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Help!! Freaking travel company has emptied my bank account!

Help!! Freaking travel company has emptied my bank account!

Old Aug 6th 2004, 12:25 am
  #1  
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Default Help!! Freaking travel company has emptied my bank account!

OK slight exaggeration Boy, do I feel stupid - we got a fax in the office 2 weeks ago, saying you could get a $99 vacation to Florida, if you went to see this timeshare place, some of the girls and I were talking about it and I volunteered to call up and find out more. Called them, ad they explained it was accommodation only, 5 nights in Orlando at Disney hotel, 3 nights in Vegas, and another couple of vacations somewhere else, Cancun I think. All in all including procesing fees etc it was $296 and up to 6 people could go so we discussed it and decided to split it and pay by check after we got paid. The lady confirmed we could do this - and took my name and address and asked who I banked with - I told her AMSouth. Anyway, after that she asked for my account details and I asked why and she said they would automatically deduct it from bank account and I said no, forget it and hung up. Did NOT give my bank account number.

Anyway, go to the bank tonight and realize I am short $300 - call them and some company called E-Commerce has debited the $296!!!!!!!!!!! I called my bank who were most unhelpful - I assume they must have given my account details???? They told me to go in and talk to fraud department and fill out a form but will take days or weeks to sort out if at all. Then I get home and have a confirmation in the mail of my "reservations"

Can I kiss goodbye to this money? Or is this illegal??? My friend suggested calling the police and then said actually the FBI which made me laugh my head off - liek they would be interested in some stupid idjit like me calling a stupid company like this in the first place!

I am sooooo mad, now I am short to pay my rent and dont see this getting resolved in the next few days. I noticed I have something called overdraft protection on my account up to $500 - does this mean I can use this to cover the difference with what is left and the shortfall to pay my rent does anyone know???

Thanks guys!
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Old Aug 6th 2004, 12:38 am
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welcome to the USA.
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Old Aug 6th 2004, 12:59 am
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Default Re: Help!! Freaking travel company has emptied my bank account!

Advice follows below....

Note that E-Comerce is the merchant service that processed the transaction, but not the company that flogged you the vacation.

In addition, now they have the info, they may keep taking. Open another account ASAP, divert all funds there. Close old account as soon as it's all sorted out. Don't feel sorry for the banks -- they created this stupid situation whereby any T,D or H can come steal your money.

**********************************************
HERE IS WHAT RIP-OFF REPORT SUGGESTS YOU DO:

Go to your bank within 60 days of the charge, or as soon as you know about the charge, don't delay, and tell them that there has been fraudulent activity within your account. Explain that you wish you file a dispute, and demand that they assist you in accordance with Federal Regulation E.

According to the majority of victims interviewed by Rip-off Report, those who immediately called their banks to dispute the charges did not get very far. Many victims got the following responses from their banks: “we could not do anything for you� or “you waited too long; it has been more than 60 days�.

If the bank is says that you have waited too long, explain to them how you called their 800 number as soon as the charges were found, and were told by the bank that nothing could be done. Remind the bank that they failed to assist you properly at the 800 # , and instead, provided you with an inadequate explanation of your right to dispute. Tell the bank that it's their fault time has expired, and since they gave you the wrong info to begin with, they will just have to deal with it, take the loss and reverse the charges.

Tell them the truth; this was unauthorized and your account was NOT to be charged! Keep emphasizing how you never authorized anything! Direct them to the hundreds of victims reports that were filed on Rip-off Report.com. And if you're at the bank, walk them over to their computer and make them go to this site! If you are on the phone with them, tell them you will wait while they access this site! Either way, be persistent!

DO NOT TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER!

Let them know nicely, that you were advised to Report them (the Bank) and this situation to the Banking Commission in your state. Since each state has a different name for the agency/comptroller over banks, find that name before you call or get to the bank so you can throw it in their face. The more knowledgeable you appear to be, the further you will get.

And just continue to demand the Federal Regulation E form! The bank CAN, MUST and WILL reverse the charge! But, you must be persistent; ask to speak to the supervisor or the area manager for all the branches in the state.

