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The lack of customer service in the Silicon Valley is a pervasive problem.

* Cody Don on YouTube teaches the masses about science and regularly gets banned. His videos are rated G to PG. Despite millions of viewers and dollars of Revenue, there is nobody he can call.

* Uber charged $1500 to my debut card a few months ago. There's literally nobody you can call about it.

* Lose your Instagram/Twitter/Gmail? Too bad, because it's free, you're treated as cattle.

* Oh then there's the paying customers too: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17431609




> Uber charged $1500 to my debut card a few months ago. There's literally nobody you can call about it.

Your bank. You dispute the charge. Uber can deal with your bank. It doesn't matter it was a debit card. It means you're missing the money immediately, but doesn't stop you from disputing.


I wouldn't even attempt to contact Uber in this situation - a fraudulent charge on a credit or debit card = call card issuer or bank. I don't care what the company is, I call card issuer.


unfortunately, most banks have the policy of first asking you to resolve it (or at least show evidence that you've tried).

I would say, sending uber an email would work, or calling their number (which, they actually do - if you lost a phone in an uber, they have a number which lets you call them to get the contact details of the driver of the car you were in).


That policy is solely for disputes.

So it only applies to chargebacks of transactions you've previously authorized, not for fraudulent unauthorized charges.

If I took an Uber (or attempted to take an Uber) and I had a dispute with them about payment = attempt to work it out with Uber first.

If I didn't take an Uber at all = contact bank.


You get banned from Uber if you do that, no?


That's the second comment in two days I've seen along the lines of "You can't risk pissing off Uber because they might ban you." What a sad codependent relationship to be [ADDED: or feel you are] so locked into some uncaring tech service that you feel you basically have to just put up with whatever mistreatment they dish out.


Basically the same thing with Google, too.


What about Amazon?


What about it? I use Amazon and I would be loathe to drop it but I don’t really feel I have no choice but to use Amazon.


Do you really want to keep doing business with a company that charges you $1500 and doesn't promptly make it right?


That, honestly not trying to be snarky, is my question.

Is the convenience of an app so important to you that you're willing to deal with this nonsense?


Why would you want to stay on Uber? So they can charge you $1500 again sometime in the future?


A nice opinion to have while there are other options.

Wait until Uber is the only option for a ride across town. Now what?


Sign up a new account and catch a ride?


They're unlikely to become the only option. Maybe other options will be less convenient or more expensive but they'll exist.


For a real mistake on their side? Unlikely, but possible. Still likely less important than losing 1.5k.


Maybe they'll ban your card, but you probably have more. If they ban your phone number, they can't ban it for too long, in case it gets recycled.

If you are a driver, a ban seems more permanent, but it's not like they really identify riders.


Ban them first. Get Lyft.


That's when you start shopping your story around to local news agencies.


> Uber charged $1500 to my debut card a few months ago. There's literally nobody you can call about it.

Your bank. You call your bank.


Yeah, you don't call Uber in this case. You immediately call the card issuer and report fraud. In the case of debit charges, reacting quickly is absolutely key.

Always pay with a credit card, it's much easier to reverse this kind of stuff versus a debit card. There is literally no good reason to ever use a debit card.


>There is literally no good reason to ever use a debit card.

A good reason would be if you don't have credit cards because you have serious problems controlling your spending and you're at a place where you can't pay with cash, such as an unmanned gas station, payment terminal, on a plane, a cash-less business, etc.

I agree with the overall point, either use cash or use credit. Debit only if cash and credit aren't available.


Someone should come up with a credit card that has a dynamic hard limit connected to a checking account balance. Paid daily, too, so the checking balance is almost always caught up. Seems like it would meet the needs of those people while letting them benefit from protections, rewards, etc.

Any reason this couldn't work? Does it exist already?


> Someone should come up with a credit card that has a dynamic hard limit connected to a checking account balance.

You mean a regular bank transaction card? Is that not something that exists in the US?

I always find the American reliance on credit cards somewhat bizarre. Not having an alternative would explain it, I guess.


Debit cards exist but credit cards are often the better option if you're going to use plastic.

The problem with debit cards is because certain transactions aren't instant in the US if there's fraud on your debit card at just the right time then your rent check can bounce, your external transfers are returned, etc, and all that stuff comes with fees and headaches.

Credit cards also come with rewards whereas rewards on debit cards are rare and not as good if they exist. Credit cards usually have auxiliary benefits like (depending on the card) return protection, purchase protection, extended warranty, travel insurance, and more, whereas debit cards have nothing of the sort. THere's no interest due on credit cards if you pay your bill in full every month.

