Costco And HSBC Trying To Rob Me Of $3000!
ISSAQUAH, WASHINGTON -- During my divorce, I followed lawyer's advice and called my creditors to get all my account numbers changed. One of these was COSTCO, whom I called in June of last year for this purpose. I was told that they "can't do that", and that I would have to start all over and apply for a new account. This upset me somewhat, since I'd been using this account for over 12 years, and no other creditors had any such problem with my request. So I said that if that's the case, maybe the account should just be closed entirely and I will just stop shopping there. Suddenly, they were much more attentive....
I was then talked into a different action-- having only the account's second (now invalid and missing) card cancelled. I was then assured both by phone, and later by mail, that this had been done. But evidently some step in the procedure was missed by a processing clerk, or someone, and THE CARD WAS NEVER REALLY DEACTIVATED. And apparently there is no Quality Control, or verification process for Costco to ensure that such important procedures are actually completed.
Not only did Costco allow this supposedly-cancelled card to be used by someone to max out my account, at four stores over a 3-day period in September-- one or more of their stores actually allowed the card to be charged to $400 PAST THE CREDIT LIMIT for that account! Talk about sloppy policy....
No notice was sent to me regarding the VERY unusual activity in this account. I didn't find out until I got my normal statement, almost a month later.
If there is a more obvious indication of possible identity theft or fraud than this sort of huge, fast account-draining, I've never heard of it. In this day and age of rampant identity theft, that lack of communication is inexcusable for a company of this size!
I've already filed BBB and FTC complaints regarding Costco and HSBC (see below), over this issue.
Apparently, HSBC (USA branch) handles all account finances, and "dispute" claims for Costco. Since my first phone call (about eight months ago, now), I have been getting correspondence from HSBC regarding this issue. What I have been subjected to is an almost laughable, never-ending campaign of dodging, denying, pretense and just plain annoyance... apparently designed to frustrate me to the point that I just give up and pay for Costco's mistakes!
They use a whole "delay and annoy" strategy... such as sending formal letters stating that if there are any "questions", I should call a phone number --the general customer service number for Costco/HSBC-- where I am informed that the "dispute department doesn't accept phone replies".... Such as repeatedly sending letters pretending that the amount in dispute is either the entire account balance, or a much smaller amount than is in actual dispute (I have been informed on several occasions by sympathetic customer service rep's that there are notes and comments all over this file identifying what is actually in dispute-- so either HSBC is not investigating at all, or their job actually entails intentionally attempting to delay, frustrate and aggravate complainants until they simply give up in disgust)... And such as continuously and intentionally ignoring the actual facts of the dispute, sending letters saying "all charges seem to be in order", and pretending that this resolves everything... and oh yes by the way, I'm now back to owing the entire amount again, have a nice day.
Whenever I call HSBC, I get the same run-around-- the customer service rep claims that s/he can't do anything except enter data into the case file, and that either the "dispute or fraud departments" are who I need to contact. When I do that, I get another letter, with yet another version of the story.
To date, I have not heard a single HSBC or Costco person acknowledge that Costco screwed up; or anyone from either group willing to accept responsibility for the errors. They obviously intend only to wear me down.
It is clear to me that 1--HSBC has NOT really investigated this issue, and is simply following a formula designed to "make it go away", and 2--Neither company intends to ever resolve this issue, fairly.