmas Eve day and seeing four transactions you don’t recognize for $71.61 each (plus four separate $0.72 ‘foreign exchange’ fees, rut-roh!) and realizing that somebody is having themselves a party on your dime down in Meh-hee-co.

I called the credit union and ran into one of the blind spots in Credit Union Land which was this: There was nobody home.

One o’clock on Christmas Eve, and they were closed for business.

Folks…they were so closed I couldn’t even report my card number stolen. Every number I had led to the same basic message: “Due to circumstances beyond our control, we cannot answer your call at this time. Please try your call again later.”

Ya. Circumstances beyond our control…I’ll just bet they were…

So all I could do was sweep all the cash out of the checking account into the savings (which didn’t have a direct tie with the debit card), fire off emails so I had some kind of “I did too try to tell you this was happening, don’t you DARE tell me it was MY fault!” ammo, and watch helplessly as the charges continued to bang into the account – and the credit union continued to pay them.

I suppose this is a “feature” for “my convenience,” but seriously…they need better automatic fraud detection. They just paid and paid and paid, as the account went further and further into the red.

They don’t trust me enough to let a physical paper paycheck clear in less than ten or fifteen days, but they’ll gladly let “me” charge over $400 a day in Mexican phone cards, even if it means my checking account goes $1600 in the red. Nice.

I finally got hold of someone Saturday morning, and she slapped a freeze on the card and transferred me to the fraud department’s line. (Six more charges got through that day. Argh!)

They were closed. Sigh.

So Monday, I finally called and talked to a person in the fraud department who said, “Ohmygoodnessgracious, you poor dear, that must have been so awwwwwwful for you!”

Needless to say, my account was bloodied. Overdraft charges, foreign transfer fees, the actual purchases themselves…ugly.

And it’s stayed that way since Monday.

This morning, wincing, I logged in to see if anybody had gotten around to all the reversals they’d promised they’d make.

Oh look…Reverse Foreign Fee…Dc Disputed Item…Reverse Overdraft Charge…reverse-reverse-reverse-reverse…

Welcome home, money. I surely did miss you while you were gone. Hope you enjoyed the warm sandy beaches down there in Mexico, and are ready to get back to work for me back here in the ice-frosted drudgery of Northern California…


Anonymous said...

YIKES! THAT was very scarey! I'm glad your $ are back home.


Louiz said...

Oh what a nice Christmas present:( Glad it got sorted.

Unknown said...

It must be something in the air - just before Christmas I arranged an electronic payment of my visa bill over the phone. The guy who took my call managed to 'forget' the decimal point and my account was suddenly charged fifty nine thousand dollars!!

I was a bit miffed.

Ms. Packrat said...

I had that happen, but the former Large NC Bank (now regretably a part of Huge California Bank), noticed almost immediately that the purchase of $600 in games online in Germany was at odds with my normal habits and *called me* *at home* *on a Saturday*. The nice young man even held the account open long enough for me to get some weekend cash before shutting down my ATM card. I asked the Nice Young Man about their triggers and while cagey, he looked at my account history and joked that if it had been a purchase of half that amount from a YARN store, it might have passed muster.
Glad the CU got you all straightened out - even when you know it's all going to come out, it's still scary-crazy. I am not thinking that the Huge California Bank will be quite as attentive as the merely Large NC Bank was, but here's hoping.

PipneyJane said...

Not pleasant. I hope this is the end and not the start of a saga for you over this fraud.

- Pam

abbersnail said...

Man, banking issues seem to be running wild right now! I just had to make a Big Stink with my bank over their errors.

I'm glad you got it straightened out!

Science PhD Mom said...

Yuck! Glad you got someone to take care of that eventually, but you'd think they would have SOMETHING set up for this time of year, given how prevalent fraud is these days (sadly).