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Old Dec 27, 05, 2:08 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
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MP Visa issuer over-zealous in fraud prevention?

I originally posted this to the 'Other Credit Cards' forum, but I decided to put it here, too, since the United forum has more traffic (I hadn't even heard of the credit cards fora until yesterday) and I'm sure many here have their own MP Visa. Please forgive the crossposting.


Has anyone else found FirstUSA/Chase/BankOne (who issues my Mileage Plus Visa and yours) overzealous and underproactive in its fraud prevention?

Witness the following message I sent to them on Thursday (and again earlier today, after 110+ of the promised 48 hours had passed):
Quote:
Originally Posted by Me
Dear Sirs/Mesdames:

On Thursday, December 22, I attempted to charge a restaurant bill of $9.69 to my United Mileage Plus Gold Class Visa Card. This charge was declined. I instead paid cash and, while waiting for my order to be prepared, called Customer Service to determine the reason.

The automated system asked me for my card number, the first three letters of my mother's maiden name, and the last four digits of my Social Security Number. I was then presented a list of five 'suspicious' charges, and asked to confirm them. I then obviously understood that it was a temporary suspension for fraud protection. I am thankful for your efforts in preventing fraud, but they seem not to have been done in the way described on page 5 of the Owner's Manual I received with the card (here quoted):

"Your rewards and freedom come with peace of mind.
"24-hour protection from fraud.
"Our fraud early-warning service will help identify unauthorized activity on your card, 24 hours a day. You will then be contacted to confirm these charges."


As far as I can tell, I was not contacted by you. It would have been nice if fraud early-warning had been done as described above, so that first notification of your suspicions would come from you, rather than at the point-of-sale, in a public place.

As you can imagine, this was rather embarassing. In the absence of better information, the merchant was left to assume that I have not even $9.69. I require an apology. I will not object if, in the interest of goodwill, this apology is accompanied by extra United Mileage Plus miles.

In addition to the embarassment of the declined charge itself, because I instead paid cash I was also deprived of (and require):
10 United Mileage Plus miles from you for the charge itself;
30 American AAdvantage Miles (3 miles per dollar) from AAdvantage Dining by Rewards Network for dining at one of their participating restaurants (the merchant in question) and paying with a card (the card in question) registered with them. I imagine you may not be in a position to offer American AAdvantage Miles; I shall therefore be satisfied with the substitution of 30 additional United Mileage Plus miles (for a total of 40 United Mileage Plus miles).

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Sincerely,
My Name
Has anyone else had such an issue?
In addition, was my 'nastygram' a little too nasty, brusque, indignant, or demanding?
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Old Dec 27, 05, 2:21 pm   #2
 
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Previous threads have dealt with this topic. At the time, I found the threads amusing, since it had never happened to me. But in late November, I was in Japan, and went to buy my second rail ticket (a return to Tokyo from Kyoto). I had purchased the outbound rail ticket with my UA MP card that morning, no problem. On the return my CC bounced. Fortunately, I had other credit cards with me. However, I had no phone (my mobile phone doesn't work in Japan), so I had to wait until later that evening to contact my wife from my hotel and have her call Chase.

Make sure that you phone Chase and have them notate in your record that you are a frequent international traveller. Two weeks ago, I used my MP card in Mexico several times, for some large purchases, and no issues. I'm assuming that the record notation prevented an account freezing - time will tell.
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Old Dec 27, 05, 2:25 pm   #3
 
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For starters, I would not try to bring up compensation. In fact, that's too much.

Just let them know that you're an international traveller. I did that with mine and have had no problems since then. It all started when I was doing LAX-LHR-LAX-AMS-LAX within two weeks and that raised a red flag.
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Old Dec 27, 05, 2:29 pm   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigbit
Previous threads have dealt with this topic.
I apologise...I still haven't got the hang of efficient use of the forum search function
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigbit
Make sure that you phone Chase and have them notate in your record that you are a frequent international traveller.
I'm not, though...I doubt I shall charge even $1000 a month with them...in retrospect, a low-value customer like me should not have been quite so unpleasant...twice. (And someone responding to my 'other version' of this post in the credit card forum had the 'tough love' to tell me so. )
Still, it was a bit embarassing.
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Last edited by chuljin; Dec 27, 05 at 2:40 pm..
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Old Dec 27, 05, 2:42 pm   #5
 
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OP...nice letter, but consider the value of the RDM's as a cheap instruction in how to deal with the fraud prevention system.

We are leisure travelers who occasionally travel internationally. I call and have the account notated for the country/countries we'll be traveling to. We have 5 cards with Chase (UA and Marriott) and one call notates them all. Never a problem.

BTW, no need to be without a phone in Japan....

http://www.rental-mobile.com/en/domestic/index.html

The JAL phone desk and the ATM are our first stops at KIX

I sure similar applies in other countries but I haven't been to any since having to stay in contact with home while traveling. Cheap insurance and convenience, IMO.

Safe travels!

Pat
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Old Dec 27, 05, 2:49 pm   #6
 
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Don't you think the part about the 40 miles is kinda lame?
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Old Dec 27, 05, 2:53 pm   #7
 
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I appreciate all the responses.

