Netspend / blocked from access to money on debit card
Have been an unhappy Netspend customer since February of 2007. There have been multiple times when purchases have been declined even with sufficient funds loaded onto my card. I am writing to you in complete disgust over an ongoing situation where my account has been frozen, on hold for over four days.
I purchased (in cash) a carpet at Stone Mountain Carpet Mill Outlet in North Huntington, PA a week ago to be picked up the following Friday. We received a hand-written sales order with the company logo and invoice number as a receipt. Then my fiancé and I decided to purchase laminate floors instead and install them ourselves because it would be less costly. On July 12, 2007 we returned the carpet to the Outlet. The carpet store offered to pay us in check or refund the amount of $227.90 to my Netspend visa DEBIT card. Obviously, I chose the debit return, which seems to be a criminal offense if you ask any one of the many, many Netspend representatives to which I’ve spoken in the past four days.
The following day I tried to make a $5.30 purchase at Yankee Candle Co. at the mall, but to my embarrassment, the transaction was declined. I called Netspend headquarters and was stunned to hear that because of my “FRAUDULENT TRANSACTION” my account has been placed on hold. Not just the $227.90, but the $357 that was previously loaded onto my card as well. The foreign Netspend representative explained in broken English that all I have to do is fax proof of validity that there was a purchase made, even if it was in cash, that my account would be taken off of hold and I could pay some bills, buy gas and groceries, etc.
This was Saturday evening, and the closest Ace Cash Express was closed until Monday morning, so I had to wait til Monday after I got off of work to attempt to use the money that I worked hard to earn. Monday afternoon, I gathered my receipts and drove the 40 minutes to Ace Cash Express where the Ace associate remained on the phone with a Netspend representative, to whom we faxed all receipts a copy of my card, the reference number, and a callback number, who was to call back immediately to let me know when my account was cleared. The Ace associate assured me that it was okay to go home and that the associate from Netspend would call me back soon.
I never got a call back and my account was still on hold the next day. After work, I called Netspend again to see what the problem was. Another representative that did not speak or understand English well explained to me that Netspend only received the Sales order from my original purchase of the carpet, and not the return transaction receipt. I called the Ace associate and had her refax all the information, so I would not have to make another hour and 20 minute roundtrip to do the same thing I did the day earlier.
This time, Netspend received all receipts, but was arguing that the original receipt was not valid because it was hand-written and not typed. They instructed me that the merchant was to call them and validate the the receipt. So I packed up and drove another half hour each way to the carpet store and called Netspend. This is where I waited on hold for over an hour from one representative to the next who did not know what to do or could not help me. The OWNER of the carpet outlet (who is actually losing money on this whole deal by paying YOU to provide payment transactions) was kind enough to assist in the refund. He patiently spoke to a foreign Netspend representative who told him that he would have to reverse the refund in order for this to work out. The owner of the carpet store stated that he did not know how to perform a reverse and asked to a) be walked through the process step-by-step or b)speak to someone who could assist. The Netspend representative said that they didn’t know how to do this and that there was nothing else to do.
The Netspend representative then said that the only way for me to get my account off of hold was to fax the original receipt from FEBRUARY when I purchased my Netspend Debit Card!!! He said that Netspend needs to validate that I am actually Kelly Peirce and that I was the original purchaser of the debit card.
So I thanked the carpet store owner for his time and because I was so fed up and did not have my receipt from February, I drove the hour and ten minutes from that point back to Ace Cash Express. The very kind Ace associate said that she was sorry but there was nothing she could do. She could not prove to Netspend that I am Kelly Peirce and that I purchased the card. So on the long drive home, I called Netspend again and spoke to a line of people who said they could not help, and all of their managers who said they could not help—every one of them treated me as if I was a criminal. The last manager I spoke to, Alyssa, was anything but helpful. She told me at first that Netspend could not accept my original receipt as valid because it did not say the method of payment.
I explained to her that if she actually looked at the original sales receipt, which was faxed to Netspend twice, she would see that written an inch thick, circled, in the middle of the receipt is ‘PAID Cash.’ Next she said that Netspend would offer me a “one-time clearance” of this and we get squared away. Then I was put on hold for a really long time. Alyssa switched the phone back to me to say that if my receipt was typed it would be valid, but because the merchant uses written sales orders, my original receipt was not valid—even though I had the owner of the store on the phone earlier to validate it.
Then Alyssa threatened to close my account because of my fraudulent activity. I told her I would not get off the phone until this matter is handled, so we called the manager of the carpet store on a 3-way call. Alyssa did not listen to what either of us were saying, and (falsely) told the manager that I said that he “refused to help me” and accused him of refusing to give me a printed receipt. She accused him of fraudulent activity over and over instead of helping to clear the problem.
So the evening of July 17, 2007—five days later, I am still blocked from accessing my money. I cannot put gas in my car, buy groceries, or pay bills. I am on a 3-day vacation from work and have spent the first day on the phone and driving back and forth to clear this matter. I have no money and am stuck sitting at home during my free time. I have automatic bill payments being declined and most likely late payment fees charged to me. If my employer pays me through direct deposit I will not receive my earned income.
So today, Tuesday i drove to the carpet store where the manager kindly called their bank to reverse the refund transaction--which was done in 10 minutes. Netspend is still refusing to unfreeze my account going on the sixth day without any money.
I emailed customer service last night and they said that that's just the way credit cards work. THIS ISN'T A CREDIT CARD. It's a debit card that they claim 'is just like cash'.
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