Citi Cards - Fraudulent Activity

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Jan 11, 2019
1) On 7/31/2018 my daughter in Korea tried to buy a plane ticket online to come back to the U.S. due to my wife's critical health condition. She tried to buy through American Airlines using my Citi Card (“CITI” hereafter) in the amount of $1,117.31.
2) She called me saying that the website wasn't taking her to the confirmation page and that she'd gotten an error message.
3) I in the US called CITI whose representative gave me this info: CITI had automatically rejected the transaction over $1,000 to protect the customer. CITI representative told me to "discard the first one. We're going to unblock your account right away. Then your daughter should try purchasing the ticket again." I confirmed with the representative asking, "Are you sure? My daughter already clicked the total amount." To which she replied, "Don't worry, it should not be going through, just retry to buy it online." I questioned, "How many minutes does she need to wait until my account becomes unlocked?" to which the rep responded, "No need to wait, we gonna unlock your account right away, she just needs to retry buy the other one, don't worry about this one; it should not go through."
4) After I relayed the information, my daughter rebooted the computer and retried the process to buy another ticket, saying, "This is good because this ticket is cheaper ($1,015.95) than the previous one ($1,117.31). I did not know it could be cheaper..." and she proceeded with the same steps in buying the ticket from the American Airlines website.
5) Then, my daughter told me again, "It showed the same error message. It's not going through and the page is stuck just like the first time."
6) I told her, "I guess my card is still unlocked to protect me from fraud, even though the Citi representative told me that my card would be unlocked right away. You need to buy the ticket with your card or else there might not be any seats left.
7) My daughter rebooted her computer again and proceeded to buy her ticket using her own card with another airline (Delta).
8) On the morning of 8/4/18, I realized that CITI charged me twice ($1,015 and $1,117) for the 2 tickets.
I called American Airlines (“AA” hereafter) to say that their website had given me an error and that I wasn't given the ticket information, so they should credit me back. They told me it had to resolve with the credit card company.
9) I called CITI to explain the situation.
10) CITI credited the amounts back temporarily AND REVERSED THE CREDITS SOME DAYS LATER. I called again and got that I need to fax them with the detailed explanation of the whole situation, which I did on 9/25/2018 with a total of 10 pages.
11) In October CITI requested that I refax this case (I still don't know why?), so I did again in October. Every month, I called CITI to check on the progress.
12) Early November, I was called by CITI Security Dept for investigation and I answered more than 10 questions with the exact same information I faxed and told them before. Just before completing the phone call, I asked when I would be credited back. The Citi person told me that I would get it back within a few days.
13) Early December I got on CITI online to check whether or not I was credited back. What was worse was that they marked the dispute as "RESOLVED" even though the $1,117.31 still showed up on my remaining balance.
14) I called CITI whose representative stated that the case had already closed because it was over 120 days and that I had to pay for $1,1107.31.
This means that they hadn't resolved anything and charged me for the ticket. (The second ticket in the amount of $1, 015.95 was resolved and credited back to me before.)
15) I requested to speak to the supervisor, but I heard the same thing from her. I requested the supervisor transfer me to her supervisor. I talked to the supervisor's superior and questioned her with the following:
a) What steps had CITI taken to resolve this case before this case closed?
b) "Did you read my fax that I sent a few months ago? The contents of that fax were not addressed; neither was I informed of intentions to resolve the case. It's only after I called today that I heard the case was closed last month because of the 120-day time limit. It sounds like fraudulent activity. Do you have the document I faxed in September?"
c) A few minutes later, she said, "I have it here" and she began to read some part and then asked me whether I used any ticket from AA. I explained again that I had never received any ticket from AA. I explained all on the paper I faxed.
d) "Oh, I see" and she told me that she would reopen this case and to contact AA again to request a payment back.
e) I called CITI on 1/7/19 to know the resolution before my next billing cycle deadline.
f) After being transferred several times to other representatives and departments, the final message I received was that this case was already closed, that CITI wouldn't be able to help any further and that I had to contact American Airlines myself.

