Final resolution to my Vanilla Reload CVS/InComm fraud case

Please note that this post is intended to alert our readers about ongoing scams and frauds happening with Vanilla Reload cards. This post is in no way intended to facilitate publicly sharing information about specific alleged scammers or their contact information, nor is it an appropriate venue to accuse others of possible scams. Comments containing specific contact information such as names, telephone numbers, email addresses and other private information will be deleted. If you have been the victim of fraud, we strongly encourage you to contact the appropriate authorities.

Back in mid December I wrote about the incident my parents encountered when purchasing a Vanilla Reload card at CVS. To make a long story short, they purchased a card that was already missing the PIN, and couldn’t use it, and a few days later a scammer who had stolen the PIN before the card was sold swoop in and took their money. You can read additional details about the entire ordeal in this prior post.

Vanilla-Reload

After filing a claim with their credit card company, countless phone calls and written communications to InComm that were met with the proverbial “we got paid so we pretty much don’t care”, and three separate visits to the CVS store, I’m happy to report that the matter was solved and my parents got their money back.

I helped my parents file an original claim with their credit card, to which CVS came back and produced a copy of my father’s credit card receipt. I then filed a follow up response telling the bank that yes, my father had signed for the transaction, but had not received the funds.

At that point, I got fed up and started pushing harder. I filed a complaint against InComm with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (as of the date of this article, the complaint is still pending). Then I went online and filed a complaint against CVS with the Better Business Bureau. This complaint was the one that got their attention. The next day, I received a call from CVS headquarters apologizing for all my parents had gone through, and directing my parents to go to the store where they purchased the card to get their money refunded. It was that simple.

I had filed prior complaints years past against dishonest or unethical selling practices against a handful of companies with the Better Business Bureau, and I must say that the BBB has never disappointed. A Better Business Bureau complaint gets a company’s attention, because if the company does not respond to the complaint, it goes in their record as an unaddressed complaint, and that impacts public opinion (and their bottom line).

In the end, it is unfortunate that CVS has gotten the short end of the stick and that InComm has acted in such a deplorable manner, but unfortunately this is the cost of doing business, and if CVS and InComm can’t work out an effective way to combat fraud happening with this product, then maybe CVS shouldn’t be doing business with InComm. I do commend CVS for doing the right thing and reimbursing my parents, who got caught up in the middle of this fiasco through no fault of their own.

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25 Responses to Final resolution to my Vanilla Reload CVS/InComm fraud case

  1. Josh says:

    So as someone who’s worked in the backend of retail, I’d say it’s a near certainty CVS did not foot the bill. Retailers have all the power here, and they certainly passed on the bill as they would for any return that’s not resellable.

    • travelguys says:

      Josh, good point, and I would think at the very least their insurance would cover any losses. Certainly the buck should stop with InComm. Actually the buck should stop with the people out there who scam others for a living, but that’s a story for another day.

  2. Colleen Williams says:

    Hi, I came across your posts while researching scams associated with these cards..Please forgive my lengthy email but I would really appreciate any info you may provide.

    I purchased 2 cards ($500 each) at a CVS pharmacy last summer with intent of opening a Bluebird account for my mom—as a bill pay account for her. Due to her failing health I never used the cards so I contacted Vanilla Visa Customer Service on Dec 13, 2013 to request a refund. I was asked for the pin numbers so I scratched off back of cards, and provided the pin to person helping me. It seems at that time that the cards were unused, and I was asked to provide copies of cards and receipts in order to process my refund request.
    It has been a nightmare since then—impossible to reach the company, excuses given, etc. Finally, on Jan. 23, 2014 I was informed that i would not receive a refund because the cards had been redeemed. ???!!!!
    I faxed dispute forms several times to company and since then have tried to reach them multiple times by email, VM, countless phone calls. Today I finally got through to someone and was informed that my case with them was closed on 2/10—their investigation shows that the cards were redeemed on Dec.29, 2013 by deposit into a “fully registered reload account”. My option now is to file a police report.

    I am trying to understand what may have happened…You mentioned pin numbers being obtained before I cards are even purchased, and then used once the cards are activated at purchase…but I had these card in my possession for more than 6 months and they were not used. Only after, I provided info to ?Incomm were the cards mysteriously redeemed.

    At this point I will file a police report—Can you tell me, is the company name Incomm? Customer service today would only provide me with a PO Box number of 826 Fortson, GA. Is this correct? I will go to CVS, as well. Not sure about my credit card company as it has been so long since the purchase. Once again, any info you may provide will be helpful. Thank-you.

    • travelguys says:

      Colleen, sorry to hear about your ordeal. Lots of people on the same boat. I would personally go through every single avenue available, which is what I did. I would file a claim with the credit card company, since you didn’t receive what you paid for. I would file a police report, and also try filing a complaint against InComm with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Better Business Bureau. The BBB allows you to search for the company address on their website and will forward the complaint for handling to their local bureau. You can also find their mailing address on their site, under their Contact Us link. Small claims court is also an option.

