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SOS: A pair of unwanted shoes, a pair of major corporations and finally, a refund

July 2, 2018 GMT

Sara Ballweg, of Lodi, said neither she nor her son purchased a pair of size 10½ men’s Ferragamo shoes online for $434.99, nor asked to have them delivered to their house. And even if they did, Ballweg returned them — at her own expense.

So why did it take nine months and several assists from SOS to get her a refund? Depends on whom you ask.

Ballweg contacted SOS on April 30 saying she’d been trying since September to get a refund for a pair of shoes allegedly purchased by her son but charged to her credit card account.

She said that when she contacted her credit card company, Citi, to dispute the charge, she was told that she might have been the victim of a new variety of scam in which identity thieves purchase a product with a stolen credit card number, ship the product to the card holder’s home and if the card holder doesn’t dispute the charge, quickly max out the card’s credit limit.

Plus, she said, her son wears a size 14 shoe.

“I’ve reported it many times and have placed many phone (calls) to Citibank regarding this” but “no one will give me an answer about getting me my $400+ back,” Ballweg wrote SOS.

To prove her case, Ballweg provided copies of an Oct. 10 document showing she formally objected to the $434.99 charge and a receipt for $22.65 from the U.S. Postal Service for the cost of sending the shoes back.

SOS began making inquiries with Citi on May 8, and Citi responded with phone calls and a May 23 letter to Ballweg from Katie James in the Citi Executive Response Unit. James declined to credit to Ballweg’s account, saying the merchant “provided documentation showing that the merchandise was delivered to your mailing address and that the online order was placed from an IP address that was previously linked to your PayPal account.”

The letter advised Ballweg that if she needed any more help, she should contact PayPal.

While Ballweg was making contact with “Christian” from PayPal, PayPal spokeswoman Bernadette Green told SOS that “as a matter of clarification, when PayPal receives a chargeback from a credit card company, the credit card company determines the final outcome and not PayPal.”

So SOS let Ballweg, Green and Citi spokeswoman Jennifer Bombardier know on June 21 that it appeared Citi and PayPal were pointing the finger at each other.

Ballweg said she spoke with “Christian” on June 22 and that he told her, “PayPal is not blaming Citibank.” He then reportedly went on to suggest that if Ballweg had first contacted PayPal — and not her credit card company — to dispute the charge, getting her money back would have been possible.

“He said that without getting any information from me, they made a decision that I really did place the order and told Citibank this,” Ballweg said. “This led to me yelling at him big time.”

On June 25, Ballweg reported she got a call from Citi informing her the charge was being reversed, and she confirmed as much on her June account statement.

Credits from CenturyLink, cash from dealership

Susan Brown, of Elroy, reported Tuesday that she’d received two $60 credits on her CenturyLink bill. SOS had helped her resolve a billing dispute with the company and AT&T that had resulted in overcharges for television and Internet service.Denise Sobering, of Madison, reported Friday that she received her promised $3,000 from Bull Valley Ford in Woodstock, Illinois.SOS had helped secure the money to offset the cost of making repairs to the truck. Sobering said the dealership hadn’t disclosed the truck’s shortcomings when she bought it in March.