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Any experience with being accused of MR account fraud?

Any experience with being accused of MR account fraud?

 
Old Feb 7, 15, 2:38 am
  #1  
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Any experience with being accused of MR account fraud?

Tonight when I tried to log in to my MR account, I could not. The website insisted that my password was incorrect. When I tried the "forgot password" option I received this message:
The Account is under Audit for fraud or delinquency
All I can say is what the Hell!? I am in the middle of a stay at a RI where I have 18 rooms for two nights. I have 6 more rooms for a night at a FS location immediately following that. I am running an event at another FS location starting on Wednesday (through Friday), and I have 3 rooms for three nights at a Courtyard immediately after that. And now I can't see a single one of my reservations because I am locked out of my account.

MR is closed now, but I plan to call them at 6:00am (I have to leave the hotel at 7:00am). Do any of you have experience with this/any idea how long it will take to get sorted out?

I don't know what triggered this. It could be that I had to change the first name on my account to match my United account (in order to link my Marriott and United accounts), but I doubt it. MR made that change for me and required me to send a copy of my passport to verify it. It could be that I book lots of rooms (because I travel with groups of students), but that can't be all that unusual. I assume that Marriott likes the fact that I spend $40k+ with them each year.

I hope this is not too hard to fix. I just don't have time for it. I like Marriott. It meets our needs. I don't want to leave, but they need to make this right, pronto.
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Old Feb 7, 15, 5:02 am
  #2  
 
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First time I have heard of this from Marriott, but with the stolen passwords issue I wouldn't be surprised if Marriott instituted a computer search for potential fraud.

IMO, much cheaper to lock an account for a couple of days than to reimburse it after theft.

Call the PP line and get a number to the fraud dept. They will have a 24/7 monitoring station somewhere.
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Old Feb 7, 15, 9:01 am
  #3  
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Now that I have spoken w/ a manager in MR, I am even more upset. My account is being audited because I booked multiple rooms under another name. Seriously, what the Hell!? We have 18 rooms tonight at a Residence Inn. 9 are booked in my name and 9 in the name of one of the other coaches leading the trip. I set up the block but had us each book 9 rooms in the block so we could each get credit. I don't want credit for his rooms. We both know we don't get credit for more than three rooms. That's fine. We each want regular credit rather than rewarding events credit because of the Megabonus.

So the reason for this mess is stupid. And the auditor should have seen my upcoming stays and seen how disruptive this would be. And to make matters worse, they notify you of the audit by USPS, so I will not get notification for a few days. And the Audit department is only open weekdays, so nothing can be fixed until Monday at the soonest.

Not sure how I can rely on Marriott in the future.
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Old Feb 7, 15, 9:27 am
  #4  
 
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Easy solution. If what the you are saying and what you say the MR rep is saying are correct and complete; then confirm with the MR rep that you are being audited because you book too many rooms and spend too much money with Marriott?

Then, after confirming that, tell the MR rep to either lift the fraud audit and give you 50,000 points for the insult, or you'll be happy to book 18 rooms and all future stays at SPG or Hilton brand instead. As PP, I am guessing your revenue numbers and stay amounts should be significant enough for them to see the light.

IF you are sharing the COMPLETE story with us, then MR Rewards person who did this is an idiot!
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Old Feb 7, 15, 9:58 am
  #5  
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If you've got a history of booking large blocks of rooms & spending $$, it should be easy to point that out to the audit department. Tell them to cancel the audit. If you get any grief (this is already a mess, so further grief), then this might be the time to contact Arne's office & get them involved.

Cheers.
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Old Feb 7, 15, 10:43 am
  #6  
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I don't know why people pull these things on a Friday when they know nothing can be done until Monday at the earliest.

