Posted by: odzer | July 23, 2008

How safe is your card 2

After a long and sustained correspondence with HDFC Bank I have 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 “Trenitalia – Vendita Oroma” and I have decided therefore to publish the correspondence I made with VIsa International that helped me get prompt response from HDFC Bank. My suggestion to everyone who has been ripped off by this terrible merchant and has not been getting any relief from their bank or financial organization is to write directly to Visa or Mastercard. At the same time if the bank is being completely negligent you should file a dispute with a consumer or civil court. Some countries may also have a provision for a banking ombudsman. So here is the correspondence that finally helped me get some resolution.

Email sent to Visa International through their website :

https://corporate.visa.com/ut/contactus.jsp

I have a Visa card from HDFC Bank in India. Recently I was a victim of a fraud by a company called Trenitalia Vendita Oroma based in Italy. I reported this matter to my Bank and the action and the information they have provided me with is grossly insufficient. Even though they contacted me through a letter telling me that credit would be reposted in my account, they have not even done THAT YET! Is this a routine for customers of VISA to be first cheated on and then having to follow up on so many fronts? If so I must say you have a terrible product. I have been following up on this on my blog which you can find at https://odzer.wordpress.com/2008/04/21/how-safe-is-your-card/
I am happy to provide you with all the details in this matter if you will contact me. Further through the postings at this blog and from other websites I have established that I am not alone and many other people have been ripped off by the same Italian company. Since it has been more than 2 months since I am pursuing this matter I would expect expediency from Visa and not just referring me to HDFC Bank which has proven grossly inefficient as a card issuer. Please get back to me through email or call me at +91XXXXXXXXXX. Regards. XXXXXXXXX. Chandigarh, India.

Response from HDFC Bank within One day!

Dear Mr.XXXXXXX,

This is further to the appended e-mail regarding the transaction at M/s Trenitalia – Venditia O Roma for Rs.11,787.87   incurred on the card account.
At the outset, we deeply regret to note the feeling of dissatisfaction you have been left with during the course of your recent interaction with us. We would like to assure you that it is our constant endeavor to provide outstanding service to our customers and ensure that their banking experience with us is always pleasurable. Your feedback has sensitized us to introspect and reinforce our efforts further in this direction.
We wish to clarify that HDFC Bank International Credit Cards are accepted at all Merchant Establishments affiliated to Visa / MasterCard International. Consequently, some of the charges incurred by our cardholders may be presented to us by the other banks affiliated to Visa / MasterCard International. Accordingly, the aforesaid  transaction was received and processed to your card account as per the normal processing guidelines.
Basis the concerns expressed by you, we have taken up the matter with the concerned bank for their revert. In order  to avoid any further inconvenience to you, we have arranged to process credit for the aforesaid transaction. Further, in view of your valued relationship with the bank we have arranged to revere finance charges amounting to Rs.1,343.75 billed to the April’08 and May’08 statement. The relevant credits would reflect in the next statement. Post the above adjustments there will be no outstanding dues payable on the card account as on date.
Please feel free to contact our representatives at : 0172 -2264332 or write to us at customerservices.cards@hdfcbank.com for any further assistance / clarification that you may require and we shall be glad to assist you.
We have addressed your grievance in a fair and equitable manner as per the policies and guidelines laid down by the bank. We trust that your issue has been resolved to your fullest satisfaction. However, if you are not satisfied with our response, you may approach the Banking Ombudsman appointed by Reserve Bank of India.
Kindly log on to http://www.hdfcbank.com/common/customer_center.htm for details of the Banking Ombudsman Scheme -2006  and procedure for lodging complaints.”
Assuring you of our best services always.
Regards
Maheshwari J
Senior Manager – Customer Services
Credit Cards
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Responses

  1. Just today we have been victims of Trenitalia. We live in Australia and are certainly not in a financial position to even think about travelling to Italy! We don’t understand how this firm continues to be approved by Visa after the many many acts of fraud they have committed.

