When Connie Cullen books a vacation with her American Express card, the resort charges her. Then it charges her again, and again. And again. Why won’t it fix the error? “Charged four times for one vacation. Why won’t American Express fix this?”
It’s like an episode of “Unsolved Mysteries” that plays itself endlessly for travelers.
“Solving the credit card “hold” mystery”
When Capital One offers to “erase” part of her debts with award points, Kate Morrical calls on a loyalty program skeptic to clear things up. Find out what happens next.
Question: You’ve gone on record plenty of times with your feelings about loyalty programs, so I wondered if you’d seen this ad for Capital One’s “Purchase Eraser.” In it, Alec Baldwin implies that he can “erase” a $700 purchase with 30,000 miles.
But the program overview clearly states that any purchase over $600 is 100 miles per dollar to redeem.
“Can Capital One really “erase” my debts? And while you’re at it, could you do another rant about loyalty programs?”
When is an hour just 36 minutes? When you buy some phone cards, apparently. That’s the conclusion of a recent Federal Trade Commission investigation, which found certain pre-paid calling cards offered an average of just 40 percent of call minutes customers thought they were buying — and some, significantly less.
You should care about this if you travel outside your wireless company’s regular calling area, because that’s when you’re likely to buy one of these cards. If you don’t read the fine print on the agreement, you could end up getting shorted by close to a half hour of talk time, according to the FTC.
“Is your phone card phony? 5 ways you can tell”
Question: I need your help with a problem I’m having with Starbucks. Over the years, I have regularly purchased Starbucks gift cards on eBay at a discount and simply transferred the balance to my loyalty card registered to my Starbucks account.
I recently discovered a website called Raise.com that was selling Starbucks gift cards at a 20 percent discount, so I purchased about $1,600 worth of cards from the company. I thought these could not only be used by my family and me, but would be great gifts for coworkers.
Realizing that I bought these from a third party, I tried to protected myself by transferring the balances to cards registered to my Starbucks account.
““I feel like Starbucks is stealing money from me””
It happens all the time.
I get a plea for help from someone like Eugene Teow, who appeared to have been scammed on a recent trip to Australia. In his case, it looked as if Hertz had indiscriminately sucked $3,857 from his bank account for damaging a rental car — money to which it wasn’t entitled.
But then, when I ask the company about the overcharge, it turns out that the only problem was that the customer had failed to check his credit card statement. Because if he hadn’t, he’d know the money — or at least most of it — had been returned.
Reviewing your credit card statement is the first step anyone must take when they’re looking for a refund. Because some of the time, they’ll find the money has been quietly put back into their account without notification.
“Ridiculous or not? Oops, I forgot to check my credit card statement”
On second thought, maybe Haroldy Woods should have paid full fare for her train ticket from Frankfurt to Passau, Germany.
But a ticket agent assured her that signing up for a Deutsche BahnCard would save her money – about 25 percent off her 80 euro fare. Then she handed Woods a contract for the membership program in German, which Woods signed.
Just one problem: Woods doesn’t speak German.
“Contract confusion: Don’t let your vacation get lost in translation”