Saturday 14 March 2015

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Must I give my cell number?

On Thursday 6th January I went to a store where I bought a few items and then paid with my debit card, the receipt came out and I was asked to sign and write my cell number.

I asked the assistant why they need my cell number, she told me it is the policy, I refused and asked her to call her supervisor, she came and the supervisor started shouting to me that I am the first customer to ever do that. I was very offended.

I want to understand the significance of writing the cell number on the bank receipt, because in my opinion by signing the receipt it shows I have authorised payment.

Good for you for standing up for your rights. I think you are within your rights to keep your cell number private. I always refuse to give people my cell number when they ask me for it, even when they argue. Sometimes I tell them that my number is secret and if they persist I just tell them that I don’t have a cellphone. That usually shuts them up.

I also think that you’re right that when you’ve authorized the transaction that’s the end of it, particularly these days with PIN-based payments.

I understand that stores are scared that cards might have been stolen or compromised somehow and that they don’t want to lose money but how does taking a customer’s cell number help with that? Do you really think that a criminal using a stolen card is going to give his own cell number? I’ve no idea how they this this will help.

I don’t blame the assistant who first asked you for the number, I blame the supervisor and the manager who has presumably made up this silly rule. They are the ones who should explain why they need to insult and bother their customers instead of showing them some respect.

They took my money!

In February a gentleman from Hotel Express International called me and we talked for 20 minutes and he convinced me to join. He explained that the membership was to be confirmed by the existence of a credit card. He stated that by giving him the Credit card details it would just be confirmation purposes so I gave my credit card number and expiry date. Two days later a transaction went through my Credit card and they debited P852.42 and a few days later they debited yet again P686.12. A few minutes after I received another call from a lady from Hotel Express ad she confirmed that I have been activated and that my card had been debited. I made it clear to the lady I was furious and requested that they reverse the transaction and that I was not interested anymore but she was adamant that it was not possible and that a confirmation email has been sent to me regarding the membership. I have never received that confirmation email to date.

I decided not to put any money into my credit card which remains over drawn because of their transaction and they continue to check for funds in my accounts and the account continues to charge me failed transaction fee.
Can I get my money back from this organization?

Unfortunately you are not the first person to have this experience. We’ve heard from many people who told us exactly the same story. Luckily Hotel Express International say they record all of their phone calls so they will be able to check that you didn’t actually consent to joining and paying their fees. I’ve sent your details through to them so there’s hope they might fix this situation.

The lesson is NEVER to give your card details to anyone over the phone like this. How can you be sure they’ll respect your wishes and your money?

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