Fountain Hills mom battles banking app ‘Chime’ over fraudulent charges
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Banks often tell you you’re not responsible for unauthorized charges on your account. But what happens when you tell your bank about strange charges on your statement that aren’t yours, and they don’t believe you? That’s what happened to a Fountain Hills woman, so she reached out to On Your Side.
Shay Conklin is a single mom, and money can be tight. So when she got a notification regarding a charge she didn’t recognize on her banking app called Chime, she was concerned.
“Then I saw multiple charges from the same vendors, all between $30 to maybe $75, five or six times a day,” Conklin said. The charges were to companies with strange names that she didn’t recognize.
“There’s one thing called PJ lounge,” Conklin said. “I’m not sure if it’s actually a lounge or if it’s pajamas.”
Whatever PJ Lounge is, they charged her 14 times in June, totaling more than $640. “All Model Shop” charged her nine times for $430. Altogether, there were 63 fraudulent charges she didn’t recognize, totaling nearly $3,000.
On Chime’s website, it promises that “cardholders will not be responsible for unauthorized charges.” So Shay immediately called Chime late on a Friday and reported the mysterious charges. However, that same night, Shay got an email from Chime telling her the claim was denied and that the charges were legit.
“Which I thought was crazy,” she said, “because how do you investigate within an hour of filing it on a Friday night?”
Shay resubmitted her claim repeatedly, but each time, Chime rejected her appeal — without explanation.
“It’s a nightmare to go through this, but then it’s even more of a nightmare to have your bank keep denying you, saying that no error occurred,” she said. “I mean, I’m a single mom. I can’t afford for almost $3,000 to just be gone like that for no reason.”
After Conklin reached out to On Your Side, we contacted Chime, and they agreed to take another look at those strange charges. But to our surprise, Chime once again denied Shay’s claim, saying, “We stand by our decision based on our investigation.”
“I’ve cried,” Conklin said. “I’ve gotten mad. I’ve been through every emotion with this.”
But, On Your Side discovered the charges were, in fact, fraudulent. We investigated and found two charges to “4 X Cube Academy.” That’s a school in Nigeria. There were two charges to “KZW Store.” That appears to be a shoe store in Zambia, of all places.
There was also a $51 charge for “Equipomedic.” They sell medical devices in Argentina. Surely Chime didn’t think a single mom in Arizona made these overseas charges?
Armed with our newly found information, Chime agreed to take yet another look. One week later, Shay got a message from a Chime representative saying: “I’m writing to follow up on the inquiry from Channel 3 AZFamily about your disputes. We have performed a thorough investigation and have overturned your disputes.”
“We did it!! I couldn’t believe it,” Conklin said.
Almost immediately, Shay had almost all $3,000 back in her Chime account. Conklin says she’s been fighting this battle for several months, but it took On Your Side to get her money back.
“I’m so happy, and I thank you so much for all the time and effort that you put into it,” she said. “I mean, if you didn’t get involved, I still think I’d be fighting with them. Absolutely.”
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