An Unnecessary Embarrassment for 39 Cents

by on June 20, 2017 · 4 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Judi Curry

An embarrassing thing happened to me the other day while shopping at Ralphs.  Something that had me puzzled, and later pissed off.

Several months ago I purchased an item from an on-line seller. I returned it, but didn’t notice that it took almost 8 weeks to issue me a credit.  In the meantime, Mission Federal Credit Union – the institution I have banked at since 1966! charged me interest on the remaining balance.

I protested the charge, and, in the end, I thought it was all taken care of.  A credit appeared for the merchandise.  BUT I did not check the amount of the credit carefully – my error.

I always run a zero balance on my  credit cards – you know – if you can’t afford to pay cash then maybe you shouldn’t have it – syndrome. I knew that I had not purchased anything on the credit card because I am almost exclusively using my Amazon card.  No reason to check it, or so I thought.

After ringing up a $131 bill at Ralphs, I swiped my debit card in the feeder only to have the checker tell me it was not authorized.  What? Maybe I put in the wrong pin number so I tried it again.  And again it was not authorized.  What the hell?

I then took out my MFCU credit card, only to have the same message come up at the counter.  Denied.  Not authorized.

I happen to know that I have a  money in both accounts.  I had been at the credit union only minutes before trying to make a deposit of all the coins I have in a jar. (Their machine was not working!!!)

I tried my Amazon card at Ralphs and to no surprise it worked perfectly.  When I unloaded my grocery cart into my car I immediately called the credit union.  And, of course, was put on hold.  I left my number to be called back on, and began the drive home.

The mind is a very creative thing. I imagined all sorts of things that might have happened.  Maybe it was hacked.  Maybe an error had been made and the money placed in someone else’s account.  Maybe, as I remember reading a story sometime ago, the credit union had been notified that I died and the money was frozen in space.  Who the hell knew why both cards had been denied.

When I was finally called back by a very nice gentleman, I explained the situation to him.  He first checked the debit account and told me there was ample money in the account to handle the $131 purchase. He said that maybe the wires somehow got crossed and that is why it was denied.  “If that was the case,” I said, “why was my credit card also denied?”  He put me on hold while he contacted the loan department (?) to see if they had an answer.  They did.

Remember the credit that I was supposed to receive from the returned merchandise three months ago?

Apparently the credit union charged me a credit on the “outstanding bill.”  When the refund appeared there was still  39 cent  – yes – $ .39 – outstanding.  And for that frigging THIRTY-NINE cents my cards were frozen.  The Credit Union employee that told me that said he was embarrassed to tell me why the cards were not honored, but then he said “I can take it out of your checking account and pay it off!”   (I hope that you are a mind reader, because I have trouble typing what I was thinking, but I’ll give you a hint – it starts with the letter “F” – and it is not “fire truck!”)

I asked him if for 39 cents my credit could be ruined?  He was silent. I asked why no one called me – or brought the 39 cents to my attention; again he was silent.  I finally said to him that I could understand why he was embarrassed.  I would be too.  I told him to take the blasted 39 cents out of my account.  He did, and informed me that the “freeze” was lifted.  I told him this little episode was worthy of a letter – but in retrospect it took my mind off the deplorable condition of the country. For a good one hour I did not think of that idiot in the White House.  But if that money had been missing, I might have had my own WWIII right here in San Diego.  Beware!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

judi June 20, 2017 at 12:51 pm

A follow-up. When I called the CU back, they told me that my statement showed a 39 cent back charge. However, when I looked at my statement it DID NOT show the charge. I was told I was looking at the wrong statement. Funny. It was the only statement that I could pull up.


judi June 21, 2017 at 3:45 pm

Another follow-up: I received a call today from one of the managers at Mission Fed Credit Union with an apology of the way things were handled. She said she didn’t know why it was handled the way it was, but it never should have happened that way. She was very sincere and asked if there was anything she could do to rectify the situation. Nice.


tia June 21, 2017 at 7:29 pm

Judy, this makes me feel so much better! Having been a pretty content MFCU member since ’84, I was distressed by your article. It definitely should not have happened the way it did, but I’m glad you at least record. the follow-up call.


tia June 21, 2017 at 7:30 pm

received the follow-up call. Just hate the way my computer makes me look even less literate than I am.


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