On November 28th 2010 I went to the Vons grocery store and purchased a Paypower Visa Prepaid debit card. The cost was $5 for the card, with a minimum of $20 to activate it. I went home, created an account on Paypower's website and saw the $20. I ordered a DVD online to see if my account was working, and it was.
The next day I went back to Vons and bought a "ReloadIt" card. The way these work is you give money to the cashier and that amount is added to the card, you then scratch off a number on the card and apply it to your Paypower account. I put $340 dollars on this card. When I got home I tried to apply it to my account, but received a message saying "you have exceeded the amount of funds you are allowed". I called Paypower customer service to find out what the problem is, and I was told I would need to fax a photo ID and two forms of proof that I live at this address. This sounded suspicious to me but I did some research and discovered all financial companies are required to collect this information as part of the Patriot Act, so I faxed it over.
On Wednesday December 1st 2010 I received an email from a risk analyst at Blackhawk Network (they are the company that puts out the Paypower cards). This person said my SSN wasn't verifying and requested I fax a copy of my SS card. So I did. I called on Friday December 3rd 2010 to verify they had received all my information and they confirmed they did.
Today on Tuesday December 7 2010 I saw that my account still hadn't been fully activated. I emailed that risk analyst asking why, and she replied that they were unable to verify my identity through their database and that I would only be allowed to add an additional $200 to my card.
What the HELL? I sent a copy of my drivers license, two forms proving I live here, and a copy of my SS card and they STILL cant verify who I am?
So I then called Paypower customer service asking for a refund. I was put on hold while the person talked to her supervisor, when she came back she said she had escalated my issue and gave me a ticket number. She asked for my phone number and said someone would contact me.
As of now nobody had called me back, so I'm stuck here with an inactive account and $340 dollars I cant use. I will consider this company to be a bunch of thieves until my issue is resolved.
I checked the Better Business Bureau and discovered Blackhawk Network is an "accredited business" with an A+ rating, but Paypower only has a C- rating.