Dear ABC News Fixer: I got a argument bulletin from Western Union alerting me about a transaction. The botheration was that I had not fabricated one!
I got on my computer appropriate away. To my shock, I begin that $460 had been baseborn from my NetSpend prepaid debit card. I alleged Western Union’s chump service, and while I was on the phone, I arrested my annual and begin the scammers had hit my annual again, for a absolute accident of $920.
Western Union told me to acquaintance NetSpend appropriate away. I did. They told me to book an adventure address with affidavit of what happened. I did that, but I accept gotten the runaround anytime since. Please help!
– Sandra Malone, South Holland, Ill.
Dear Sandra: It sounds like those crooks weren’t crumbling any time. You told us how you watched in abhorrence as your annual antithesis kept shrinking. You said that whoever acquired admission to your annual beatific the baseborn funds all the way to Vietnam.
You were acute to jump on this appropriate abroad – and astute to get a badge address documenting the theft.
Meanwhile, we got in blow with NetSpend’s PR bodies to let them apperceive you’d been cat-and-mouse able-bodied over a ages already with no admission to your money.
For those not in the know, NetSpend, based in Austin, Texas, is one of several providers of reloadable, prepaid debit cards that are marketed to the millions of Americans who don’t accept a acceptable coffer annual or acclaim card. Western Union sells co-branded NetSpend cards, and the cards can additionally be reloaded at accommodating grocery or retail stores, gas stations, check-cashing food and MoneyGram agents.
The ABC News Fixer bound heard aback from backer Meredith Kelsey, who promised to investigate your issue. Soon after, Kelsey told us they anchored it and put the $920 aback in your account.
“We never appetite to see our cardholders acquaintance the affliction of an crooked transaction and activity afterwards admission to their funds,” Kelsey told the ABC News Fixer. “That’s why we commonly admonish cardholders to chase Ms. Malone’s archetype by carefully ecology their accounts and advertisement crooked affairs appropriate away, aback it can booty up to 45 canicule to investigate and dness a dispute.”
So you are aback in business. But what about added consumers who are application this growing technology?
It’s important to apperceive that alike admitting reloadable prepaid cards may attending like acceptable acclaim or debit cards, they may action beneath protections.
Significantly, they are not covered by federal cyberbanking regulations that administer if your above acclaim agenda or coffer debit agenda is stolen. (Under those regulations, the consumer’s best accountability for an crooked transaction on a acclaim agenda is $50. If a coffer debit agenda is absent or baseborn and the customer letters it aural two days, the customer is accountable for up to $50 in losses; however, that rises to $500 afterwards two days, and if the customer waits added than 60 canicule to address it they could face absolute losses.)
In contrast, prepaid reloadable cards don’t currently action all-embracing customer protections, according to the Federal Trade Commission, so it’s important to apprehend all the accomplished book in the card’s agreement and conditions. With the NetSpend card, there is bound accountability if you address a annexation appropriate away; however, if the bandit uses a PIN to admission your money or if you’ve already appear two or added incidents in the accomplished year, you’re out of luck.
For reloadable cards that accept a PIN, never accumulate the PIN with the agenda and be abiding to accumulate the PIN secret. If artifice occurs and it’s accurate that you were loosey-goosey with your PIN, you ability not be able to get any refund.
Consumers application reloadable prepaid cards should additionally pay aing absorption to fees for deposits, withdrawals, ATM use, debits and added transactions. Those can add up adequately bound depending on the card.
– The ABC News Fixer
Got a customer problem? The ABC News Fixer may be able to help. Click actuality to abide your botheration online. Letters are edited for breadth and clarity.
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