UPDATE: Credit card processor CONFIRMS: "It's a Y2K Glitch"

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On January 7, I published an initial report concerning our business checking account that was erroneously debited on January 3, 2000, by Automatic WithDrawal by NDC, a credit card processor, and Chase Manhattan Bank. (Sorry, I can't link to that post.)

Our bank processed the AWD even though they had no signed authorization form on file. NDC did advise they were putting the money back right away.

Today, after many, many phone calls, I can make a status report, but still do not have final answers. Here is the blow-by-blow from January 7 and today:

1. NDC told me "it's a Y2K glitch." They claimed our business name was on a mailing list from 1996 that was accidentally input into their system as active accounts. Could not explain how our checking account number got on the list.

2. NDC told my banker, Eric, that the Y2K glitch was caused by Select Insurance Services and that the account numbers were obtained through that source. I do not know who Select Insurance Services is.

3. NDC told me all accounts beginning with numbers "8796" have this Y2K glitch. They don't know how it happened. I was be contacted by Research Dept. when they know more.

4. NDC told my banker, Pat, that this debit was actually a normal AWD on our account because they really are our credit card processor! Or they work with our credit card processor. Or something like that.

5. I called EFS National Bank, our REAL credit card processor, and told them what had happened and that NDC was now claiming that somehow EFS was involved in this. EFS advised they had been getting phone calls about this and they are rather irritated. NDC is a competitor and there is no way they would be sending their client info and account numbers to NDC. EFS representative stated she would call NDC and get back to me.

6. Talked to my bank's data processing department today to find out why they processed this AWD without our prior written authorization. Very interesting... Rebecca (DP dept.) tells me if an AWD comes in with "all the right codes," no one checks its correctness. It's up to the customer to catch it on his bank statement and make a complaint. Then you file a "recourse action" at the bank, which sends it back to the Fed, which sends it back to the originating bank. Rebecca says these human error input problems happen more often than you think. She was quite confident the error I was describing was one of these isolated human errors and not Y2K. "They're using Y2K as an excuse for their shoddy practices," said Rebecca. "Y2K is over."

7. What are "all the right codes?" First, a routing code. Each bank has its own routing code. When transactions go through the Fed overnight, if the routing code isn't right, the transaction will never even get to your bank. The Fed will knock it back to the originating bank saying "Sorry, this routing code is incorrect."

If the routing code is correct, the Fed will send it on to your bank. There, a transaction code is checked by computer. Transactions codes tell whether checking account, savings account, debit or credit. If the transaction code is incorrect, Rebecca takes a look at it and kicks it back to the Fed and the Fed will kick it back to the originating bank.

If the routing code and the transactions codes are correct, the last code is the account number and name. If all this matches, it goes into your account WHETHER OR NOT you ever signed an authorization form for this particular AWD.

Rebecca agreed to call NDC and get back to me with her opinion today.

8. Since some company named Select Insurance Services (SIS) was somehow involved in this glitch (according to NDC), I began to think this might have something to do with an AWD we had terminated back in Jan. 1995 with an insurance company known under a different name. This was wrong. I verified this had nothing to do with this insurance company.

9. NDC says "this is a massive mailing issue. We've been refunding money since Friday." Again, I ask, "how did this happen?" Lisa at NDC says, "in 1996, we applied to NDC to start an account. Although we never opened an account, somehow this got activated as a current account due to a Y2K glitch." I insist we never submitted an application with our checking account number. I want a copy of the app. How can I get a copy. She says call SIS, an independent sales office for NDC.

10. Jim of SIS says, "you were on our mailing list as 'pre-approved for an account' because of your good credit standing. It never went through." I ask Jim, "how did you get our account number?" Says he doesn't know, doesn't know what the common denominator is that gave NDC our account number, doesn't think it was SIS. SIS is a credit card provider that works with Chase Manhattan Bank and others. Although "insurance" is part of their name, its a carryover from times past -- they're not in the insurance business anymore.

11. Robin of NDC says they got our account number from SIS.

12. Eric is the supervisor of Customer Service at NDC. He says, "let me start at the beginning. Your company had an association that merged with NDC. Somehow this file that had you and many others in it got accidentally placed in our system." I asked him to clarify what he meant by "association." He refused to say any more. I said, "you debited our checking account and refuse to tell me how you got the account number?" He says, "when we are ready, we will send you letter explaining all this." When will that be? "I don't know." Who can my lawyer write to? He gave me the name and address of a vice president at NDC in charge of this mess.

13. I call the VP and leave a message on her voice mail.

14. Rebecca, DP Dept. of our bank, calls back to say she talked to NDC. "Are you now convinced this is not isolated human error?" "Yes." "Are you now convinced this is Y2K glitch." "No." "Why not?" "Because the debit transaction was dated January 3. If it were due to Y2K it would have been dated January 1." "But, Rebecca, January 1 was a holiday. January 3 was the first working day." "I know, but I still think it would be dated January 1 if it were due to Y2K." (I know, I know, folks, but what can I say? This is Indiana.)

Tomorrow I will make what I HOPE is the final phone call to JoAnne, at NDC corporate offices, for the final answer: HOW DID THEY GET OUR BUSINESS CHECKING ACCOUNT NUMBER?

I noticed that no pollies replied to the post of January 7. How come?

