This makes me see red


Divemedic reports that he can’t get his credit card company to cancel a false charge to his account, even though he never spent the money or authorized it.

The reason that the charges were considered valid, according to the woman on the phone, is that I provided no supporting documentation, and the merchant did provide some.

My first question was how I am supposed to provide documentation of a charge that I had no knowledge of. She didn’t know.

So I tried a different approach. I asked what documentation the merchant provided. She didn’t know that either. She said that I would have to contact the merchant directly.

So I asked for the merchant’s phone number. She didn’t know that either. She then unhelpfully suggested that I contact the Google Advertising Department and gave me that number.

I asked her what my options are. All I can do is refuse to pay it, and if I do so, the credit card company will cancel my credit card, then report the delinquent amount to my credit record, with interest each month. They will put a note on there that I dispute it, but that means nothing. My credit will still be trashed.

. . .

It looks like I am going to have to pay this. I could call a lawyer and sue, but that would cost me more than just paying it, with no guarantee that I would win anything. I have no other recourse. I don’t even know what this charge is for, who it was paid to, or how they got my CC number, but I am just screwed out of $340.

There’s more at the link.

That’s infuriating!  I’ve challenged fraudulent purchases on my account several times, and been successful in having them declined, but in this case it looks like Divemedic’s credit card issuer simply didn’t want to be saddled with the costs – so he’s left holding the baby (or the bill).

I thought I’d ask you, readers:  how many of you have had similar experiences?  How many of you have been forced to pay a fraudulent charge on your credit card, even though you followed all the laid-down procedures to challenge it?  How widespread is this problem?

Please let us know in Comments.



  1. My credit card company calls me or emails me if a charge shows up that is out of the ordinary for my purchasing history.
    I have never had a problem cancelling a suspicious charge.

  2. Call back and talk to someone else. There should be a form you can sign that says, in much legalese, "I didn't do this." If that fails, elevate through the power structure. This is sketchy as all get out.

  3. Mia has had a lot of that sort of trouble, usually handled with 10-15 minutes on the phone. She was forced to become more security conscious, but all it cost her was hassle.

  4. This has never happened to me. I've always received calls from the credit union/bank to let me know that they're looking at an apparently fraudulent purchase and that they want to validate that fact with me. Then they cancel the card and reissue a new card. This is old hat and par for the course.

    DM should maybe consider terminating his account with Wile E. Coyote's ACME credit card company and start dealing with a legitimate bank… ("That's a joke, son." – Foghorn Leghorn)

    Frankly – I'm very surprised to hear about a problem like this these days. Credit card fraud is commonplace and I thought that the banking industry had this stuff all figured out.

    Hopefully DM can escalate this issue up the ladder until he can talk to someone that can provide him with a more professional and appropriate response. He's not being treated right.

  5. yeah he's getting the runaround. i've never had a problem. they even call me if they see odd charges. more than once somebody in europe ordered cases of wine on my card, lol.

  6. I've had fraudulent charges on a couple of occasions. One time they called and inquired, the other I found on my own. In both cases I wasn't held responsible and new cards were issued.

  7. 1) Call the Better Business Bureau. This is what they do.
    2) File a criminal fraud report with the police. if the charges crossed state lines, make it (literally) a federal case, at the FBI.
    3) If it's gone federal, your congresscritter now has a dog in this fight, called their Constituent Services person (every one of them has multiples of this). That's what they do.
    4) Some swinging Richard in the Congress has oversight over this. Once your congresscritter has the ball, write a nice letter to the chairman of the House Oversight Committee responsible. CC your congresscritter.
    5) Send copies of all of the above to the credit card company, along with Yelp review.
    Ask them if they'd like to reconsider, or would they rather be the next equivalent of YouTube's United Breaks Guitars.

    6) Use your blog to pound the crap out of them, with regular or daily updates.

    Jihad, mother effers!
    You need to swing a 2×4 and break it over their head, but you can get their attention.

  8. File a complaint with your state's AG, or their domiciled state's AG.

    The police report is also documentation to your side. Then call the BBB in regard to the merchant, and it's relatively cheap to have an attorney send a letter to the merchant as well. That's your documentation as well.

  9. IF this CC company is that unresposive, then he either did something wrong in the claim or the merchant has some documentation showing that the item was shipped to his house or something like that.
    But I can tell you that, as a merchant, generally the burden of proof is on the merchant, not the CC holder. Discover and Amex are best if you are a card holder, and the cardholder ALWAYS wins with them. But nearly any bank with a storefront can become a Visa/MC issuer, and they are often less than useless when it comes to disputes.
    Seriously, you are netter off as a cardholder at a major bank for Visa/MC, or a Discover or Amex. You'll almost always win those disutes. Stay away from the small issuers.

  10. He needs to write a letter disputing the charge. I think you have 60 days after the charge, but do it as soon as possible. It has to be in writing. They can't make you pay it or they have to refund the charge. It is not a big deal to the credit card company as they can and will take the money back from the merchant. Then the merchant has to provide proof that the charge is legitimate. Also they cannot report you to the credit bureau unless they can prove that the charges are legitimate and you still refuse to pay. They are trying to bu**sh** him into paying.

