This senior created her problem and is determined to fix it herself

Faye Borowsky allowed her son-in-law to prepay for a rental car on her credit card. Then she forgot about it.

When she got her credit card bill, she made a critical mistake that has caused her months of anguish.

She asked us to help her help herself, and you would be surprised to find out how she got herself out of this bind.

“When the charge came on my bill I disputed the charge because I forgot all about it,” she told us. “Once I realized the charge was correct — being a senior, I completely forgot — I reversed the disputed charge and paid my bill.”

That’s when the trouble started — a collection agency began to harass her son-in-law for payment. Borowsky sent in paperwork proving she had paid the charge on her credit card bill. But that wasn’t enough to thwart the collectors.

Frustrated with the collection agency’s relentless pursuit of money she already had paid, she turned to our advocates — surprisingly, not for help with advocating her case, but for contact information for Budget Car Rental (which is owned by Avis) so she could advocate for herself.

Once our advocate relayed the information to Borowsky, she got to work by contacting representatives at Avis/Budget. Unfortunately, she ran into a brick wall.

“I’ve been in contact with a nice woman who keeps telling me that I need to get a reversal from CitiBank,” Borowsky said. “I have provided two letters from CitiBank noting the reversal and stating that the funds are in their bank. In desperation I once again called CitiBank and was told I have two letters about the reversal, the funds are in their bank and [Budget] should know how to collect it. This is just one big circle.”

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Borowsky received a note from the Budget representative that they were close to resolving the issue once they got the money from their bank. “I believe the last note I wrote to them (which was a little pushy) made them look into it more closely,” Borowsky said.

Borowsky’s note read:

Hi, if possible I need to have a conversation with your [credit department]. We have sent you two letters from CitiBank stating that this has been reversed and the money is sitting in your bank. I spoke with CitiBank this afternoon (because I am so frustrated) to ask once again about “reversal”. It’s been done. I don’t understand how your collections department can’t get the money. That just seems silly. I cannot be the only person to ever dispute a charge and then reverse and pay it. I’d like someone to explain why this is so complicated. I believe the ball is in the collections department’s court.

Fortunately, either the last note did the trick, or Budget was able to confirm that they received the funds. Regardless, Borowsky was notified that Budget received their payment from CitiBank, and the rental company notified the collection agency to discontinue pursuit of the funds.

The important takeaway from this is that credit card chargebacks should be used only as a last resort and only if you are certain that you didn’t make the charge. In this case, Borowsky complicated matters by charging back the funds, creating a firestorm of funds pursuit and reversal.

Regardless, we are pleased that Borowsky was able to advocate for herself.

Mark Pokedoff

Four-time Emmy-award-winning television sports production specialist and frequent traveler. Longtime freelance writer and travel blog enthusiast. Proud papa of four amazing kids who have been upgraded to first class more than all their friends combined. Read more of Mark's articles here.

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