Sorry for the length of this. Hope it's interesting to someone since it's quite disturbing to husband and me.

Just a dumb, naive, Indiana housewife (will add more adjectives as appropriate),

-- J Wheel (motherof5@wellprepared.noregrets), January 10, 2000


This story is disturbing...I know how I would feel if it happened to me and I wish you all the best with trying to get this resolved. I feel for you. Sounds like you need legal help on this. Please keep us posted. I read your original post. Hang in there, and thank you for sharing this incident with the forum. =)

-- Dee (T1Colt556@aol.com), January 10, 2000.

My sympathies, believe me. But look at the bright side: Consider how many people you helped keep gainfully employed today trying to track this down!

-- I'm Here, I'm There (I'm Everywhere@so.beware), January 10, 2000.

Did you not get my reply to your last post?? I advised you to contact experian, equifax, and trans union, and have them notate your file in two ways: first to inform you of any inquiries on your credit as they occur and second, more importantly, you need to notate your file to not be shared with any other direct marketing bank. I also explained that process, whereby banks and credit bureaus share information-you have rights under title 15 of the us code- http://fedlaw.gsa.gov/fedfra3b.htm

-- ****** (tjm@armktg.com), January 10, 2000.

Yes, I did get your reply to my last post and I thank you ever-so- much. I do intend to follow up in the ways you suggested. (I didn't want to make this post any longer than it already was.) I sincerely thank you for your helpful advice as I never would have known this.

-- J Wheel (motherof5@wellprepared.noregrets), January 10, 2000.

I for one am interested. Sorry you have to go through this crap.

I don't recall off hand, but did you close the account and open another one right away? I wouldn't want to allow this to continue while 'they fix it.'

And y2k or not, you may want to consider not doing business with Rebecca. She doesn't sound like someone I would want handling my financial affairs.....

Hang in there and stay on top of it! They want you to give up. You know that, right?

You mentioned being pre-approved....let me find that...ah, here:

[[10. Jim of SIS says, "you were on our mailing list as 'pre-approved for an account' because of your good credit standing. It never went through."]]

These pre-approved offers that many people get in the mail, for a credit card or a home loan for example, can really mess your credit rating. I recall a documentary concerning this. [20/20 or Dateline or something] It seems that they can [perhaps?] inadvertently cause you to be 'over-extended' credit-wise when in fact you never accepted the credit and threw the advertisement in the trash.

Since that show I have started a file with all those offers. At first I thought it would turn out to be a small thing and not really worth the time and space.

BUT, I have approximately 3 months of credit card offers totalling $80,000 in 32 individual offers. I recently re-financed my home and paid off everything I owed. [Before I heard of y2k] The mortgage offers, in a separate folder, total approximately $500,000.00 for the same time frame of 3 months.

These types of things could, in the future, cause havoc should I want to apply for a credit card or a loan. That is why I will continue to save them.

I suggest that you do the same. You never know if or when you may need them.

And check your credit report regularly!

-- Postman (ringstwice@lw.ays), January 10, 2000.

Wow, it's amazing the expertise the people have on this forum. Thanks for all the good ideas. Will do.

I want to close the checking account, but my husband so far refuses. He bought the business from his dad in 1990 and the checking account is the same number as it was in 1949 -- 50 years ago. Believe it or not, he is sentimentally attached. Also, says he doesn't want to go through expense and effort of getting new checks, deposit slips, etc. (I know you are really going to start to wonder about us folk here in Indiana!)

So, if he won't close the checking account, I feel I have no choice but to pursue this to the bitter end until I know for sure how our account number was obtained. If we get hit with something bit and checks turn rubber, he may change his mind. He says, no matter what, we won't be liable and our bank will have to take care of it. I don't understand that thinking, but . . .

-- J Wheel (motherof5@wellprepared.noregrets), January 10, 2000.

Your husband is right, you will not be responsible for the charges. Except.....the bank has the right to freeze the funds in question, process overdraft charges against the account, return any and all checks that would constitute an overdraft and not even bother to apologise later when the situation is straightened out. Right! They are to be held 'blameless' in this situation by FEDERAL Statute (and it doesn't hurt that they will make money from your troubles).

Tell...don't ask, TELL your husband if he values his sanity, he will change accounts NOW. You don't have close the old one, just start a new one. Preferably at a different bank (They have the right to freeze all assets within their institution that shares even one signee).

God help you (a sincere wish) because you are the 'little guy'.

-- Lobo (atthelair@yahoo.com), January 11, 2000.

J Wheel,

Thanks for the update... what a saga! Good thing the phones are working.


Prior thread...

Credit card processor CONFIRMS "it's a y2k glitch"

http://hv.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id= 002Fwv

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), January 11, 2000.

Please don't refer to yourself with those adjectives. Anybody who has a family business, five kids, and managed to prepare for y2k problems is no dumb, naive housewife. Magician is the word you're looking for!

-- Daisy Jane (deeekstrand@access1.com), January 11, 2000.


I am not sure what you meant-If you want to stop those pre-approved offers from coming at all, you have every right to do so-Contact the credit bureaus as I have outlined above-and if you want to stop getting "junk" mail all together call the Direct Marketing Association in NY, NY and ask for the mail preference service. Your account cannot be reviewed for pre-approval if you write the credit bureaus and tell them you do not want this.

-- ***** (tjm@armktg.com), January 11, 2000.

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