Since March 2012 I have been using a prepaid debit card provided by upsidecard.com. On Thursday, September 19, 2013, my card usage was blocked and marked as “potentially fraudulent.” I telephoned the company at 866-845-6273 and was informed that due to a “load” that was over $10,000, I needed to provide proof of where the load came from. The load was for $10,241.00 which was a student loan refund made by the university I attend. On the evening of Thursday, September 19, 2013, I faxed a copy of my student account showing the student loan refund and other information contained in the print out. That evening, my wife, who has a separate account with upsidecard.com, checked her card and it was also marked as being “potentially fraudulent.” She called the same number and was asked to fax a copy of her driver’s license and social security card.
On Friday, September 20, 2013, my wife’s card was unblocked and the “potentially fraudulent” mark was removed. When I inquired about my card, I was informed that the” risk assessment “ could take from 24-48 hours to review my card status and given that they do not work over the weekend. The reason I was provided for this inconvenience was that pursuant to the terms and conditions agreement, the maximum load amount is no more than $10,000.
This was not the first time my debit card was loaded with a large amount from my student loan refund. I enroll in three semesters per year and every January, May, and September of the year, my university loads my student loan refund into this card for amounts ranging from 8,000 to over 10,000. This pattern is demonstrated in my card usage activity. In fact, in May 2013, my university loaded my card with an amount exceeding $10,000 and this not did cause my debit card to be blocked and marked as “potentially fraudulent.” The other major loads to my debit card are from my employer on a monthly basis. In fact, the first load from my employer in March 2012 caused my debit card to be blocked and marked as “potentially fraudulent.” In this occasion as well, my wife’s debit card was marked and blocked as well. Prior to the block on September 19, 2013, my debit card was blocked and marked “potentially fraudulent” and I was required to fax my driver’s license and social security card, which I did.
Interesting to note are three issues with these facts: (1) my debit card was marked and blocked as “potentially fraudulent” twice in the same month and my personal identification and proof of the load was requested, making this the fourth time since March 2011 that this has happened as well as my wife’s debit card although our accounts are separate; (2) upsidecard.com has in the past accepted load amounts from my university in amounts over $10,000 with no block or “potentially fraudulent” status being had; (3) my wife’s upsidecard.com debit card is always blocked, and vice versa, although we maintain separate accounts for payroll deposits and the reason for this offered by upsidecard.com is merely because we reside in the same household; (4) proof of non-public personal identity information was never requested by upsidecard.com at the point of requesting a debit card and is now requested more than a year and a half later; (5) upsidecard.com allowed for the $10,241 load in September to go through and blocked it and marked it as “potentially fraudulent” only after more than $5,500 of the funds were used; (6) I have no idea how my non-public personal identity information , driver’s license and credit card, is being protected nor where this fax number and machine is located, nor how my identity information is being shared.
When I contacted the number on the back of the card to request an update on my card status, the only information I am provided is a record of the calls I have made and the generic responses I have been provided. After calling multiple times on Friday, September 19, 2013, the only information I was provided was that the “risk assessment” department had received my fax. I informed the customer service rep that my wife’s card was unblocked and requested a reason as to why mine wasn’t. At all times during my calls on Friday, the responses appeared to be generic and read from a script, to wit, “the risk assessment department is still completing their assessment and this can take from 24 to up to 48 hours.” During the last call I made on Friday I requested, at their suggestion, for a manager to call me back. I requested to speak to a manager at the time of my call and/or to someone in the “risk assessment” department and was informed that any communications beyond a customer service representative had to be made in writing or I can have a manager call me back.
On Friday, I received a call from a manager named Becky. She could only provide her first name and an ID number which was 1318. When I asked when my card would be unblocked Becky flip-flopped on not knowing the status of my card and finally acknowledged that the documentation faxed was received. She then proceeded to provide the generic script response, “the risk assessment department is still completing their assessment and this can take from 24 to up to 48 hours.” Annoyed, when I pressed for more information as to where this “risk assessment” department is located, Becky then became annoyed and in a rude tone reversed her original position from “most likely it’ll be unblocked today” to “it’ll be unblocked on Monday.”
