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Losing debit card can be costly; time is essential

7:01 PM, Nov 2, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jen Errair owns small business Admin. 911 and uses a debit card for that business.

"I'm out of $190.80. Potentially it could have been $1,100," said Errair.

In October, her debit card information was stolen, a new card was made and it was used to buy two bottles of Chanel perfume at a Macy's store in Boca Raton.

She reacted, but was it too late? 

"I immediately picked up the phone (called my bank) and said 'I've never been to Boca Raton,'" she said.

One transaction went through before she was able to stop any  activity on her account. But now there's a problem.

"The problem is," said Errair, "my bank is not going to refund my money nor is Macy's. They have denied my claim saying the card was present."

Errair said that's when she learned that because it is a business debit card, her rights are very limited and the merchant may not be liable.

"It did nothing less than surprise me," she said, "The lesson for others is to pay attention to what's going on in your online banking."

It's not over: She has filed police reports and is filing a complaint with the office of the comptroller of the currency, which regulates banks.

Here's what you need to know:

-Under the Fair Credit Billing Act and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act if your cards are lost or stolen you have rights -- however to limit your liability report it as quickly as possible.

-Under federal law, your maximum liability for unauthorized use of your Credit Card is $50.

-Your liability for unauthorized use of your Debit Card depends on how quickly you report the loss. If you report it missing before an unauthorized use, the card issuer cannot hold you responsible, but if use occurs before you report it, your liability under federal law depends on how quickly you report the loss.

-Also, check your homeowners insurance policy to see if it covers liability for card thefts.

First Coast News

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