    Luckily we found the debit on the day it occurred by checking our account online and finding a Card Authorisation, too soon to have details, and were able to cancel our card immediately. Doing this, of course, is an awful inconvenience when legitimate deductions will now be rejected and we must spend much time contacting those companies, eg vehicle insurance, life insurance, medical insurance etc, and make alternative arrangements. Our bank is quite cooperative but we haven’t requested a refund yet, we are still waiting to find out if the transaction will actually be deducted from our account.

    Personally, we think Visa has a case to answer. Do they screen their vendors at all? It seems that their customers do that for them.

    American Express or MasterCard are looking good.

  2. Robyn, I do not think you will be any safer with Mastercard either, if you go through the comments of people on this blog by following part 1 of this post you will find many who have lost their money while using Mastercard as well. The only people that I have not heard from are American Express users, not that I am any sure that they are immune to Trenitalia scam either. I think you must as soon as possible ask your bank for a refund or dispute the charge because there is a period of limitation depending upon where you are on filing a dispute. You are correct about how come this company can still process charges after so many people worldwide are complaining, it is also pathetic about how Visa and Mastercard are reacting to the whole scam.

  3. @ Odzer:

    “The only people that I have not heard from are American Express users..”.

    I think the problem is wider than this firm. Two years after I had visited Rome, a fraud of over £ 14000 was committed on my Amex. I could prove to Amex incontrovertibly that I had never been to the fraudulent establishment and that I was in te UK the date of the transaction. They reversed the charge. In other words – I am saying that Italy (and Spain) are hotbeds for “cardholder-not-present” fraud i.e. fraud where the card is not swiped or otherwise physically processed via the card terminal but keyed in.

    Mastercard and Visa cannot do anything about the problem. They do not issue the cards, banks do. So the particular card-issuer has to deal with it. Which is why they forwarded your complaint to your issuing bank. The protection for the consumer is provided by the issuer as you can see from my Amex experience. I think it is their alert systems that are faulty – any unusual activity on the card should raise a red flag and the bank should call you before authorising it. Clearly HDFC needs much better processes.

    PS: I do not have any transactions with Indian banks. But I do have someone in my family who runs one of the world’s largest cards operations for a bank. Hence all this info.

  4. It helps that Amex has only one layer of resolution because few banks issue Amex cards.

  5. Okay so even Amex is not that safe either! However I was wondering if anyone who uses Amex had this particular fraud done to them. I know that Mastercard/Visa do not issue cards but at the same time they do promote their cards with all kinds of commercials and some of the advertising touts their products “safety”. Also I had contacted HDFC so many times and got no response from them so I had no choice but to write to Visa ultimately as you have observed.

    I think that basically if so many people have now commented on this post complaining about the same company the bank that processes the payments for this organization or the card issuing organizations should atleast bar them from the system. If they can not, then they should issue advisories. As for contacting clients for authorization in my particular case when the transaction happened I could not have been contacted. So clearly something needs to change.

  6. Odzer, I think the issuing bank’s governance and procedures have failed you in this case. But if a fraud happens from the same merchant then it can be blocked.

    However I notice that the comments here are also from another country. Because of the franchised distribution and inter-country data protection laws, banks cannot pool data internationally and between banks without raising anti-competitive hackles so yes, Master/ Visa are probably more prone to such frauds across countries than Amex is.

  7. You are right, I had some similar problems with another bank and they responded in a much more positive way though even they required a nudge or two to move!

    I do not know if they can pool data or share information across borders but if the same merchant has ripped off people in India, Uruguay, Europe, Australia etc I guess someone should block the merchant.

  8. Another Australian Visa user here done by the same company.. blocked after the first successful attempt on the same day as RobynG.

    I cannot believe some previous comments where people suggest the bank is refusing the reverse the transaction. There is absolutely no way I would (will) accept that kind of response.

    Not using your C/C online again makes little sense also (after you’ve obtained a new number). Unless you know how your c/c number was obtained, that will merely inconvenience you. The benefits far outway the risk. Get a small limit on an Internet only C/C if you must.

  9. Me, you are absolutely right. If you simply stop using the card online the purpose is defeated. There are products available in India at least that allow you to have a temporary card number for transaction online with a limit that you can define.