After the call with Becky 1318, I again called and requested that I be contacted by a manager. I was informed that a manager would call me on Saturday. On the morning of Saturday, September 20, 2013, I missed a call from a manager named “Eric”. The number identified on my caller ID was 866-518-4722. I pressed the call back button on my phone and was surprised to hear a recorded message from Jackson Hewitt Smart Card Customer Service line. I have no business at all with this company. The voice mail message from Eric informed that I should call the number on the back of debit card. I immediately called the number on the back of my debit card and the voice of the customer service rep sounded like the manager’s voice who just minutes ago left me a voice mail message and they had the same name. I asked Eric for his ID number, which is 1363, and inquired whether he was also a manager. Eric refused to answer my question and upon being told that he had the same name and the same voice as the Eric who just left me a voice mail message, he than acknowledged that he had in fact called me and left a message as a “manager” but that he doesn’t usually disclose this fact.
When I asked Eric about the status of my card and the expected time when my funds would be available to me, Eric informed that by Monday, September 23, 2013 it would be clear. When I asked Eric about the “risk assessment” procedures he informed that Plastyc, a company located in New York is where “risk assessment” is located.
I continued to make calls on Monday, September 23, 2013 when my card was still in “potentially fraudulent” status and was still blocked. I spoke to Debbie 1013 and Lorissa 3408 or 34608, who were rude when I made inquiries about the “risk assessment” process. I was informed once that “risk assessment” was located on another “floor” and another time I was informed that “risk assessment” was located in another building. When I informed that I was told that “risk assessment” was located in “New York,” the response was “I don’t know why you were told that”. When I asked where they were located they responded “South Dakota”. Both told me to read the “terms and conditions” policy on their website. However, this policy does not inform about these procedures nor does it provide any information as to what triggers a “potentially fraudulent” block on the debit card and how to avoid it. It neither informs about privacy concerns with regards to my non-public personal identification information that was faxed to them. Upon asking further questions, they both replied with a standard script response, to wit, “I see that this conversation is not moving forward and I will no disconnect our call”.
Today, Tuesday, September 24, 2013, I got a return call from a “manager” by the name of Ryan 2811 who informed me that, of course, the issue has not been resolved yet and that he can see on his screen that I faxed in my documents as requested. However, he informed, he “cannot see” what’s contained in the document and asked me to re-fax all over again, thus restarting the 24-48 hour time period all over again!
I am not familiar with the intricacies of banking processes but I do know that the bits and pieces of information I have been able to obtain from my conversations with upsidecard.com customer service representatives points to some shady and possibly fraudulent business practices. My email account is flooded with payday loan vendors and I receive numerous shady phone calls since I’ve been with upsidecard.com since March 2012. Looking up reviews on this company on the Internet has turned up dozen of similar incidents on sites such as www.consumeraffairs.com, www.pissedconsumer.com, and www.ripoffreport.com, all with customers, such as myself and my wife, having access to their legitimately deposited monies into their debit cards blocked as “potentially fraudulent”. Upsidecard.com’s policy is not to protect customers from others attempting to obtain access to their debit cards. Upsidecard.com’s policy is not to email or telephone customers in this possible situation and legitimate situation. Their policy is to block customers from having access to their own legitimate monies loaded either by the IRS, Social Security, Employer Payroll, or as in my situation, government issued student loan refunds.
At this point, I greatly fear that I will lose my 4,725.04 balance on my upsidecard.com debit card. The upsidecard debit card is issued by MetaBank and it should be seriously investigated as well as their connections to Plastyc and Jackson Hewitt.
Product or Service Mentioned: Metabank Prepaid Card.
Monetary Loss: $4725.