10

I just received a bill for a VISA card at a bank where I'm not a customer. There is just one charge on the card and it is for an annual fee of $120. The card is not actually made out to my name, but to a name similar to mine (or one could say with both the first and last name slightly misspelled).

I believe I know what this is from, but I did not agree to accept a credit card. I was in an airport where I saw a booth for a flight rewards card that I wanted information about. The person behind the counter immediately started filling out an application for me when I came over and I interrupted her and told her I only wanted information and wasn't sure if I wanted the card. She told me that the application didn't obligate me to get the card and that it was the best way to get more information sent to me as she had no pamphlets or information sheets. She said my name was hard and asked for a piece of id she could copy it from. I feel stupid for falling for that, but I did give her something (either a different credit card or my licence, but I can't remember which) as it is decidedly not the first time people have struggled with my name.

I later received a minimal letter in the mail from the bank in question that gave me no additional information about the card program, but told me I'd been approved and that if I didn't collect my card from a specific branch of the bank it would be destroyed. Not collecting the card seemed the best option since I didn't want it, and my name wasn't correct. So, I never collected the card, and thought that would be it.

Now I have received this bill that I certainly don't want to pay. I'm annoyed at myself for trusting, but I'm also severely irritated with this bank for misleading me. I emailed their customer support but they suggested I create an online bank account so I can send a secure message or that I phone them, and said they couldn't otherwise help me, but thanked me for choosing to bank with them. There was no acknowledgement that this shouldn't have happened.

I don't trust them at this point and do not want to make an online account. Nor do I wish to phone them and be further manipulated or lied to. Frankly, I think I've made enough dumb moves and I want something that is recorded (on email or paper) so I can point to it if I need to, and so I have time to pause before responding.

Am I on the hook for this money? I'm pretty sure I never signed anything at the airport. They have my address, phone number, an approximation of my name, and maybe a driving licence number. I never picked up the credit card nor have I ever used it. In fact, I don't even know my card number as the middle 6 digits have been replaced with asterisks in the bill.

I'm in Canada, if that makes a difference.

  • 4
    Tell them you never submitted an application, never received a card, the identifying information is obviously wrong, and you consider this a case of identity theft and Their Problem. You shouldn't (need to say anything more than that. If necessary, ask your local police how to file this as an official identity theft report. – keshlam Sep 18 '15 at 3:15
  • If this were in the US, I'd give an answer about the "application" being entered without your SSN as a basis for denying the account and fee. But I don't know if Canada has those type of requirements. – Dan Henderson Apr 23 '16 at 23:00
17

Have you signed anything? If not - then tell them you don't know who they are and have not agreed to pay.

If you did sign that piece of paper at the airport, then you have probably agreed to pay.

Either way, it won't go away. As you've already discovered, ignoring things doesn't make them go away. You should make an effort, as hard as it may be, and call them. Notify them that you have never asked for this card, never activated it, and in fact never had it in your possession. You should stress out that it was issued without your authorization, which is probably illegal. And you wish the account to be closed and the charge reversed.

Otherwise it will just grow and make your life miserable.

  • I've thought it through really carefully and remembered some more details about the exchange. I'm now very confident I didn't sign anything. (Besides, I never sign things without reading them so I find it hard to believe I didn't notice that my own name was wrong. I was running really early that day, so I wasn't even in a hurry.) I'll contact them as you suggest. Thanks for the advice. – user43721 Sep 18 '15 at 19:25
  • @user43721: What happened after you contacted them? – unforgettableid Aug 14 '16 at 9:50
  • @unforgettableid Thanks for the reminder; I just posted the result as an answer. In short: it all worked out but I had to get a bit aggressive. – user43721 Aug 15 '16 at 22:16
9

In the end, I was not required to pay the fee.

After some frustrating initial attempts, I ended up writing a letter and sending a copy to card services, customer support, complaints and the legal department. It basically said:

  1. I never signed anything.
  2. I spoke to a very aggressive person at the airport who told me that she was just taking down my information in order to send information about the card, and that I was under no obligation.
  3. I never received a card, activated a card, or used a card.
  4. I want this charge canceled immediately
  5. If this ever shows up on my credit report, I will contact my lawyer regarding this unscrupulous business practice.

After that I received a notice in the mail confirming that everything had been cancelled and all charges were reversed.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.