Posted by: odzer | April 21, 2008

How safe is your card?

Card Statement with the fraud charge

This is probably one of those blogs that you will read and forget. However while you are reading it you might as well pay some attention. So this is what happened. I received my credit card statement yesterday and I discover this weird charge from a merchant called “Trenitalia – Vendita Oroma.” for 180.50 Euros made in Italy probably on the 12th of March, 2008. Now on the day this charge was made I was somewhere high in the sky flying back home from Japan. I could not have been in Italy making this charge! Now this is a point of sale transaction and not something purchased online either. So after calling up the wonderful HDFC Bank helpline I talked with a guy called “Deepak“. He assured me that If I have not made this charge I will not have to pay for it. However he did not suggest whether I cancel my card or not! Now here is the thing, unless my card has been “Skimmed” and then “Cloned” there is now way a physical transaction can take place on this account. So I asked Deepak if I should cancel my card and he finally woke up to that possibility and said “Your card is blocked, we will be sending you a new card but there will be 100 Rupees charges for that.” Now I was totally enraged, why should I pay for a replacement card when it was no fault on my part. So finally when I told him this he agreed and said the replacement would be free. I have sent HDFC Bank a letter requesting them to dispute this transaction along with a standard customer dispute form, I hope that they take action immediately on this. However out of this experience I have some pointers for you people out there :-

1) Do not lose sight of your card, especially at Petrol Stations and Restaurants. Basically get up go to the terminal with the waiter and do not let people swipe your card behind your back.

2) Do not use Debit cards, Credit Card payments can be disputed. No money has actually left your bank account. Debit cards especially those that do not require PINS for sale are just trouble. Banks are not likely to take an interest in helping you get back your lost money. If you must use a Debit card do it at a merchant you trust.

3) If something like this happens to you, write about it online and raise a stink. It was only after I read up on people discussing this fraud company on that I realised the extent of the damage done by this company world wide.

4) Do not take “No” for an answer. Banks need you more than you need them. Take your business elsewhere if they will not listen to you.

An Update

I have received the following letter from HDFC Bank today the 9th of May, 2008 and they have informed me that they are investigating the charges that were made on my card. I hope that this matter will be resolved soon. However I notice that they were quite delayed in issuing a response though they were very quick in reissuing the card, this possibly tells me where there priorities lie! Lets hope that this will be resolved quickly and amicably. I intend to keep regular updates on the blog about any communication I receive from the bank and I also hope that they can catch these crooks in Italy who make these fraudulent charges. 

Response from HDFC Bank


  1. So this is something very strange …….but real. Hope such things will never happen again . Those precautions that u have wriitten in points are some great to be remembered always.

  2. I am facing the same problem.

    My ICICI credit card was used for an online transaction on 10th March at Trenitalia.

    I opened a dispute immediately and requested a chargeback.

    It has been nearly 2 months, but the investigation has reached nowhere.

    I talked to a few guys wh0 work for banks. Their response was not very positive.

    Banks do have an internal investigation department for credit cards disputes, but as they work as per Indian standards…;-).

    If your luck is good, you will not be asked to pay, else you will have to pay for the transaction.

    the bank will make up a story that a relative or friend used your credit card.

    I have decided to surrender my credit card and never to use one again.

  3. Hi Sacchin, thank you for your message. When I posted this problem online I was hoping to get responses just like yours. I am sure that the Trenatalia problem is not just isolated to me. Many people have been charged by the same company. In passing these charges on to customers banks are basically being callous. I know about the chargeback process. Once when I was ripped off by a Travelagent I could actually use that to my advantage to get a refund from Citibank. As far as I know we will not have to pay it, if the bank insists we can always move to the consumer forum. Please keep us updated on how your case progresses with ICICI. Today I have again called HDFC Bank and they seem to have it under some kind of “process” and they want me to call them back in 3-4 days. They have reissued this card by the way.

  4. I even talked to my lawyer.

    he told me that this matter is not exactly a consumer matter.

    it is actually fraud and so first I need to file an FIR and let the police investigate.

    however consumers do have an option of going to the RBI ombudsman and challenge the bank’s investigations.

    in US consumers are protected by law and their maximum liability in case of fraud is $50.

    in India, there are no such laws and consumers are at mercy of investigations by the bank and law.

  5. Sacchin thank you again for your post. The matter is of fraud I agree. However if the bank is deficient in customer service or if they do not respond to any request for investigation in time this is indeed a consumer matter. You are right about the RBI process that does exist and there is an internal ombudsman in every bank before that step as well. I have received a response from HDFC Bank which I have posted as an update to the existing post.

  6. On 28 Marth I discover also a charge from Trenitalia Vendita on my credit card. I was not even in Italia. Hell, im not even in Europe. How is this possible? It seems there are hundres of people now that say they where charged by this crime organization.

  7. Javier can you please share with us the details for how much you were charged, which bank’s card you use and how did the bank respond to your complaint? I am still taking up the matter with my bank. I plan to update this or write a new blog about this matter soon.

  8. Somebody using the name of “Trenitalia – Vendita”
    attempted to use my credit card number to withdraw $505 (Australian) from my bank account, but the attempt was blocked by my bank.
    The matter has been referred to Interpol.

    My credit card has been cancelled, and I won’t be using a credit card on the Internet ever again.