  11. This is timely as I have started to have trouble with Chase Visa. Some time ago they decided to put me on paperless notice of bill due, which I did not authorize. Afer calling them that was changed back. I prefer mailed in bills for doc that it was billed and for the cover sheet to mail back which seems to get the amount payed to them deducted from what I owe in a more timely manner.
    Now, for two weeks when I call them there is a bs message that due to severe weather at one of their call centers response is much delayed. They then hang up without the option of holding for next support critter. This is in addition to that my billing never arrived at my po box. I live in a rural area and do not trust the locals to not raid my roadside mailbox. I had to scribble out a note, write a check for an amount for the month and send it in a plain envelope instead of a chase one. I made tripple sure all the send to address' were correct. So far, there has been no email notification of check applied to balance. It goes overdue next monday. I go to a lot of trouble to maintain a near perfect credit report and it would not surprise me that this overdue would give them an excuse to cancel me and screw my rating. And, they were famous when mailing the bills to do it at the last minute. I check mail at the po about once a week due to the long drive from where I live to a full service post office. I suspect mastercard will be no better. Maybe amex or discover might be better. Or not. I only maintain one credit card since you seem to have to have one. I once tried a prepaid card to see and no one will accept a prepaid for the ususal things you might need a card number for. Those types would only let you pay at checkout with the prepaid. This is frustrating since I am probably one of visa's best customers, always on time with payments and regularly get a nice bundle of points for card usage. Depending on how this turns out I will not use the card again, get it paid off and cancel it. If I can get through to them. They also, at least for me, made it impossible to go through theri on line system and to try and get some one correct all this.
    My local bank which issued the visa claimed nothing they could do. They are only a clearing house to get the cards out and they only do MC and Visa. My mortage with them is paid off in 10 months and it may be time do part ways.

  12. I've had this happen a couple times. Every time my word was sufficient to have the charge removed. Usually its clear it wasn't me, One time charges for a cell phone I didn't have, Another time it was a spending spree at a Penney's in Atlanta GA followed by a $100+ dollar meal at a Steak and Shake. That one really galled me as it must have been like 10 people to spend $100 at a burger joint AND Steak and Shake used to be darned tasty, and there are none north of the Mason Dixon line as far as I know make my access to them very rare.

    I concur with some earlier posts they should fight the charge by going to the State AG or media. Once charge is reversed dump that bank like a hot potato.

  13. That's pretty stupid, what else is new in Clown World?

    In other news, three awesome White men defending their community against a black criminal got life in prison for defending their community and for being White. It's an anti-White justice system. It is sickening that those on the right are okay with this.

  14. When I was an ignorant kid, I had a 'friend' use my credit card without my permission. I called the credit card company and the customer assistance lady told me that it was 'friendly fraud' and that I was still responsible. Definitely, he should call back and work with someone else.

    I laugh about it now and wonder if that statement is akin to 'friendly homicide'.


  15. My story is a bit different. We did authorize some charges, but not the amount that got charged. This was back in '05 or '06. Our daughter at college bumped the trailer hitch (or something) on a big truck, cracking the nose on the '84 Taurus we had given her (still in our name). A few days later she drove some friends south, till the car died. Seems the tranny cooler line got cracked but not noticed, and over the course of the trip she pumped the tranny dry. The car ended up at a gas station for a few days. We arranged for a long-haul car carrier to bring the car back to us, and pay the storage fee to the gas station and add it to the predetermined hauling fee. All good at that point.

    On Sunday morning, we got a very angry call from the owner of the station, threatening to report the car as stolen (um, you can't – it isn't yours). Seems the long-haul company showed up late Saturday night and took the car, without paying the storage fees. I soothed the gas station owner with a promise to send a check next-day air on Monday. Which I did.

    The car arrived and was delivered, no problem.

    Until –

    Until the bill arrived the next month for the inflated amount. We disputed the overcharge with Capital One. They sided with the hauling company. We contacted the Secretary of State's office in Virginia (where Cap One was headquartered), who had a long list of complaints already about Capital One. We provided sufficient evidence, and the SoS leaned on Capital One, and forced them to reverse the amount we were disputing.


    1. I don't trust Capital One. One of my cards was with a bank that was bought out by them. I never activated their new card and told them why when asked.

  16. I have all my cards (credit and debit) on fraud watch so I usually get a call and a message for anything outside my normal pattern. I've never had a problem getting the charges reversed or a new card in a hurry. He does need to escalate this!

  17. A lot of good suggestions here. I usually get a call for odd charges also.
    I would suggest a new bank or credit union if possible. Not just a new card.

  18. I haven't had that bad luck to have my CC refuse my challenge to a charge. But Amazon took three weeks to unlock our account, and cancelled numerous orders even though we had a valid credit card on file, after we reported fraud to our credit card company. Amazon's customer service sucks donkey schlong. I had to search the internet for a phone number to call in order to do anything with Amazon because their process of reporting anything online (which is the only link on their website) requires you to log into your account first. That's obviously impossible when it has been locked.