  3. Colleen Williams says:

    Any verification that my previous comment went through?

  4. ms.brown says:

    I am currently goin through the same issue with incomm waiting ony outcome.but I purchased my cards from Walgreens.

    • travelguys says:

      ms. brown, did you pay with cash at Walgreens or credit card? I thought WG doesn’t allow purchases with CCs. If you paid with cash it might be more difficult to recover as you have no bank to claim a credit through.

  5. Hasib says:

    Out of $900 bought vanillacard at CVS. Police says its a civil matter and incomm says it’s a scam and they would only give info to Police if they call. Trying with the CC company but seriously how can someone reload a card without the pin? It has to be a inside job or system flaw.

    Buyer Beware of vanillareload cards.

    • travelguys says:

      Hasib, not a flaw. There’s fraud with these cards. I would file a credit card claim and send your credit card company a copy of the police report.

  6. Alan Lin says:

    Hi,

    How do you get to speak to someone at Vanilla Reload? Their website doesn’t provide any information on how to contact them via email and from the customer support number there’s no way of reaching a real human being.

    Thanks!
    Alan

  7. Frances Gardner says:

    I experienced this today also.. Except I bought the card with cash @CVS.. When I went & called the number on the back it said my card had been redeemed. . So now I’m out $70 that really was intended to pay my phone bill online.. has anyone been able to get their money back? ?

  8. jeri bluege says:

    i purchased a reload card for $250 at walgreens. loaded it online the next day and the funds never reached my account. i immediately called and filed the necessary papers with their dispute package. waited the 3 days to email them only to hear that they were not doing anything further to get my money back. they told me to file a police report and have the police contact them. wth?

    • travelguys says:

      Jeri, I assume you paid cash, since WG doesn’t accept CCs as a form of payment. It’s important to make sure the last 4 digits on the card you’re taking show on the receipt, and that the receipt says it’s activated. If you need to file a police report, also consider filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau as well.

  9. Percival Gellada says:

    My daughter caught off guard during her finals and got scammed yesterday. She got traumatized for a period of more than 4 hours. The scammers pretend to be a IRS agent and threatened my daughter to withdraw couple of thousand dollars. We are still working on the situation and I hope somebody out there with lawsuit to vanilla reload and office depot can help us. If there is a ongoing fraud with vanilla reload why not protect the consumers on this situation. Please help us find this people who prey on hard working citizens..

  10. Sharon says:

    I’ve been caught up in 2 of the MyVanilla scams that I am now beginning to think (conspiracy theory here) that their latest & greatest reload card hacking scam incident was an inside job. This company seems to use every legal loophole on the books to seize your money and not have to give it back. In my case, they froze my direct deposit reload for 7 days (and yes, I got the same exhausting, scripted runaround as everyone else) due to “Card being used for intentions card was not intended for”. Wait, what?! Was my reaction. 1. Who are they to dictate what I spend my paycheck on? 2. Nothing illegal, fraudulent or even suspicious was done with the card. In fact I have an expired MyVanilla card still active (and never put in Inactive status) with over 20 of the same purchases/transactions as the 1 I made on my new card since the other one expired. Here’s the only difference between the two; This was the one & only time I left a balance on the card and quite a few hundred dollars. After 7 days & nights of being put on hold while they make (2) attempts to transfer me to a manager, fax line dept, or compliance dept (different dept every time) they tell me still busy & to call back in an hr or 2. They finally released the freeze but not until after I contacted the BBB (still pending Incomm’s response) and a lawyer to see if they were working within the laws. He informed me that unfortunately the prepaid debit & gift cards are not covered under all of the FDIC regulations. They are more lax so have that free pass. Scam 2 – Auth scam: As soon as the freeze was lifted I went straight to US Bank to do a cash withdraw of my remaining balance before they pulled something else. Well they did! The bank teller authorized the transaction but seconds later when she put the authorization number through Incomm Declined it so now they get to “legally” sit on it for another 8 days. Their wonderfully unhelpful CSRs then tried to blame the bank teller, falsely accusing her of putting it through twice, which she adamantly denied to the CSR and called him on it. She then asked him why they declined the transaction literally seconds after authorizing it. That turned into their same ole, same ole, getting old script of send send in docs but of course no reason given. Whether this is done intentionally or not remains to be uncovered but they certainly are extremely inadequate and both should be unacceptable for their line of financial business. I do know they work within the lax laws (because the laws are laxer) for prepaid cards but they certainly do not work within business ethics policies…as this company has no ethics. I’ve already taken the hard hit from not seeing a paycheck now since 2/13/15 (thanks to my last minute decision to put a direct deposit on the card), so it is now my mission to get the word out to anyone & everyone who will listen. I’m too small to shut them down but I may be able to stop some profits for them…already have in fact. I wrote the FDIC, my desired resolution to that complaint is to put stricter regulations on the prepaid cards so no one else has to fall victim to their scams. The consumer needs to be more protected instead of the preying businesses being protected. The consumer falls victim while Incomm laughs in our faces all the to the bank with OUR money! Because the laws lets them be.