  9. Thanks for your comment John, I have heard from my bank on this issue and they have promised me that they will be reverting the funds by June 5. I hope that the Interpol will be able to do something about this. I do not think that the transaction on my card was internet based but I am still not sure about how these fraudsters got my details. Please keep me posted about how it goes with the investigation.

  10. Will do odzer.
    I hope those dirty rotten thieves get their just deserves.

  11. I filed a dispute on March 14th or so.

    The charge was reversed temporarily and the bank told me they will investigate the matter.

    It has been 2 and half months.

    I still haven’t got any reply from the bank.

    I even emailed the bank….still no reply.

    ICICI is a useless bank.

  12. Have you tried contacting the RBI if ICICI has not replied? I am determined to see this matter through to its logical conclusion. I found the number of person who deals with complaint escalations and talked directly with them. Perhaps you should try that approach.

  13. I have just found this company on my account and have frozen it. It seems to be getting bigger and more freguent.
    They took out over $900.00 (AUD) so they seem to be getting away with it more often, and are now increasing their amounts.

  14. Lennie was it a Visa or a Mastercard account. I have written to Visa today and I am determined to escalate this further than the bank. I intend to communicate with all of you soon to formulate a strategy for making our case stronger collectively. Perhaps its time that we took on these fraudsters and stop this racket. I will be writing a new blog on this soon.

  15. I read a few times on the net …some banks in UK have blacklisted trenitalia and don’t process payment requests from it.

    if a payment request comes from trenitalia, they first confirm with the card-holder that he had made the payment.

    I wonder if Indian banks have any such “blacklist” of merchants which are prone to fraudulent transactions.

  16. For the record, my (now cancelled) credit card was a Visa card.

  17. The last time I used my credit card was to pay for “Spy Doctor”, but I don’t know whether there’s any connection between that and the attempted theft by“Trenitalia – Vendita”.

    I had my credit card number stored at Amazon dot com, and I also used the card to make payments to Adware and McAfee.

    I didn’t use the card on a regular basis.

  18. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Telstra were using my Visa card to withdraw $9.95 every month
    for their “security pack”.
    (I’ve already arranged alternative security that doesn’t involve the use of a credit card).

  19. I’m havein the exact same charge on my Mastercard, from this Trenitalia. I blocked my card, but the bank is saying they wont give me my money back unless Trenitalia admits it was a fraud.
    The bank for Trenitalia responded it was al legit, and it looks like I wont get my money back.
    The transaction was as it says a POS moto transaction, so that means it was over the internet?
    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  20. […] finally been able to get “Temporary Credit” on the transaction I mentioned in “How Safe is Your Card” Blog. However I have been getting a lot of comments about how people have been ripped off by […]

  21. Boris, It is good that you have blocked your card. As for the bank you must take them to task and be very persistant. Write to the most senior officers of the bank directly and refuse to take “No” for an answer. If they still won’t help you go to the courts. MOTO transactions as far as I know seem to be for mail orders and for orders over the telephone etc. Internet transactions can also be classified as MOTO. Were you using a debit or a credit card? I suggest that you do not delay this because most disputes must be filled with in a specified time period usually 30-60 days and may even be less depending on where you live. Could you also let us know what amount was involved? I have written a new blog mentioning the correspondence I made directly with VISA, I would also suggest you write directly to MASTERCARD international and complain about the member bank who issued you the card. Usually they are bound by some rules and of course you are also a customer of the mastercard brand. You can find that blog here :

  22. Hey Odzer, thanks for the info on this “TRENITALIA – VENDITA O ROMA” as well the second part of your blog on the same subject.

    You wont believe, but i have had a fraud transaction from this same merchant, for which i have taken up the matter with SBI Cards. Very interestingly, even after making a complaint against the Company, i had a second transaction done by them.

    I think they should atleast have the brains to block the second transaction, but i guess i am expecting too much !

    Also, taking your lead on writing to Visa, i have done the same, asking them why the hell have they not blacklisted the merchant till now when soo many fraud transactions are taking place under its name.

    Moreover, looking at varied cases of the fraud, not being restricted to a single or 2 card issuers, the only common link i see is Visa, which also suggests that, so often the articles we read in the papers that hackers stole 50,000 credit card details or something similar to that, our credit card numbers have also being compromised at Visa’s end.

    Rather than raising a stink against the Card issuer, i suppose blaming the responsible entity (Visa) and carpet bombing them with emails would help.

    Lastly, letters to the national/ international newspapers usually does the trick.

  23. Thank you Kay Tee for posting your experience here. As far as I have read Mastercard clients have also been defrauded by the same firm. The fraud also seems to run independent of Debit/Credit cards, in fact if they rip off money from your Debit card you are in more serious trouble.

    It is interesting that you mention a second transaction. You should cancel your card and have them reissue it if you have not already done that, in fact you should have done that after the very first transaction because they still are holding on to your card details. Please keep us posted about how it is going with SBI cards and do not lose heart. Could you also update us about what amount they charged on your card if you do not mind?

    Do write to VISA, if you get no response from SBI and also the RBI has a complaint mechanism that you should follow if VISA does not do anything either. I agree with you that VISA/MASTERCARD can not simply wash their hands off this matter. Keep us posted!!

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