When I worked in the fraud claims initiation department for a rather large bank, part of our jobs was to call companies to have them refund our customers their money. Why did we do this? Well, for one, it saved a lot of time for our second level time to go through our claim paper work and start their investigations. It also meant that the bank didn’t have to provide credit to the customers.
A lot of companies I called were extremely friendly and helpful in getting the customers their money back. Some (mostly the diet pill companies) weren’t so willing to give back refunds, but they usually did. And there were some that didn’t because it was their company’s policy, no biggie, we’ll let second level handle it.
One customer who called me had active fraud on her account. I was able to cancel her card right away, but the fraudster actually purchased airline tickets! No joke, the person actually bought a plane ticket. My first thought was “how was this person gonna board the plane?”
I confirmed with the customer that she did not purchase an airline ticket for herself or anyone else within the past few days…she didn’t. I further confirmed that she didn’t allow anyone to use her debt card within the last 48 hours and its been with her the entire time…she hasn’t and it was.
So with the customer on the line, I called the airline’s customer service line. I gave the card information and the customer service rep confirms a ticket was purchased to include the airport destination and time.
Me: Ma’am, that that was an unauthorized purchase. The person who purchased the ticket has stolen the debt card number to book a flight. The real card holder is on the line with us!
Card holder: Hi!
Airline: So Cardholder, are you not traveling to the destination?
Card Holder: Ummm…NO!
Me: Can we cancel this ticket purchase and have the money refunded.
Airline: One moment, let me speak to my boss. (Two minutes later). I’m sorry, we cannot help you unless we get a specific data.
Me: what data? I have all the info about the fraud information here. You need to flag this purchase.
Airline: you need to get that information from your manager. He knows the info we need.
PM to my boss: this airline is saying theres some info you have to give them for a fraud charge.
Manager: Seriously? I see the same stuff as you!
Me: he sees the same information I do! I just need you to stop this person before he checks in.
Airline: I cannot help you.
Me: You cannot call over to the airport and flag this ticket! This is stolen personal info and that person is going to fly with you.
Airline: No, we cannot do that, good bye…clicks
I apologized to the customer and filed a claim for her on the airline plane ticket. In my notes for the claim, I wrote everything that happen and the rep’s name and the response I got from her.
The claimed was filed and during some downtime, I researched the claim and found that second level and the airline went back and forth for several weeks. The airline refused to refund the ticket because the ticket was used in full, but second level rebutted saying it wasn’t our customer that purchased or flew that day. Eventually, the ticket was refunded, and the fraudster flew for free!
I was really hoping the airline would stop the passenger from checking in or maybe notify the airport police or TSA, but they were no help.
When I spoke to a more senior co-worker about the situation, I realized my mistake…I called customer service for the airline and should’ve called the billing department for the airline.