The problem with credit cards is, of course, you have the ability to spend more money than you have, and you can dig yourself into a hole if you don't use that power responsibly.


How likely is fraud on your debit card, though? On credit cards, it's trivial, because the number you need to authorise a transaction is prominently displayed on the card and needs to be shared with the merchant, all of which is of course horribly insecure.

Bank transaction cards in Netherland, presumably all of Europe, and I would hope the rest of the world, authorise the transaction in a reasonably secure[0] way between you and your bank, and the merchant only gets the money.

[0] The main insecure part is that keys are short, because they need to be memorised. But with modern automatically-blocking chip cards, there's no way to brute-force that as far as I'm aware.


In the states, most debit cards look exactly like credit cards.


If they are just as insecure as credit cards, then I can understand they're a poor choice. But why doesn't the US use more secure bank cards?


There’s no such thing as a “bank card” you talk about. It’s called “debit card” and is the exact same thing, with the exact same baseline security.

What is confusing you is probably that European banks push 3D Secure really hard, so most online transactions are further verified, and that chip&pin cards and online readers are prevalent - the same thing Americans call “Apple Pay is supported”.

All that works on debit OR credit cards.


The European (I assume, I only know the ones from Germany) debit cards are distinctly different from credit cards or the debit cards you described in that they

* don't have the credit card like information like card number, verification number or CVC code.

* They are directly linked to a bank account like you described.

* They have the account number (IBAN) printed on them. Knowledge of that number doesn't get you closer to the money in the account, though.

* To actually use them on an ATM or at a POS, you usually use chip and pin. In the POS case, the POS randomly chooses between PIN and your hand written signature as proof of ownership.

* You can't directly pay with them online, though (ignoring extra features some variants have).

* To pay online if you only have one of those cards, you usually pay by wire transfer using your account number, the pin number from above and a tan (a single use number created for this transaction only). Money reaches the recipient between a few minutes and a day later.

* Practically everyone with a bank account has such a card.


Netherland is similar. Online payment is supported not through the card itself, but by the banks through a system called iDeal, which performs a bank transfer connected to a purchase in a webshop similar to how a PayPal transaction would work, except it doesn't rely on a credit card number, but on a through two-factor authorisation process between you and the bank.

The 2FA used to be done with one-time TAN numbers on paper, but many banks switched to a special device that generates these numbers on the fly based on your account, the amount transferred and some random number, and in recent years many banks are switching to a mobile app for dedication. But authorisation always happens through some form of 2FA between you and the bank, and never relies on sending any kind of sensitive information (like credit card numbers) to third parties (merchant, PayPal, whatever).

Sadly, iDeal is only supported by Dutch banks and Dutch merchants (and international merchants that care about the Dutch market, like Steam). I really wish there was something like this that was internationally supported. Relying on sharing credit card numbers, seems really backwards and terribly insecure. Well, it is terribly insecure, as evidenced by all the panic when a company leaks a million credit card numbers. You never get that kind of panic when someone leaks a million account numbers, because in a secure system, that's simply not enough to get any money out of that account.


The current setup seems to favor the card network providers / banks. There's not really an incentive to change. Why it's like that in the first place? IDK.


This is called a debit card in the US, and almost everyone has them - but the key distinction between a debit card and a credit card is that the debit card is a direct link to your bank.

People like using credit cards (or charge cards, like some Amexes) to buffer transactions between the bank and the merchant, so if the merchant screws up there is time to resolve the issue before the credit bill comes due.

If a merchant screws up with your debit card, or it gets skimmed/stolen, the only limit to abuse is how much money is in your checking account. If you just got a direct deposit from your employer and are expecting your rent payment to pull from that account today, but your account was drained because your debit card got skimmed at a gas station... not much you can do.


My solution would be to just ban debt cards and give everyone an EBT card through the post office.


I believe you're describing https://privacy.com/

Lets you generate new debit card numbers with hard limits on the amount the card can spend. I really like them for tracking repeating payments.


That's not a good reason, that's a reason for children. Responsible adults don't do this type of thing.

If you have serious problems controlling your spending, might as well spend someone else's money that you can discharge, versus just have no money in your checking account all the time.


I use a debit card because it makes it much easier to manage my finances. As soon as I pay for something, it's immediately deducted from my bank balance, so I can always see exactly how much money I have. If I screw up and try to spend above my balance, the transaction gets blocked, because I have overdraft protection turned off.

(And, I have money in other accounts for emergencies.)


This is convenient, until someone steals your card number and you spending power goes to $0. This really sucks when the rent/mortgage is due, because oops, check bounced (which is a felony in my jurisdiction).

