This happened in 2000 and was eventually resolved, but it cost me the use of $1100 for three weeks, many bounced checks and additional bank charges because of that, and because of the bank's refusal to intervene against Compuserve.
We were tightening up our online accounts and confirmed with Compuserve that we were on their $24.95 "unlimited use" plan.
This was very important because both of us are self-employed and process work on the 'net constantly. We had an auto-deduct from our bank account arranged with CompuServe.
Instead of confirming our "unlimited use" plan, Compuserve switched us to a per-minute plan and shortly thereafter notified us that they had deducted over $1100 from our checking account!
Surely BBT, where we did all our banking and which required all kinds of proof for US to withdraw any funds at all, gave strangers all our money. Their explanation: "Well, we can deduct up to $1500 from your account without notifying you."
I called Compuserve, got no satisfaction and asked to speak to their Consumer Fraud division, which told me that since there was no fraud involved, they couldn't help me. But they assured me it would be straightened out and the money would be returned.
I called BBT, which would NOT restore our money in the interim. I wrote to their President and requested a return receipt.
Our next Compuserve bill showed yet more per-minute charges.
Since this was an interstate fraudulent transaction, I contacted the ICC, or as it's known online, ICCFBI, which will investigate and straighten things out.
After nearly a month of not being able to pay our bills, having checks bounce at 430 per check, threats from our creditors and even the inability to keep the power on, I called Compuserve again. Again, they reassured me the change was made and that the money would be returned. But WHEN? We NEEDED that money to continue existing! Compuserve, who had made the lightning-quick deduction, replied, "Ma'am, we're not magicians; we can't just wave a magic wand and give you your money back." I told them to get it back in there the same way they got it out in the first place: electronically.
Thanks to the intervention of the ICCCFBI -- which has an online fraud complaint form -- and the letter to the President of BBT , we got the money back.
For all our troubles, we got a letter from BBT saying that they had deposited our overdraft charges in our account and hoped we were satisfied.
We now bank elsewhere and have severed Compuserve completely.
Greenville, South Carolina