From what you say, there should not be an issue, but until you can reach someone with the authority to lift the lock, you are stuck. I prefer to do my own followup on reservations, but when their system prevents that phone calls are in order. And I would have no reservation burning up hours of their time doing what they are blocking me from doing, just be nice during all the interactions. I'm presuming you have the email confirmations for all the future stays so that should get you checked in ok. Also, be sure to confirm the stays by phone a day or two before just to make sure they haven't been cancelled.

If, by some strange chance, the auditor does deem what you are doing is in violation of MR rules (and I can't see that happening), spouting off you've done this many times in the past may not be wise. They can opt to go back and reverse any transactions on all accounts involved. Auditors typically don't take to being bullied into changing their opinions so use more honey than vinegar if you can.

Bring in corporate after you have contacted the auditor and they will not change their view. Technically, you should be able to sign up as a meeting planner and get benefits under that program AND as a MR member, so you are leaving some money (benefits) on the table to their advantage.
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Old Feb 7, 15, 10:43 am
  #7  
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Part of the problem is that nothing can be fixed until Monday, but I have a Sunday booking I need to manage. Not being able to do this online is a huge inconvenience. There was once a time when the Plat line guaranteed a quick pick up, but I waited on hold for 13 minutes last night!

I am going to have the sales manager with whom I booked my current 18 room stay contact MR, but that still can't make anything happen until Monday. Additionally, I will have limited time to spend talking to MR and the Audit folks, because Monday is the final day of the competition my students are attending and I will be coaching/judging/finding lost kids/driving kids back to school.

If I were meaner I would want someone fired over this. I told the MR supervisor that I never ask for compensation, but that they need to come up with a solution to this that will ensure that this NEVER happens to me again. Points be damned. I want a notation on my account that instructs the Audit folks that they can NEVER put my account into audit, or that they have to CONTACT ME PRIOR to doing so. Short of that I have no assurance that this will not happen again. Without that assurance I cannot rely on Marriott.

I just looked at my Marriott Visa transactions and I have spent over $14k at Marriott properties since November. My current stay represents another $4500. By the end of February I will have spent $20k in just four months if I continue to do business with Marriott. What on Earth are their auditors thinking?!

Last edited by lexdevil; Feb 7, 15 at 11:00 am
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Old Feb 7, 15, 10:50 am
  #8  
 
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They're auditing you because they think you've violated the T&C of the MR program. Since there are probably details that haven't been posted here, are you 1000% sure that you're not in violation of the T&C?
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Old Feb 7, 15, 11:10 am
  #9  
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Originally Posted by iflyjetz View Post
They're auditing you because they think you've violated the T&C of the MR program. Since there are probably details that haven't been posted here, are you 1000% sure that you're not in violation of the T&C?
I am 110% sure. They have erroneously concluded that I am trying to get credit for two people's stays. That is the opposite of what I am doing. I booked a block of 18 rooms with sales. They gave me a link through which to reserve rooms in the block. I booked 9 rooms in the block. My coworker booked 9 rooms in the block. We both know that we only get credit for three rooms. That is fine. We want to do it this way in order to be eligible for the Megabonus (the 10 nights I would get as a meeting planner do not count towards the bonus). And other than getting the bonus, I don't care about nights because I am LT Plat. Heck, I rolled over 125 nights this year, so I don't need nights.

The hotel asked for a credit authorization form prior to our check in. To make life easier I just sent them my card (rather than both of ours). We are entirely willing to split the bill onto two cards (his and mine), but most hotels do not require this of us. I think they find it easier to put everything on one card.
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Old Feb 7, 15, 11:17 am
  #10  
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lexdevil, I've known you from your posts on FlyerTalk for some years now. I know how devoted you are to your high school debate teams. I am so sorry that this is happening at all and even more so in the midst of competition when you need to be focused on the event, not on hotel shenanigans.
SoroSuub1 likes this.
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Old Feb 7, 15, 11:23 am
  #11  
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Originally Posted by SanDiego1K View Post
lexdevil, I've known you from your posts on FlyerTalk for some years now. I know how devoted you are to your high school debate teams. I am so sorry that this is happening at all and even more so in the midst of competition when you need to be focused on the event, not on hotel shenanigans.
Thank you for the support. I really appreciate it.
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Old Feb 7, 15, 1:38 pm
  #12  
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  1. Be completely honest with the auditor. S/he knows more than you think s/he does.
  2. Be polite and don't threaten to sue, escalate or take your business elswhere.
  3. Don't use your status to attempt to influence your case.