Credit cards are also subject to holds.

It might be convenient today, but it's like driving around without your seat belt on. It might allow you to enter and exit the vehicle quicker, but that's not really the point.


This is why I have more than one bank account! :)


And get a good bank!

The bank that offers me 0.2% more interest isn't worth it because their customer service is reprehensible garbage.

When something goes wrong my good bank - First Direct - are going to answer in 2-3 rings, and they're going to fix it, their founding philosophy (I happen to know some of those founders by chance) is that customers must feel "totally taken care of", if the customer wants a £2M mortgage at 2am on a Sunday, then you can't tell them "Oh I'm sorry the mortgages team only works 9-5". I have never come off a call to them thinking they should have done more or done it faster, on the contrary I'm often surprised how effective they were able to be.

Everything about this approach can be replicated. If every bad bank loses its customers we all get better banks.


> There is literally no good reason to ever use a debit card

Unless you're trying to get out cash from an ATM, or make any other cash-advance-like purchase. Then there's a really good reason to use a debit card instead of a credit card. It's the only time I use my debit card.


I was going to make this distinction, but didn't. You could read it as "... for purchases" I suppose.


> Always pay with a credit card, it's much easier to reverse this kind of stuff versus a debit card. There is literally no good reason to ever use a debit card.

What is a debit card exactly in the US? I'm familiar with US-style credit cards, and find them horrible, expensive and insecure. I normally pay simply with my bank card, and online I prefer to with through iDeal bank transfer. Unfortunately that's not supported internationally, so I have a credit card only for international online payments. I would not own a credit card otherwise.


A debit card is tied to a bank acount (or some other account) that has actual funds in it. It's same as a check. Once it's cleared, it's quite difficult to get the funds back.

A credit card is different. If a transaction is submitted for reversal within the allotted time period, the charges are simply reversed.

In the case of a fraudulent debit transaction that gets disputed, your bank has to file a claim with the other bank, and somebody (possibly other than the merchant) is taking a loss. Banks don't like that. Credit card reversals mostly result in the merchants taking the loss, and the banks will usually side with a consumer.


Note: in the UK, advise is to avoid using your CC over 25% of your limit. Apparently this might negatively affect your credit score.

One source: https://monzo.com/blog/2018/08/08/better-credit-score/ , a bank’s blog, but I’ve seen it in other places. Never from the horse’s mouth, though.


What relevance does your credit score have to day-to-day life in the UK?

As far as I can tell mortgages are dependent on you having OK credit, not good credit. You don't seem to get better rates dependent on your credit score.

Credit card rates are irrelevant, you shouldn't be carrying a balance.

What else do you really need a credit score for?


Some people have a Pavlovian response to anything with credit score. The propaganda has worked. In the US, we have countless TV commercials about "Check your credit score!"


> Cody Don on YouTube teaches the masses about science and regularly gets banned.

If only he sold out to NBC, PBS, Disney, or a Viacom company, then he could do whatever he wants and never be banned. ;)


In the case of Paypal it's not exactly a lack of customer service, as you can call or email and you will get a response, but a specific policy to not disclose the reason you are banned.


> The lack of customer service in the Silicon Valley is a pervasive problem.

The reason their is very little customer service in SV is due to fact that it is extremely expensive to provide customer service...


Yes, but that’s like a restaurant complaining that it’s extremely expensive to provide food.


You are proving my point.

Why build products for customers if you aren't going to provide service to them, oh wait, it's because it's not as profitable.


> * Uber charged $1500 to my debut card a few months ago. There's literally nobody you can call about it.

And here I thought small claims court was a thing in the US as well


The problem is that most terms of service include forced arbitration clauses. Even if they don't, you generally have to sue in the jurisdiction where the company is incorporated, which for the vast majority of people, is very far away.


That's not true, you can sue a company that does business in your state, in your local small claims court.

I am not a lawyer, but I have sued out-of-state companies in my home jurisdiction.


Is Uber doing business in a state just by virtue of having customers and contractors in that state? It has offices in various places, but I assume not all states.


I am not a lawyer, but my take is:

Just customers, no, probably not.

Contractors? Yes. Especially contractors that are performing services there.


> Uber charged $1500 to my debut card a few months ago. There's literally nobody you can call about it.

If you're in the U.S., I would think your state's Attorney General. It's potentially either theft or fraud, I would think.

Or if your A.G. won't pursue it, go after Uber in small-claims court. Not only are you likely to recoup your lost money, but you'd cause them some pain and/or lawyer fees.




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