How did I lose the credit card dispute over this online shopping scam?

Before you do any more online shopping, you’ll want to read about the scam that just ensnared Susan Leipholtz. She paid an online “merchant” $129 through PayPal and received absolutely nothing in return. But getting blindsided by the internet thief wasn’t nearly as shocking as what happened next. That’s when Capital One sided with the scammer in her credit card dispute.

Now a shell-shocked Leipholtz is asking us to retrieve the money stolen from her in this online shopping scam.

But can we do it? Read more “How did I lose the credit card dispute over this online shopping scam?”

If a stranger suddenly sends you money by surprise, should you keep it?

If a stranger sends you money by accident, do you have any obligation to give it back? If so, how do you do it without exposing yourself to a scam? And if you transfer money to the wrong person, is there any possible way to fix your mistake?

These are not uncommon dilemmas faced by users of cash apps like Zelle and Venmo in 2021. Along with the increasing popularity and convenience of instant money transfer services came a dramatic rise in pricey user errors. Unfortunately, our attempts to investigate and resolve many of these cases have exposed some disturbing flaws in the programs.

Minh Tran is just one of the many desperate Zelle users who’ve recently asked our team for help. In his case, a stranger’s mistake set off a frustrating and confusing chain of events that almost cost him $360.

Here’s his story. Read more “If a stranger suddenly sends you money by surprise, should you keep it?”

I won free gas for life! I’m still alive, so where is my prize?

Most would agree that if you won free gas for life, you could assume that your gasoline bill would be covered forever.  That’s why Matthew Reimer is so confused. He won a “free gas for life” contest from BP. He’s still alive, but the company seems to have deactivated his prize after just 15 years. Can we help? Read more “I won free gas for life! I’m still alive, so where is my prize?”

What can you do if you sent money to a stranger by mistake?

What if you sent $500 to a stranger by mistake and that person refused to give back your money? That’s the shocking situation in which Rossin Asilo recently found herself.

Using the money transfer app Zelle for the first time, Asilo made a simple typo entering her friend’s phone number. That error dropped the cash intended for a memorial donation into the wrong person’s bank account. Unfortunately, that stranger appears to view the transaction as a $500 windfall and will not return the money.

Now Asilo is hoping that the Elliott Advocacy team can find a way to get her money back. But that request might just prove to be an impossible task.

Warning: If you’re an honest person, I guarantee that this story will make you angry.  (Updated Feb 27) Read more “What can you do if you sent money to a stranger by mistake?”

How are my Amazon gift cards worthless? Help!

If you bought or received gift cards over the holidays, you’ll likely find this tale of particular interest. Deborah Kahn recently purchased two Amazon gift cards at her local pharmacy but found them to be worthless when she tried to redeem them. Then the company told her that she’s out of luck.

Can we figure out what’s gone wrong here? (Last updated Dec.2020) Read more “How are my Amazon gift cards worthless? Help!”

Hertz found my lost wallet. So where is it now?

Joseph Ziskovsky lost something important during his last car rental. He says Hertz found his wallet in the vehicle but won’t give it back. Can we help? Read more “Hertz found my lost wallet. So where is it now?”

I paid my rent with Paypal but something went wrong!

Kelly Stout is in trouble. She made her recent rent payment via PayPal, but something went terribly wrong and her landlord never received the funds. Can we figure out what happened here? Read more “I paid my rent with Paypal but something went wrong!”

Is this $500 MGM gift really worth nothing?

If you received a $500 MGM gift card from your family, you would expect it to be worth $500, right? So would I. Unfortunately, this traveler found out his gift card was worth nothing! Can we fix this problem? Read more “Is this $500 MGM gift really worth nothing?”

Help! I paid a scammer $1,200 for a free Costco magazine!

What if you ordered a $1,200 garden shed online, but instead, the scammer only sends you a free Costco magazine? That’s what happened to Sharon Keenan and she wants PayPal to reverse this expensive scam. So far, that hasn’t happened. Can we help? Read more “Help! I paid a scammer $1,200 for a free Costco magazine!”