I think you all got the wrong end of the stick (mostly because I pointed the wrong end of the stick at you myself ).

I'm not an international traveler 'anymore/yet' (My last overseas trip was BKK in '02, and my next one will be LHR and all over central Europe in '07). The 'failed' charge mentioned was here in the US, at a restaurant 1 mile from work and 3 miles from home (where I'd had some 10 charges over the only 2 months I've had the card).

In retrospect, perhaps there could have been suspicions...I often charge $10 or so 2-3 times a day, then the last charge right before the attempt mentioned was $120something at FTD.
So I suppose it's not 'international', but just unusual.
They were looking out for me, and I should appreciate it.
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Old Dec 27, 05, 2:55 pm   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by izzik
Don't you think the part about the 40 miles is kinda lame?
I do now, actually. See the reply I was typing as you were typing yours.
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Old Dec 27, 05, 2:59 pm   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by izzik
Don't you think the part about the 40 miles is kinda lame?
No; it is lame.

Chase is doing their best to prevent fraud and flag a properly used card every once in a while. Sh!t happens-- just have to call and correct it and move on.
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Old Dec 27, 05, 2:59 pm   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by izzik
Don't you think the part about the 40 miles is kinda lame?
Heh! Isn't giving (or advising to give) up any miles/points blasphemy around here?

Oops, I guess I'm guilty of that...

BTW, for the OP, what's UA 3P? Haven't read that story yet Is that like a general member?

Pat
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Old Dec 27, 05, 3:03 pm   #11
 
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It happens

This happened to a friend once with his UA MP Visa..Even more embarrassing was the fact we were at a grocery store with many people behind us. Our grocery bill was $500+ for a Labor Day party. Anyhow, he was so embarrassed by this in front of lines of people.

We ended up paying cash instead. He then contacted his credit card company who did this for his protection as it was an unusual charge (we were also out of town). Although it was embarrassing, it was a nice reassurance that yes they are looking out for people.

Had your credit company allowed the charge and continued allowing charges, in who knows how many amounts, your letter would be longer, everyone would be frustrated and it's sort of a no win situation no matter how you look at it.

Over 10 MP points? Order yourself some flowers, earn 20 points with FTD per dollar until Dec. 31st, which would give you 200 miles for $10 and wish yourself a great day. Beats the alternatives Just my 2 cents.

P.S. No pun intended with the flowers; it's just the best deal for earning points for purchase right now.
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Old Dec 27, 05, 3:17 pm   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camachinist
BTW, for the OP, what's UA 3P? Haven't read that story yet Is that like a general member?
It's exactly a general member.
'3P' or 'Tin' make me feel slightly better than 'nobody' (which I am)
They're just extrapolations of 1P, 2P and Gold, Silver respectively.
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Old Dec 27, 05, 3:38 pm   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fox Trot
Over 10 MP points? Order yourself some flowers, earn 20 points with FTD per dollar until Dec. 31st, which would give you 200 miles for $10 and wish yourself a great day. Beats the alternatives Just my 2 cents.
I can beat that...I found a link somewhere for 30RDM/$ for FTD. Slightly bittersweet, in that it was to send flowers to a funeral. By coincidence, this was 'the charge that broke the camel's back' and shut off my card, a few hours before I tried to get lunch (see the OP).
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Old Dec 27, 05, 4:00 pm   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuljin
Has anyone else found FirstUSA/Chase/BankOne (who issues my Mileage Plus Visa and yours) overzealous and underproactive in its fraud prevention?
Yes, they got me last month also, due to ordering several computer items on-line, which was the red flag. Once before, it was explained to me that the typical MO for the crooks is to try the card for some small items, then sock a large one. The latest scam is to buy gift cards/gift certificates with the stolen credit card, since those are almost untraceable. They denied my request for over $1k in restaurant certificates.

I just wish they would call me up and warn me! They have all of my phone numbers! It can be embarrassing, and there is ABSOLUTELY no reason for them to spring a trap on the actual credit card holder, is there? They sure know how to call and try to sell you more perks.

Personally, and I already explained this politely to them, I will not tolerate that embarrassment again. Their card will go in the garbage, unless I receive a call in advance that my account is being put on hold.

No other business would get away with that crap, and expect to keep you as a customer. Just my humble, but heated opinon.
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Old Dec 27, 05, 4:03 pm   #15
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I once had my charge card denied for a $3 breakfast. I paid cash, and was on the phone with the credit company before I crossed the street to ask what was going on (it was a business trip and I was expecting to heavily use it over the next 4 days) ... I was told the charge never processed (they didn't deny anything) and that some vendors either don't wait long enough before calling it a denial or that others will do a psuedo charge and call it denied to avoid the fee for such a small charge. I consider that a lesson learned.

For the OP and other's situations, I don't consider having my card denied anywhere (domestic or international, the local grocery store or across the country from home) to be a good thing. They have a question about the charge, contact me, don't shut off my access to my own line of credit. They protect no one but themselves when they do this because if it is fraud, they are out the money, not you (in the vast majority of instances). I've not had an international issue with any card, but have seen enough posts about problems that I now call them prior to the trip do do an FYI that I'll be in X international country between these dates.
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