Let the bank personnel know you are meeting with the media later in the day, that you would much rather they do the right thing (as most other banks have) by looking at the complaints and immediately reversing the charge(s) to your account; no matter how long ago it was. Be sure to call the Media if necessary so you are telling the truth.

If you have to, be loud (but nice) in front of other customers. If you are just calling by phone, the above tactics should still work. The bank can easily fax or mail to you the Federal Regulation E dispute form.
http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/ripoff102302.htm
**********************************************
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Old Aug 6th 2004, 1:05 am
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Default Re: Help!! Freaking travel company has emptied my bank account!

Originally posted by Lesley1020
OK slight exaggeration Boy, do I feel stupid - we got a fax in the office 2 weeks ago, saying you could get a $99 vacation to Florida, if you went to see this timeshare place, some of the girls and I were talking about it and I volunteered to call up and find out more. Called them, ad they explained it was accommodation only, 5 nights in Orlando at Disney hotel, 3 nights in Vegas, and another couple of vacations somewhere else, Cancun I think. All in all including procesing fees etc it was $296 and up to 6 people could go so we discussed it and decided to split it and pay by check after we got paid. The lady confirmed we could do this - and took my name and address and asked who I banked with - I told her AMSouth. Anyway, after that she asked for my account details and I asked why and she said they would automatically deduct it from bank account and I said no, forget it and hung up. Did NOT give my bank account number.

Anyway, go to the bank tonight and realize I am short $300 - call them and some company called E-Commerce has debited the $296!!!!!!!!!!! I called my bank who were most unhelpful - I assume they must have given my account details???? They told me to go in and talk to fraud department and fill out a form but will take days or weeks to sort out if at all. Then I get home and have a confirmation in the mail of my "reservations"

Can I kiss goodbye to this money? Or is this illegal??? My friend suggested calling the police and then said actually the FBI which made me laugh my head off - liek they would be interested in some stupid idjit like me calling a stupid company like this in the first place!

I am sooooo mad, now I am short to pay my rent and dont see this getting resolved in the next few days. I noticed I have something called overdraft protection on my account up to $500 - does this mean I can use this to cover the difference with what is left and the shortfall to pay my rent does anyone know???

Thanks guys!
Actually it sounds to me like the bank is hugely at fault here. If you did not give your authorization they should not have allowed the debit to take place. Personally I would demand to see the bank manager, they will try to fob you off but you need to be very forceful (polite but forceful) and ask for the monies to be immediately refunded to your account, and then contact the police and FBI for a fraud investigation. You should also think about seeing a lawyer to sue your bank and the E commerce company for the tort of appropriation, breach of contract (that’s more the bank really) and restitution.

I have a similar problem with Fed Ex myself right now. I arranged to move some books in 13 parcels. My wife went down and was told it would be $332.70. She gave them $200 in cash and then the remainder was to be paid by debit card. The idiot Fed Ex employee charged the whole $332.70 to my MasterCard and forgot to credit the $200, which just disappeared, so my account ended up with a $125 unauthorized overdraft and I incurred $174 in bank charges! I just found out when my card was refused so it was a shock to suddenly be $300 in debt instead of $90 odd in credit. We have taken it up with Fed Ex and faxed copies of all the documents and bank statements, they tell me they are investigating. Essentially the bank tell me they will close out the account and move to collection on 22nd Aug if its not dealt with so I told Fed Ex they have until then to get it sorted or I will go to a lawyer and come looking for a lot more than $374. We shall see how it develops but so far they have been pretty good at getting to it. But I will be happy when my account is back in credit.

