a warning about using credit union-issued credit cards

davidrt28 (zone 7)July 31, 2014

I'm a big believer in credit unions, having been a member of one or more for all of my adult life. They aren't good for everything: you might find yourself better off getting a mortgage somewhere else, for example, but I've used them for car loans. I've also had credit cards from them. There are benefits even for someone who never carries a balance and therefore doesn't care about interest rates: for example, my card has no late fee.

Luckily I've only had to request a charge back twice in my life. About 10 years ago, one was with Chase bank and it was handled very smoothly. They *immediately* credited my account, sent the paperwork for me to notarize by express mail, and I never heard of the matter again.
Recently I had a merchant with whom I had a recurrent billing arrangement make an incorrect charge for $400 and refuse to refund it. After several phone calls it become clear they intended to give me the run-around. After a month of desperation, I called the number of the back of my credit union issued mastercard for a charge back. Apparently, many many credit unions use a shadowy company in Florida to service their cards: they will claim to be Visa or Mastercard, or your credit union, but they are not.
I gave them all the particulars of the case and was told I would be contacted if further information was needed. A couple weeks went by - nothing. I called again to be sure the case was progressing. "Yes we have everything we need". Then after about a week, I wondered why I didn't see the (at least temporary) refund on my account...which Chase had posted the day after I contacted them, before even getting the notarized affadavit. This time, I spoke with a regular CR rep instead of the fraud/chargeback department. HE says "I see no evidence of any chargebacks on your account". Now I get mad and ask to speak to fraud again. They say there was just a "mix up" and the case was still "being investigated" which could take 6-8 weeks. I offer to send them screenshots of vendor's website, showing that the $400 charge was a duplicate. They give me a fax number and say someone will follow up. After a week of no contact, I try one more time: am told the case will still take 6-8 weeks even though I've now provided documentation.
After 10 weeks, I call I am told that the case has been "closed". No further information, no refund. Mind you, each of these calls involved a wait time of 30 or minutes.

Now I call my credit union, where I've been a member for 15 years. If I thought this had just happened to me, I wouldn't be posting this. But...after contacting this servicing company herself, and trying to get the case re-opened, the rep for my credit card company tells me later that day that this "happens all the time". After about a week of further wrangling, including me having to give the details of the case over the phone _again_, the chargeback was finally processed correctly.

So, basically, the servicing company seems to do everything possible to get out of actually processing the chargeback. If you face the scenario in the future with a credit union issued card, I recommend you give the service about a week or so to make things right, and then assume they are not going to. Contact you credit union to get them to push the matter.

This post was edited by davidrt28 on Thu, Jul 31, 14 at 9:30

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SnidelyWhiplash

Sounds like you had the bad luck to run into a few sketchy people.

The credit union is only a go-between, the card is issued and serviced by whatever company they choose to provide that service to customers. I'm sure that issuer is legit and not shadowy. But that doesn't mean they're competent and customer service oriented.

It isn't pleasant to deal with bankers these days. They're like insurance companies, employees are on a short leash and they have rigid instructions about what they can do and how. If it ain't on the list, they're can't and won't do it.

However bad banks are, credit unions can be worse. My dealings suggests that they're rank amateurs. The people I've dealt with know nothing, do nothing, understand nothing, but they smile nicely. No thanks.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 1:16PM
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emma

I have a CC from the same CU for over 25 years and never had a problem. I had one charge I did not recognize and they immediately started an investigation to find what was charged and from which company. It turns out it was something I charged from Sony and none of the papers had Sony on it and I had forgotten I had done that. Also they are on top of the hacked businesses like Target and write a letter telling me to come in for a new card and number. One time I charged a game, it went in wrong, the store removed it and charged it again. My CU would not let it go through until I said it was okay.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 10:20PM
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christopherh

I am a merchant who accepts credit cards.

On this end it's pretty cut and dry. I get a notice of a chargeback and I must produce my copy of the credit card receipt with their signature on it. It must be either imprinted or through a terminal. With online sales I must produce the hard copy of the order. I have 5 business days to either send or fax my copy proving the charge, or the money is automatically deducted from my bank. Plus a $25 fee.

I get chargebacks because I'm an artist who does art and craft fairs throughout the northeast and there are times people in say, New Jersey see a charge from a company they never heard of in Vermont. "I've never been to Vermont!" So they challenge. I produce the receipt and a note they made a purchase at such and such craft fair, and it's done.

Go to your credit Union in person and talk to someone who can actually help you. Have someone with some authority help you. You're finding out phone tag doesn't work.

Go up the chain of command at the CU to get things done.

You have 24 months from the date of the alleged charge to challenge it. The merchant has 5 business days to answer.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 7:07AM
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dadoes

The business where I work accepts ccards. Transactions are small-$, usually $5 to $20. Rarely over $50.

The one chargeback that occurred several years ago, I provided a customer-signed copy. The chargeback was cleared but the $25 fee for it was still imposed.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 10:34AM
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joyfulguy

Credit card companies like the money going their way ...

... aren't so enthused about it being the other way around.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 6:15PM
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