a warning about using credit union-issued credit cards

I'm a big believer in credit unions, having been a member of one or more for all of my adult life. They aren't good for everything: you might find yourself better off getting a mortgage somewhere else, for example, but I've used them for car loans. I've also had credit cards from them. There are benefits even for someone who never carries a balance and therefore doesn't care about interest rates: for example, my card has no late fee.

Luckily I've only had to request a charge back twice in my life. About 10 years ago, one was with Chase bank and it was handled very smoothly. They *immediately* credited my account, sent the paperwork for me to notarize by express mail, and I never heard of the matter again.
Recently I had a merchant with whom I had a recurrent billing arrangement make an incorrect charge for $400 and refuse to refund it. After several phone calls it become clear they intended to give me the run-around. After a month of desperation, I called the number of the back of my credit union issued mastercard for a charge back. Apparently, many many credit unions use a shadowy company in Florida to service their cards: they will claim to be Visa or Mastercard, or your credit union, but they are not.
I gave them all the particulars of the case and was told I would be contacted if further information was needed. A couple weeks went by - nothing. I called again to be sure the case was progressing. "Yes we have everything we need". Then after about a week, I wondered why I didn't see the (at least temporary) refund on my account...which Chase had posted the day after I contacted them, before even getting the notarized affadavit. This time, I spoke with a regular CR rep instead of the fraud/chargeback department. HE says "I see no evidence of any chargebacks on your account". Now I get mad and ask to speak to fraud again. They say there was just a "mix up" and the case was still "being investigated" which could take 6-8 weeks. I offer to send them screenshots of vendor's website, showing that the $400 charge was a duplicate. They give me a fax number and say someone will follow up. After a week of no contact, I try one more time: am told the case will still take 6-8 weeks even though I've now provided documentation.
After 10 weeks, I call I am told that the case has been "closed". No further information, no refund. Mind you, each of these calls involved a wait time of 30 or minutes.

Now I call my credit union, where I've been a member for 15 years. If I thought this had just happened to me, I wouldn't be posting this. But...after contacting this servicing company herself, and trying to get the case re-opened, the rep for my credit card company tells me later that day that this "happens all the time". After about a week of further wrangling, including me having to give the details of the case over the phone _again_, the chargeback was finally processed correctly.

So, basically, the servicing company seems to do everything possible to get out of actually processing the chargeback. If you face the scenario in the future with a credit union issued card, I recommend you give the service about a week or so to make things right, and then assume they are not going to. Contact you credit union to get them to push the matter.

This post was edited by davidrt28 on Thu, Jul 31, 14 at 9:30

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