I am writing to warn the public about security lapses with UOB’s credit card protocols as well as their terrible customer service.
I was overseas in Hanoi, Vietnam some months back and had frequented a restaurant there. Each time I went there, I had spent small amounts, about $50 or thereabouts. I was given some receipts to sign, and I didn’t think much about it. It was on returning to Singapore that I realised that this restaurant been charging me thousands of dollars behind my back! The total bill came up to $5247.57 SGD.
I called UOB’s customer service immediately and was told to go to the Police, as it was a fraud case and the Police are in charge. Note that I am in Singapore and the Singapore Police obviously can’t do anything about this restaurant in Hanoi. I was told there was no need to raise a credit card dispute as it was a police matter. I went down to a branch and filled up the dispute forms anyway, because I wanted to be thorough.
It took UOB 2 months to get back to me. One day I got a mail with scanned copies of a bunch of receipts from the bar in Hanoi, with a generic computer generated letter in front, which stated that these are the receipts UOB obtained, the matter is considered closed. With no explanation whatsoever. Oh, and they informed me I would be charged for obtaining the receipts. I have attached a photo of UOB’s letter for reference. The amount stated in the letter is not even the total amount I disputed. ($3093.03 vs $5247.57)
The interesting thing about these receipts, is that they are all not signed by me. If you just take one look at them, they have no resemblance whatsoever to my sample signature, nor do they even have any resemblance to each other! A few were just a random squiggle across the paper. Again, more quickly-taken photos for proof have been attached.
So I called UOB’s customer service again, and was bounced around repeatedly. People told me they’d refer my case, but didn’t. Or the referred party never replied. It was highly frustrating and extremely unprofessional of UOB. When they finally got back to me, all that was repeatedly told to me was that it was a ‘card present transaction’, and that the bank doesn’t have any chargeback rights, just because I was present at the restaurant. Oh, and one guy even suggested I go to the Vietnamese Tourism Board, which sounded just slightly more ridiculous than your Singapore Police Force idea.
This, to me, is really outrageous. Because what UOB has implied, but not said out loud, is that any establishment, as long as you pass them your card for payment, can technically charge you any amount (within your credit limit, and some of your clients may have very large credit limits, or none at all), as long as you physically passed them your card and a machine read the chip. What’s to stop them from swiping once for the actual purchase, and then another time for an imaginary bonus they give themselves at our cost?
I think people deserve to know that this is actually possible, before UOB sells them any more credit cards. Also, their customer service is horrible and uncoordinated. There is a certain Ms Punitha, a manager from the customer service department who was especially unhelpful and not very useful for anything other than generic, rehearsed, meaningless replies. I asked specifically for someone from the credit card disputes department to email me in black and white to explain the situation. This has not happened after weeks. In fact, there is no way of contacting that department. They have a habit of sending anonymous letters customers’ homes I believe. I have been with UOB for years but the bank has managed over the last few months to completely erode any trust I had in them.
I will not pay for transactions I did not make, and I don’t think anybody should have to. I await UOB’s reply, in public. In the meantime, I will also pursue this matter with CASE and the small claims tribunal. I gave UOB ample chances to make this right. It’s unfortunate it has to get this ugly.
Attached are photos proving my point.