Seriously they are in the wrong here. The contract between you and bank authorized them to only pay monies out when you request it or authorize it in the correct form, signed transfer document, debit card transaction etc. In this case you did not. I suggest you document it all, take copies of the tickets etc and then return them with a strongly worded letter demanding a refund and pointing out you did not authorize payment and did not enter into any contract with them. You need to assert the position that you did not contract with them for this and no legal right existed for them to demand payment. (Obviously without written proof your word vs. theirs on whether you did agree in the phone call). (The lesson here is always get it in writing and if only my missus had got that one right I wouldn’t have a problem). If you accept or use the tickets at this time you have implicitly accepted the terms of the contract by your action and that’s the end of your complaint. Personally I think you have a better leg with the bank but don’t let e commerce off the hook either. Ask the bank manager to document your authority for the transfer of funds. Demand a piece of paper with your signature on it that details the amount and authorizes the transfer. Doubt they have one so it’s oh shit time for him then. Seriously if you get no joy with your manger ask for the contact details of the area manger and write to him/her. Mention lawyers but don’t say you will sue yet or they may clam up. You want to suggest that a ‘if we resolve this now we avoid the lawyers situation exists but I am thinking about it if I don’t get satisfaction’.

Alternatively take it up the ass and welcome to America.

By the way this is merely my personal opinion and should not be construed as any form of legal or professional advice. Just in case we are all getting litigious.

On looking at Fatbrits advice that looks good as well so i would definately try that. Number one thing though return the tickets/reservation and in writing to this travel company (keep a copy) state that you did not agree to purchase the trip and do not accept it. No contract means no right to your money. You must ensure you clearly repudiate the existence of any contract for the trip.

The advice about a new account is also good and may i suggest another bank to just to be careful they dont hand out your details again.

Last edited by Duncs; Aug 6th 2004 at 1:16 am.
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Old Aug 6th 2004, 3:11 am
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Default Thank you!

Once again this forum comes to the rescue I took the advice and called my bank's 1-800 number stating what was said here - suddenly they were able to do something over the phone LOL.

Guy came back and told me that the debit was a "draft" whatever that means and therefore would have required my authorization as you said - so they will refund the money once investigated fully - within 1-3 days As I know I did not authorize anything hopefully I have no concerns there. The guy I spoke with said under no circumstances would AMSouth have given them my a/c number etc - and that they must have got it from another source - I can't quite think of what!!!! Well, lesson learned in any event, and thank you again for the great advice!
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Old Aug 6th 2004, 4:15 am
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Default Re: Thank you!

Originally posted by Lesley1020
Once again this forum comes to the rescue I took the advice and called my bank's 1-800 number stating what was said here - suddenly they were able to do something over the phone LOL.
Looking good -- but you're not out of the woods yet so keep protecting yourself.

1) Make sure you follow up in writing with bank.
2) Open a file and log everything you do and say, copies of all your letters.
3) Seriously consider changing the account number and bank and redirecting your payments to it -- once your details are out there with these sort of companies, they'll keep doing it to you.
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Old Aug 6th 2004, 6:32 am
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Default Re: Help!! Freaking travel company has emptied my bank account!

Originally posted by Lesley1020
OK slight exaggeration Boy, do I feel stupid - we got a fax in the office 2 weeks ago, saying you could get a $99 vacation to Florida, if you went to see this timeshare place, some of the girls and I were talking about it and I volunteered to call up and find out more. Called them, ad they explained it was accommodation only, 5 nights in Orlando at Disney hotel, 3 nights in Vegas, and another couple of vacations somewhere else, Cancun I think. All in all including procesing fees etc it was $296 and up to 6 people could go so we discussed it and decided to split it and pay by check after we got paid. The lady confirmed we could do this - and took my name and address and asked who I banked with - I told her AMSouth. Anyway, after that she asked for my account details and I asked why and she said they would automatically deduct it from bank account and I said no, forget it and hung up. Did NOT give my bank account number.

Anyway, go to the bank tonight and realize I am short $300 - call them and some company called E-Commerce has debited the $296!!!!!!!!!!! I called my bank who were most unhelpful - I assume they must have given my account details???? They told me to go in and talk to fraud department and fill out a form but will take days or weeks to sort out if at all. Then I get home and have a confirmation in the mail of my "reservations"

Can I kiss goodbye to this money? Or is this illegal??? My friend suggested calling the police and then said actually the FBI which made me laugh my head off - liek they would be interested in some stupid idjit like me calling a stupid company like this in the first place!