***Over and over, CITI Representatives have given me false and misleading information, said that they'll take care of things on their end but never followed through. In the end, they've wasted my time, money and resources and haven't come to a resolution on this matter. They took no action and waited until the 120-day deadline passed.***

MY CONCLUSION IS that CITI is responsible for FRAUDULENT ACTIVITY. All of the representatives from CITI have misled me since July 2018 until today, January 2019. This charge is NOT my responsibility. There's no logical reason for my daughter to buy 3 tickets out of Korea for the one travel. There's no reason for CITI to have taken so long to have this matter unresolved and not credited back. I believe 100 % “CITI committed a fraudulent activity against a customer who believed in the competency and honesty of their representatives.”
Sep 19, 2015
I am not understanding how Citibank is fraudulent. AA had the website issue. AA is the one refusing to refund the amount which means they fought the chargeback. AA credited the second ticket as the same passenger would not be flying the same route on two tickets. But AA had no idea that a ticket on another airline had been bought.

I have had a similar issue with an error message yet the charge went through and I tried it again without realizing that my card was charged. But this was not for a lot of money and was for a charity so I did nothing.

If AA fought the chargeback and said the charge was valid then maybe it is time to contact them? Take out words like fraud, because your daughter did attempt to buy the tickets, but hit a website glitch.

Was any email from AA ever received with ticket info?


Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
San Francisco
What an awful mess. If there's anything I've learned on this forum, it's that you SHOULD NOT book something againbecause the website says there is an error. Once you've entered your CC info, you've made a purchase. There's no fraud here, but there is incompetence. We see "double-purchases" often here. It's maddening to straighten out. So, in the future, just don't go there. Wait a day, a week, whatever it takes to be SURE the charge(s) didn't post. Call Center agents are useless at this stuff, they don't seem to understand how important it is to get out there and do some research before telling you that everything is fine. After all, THEY'RE not out the $1200, are they?

Credit card issuers are becoming much more aware of scams and fraud, and we card holders are being run around the mulberry bush far more often today than in the past. In a situation of a daughter in Korea using her USA father's credit card to book a flight from Korea to the US, I'm not the least surprised that the computer flagged the transaction. It would have been far better for you to have booked the tix for her. But with the stress of your wife's illness, I can understand. I am so sorry that this happened, and hope that your wife is getting better and your daughter arrives soon.

In the meantime, you will need to put all this in writing ... compose a concise, polite email to the airline and ask them to cancel whatever they think you've booked and give Citi back your money. If the airline didn't charge you, then address Citi to remove the charge. Your job is to make the person reading your letter want to help you. A word of warning: this will probably take MONTHS to sort out.

Remember that nobody is doing anything fraudulent, but commerce today is pretty much run by computers. I'm confident that Citi will help you ... once you reach someone who can read. You just need to get beyond those pesky know-nothing call center people.
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Jan 11, 2019
Thank you all (Christina H, LeeM, Neil Maley and Verified Member) for your comments. My point is what CITI had done until last November was nothing. They did not pay attention to my reports (by phone several times and faxes). This case is just base on what CITI representative misleading me and my daughter to do next, "DISCARD WHAT MY DAUGHTER TRIED FIRST TO BUY THE TICKET AND TRY ANOTHER. AA SHOULD NOT CHARGE OR CITI WOULD NOT PAY BECAUSE..." I just believed CITI representative's guiding but it showed later as a terribly misleading. From CITI I never ever heard "SORRY" for CITI representative's misleading you. It was our fault..." I believe it was true what the CITI representative's explanation, saying my card was locked against over $1,000. But I never ever understand why I could not be charged back from AA. Did CITI really try to solve this case with AA? I don't think so. They never ever paid attention to what I reported. I feel CITI just tried to conceal their fault without any effort to solve this problem with AA.

Therefore, I, wanting to get the best way to do, put my case here on the ELLIOT FORUM. I thanks again to your comments and concerns.