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Stolen credit card problems

When Sylvia noticed her credit card was missing, she called her credit card provider and asked to cancel the card. The person Sylvia spoke to at the call centre told her, incorrectly, that it was impossible to cancel the card afterhours and she would have to call back the next day. Sylvia checked her account online, and saw the thief had used her card to withdraw about $500.

When Sylvia called the credit card provider the next day, she was told the system was down and the card could not be cancelled. Sylvia called again about half an hour later and the person she spoke to blocked the card, arranged for a replacement card to be posted out, and credited Sylvia’s account with $25 to compensate her for the inconvenience.

Two days later, the replacement card had not arrived. When Sylvia called to find out where it was, she discovered it had been sent by standard post, Sylvia asked for another replacement card to be couriered to her. The next day the posted card arrived, in a branded envelope, but Sylvia was unable to use it because it had been cancelled when the second replacement card was issued and couriered.

Two days later the couriered card had still not arrived and Sylvia was getting frustrated. Sylvia emailed a complaint to her credit card provider. The next day, the couriered card arrived, again in a branded envelope. Sylvia was able to use this card.

Two weeks later, Sylvia’s account was credited with $500 for the disputed transactions. It also took two weeks for the credit card provider to provide transaction information to the police. The credit card provider apologised to Sylvia, and credited her account with a further $25.

Sylvia felt the credit card provider was not taking the matter seriously enough and complained to us.



Sylvia said she was very worried when she was unable to cancel her card afterhours and spent the night worrying about how much money might be stolen from her account. It was also unhelpful that the replacement card was posted rather than couriered, delaying receipt. Then when the card arrived, it was in a branded envelope. Sylvia considered this increased the risk of the card being stolen from her mailbox.

Sylvia also said that, when the card was cancelled, direct debit payments were dishonoured, and she had to spend time setting the payments up again. Sylvia said that if the card had been re-issued more quickly, the payments would not have been dishonoured.

Finally, Sylvia complained that it took two weeks to refund the money and provide information to the police about the theft.

The credit card provider agreed it had provided very poor service to Sylvia and apologised for the numerous errors. The credit card provider said that it would increase staff training and consider couriering replacement cards in unmarked envelopes in the future. After we started our investigation, the credit card provider offered to increase its compensation to $300, but Sylvia did not accept the offer.



We talked to Sylvia and asked what would resolve the complaint for her. Sylvia said she was insulted by the credit card provider’s original offers to credit her account with $25 then $50. Sylvia agreed she had not suffered any financial loss but said that the experience was extremely stressful, and that the credit card provider did not seem to appreciate this until after we had started our investigation. Sylvia said that she would accept $500 to resolve her complaint.



The credit card provider agreed to increase the settlement amount to $500 and Sylvia accepted the offer.


Insights for participants

This complaint could have been avoided if the first person Sylvia spoke to had cancelled her card and discussed with her how the replacement card was to be issued.