    • allen says:

      Send an email to each and every company they do business with and send them all the documented complaints and let them know they are complicit in these thefts from innocent customers they serve. The Better Business Bureau has a red alert about incomm / my vanilla and other debit cards From this corporation.

  11. I sure hope InComm treats me better because I currently have $2,000 worth of missing funds. The PINs were still intact at the store, so I have no clue how anyone got them (I didn’t give them to anyone and just scratched them off before I tried, and failed, to load all 4 cards). My credit card companies both said there was nothing they could do, so hopefully InComm with come though or I will also file BBB and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. What ended up being the status with them?

    • travelguys says:

      Caroline, the BBB complaint did it for me. I got a call from CVS right away the next day and they asked my dad to go to the store for a full refund as a courtesy.

  12. mike says:

    i have a similar problem with incomm now, although with the paypal my cash cards. interesting to see it is your BBB complaints that helped work things out – and that you did so to the retailer as well.

    i’ve figured out the e-mail addresses of some execs – i am going to try a couple notes to them and hope for a response before going ham on them, which i will with all federal and state consumer protection and regulation agencies that i can. i believe they may be in violation of the electronic funds transfer act (regulation e) as well.

    my story here:
    http://www.igobyplane.com/2015/12/08/are-you-a-victim-of-paypal-my-cash-fraud-or-incomm-fraud/

    • travelguys says:

      Mike, very interesting and well spelled out. It’s a good move to try to reach some of these people directly. My dad received the same kind of treatment you described, which was basically being dismissed and being accused of having this brought on himself by “giving away” his PIN, which they know it’s not what’s happening with their product. Most of the methods I’ve heard of before is someone just walking into a store, stealing the cards and the PINs, destroying part of it, and covering them back up and taking them back to the store for an unsuspecting customer to buy them. In my opinion they have definitely been negligent on letting this issue go on for so long without putting better safeguards in place. Thanks for sharing the resources!

  13. Rachel George says:

    On 2/15/16 I purchased a myvanilla prepaid debit card from Dollar General store. I went home to register the card on my phone and was unsuccessful. I called myvanilla customer service and was told I had to do it online. I logged in to my laptop and proceeded to register my card and was told it was successfully registered. On 2/17/16 I tryed to make my first purchased and it declined. I went to another store and it declined again. I called myvanilla customer service again and was told the card was registered to someone in the town I live in. I was sent a email on the steps I need to follow. I had to Send in proof of purchase, the front and back of the card and my id. A few weeks later I called to check the status of the issue and was told the case was closed and I had to file a police report. On 3/8/16 I filed a police report. The chief called and spoke with a customer service rep and gave them the same information I gave them and was told they would contact him. On 3/10/16 they emailed him and told him that the investigation was over.. I called myvanilla customer service again and was told the case is closed, when I purchased the card it was mines and there is nothing they could do. So I Googled myvanilla reviews and all of the reviews listed has the same issue I have. They purchased the care but the money was never uploaded to my card.

  14. Lisa Fox says:

    It seems to me that with all the problems these Vanilla gift cards are causing and the lack of what I would consider proper response from InComm that maybe a class action lawsuit would be in order. My son got taken for a “ride” and InComm refused to refund any of his money. Cards were bought at both Walgreens and CVS so we will try that avenue and see about getting any of his money back. But honestly it sounds as if they are as dishonest as the scammers that are requiring payment using these cards.

  15. mike says:

    i’ve now blown the door wide open on how incomm fraud is occuring with paypal my cash cards. despite identifying embezzlement is occurring, how the embezzlement occurs, and the specific person who stole my money – incomm would not make me whole until i retained lawyers to take them to federal court and serve as a class action representative.

    i recently had confirmed the fatal flaw still exists internally as well. you can watch a video of me telling you what a PIN# will be then scratching off the card to reveal it. skeet rolling and his incomm fraud investigation team appear to be completely inept as i was able to figure this out outside the company with no help from them at all, spoon feed them the information, then sit by as they continued to call me a liar and blame me for my loss at their incompetent negligent hands.

    http://www.skeet-rolling-incomm.com/skeet-rolling-and-incomm-complacent-with-paypal-scam-my-cash-fraud/

  16. Excalibur says:

    Last night, I purchased a MyVanilla card with cash, at our local WalMart, and loaded money on it – in cash. When I got home, I attempted to activate it online, but was simply put into a “loop”. Called customer service, and after 2 calls, finally reached a rep. She was dumbfounded as to how many things I had to provide, to activate the card. Had to tell them closest hospital to my home address, confirm someone I knew from the past, confirm the closest intersection to my address, and give them my SS#. I was, and am, not a happy camper. Finally, after several attempts, she was able to activate my card. I will not be purchasing any more MyVanilla cards – felt as though my privacy had been invaded, and lost a lot of valuable time on the phone. To her credit, the rep was delightful – the experience was not.

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