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After we were robbed, which companies helped and which did not?

We were robbed in Barcelona. How is not the topic of this post, but rather the aftermath.

We lost credit cards from three companies: American Express, Chase and Capital One.

Capital One is the company whose card we generally use most, and we've always been happy with them. However, they were least helpful. They would only send replacement cards to our current official address, which is in the US. We are traveling in Europe. Our mail is being forwarded to an assistant, who handles stuff for us while we're away, but by the time she receives the Capital One replacement cards when they are forwarded, we should be near the end of our trip.

Chase was most helpful. They sent replacement cards to our next address in Europe, and in five days the new cards arrived. They sent them through UPS, which delivered on time. It took five days because a weekend and a national holiday held up the process.

American Express was also very helpful. They sent replacement cards to our next address in Europe, but on the fifth day their new cards did not arrive. This appears to be the fault of DHL, which they used to send the cards. We needed to leave the hotel where the cards were mailed to and asked American Express to either chase down the cards and re-send them to our home address or have those cards destroyed and new ones sent to our home address so they'll be waiting when we get home.

Big lesson: don't rely on only one credit card company. And a company may be really great in one respect and not so great in others when it really counts.

(In case you're wondering, we'd had passports and a debit card in a money belt, so we were able to limp on after being robbed. We don't normally charge things on our debit card but did until the new Chase card arrived.)

Posted by
6543 posts

Different credit card companies have different procedures. I have found Capital One to be very helpful at home, and I understand why they wouldn't want to send cards out of the country.
You're smart to have more than one card. We always travel with two ATM's--Wells Fargo and my credit union. We avoid Wells Fargo because of their $5 service charge (per use) and 5% of the amount withdrawn. At home, we seldom carry very much cash, and on trips we withdraw minimal cash from ATM's.
We also carry two credit cards, and use one for everything that can be charged. You are better protected using credit cards vs. ATMs because of governmental regulations on credit cards that are not afforded to ATM cards.

Posted by
16998 posts

Thank you for the report, Marcia. The one lost credit card I've tried (successfully) to have replaced during a trip to Europe was a Chase United Mileage Plus card. I think the time estimate they gave me was more than five days, but this happened two years ago, and I was in a smaller city, which can slow down deliveries. So Chase is 2 for 2 so far in the happy customer sweepstakes.

I'm glad you weren't left without resources in the interim.

Posted by
2436 posts

Marcia, if you don't mind sharing, it would be helpful to know how the thief got all 3 cards-I'm guessing that you inadvertently had all 3 with you rather than leaving one in hotel room?

Posted by
2096 posts

Good info--I have yet to encounter trouble with or the loss of my cards, the one I keep out for regular use when traveling is Capital One, my Citi credit card and Chase debit card go in my belt-loop pouch.

Posted by
2497 posts

Wow. Marcia! I just read your post with the robbery details. So sorry this happened to you. Lesson learned about carrying all those cards in one place I guess. Glad you were able to manage until the new card got to you.

Posted by
2002 posts

Thanks for posting. I was visiting my sister in another state last week when MasterCard caught an attempted unauthorized charge to my credit card, contacted me, and cancelled the card. I have to say that MasterCard worked hard to get the replacement card sent to me at my sister's address. I would be ticked off at Capital One for not being more helpful.

Posted by
2347 posts

A terrible thing to happen. For the occasional poster who claims that loss of a credit card is no big deal-read this. It is a big deal-anxiety, stress, and all that goes with it can put a real damper on the best of trips. Marcia states the big lesson is don’t rely on one credit card company. That’s a lesson for sure, but the big one for me is keep your credit cards in your money belt. She apparently had all three, the only credit cards they had, in a purse which was stolen. My only experience with a lost credit card was domestic, and it was also Chase. I was driving across Florida on what they call alligator alley, west to east, to visit my nephew. Stopped for breakfast and an hour later realized I left my card in the restaurant. Called them and they denied having it. Called Chase and I didn’t even have the card number. Went through the security drill and they sent a replacement same day delivery to my nephew. Was there when I arrived. I guess Chase is the company that realizes you can’t use their card if you don’t have one!

Posted by
5036 posts

Sorry for all your troubles, Marcia.

Personally, I've had nothing but good experiences with both Chase and Amex while overseas. I've always received great service from both. I refuse to do business with CapitolOne, which I consider a deceptive and predatory business, based on their marketing practices. I know some folks are happy with them, I want nothing to do with them.

"What's in your wallet?" None of your damn business, but I can assure you, nothing from that sleazy company.

