Unauthorised transactions

On April 9, five unauthorised transactions were made in four minutes in Glasgow on my credit card, amounting to Dh41,297.60.

I reported the problem to First Gulf Bank (FGB) as soon as I received the text (around 15:45) since I was working in a tunnel construction project at the time. I was informed that the bank has temporarily blocked my card due to the large amount of transactions and they asked if I want to permanently block the card. I requested the card to be permanently blocked to avoid further unauthorised transactions. The card was permanently blocked at 15:47. I was also advised to wait for my credit card statement to see if it would be reflected, before conducting any action.

On April 16, I followed up for an update regarding the problem. I was advised to file a dispute of the unauthorised transactions. The dispute form was sent through email.

On April 20, a credit card statement was issued, reflecting charges from unauthorised transactions.

On April 21, I filed a dispute form through email, but did not receive reply confirmation from the bank. Only after I followed up did they inform me that Service Request was issued.

I was advised it would take 120 days to resolve but to expect an update on June 9.

On June 9, I received no update from the bank. On June 10, I followed up, but no update - investigation on-going. On June 24, I followed up, still nothing. On August 6, I followed up and was informed that the result was sent to my email on July 3. I informed them that I did not receive any email or SMS or call regarding the result of the dispute. I was advised that they would send it to my mail within two-three days.

On August 9, no result sent to my email, I followed up again and was informed that all the transactions are valid as per the investigation. I asked for the official result to be sent to me, they reconfirmed my email and informed that it would be sent before the day’s end.

On August 10, no result sent to my email, followed up again and was informed to wait. On August 11, followed up again, email received around 3pm containing Dispute Advise and Documents provided by merchant claiming to prove of my transaction, but upon checking of the documents, a Mr [name withheld from publication] from Egypt was the responsible person on the disputed transaction.

On August 13, I resubmitted the dispute due to the received documents and sent it to FGB customer service. I hope Gulf News could be of any assistance in this matter.

From Mr John Kervee Villafania

Abu Dhabi

Mr Villafania updates:

This is an update on the status of the second dispute (unauthorised transactions on my credit card) I filed with FGB. I received a call today [August 24] from the bank, saying that my request is rejected. The bank maintains that the transactions are valid, no further explanation was given and customer service could not provide any additional information as well.

I did not authorise that transaction — I believe my account was hacked. I reported the incident within the hour of the transaction to the bank, and filed the dispute as per their instruction. Payments to the merchant should have been withheld until the transaction was confirmed, yet the bank allowed the release of payment from my account and now I am being asked to pay for it.

I am still undecided as to what my next action should be, but I just want to share this experience with this bank.

The management of First Gulf Bank responds:

FGB is grateful for all customer feedback to which we give careful consideration as we strive to consistently deliver the highest standards of service. FGB has been in contact with Mr Villafania, and we have explained to him our product’s security features, which uses MasterCard’s secure code. At the time of purchase, the customer’s details were verified.

(Process initiation: August 17. Response from organisation: October 7.)

Editor’s note: Do you have similar issues that you would like to raise with us? You can write to us at readers@gulfnews.com.