If everything is as you say it is and this is an isolated incident, the audit will be resolved very quickly. My WAG is that some prior, perhaps similar, activity triggered the audit. It is unusual for an audit flag to be raised during a current stay.

Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old Feb 7, 15, 1:47 pm
  #13  
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Update: Relieved but still a bit anxious

The good

Got a call back from an auditor who was working this weekend. She explained that the problem was NOT my current stay. The problem was a stay in early November. Or more accurately, two stays. I book all of our travel because I am the director of the program. When/if my coworker travels without me, he has them switch to his MR# at check in. I can add his name to the rooms, but they cannot make the MR# switch until check in (I know, I've tried repeatedly).

In November when I was in Minnesota at a competition, my coworker was in Sherman Oaks. He forgot to give them his MR# at check in, so the stay credited to me, but so did my stay in Minnesota on the same weekend. I didn't know what happened because I did not see the stay post, and it was soon buried under other November activity.

When I explained this was definitely an error and that my coworker should have received the points, the auditor reopened my account. She also left the points. I asked to have them transferred to my coworker, but she said I'll have to call MR on Monday to do this.

The sort of reassuring

The auditor said that in the future if I have two stays post on the same night, they will just delete one and send me a note. I have no idea why they could not do that in this case. I also have no idea why, given one error in my hundreds of stays over the past decade+, they could not give me the benefit of the doubt. As if, given all of my stays, I would cheat once to get credit for a three night stay at a Courtyard.

The less reassuring

Despite her statement above, she said she could not promise my account would not be audited in the future. She also said that she could not add a note to my account requesting notice before audit. She said that I was sent a notice by USPS and by email, but I am quite certain that I received no email notification.

The final analysis

I am very grateful that there was someone who could help me over the weekend.

I am very frustrated that it took me 90+ minutes on the phone to get to a point where an MR manager contacted the auditor who was working this weekend.

I am also annoyed that the MR auditors do not consider how disruptive being locked out of ones account is to travel planning. I don't care about MR points and nights -- that can be worked out in the long run. I care about having access to my reservations and the ability to make reservations. I can't do my job without that. I would be much happier if the impact of being audited was having my points frozen, but still having access to my reservations.

I am going to be more proactive about checking points as they come in to avoid getting credited in error.

I am less enthusiastic about Marriott than I have been in the past. This may not be fair. It may also pass. But at the moment I still feel anxious knowing that this can happen. And you can be darned sure I have saved the direct number to the auditor to whom I spoke.

Last edited by lexdevil; Feb 7, 15 at 2:16 pm
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Old Feb 7, 15, 1:55 pm
  #14  
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Originally Posted by dayone View Post
[LIST=1]
My WAG is that some prior, perhaps similar, activity triggered the audit. It is unusual for an audit flag to be raised during a current stay.
Correctamundo! The MR folks I spoke to first implied it was my current stay, but it was a stay from three months ago.
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Old Feb 7, 15, 3:28 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by lexdevil View Post
I am less enthusiastic about Marriott than I have been in the past. This may not be fair. It may also pass. But at the moment I still feel anxious knowing that this can happen. And you can be darned sure I have saved the direct number to the auditor to whom I spoke.
Unfortunately this is a possibility with any program.

I'm sure if there was an issue that needed to be addressed, you would be able to deal with it on the phone. Granted cumbersome, but there will be times it can't be helped.

Congrats getting it resolved as quickly as you did.
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