Posted by
5539 posts

Thanks for sharing.

How did you "activate" your replacement cards? The usual process seems to be calling the issuer from the telephone number on file with the issuer.

Posted by
7736 posts

Oh my word. What an experience. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with the 3 CC companies. It's very helpful to have a report on an actual event. I'm so sorry it happened to you.

Posted by
663 posts

Marcia, so sorry that you were robbed on your trip and thank you for sharing your experience.

We lost a debit card in a small town in France. The card actually fell between a wall and the ATM machine because the ATM machine had not been moved all the way back in position after servicing. We were using a machine inside the bank. The bank employees could not access the machine and it would be several days before the machine would be serviced again. I was uneasy leaving my card, even though I was told no one could get to it, so I canceled it. It was very helpful to have another card for the rest of the trip (we only had a week to go and we’re in small towns so we did not attempt to replace it)

Posted by
663 posts

Marcia, so sorry that you were robbed on your trip and thank you for sharing your experience.

We lost a debit card in a small town in France. The card actually fell between a wall and the ATM machine because the ATM machine had not been moved all the way back in position after servicing. We were using a machine inside the bank. The bank employees could not access the machine and it would be several days before the machine would be serviced again. I was uneasy leaving my card, even though I was told no one could get to it, so I canceled it. It was very helpful to have another card for the rest of the trip (we only had a week to go and we’re in small towns so we did not attempt to replace it). You just never know what might happen.

Posted by
1010 posts

Capital One sent a new card to me overnight in the U.S. when my old card was compromised, so I've had good luck with them. I'm not sure what David from Seattle thinks is deceptive about their marketing, but we've benefited a great deal from their rewards program and I really appreciate how they are geared to international travel. I agree that it would be helpful if they were more helpful with replacing a stolen card overseas, though.

Posted by
4448 posts

Marcia,

Thanks for the info on your experience and I am sorry this happened to you.

I was pickpocketed when I lived in London and in that experience, both AmEx and Citi got me replacement cards quite quickly. My credit union was completely worthless; my incident happened on a Saturday and I could not even talk to a person at the credit union until Monday. This is part of the reason that I always bring 2 credit cards and 2 debit cards when I travel. A company with great customer service in the U.S. might be a complete failure when overseas. Unfortunately, there is no way to know without an unfortunate incident,

Posted by
996 posts

Wow. What an experience you had on your trip! I'm so sorry that happened to you, but thank you for sharing the nuts and bolts of how the replacement process worked while you were traveling.

Posted by
342 posts

How did you "activate" your replacement cards? The usual process seems to be calling the issuer from the telephone number on file with the issuer.

You simply call them. If you have the mother's maiden name for the primary card holder, you are fine.

Posted by
5845 posts

We have needed to have new credit cards sent to us in Italy twice. Wells Fargo VISA sent them overnight via FedEx both times.

Posted by
16998 posts

Some credit cards can be activated online. That's what I must have done when I received a replacement card in Spain, because I didn't have a SIM for my phone.

Posted by
31030 posts

marcia,

Sorry to hear about your misfortune, but it sounds like you recovered well from the circumstances. This scam has been discussed on this forum and others, and I'm surprised it's still being used.

On trips to Europe, I normally distribute cards between my "daily use" wallet, Money Belt and secure pockets. If one location is compromised, I can still carry-on using the others.

I can't comment on the issues with the credit card companies as I don't use any of the ones you mentioned, and I've never had to deal with losing one during trips to Europe. One of my credit cards was compromised on a trip to Vegas several years ago, and the bank just mailed a replacement to my home address. These days the usual procedure to activate the cards is just by calling a toll free number.

Posted by
342 posts

Two more related items...

My cellphone was with AT&T, and they were next to useless in helping me replace the phone. My only realistic option was to buy a local prepaid phone and wait until I'm home again to replace the phone. Meanwhile I have to cross my fingers that no essential phone calls are being lost in the meantime.

Our car was leased through the Renault Eurodrive program, which appealed to me because they were supposed to take care of "everything" if anything happened to the car. However, when our tire needed to be replaced because of this criminal attack, we went ASAP to a nearby Renault dealer as instructed. But that dealer absolutely refused to let us call or email the Renault Eurodrive so they'd take care of the tire replacement bill. (Remember, my cellphone had been stolen also.) Instead we had to pay for the new tire and keep fingers crossed that we'll be reimbursed. I think we'll be reimbursed. But how unhelpful the Renault dealer was when we were clearly in a tough spot was kind of shocking and unexpected.