  19. I'd tell him to cancel the card and follow the steps mentioned here.
    I've had fraud a couple times and had no issue getting charges reversed.
    I had a company send me the wrong car part one time and refuse to do anything about it; my card reversed the charge with no trouble.

  20. Fill out an affidavit of forgery and submit that to them as proof. A police report helps too if you want to go the extra mile

  21. Learned the hard way how little the big banks care about small customers, moved my cards to a credit union and have never had another issue getting charges cancelled.

    I mostly use Tower FCU out of Maryland but Navy Federal has offices in a lot more spots and is just as good.

  22. Call the company, tell them you're recording the call for your protection (and record it), and declare that the charge is not yours and is fraudulent. Instruct them to remove it and conduct an investigation on its origin, which you wish to be notified of. Ask for a unique number identifying the investigation so that you may refer to it in future calls. If they won't provide anything, insist that they escalate the problem away from the person you are talking to, up the chain to someone with more authority. Keep insisting – end each conversational volley with this request. The more they refuse, the worse they will look to the regulatory organizations.

    Next, instruct the company to freeze all subsequent charges to the account from that moment onward. No further charges will be accepted by you as you won't be using the card, as the investigation proceeds you are weighing whether or not you will close the account at the conclusion of the investigation. Declare that you will accept no further charges. Tell them also that you fully intend to pay all of the charges on the credit card statement up to that date, aside from the fraudulent one, and then follow through and pay them on time.

    Next get in touch with the consumer credit protection organizations and file a complaint against the company. Do this at state and federal levels. Next, file a complaint with the BBB, your local chapter. They will also start an investigation, and they will notify you when it's completed of their findings.

    Since it's a low amount, I don't think you'll get far with your state AG, but as you have already filed complaints with various organizations it would not hurt to cc the AG on each of them and send it as a package.

    Good luck! I've never had any trouble getting fraudulent charges removed, I always check my accounts at least once per week to catch them early. I think getting the governmental / regulatory organizations involved will help get them off high center. They're not allowed by law to stick you with charges you didn't authorize.

  23. We have had several fraudulent charges over the years and have never had any trouble getting them cancelled. Honestly impressed by how the CC companies handled it. Some of the charges they caught, and some we noticed when we got the bill. No problems with either.

    Related, have also gotten long-distance phone charges cancelled, with no problem.

  24. I admit, I'm rather stunned at how cavalier Dive's CC company treated him. I've had a few issues here and there, a couple disputed charges, but I've ALWAYS been able to successfully reverse them. Hell, the companies have been known to call or text me if there's a suspicious or unusual charge.

    Honestly, I like Aggie's response. Deny the fraudulent charge, close the account, and inform the company you're taking your business elsewhere and you'll be filing a formal complaint. And they can just -suck it-.

  25.         What I want to know is, what company is it that issued this credit card?  I intend to avoid them.

  26. Have not seen anyone in this comment section mention this angle, so here goes.
    I have not encountered this personally, but I do see it mentioned or referred to occasionally.

    Numerous financial companies, several years ago, had decided to bring pressure against people and businesses that worked in, or purchased products from, the firearms industry. Apparently, this was generally done by individuals working within those companies, as it seemed difficult for them to actually codify this into their financial business legally.

    If your credit card purchases show business names that are recognizably firearm related, you may have problems turn up, that appear to be random, perhaps. Lots of gun world businesses have legal names that are deliberately vague, just to circumvent malicious actions, such as this one might actually be.

    A perusal of your card bill for the most recent, and the previous month or two, might be instructive, as that will be what this individual will be looking at for a purchase history to make a judgement call. Emphasis on "judgement".

  27. I've challenged a charge once in a blue moon with different credit card companies, and have never had a problem. This sounds like something specific to the company you have credit with. Unless it's a big charge, it may not be worth the cost of litigating. Cancel the card and get a different one from a different company.

    The other thing you might look into is something like Sites like this set up disposable debit (not credit) cards online, with each card working with only one vendor. You can't carry a balance, but this gives you very fine control of how things get charged. The virtual cards can be set up with charge limits, etc. so that you can't be surprised with automatic charges.

    It's great for trial memberships, because you can create a card, give it to the company, and then destroy it in a day so they can't charge to it early. Since I've started using that service, I've had a couple of false charges, all of which were declined because they were not for the vendor the card was dedicated to.

  28. I had a charge on a credit card for $11,000 from a "Riverton Cycle Shop".

    I was somewhat surprised, as I live near Riverton, and have shopped at the Riverton Cycle Shop, but never spent that sort of money. Finally, I realised it was Riverton, CALIFORNIA, not Riverton, Western Australia.

    When I contacted the card company, it went all the way to contacting the merchant, who claimed it was a legitimate transaction because "the delivery address was the same as the billing address". Both addresses having been supplied by the fraudster.

    This was complete horse-sh*t, but it took me pointing this out to the card company before they woke up to the fact that the "billing address" supplied by the fraudster wasn't, in fact, the REAL billing address.

    Transaction reversed, but somebody in the US has an $11,000 bicycle for free.

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