VIC Fraudulent Transactions by Hotel with Visa Card - Options?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by mkr, 14 November 2018.

  1. mkr

    mkr Well-Known Member

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    Hi there,

    I recently checked my bank account and spotted a string of transactions 'pending' to a Hotel in PNG. I had not been in PNG for 18+ months, and the card used had been issued to me since that time. I still had the Card in my possession. In the week prior, there were near $2000 worth of transactions to the Hotel. I reported to the Bank, and contacted the Hotel GM.

    2 days have passed, and transactions are still settling to my account.

    The Bank Fraud officer says she is awaiting a response from the hotel. Apparently, a 'guest/visitor' had been using my card details, and the Hotel was doing 'Card not Present' transactions (no PIN, Card details manually entered). I have not given the Hotel any authorization, and as I said, the card is still in my physical possession. That card has never been in PNG or used at that Hotel previously (it was issued in the last 12 months).

    The Fraud team are struggling to get a response or a clear answer from the hotel. The hotel tells me they are 'looking into it'. Nobody can, or wants to tell me, who is using my card details.
    I have no idea who would have obtained my card and details and am concerned about ongoing identity theft, as well as being out of pocket for fraudulent behaviour.

    Do I need to push this in a different way?

    Surely the Bank or Visa can do a 'chargeback', and the Hotel can chase any money owing from the fraudster by a different means. Or, refer him/her to the Police. Or, if they believe they have authorization from me, surely they should provide that promptly, as well as details of what I have actually paid for (about 20 transactions over 2 weeks!).

    Any advice welcome. I am an Australian citizen, routinely live and work overseas. The bank is based in Vic.
     
  2. Rob Legat - SBPL

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    VISA has strict timeframes and processes for this sort of thing, which is called a 'chargeback'. They give the merchant an opportunity to justify the charges, and a time frame of (I think) about 7 days to do so. It's only been two days, so you'll need to give them some time.

    In the meantime, if you haven't already, I suggest you ask the bank to issue new card details.
     
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  3. Scruff

    Scruff Well-Known Member

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    The first thing to check is any online transactions that you've made with that card. The chances are pretty high that one of those vendors is selling card details. Look for someone you haven't dealt with before.
     
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  4. mkr

    mkr Well-Known Member

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    Update. It has turned out highly likely that my card details were taken by a prior partner who stayed at my home earlier in the year. It has appeared that this person then colluded with Hotel staff to push transactions through the card. The hotel is pursuing arrest of this person, also with a view to find out who else was involved (including their own staff).

    The issue I have is that my issuing bank claims they will not issue a ChargeBack, as the person who committed the fraud would have had access to my card, being a former partner.

    Meanwhile, the Hotel is also claiming victim, and says they will pursue charges against the perpetrators, and that the Bank may like to chase the perpetrators for the money. They have also acknowledged that they did not realise their machines would allow a card-absent, no-pin transaction. They have not provided any information as to what services (if any) were paid for with the charges. I suspect they were just pushed through in exchange for cash.

    I don't believe these are fair grounds from the Bank, to leave me high and dry with the charges on this basis. I have not been negligent with my card, the charges were fraudulent and without any authorization, and I have always had the card in my possession.

    Do I have grounds to escalate this claim? Do I take this to the ombudsman at that point or is there another entity that I should work this with first of all?
     
  5. Rob Legat - SBPL

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    Ask the hotel for the particulars of their complaint to the police (any formal reference number).

    Make a complaint to the bank on the basis of their decision. Provide the details of the police reference number. Specify that it was a 'card not present' transaction and either (a) insufficient authorisation was obtained (signature or PIN), or (b) fraudulent identity theft is alleged to have occurred.

    If they don't change their decision, you can then take the matter further to Home - Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA)
     
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  6. Scruff

    Scruff Well-Known Member

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    Wow - didn't see that one coming at all. It would be interesting to know how you found out - if that's something you can and are willing to share.

    I agree with Rob, and once you have evidence of Rob's points (a) or (b), the issue of having access to the card at an earlier time is pretty much irrelevant. If the Hotel allowed transactions without authorization, then they're the ones that will end up having to wear it.

    It's pretty poor form that your bank would even take that stance to begin with. Sounds to me like you need to get some paper, coloured crayons and a couple of dolls, sit the bank staff down and show them what "EX" means when it appears in front of the word "partner".

    Don't forget to give them all a lollypop when you're done.
     
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