I recently was awarded SSI in March of 2012 and the Social Security Administration offered me the Direct Express Debit card so my monthly disability checks could be deposited electronically since they were doing away with mailing paper checks. I accepted at the time and now two months later, I'm having a problem. I used the card to pull two cash advances, one was for $30.00 and the other for $372.00. The following day I went to the website to check my balance and it was overdrawn. It appears that when I took out these amounts, I was charged twice for the same transactions. Two of the transaction were in pending status so I figured like many places, it was probably a hold amount and "holds" usually drop off a credit/debit card after 72 hours. After a week, I started to panic. When you call the customer service number on the back of the card to speak with a representative, the line automatically gets disconnected. I tried calling 5 times and each time was the same story. I finally looked up Comerica Bank and phones their customer service thinking they could help. The customer service rep told me that the trick to getting ahold of someone there was to call the number, press either 1 for english or 2 for spanish, then wait...do not enter in any card number or do nothing else. I followed her instructions and after the automated voice asked me for the card number three time, it finally connected me to a CSR.
Needless to say, the customer service rep was a dumb as a doorknob and she finally transferred me to the dispute department. The lady told me that I would have to have the bank where I got the money from call them, then that they would have to write a letter on bank letterhead expelling that they were not going to collect on the pending transaction and that it would take up to 45 days for the money to be returned. I'm not sure why I have to do all the work when I"m the one filing the dispute? Finally she explained to me that if the pending transaction was not collected on in 15 days, that it would be reversed. I have never heard of such a thing. Any other account I have had if you call and file a dispute, the card issuer would handle everything. So before me next SSI check went anywhere, I went to my local bank, opened an checking account, called the Social Security Administration and had an immediate stop put on any future depots being transferred to US Direct Express and had them wire the deposits into my new checking account.
People who are disabled and have limited income do not need the added aggregation of this type of service. What added insult to injury was the CSR told me the overdraft would come out of next months SSI check until the matter was settled. I didn't authorize the transaction twice, why should i be held liable. My advise to anyone who is using Direct Express is NOT TO DO BUSINESS WITH THESE PEOPLE. Open a free checking account elsewhere and deal with professions who know how to handle disputes and will treat you with respect.