Friday, May 16, 2008

Traders offering loan against credit card

There is a new type of offer for the credit card holders i.e. they can take loan against their credit card from the trader. In case of defraud, the police won't help because the loan-seekers are as much at fault as the conmen.

Crooked traders are giving ads in newspaper. On reading the ad when a credit card-holder turns up at the shop, he is asked how much loan he needs. His card is then swiped for the amount, plus a four per cent commission. The transaction is shown as payment against purchase of goods.

Instead of goods the credit card holder leaves the shop with the loan amount in cash. Later on the trader produces the transaction slip in the bank concerned and recovers the loaned amount, as well as the commission.

In the past month and a half, Calcutta police had received 16 complaints where traders have overcharged the cardholders. There are several cardholders who have availed themselves of loans in this manner and have found that traders overcharged them or used the card details for future purchases.

"We can't help people who have been defrauded in this manner. A person can use his credit card to buy goods from a shop but can't take money from the shop-owner," said deputy commissioner (detective department) Jawed Shamim.

An officer of the detective department's fraud section said if they start taking up the cases then the complainants will have to be prosecuted along with the traders. "The victims often are left with no option."

He quoted the case of a complainant who took Rs 70,000 from a shopkeeper and was told that his card had been swiped for Rs 72,800 (Rs 70,000, plus commission of Rs 2,800). Later on when the cardholder received the statement he was shocked to see that the shopkeeper had actually withdrawn Rs 1 lakh. When the complainant went back to the shop, he was forced to leave away.

Another victim, Rana Banerjee of Rashbehari Avenue, recounted: "I gave my card to the owner of an electronic goods shop on April 14. He was supposed to give me Rs 95,000, but he paid me Rs 70,000 and asked me to come back later for the rest of the amount. When I went back to the shop, he flatly refused to give me the rest of the money."

Police said to stop such frauds people should take loan against a credit card from the bank instead of approaching traders.

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