  10. I received a call from my bank yesterday asking me if I have used my (High Limit) MasterCard that same day…

    After Losing control for about a minute or two, the guy explained that my MASTERCARD was used and a sum of around 500 Euro was withdrawn from two Italian Companies…????

    – SUPERFAST and
    – TRENITALIA- VENDITA

    You can imagine my shock since I have not been to Europe since August 2007 and even then I was no where near the Italian Mafia.
    I immediately went on line and typed the names he gave me and POOF, I find all of you guys.

    I wrote a dispute letter and filed a complaint to my bank along with copies of what is written in your blog OZER, to let my bank in the picture…

    So far no response, but the weird thing is that the bank representative called to see if it was me or not, wasn’t he suppose to call and ask me weather to process such a transaction or not? Considering it was done on the same day??

    I am not going to give up, these a** h**** should have been stopped by know…..

    I’m afraid this experience has made me so reluctant to continue on having a credit card and weather to use it online or not, I suppose time will tell.

    I have permanently dismissed the idea of ever visiting Italy; I am being ripped off while I’m in the comfort of my home and country, think what will happen if I was physically there…!!!!

    Thank you ODZER for opening this blog, you have helped more than you think.

  11. Thanks Adas for your post and welcome to my blog. From your experience and from your comment we have some new information and that is important. It seems there is now another company called “SUPERFAST” as well or perhaps “TRENITALIA” is using another alias. As I have said my purpose was not only to resolve my problems with the card issuer but also to get to the depth of this matter. Slowly through the comments on this blog we have established some facts, and they are :-

    1) TRENITALIA scam is spread world over but centered in Italy.
    2) People have had charges processed through Point of Sale Terminals, Internet and Over the Phone.
    3)TRENITALIA may use more than one name to operate.
    4) People who have been charged once, may be charged again after a couple of days or on the same day. CANCELING THE CARD ON WHICH THE CHARGE WAS MADE IS VERY IMPORTANT!
    5) The victims are VISA OR MASTERCARD users. Not a single instance of AMEX has come up till now but I am not sure if they are immune either.

    I am beginning to think we are all victims of same massive leak or theft of data someplace or some group of people who are physically swiping cards and stealing data. Again everyone please keep commenting as you deal further with your bank.It helps everyone.

  12. I have card from ABN AMRO BANK in India. I was a victim of a fraud by a company called Trenitalia Vendita Oroma based in Italy. I reported this matter to my Bank and the action and the information they have provided me with is grossly insufficient. Even though I contacted so many times but I got response is too much – “We would like to confirm that as you cannot recall this transaction done on
    your card, the card details could have been compromised. We would like to
    advise you that transactions on the Internet can be carried out only by a
    person in possession of the card plastic as the authorization requires the
    card number, expiry date and the three digit cvv value on the reverse of
    the card plastic.
    Under these circumstances the Bank would not be able to raise a charge
    dispute for the transactions and we would request you to raise the issue
    with the merchant directly.

    Please give me any suggestions because now i am struck up. bank people are doing very bad.

  13. Gopi in case you have these issues and if it is related with TRENATALIA scam you are advised to simply write to the head of the customer services of ABN AMRO Bank in India, tell them clearly that if you do not get satisfaction your intent is to skip the bank entirely and then go on to the next stage i.e. The RBI Bank Ombudsman. Also if indeed you are the victim of the same scam print out both the posts on this blog and fax them to ABN AMRO as conclusive proof that you are victim of a global scam.

  14. I live in Australia. This scam is still going. I received a phone call from Mastercard on the 12/09 asking about a transaction for about $A150. I had not used this card for several weeks. The transaction turns out to be from
    TRENITALIA – VENDITA O ROMA IT
    Mastercard assures me (has given me a reference number) that the charge will be reversed. I stayed in a Rome Hotel and paid with that card about 2 years ago – I wonder if there is a connection……..
    John

  15. Hi everybody,
    just got scammed of R3000 ($375) from South Africa from the trenitalia vendita crew, these guys are really getting around, australia, india, south africa. I just cancelled my Mastercard and will phone my bank tommorow as they took the money off on friday, not a nice situation although nice to know im not the only one in this position


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