I am sooooo mad, now I am short to pay my rent and dont see this getting resolved in the next few days. I noticed I have something called overdraft protection on my account up to $500 - does this mean I can use this to cover the difference with what is left and the shortfall to pay my rent does anyone know???

Thanks guys!
This would NEVER happen in the UK......that much I do know. I am sorry it has happened to you and I hope it gets sorted.
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Old Aug 6th 2004, 11:12 am
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Default Re: Help!! Freaking travel company has emptied my bank account!

Originally posted by Lothianlad
This would NEVER happen in the UK......that much I do know. I am sorry it has happened to you and I hope it gets sorted.

Obviously you are a just graduated student Lothianlad, this would happen in the UK, get your blinkers off. Give me your name and address etc and I bet I can get your account number! And take your Tesco wage this week. LOL!

But I don't think I could get them to release any money though!
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Old Aug 6th 2004, 1:28 pm
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funny you should bring this up lesley, one of my friends who also banks with amsouth had $400 randomly taken from her checking - the bank was very unhelpful, after fighting with the 'robbers' for a fortnight they eventually gave the money back after being threatened by the FBI etc - amsouith were hopeless

i personally hate these crappy regional banks - first tennessee branches keep springing up like weeds near me, lets hope they're doing it to make themselves a takeover target for citibank or chase....

i use bank if america and they have the same guarantee covering their debit card that people generally have covering their credit card for loss prevention/refund
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Old Aug 6th 2004, 1:55 pm
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For those of us who pay bills online...is there a way to set up with my bank who is/is not authorized automatic debiting from my account? I got a letter from my bank a few months ago saying my account "may have been" a target of fraud, that it happened to other customers (I got a new check card, but what if the frauders have my account number?). I suppose I should open a second account so all my eggs aren't in one basket?

All this about bank fraud makes me nervous! More than once I could not figure out why my balance did not match the bank's balance...even looking at the bank statements.
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Old Aug 6th 2004, 11:01 pm
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Originally posted by jcapulet
All this about bank fraud makes me nervous! More than once I could not figure out why my balance did not match the bank's balance...even looking at the bank statements.
Never, ever if at all possible allow any company access to your US bank account. There is no protection that even comes close to the UK’s Direct Debit agreement, and over here the onus is on you to sort it all out when things go wrong. My advice is to demand paper bills, and then use your bank’s bill pay service to make payment. Refuse all so-called e-bills or automatic debits from your account.

For payments to online merchants, only use credit cards such as Amex Blue or Discover that allow generation of a single-shot number/expiry date combinations.
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Old Aug 9th 2004, 11:08 am
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Default Re: Help!! Freaking travel company has emptied my bank account!

Originally Posted by fatbrit
Never, ever if at all possible allow any company access to your US bank account. There is no protection that even comes close to the UK’s Direct Debit agreement, and over here the onus is on you to sort it all out when things go wrong. My advice is to demand paper bills, and then use your bank’s bill pay service to make payment. Refuse all so-called e-bills or automatic debits from your account.

For payments to online merchants, only use credit cards such as Amex Blue or Discover that allow generation of a single-shot number/expiry date combinations.
I've been using CheckFree.com which has proved 100% reliable for the past year and a half - I have to authorize all payments, but I'm sure there's a 1% chance something could go wrong - I can accept that risk, as it's extremely convenient. Everything else is paid by check or Visa/Amex.

I've definitely passed on T Mobile and Comcast's offer of direct payments....

Sam.
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Old Aug 9th 2004, 11:28 am
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Default Re: Help!! Freaking travel company has emptied my bank account!

Originally Posted by ukemigrant
I've been using CheckFree.com which has proved 100% reliable for the past year and a half - I have to authorize all payments, but I'm sure there's a 1% chance something could go wrong - I can accept that risk, as it's extremely convenient. Everything else is paid by check or Visa/Amex.

I've definitely passed on T Mobile and Comcast's offer of direct payments....

Sam.

All these corporations are a bunch of ****wits, this sort of thing happens to my girlfriend every few months, she's just been ripped off her medical insurance these last few months. grrrrrrrr
It's not as much as you guys seem to have been done over, my advice, keep it under the mattress
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