Compiled from Public Data by FairShake
The US government’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) collects complaints against financial companies.
In 2017, the CFPB received 1093 complaints against USAA. USAA ranked Number 31 among all financial companies for the most complaints.
Date of Complaint: April 18, 2017
Company Official Name: UNITED SERVICES AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION
Product: Credit card
To whom it may conc ern My complaint is about rewards credit card issuers not being clear in their rewards term and conditions as to what qualifies for rewards and what does not. My research on the internet suggest that most issuers use the same or similar language and yet there is disparity between each ‘s understanding and willingness to pay rewards ( cash ba ck or points ) for certain transactions. My complaint stems specifically from a transaction on a USAA c redit card, however after further research I have found the issue most likely spans the credit card industry. On XXXX XXXX I paid my Federal a nd Colorado taxes through an online payment company using my USAA c redit card. The relevant portion of the rewards terms and conditions for that card states ” Qualifying Purchases are the Purchases that post to your Account, less any Purchase cr edits, returns, or other adjustments that are not payments. Qualifying Purchases do not include : Balance Transfers, Cash Advances ( including Convenience Checks ), ATM Cash Disburs ements, Money Transfers, Truck Stop Transactions, Gaming Transactions, Finance Charges, Fees, and purchases of other cash equivalents, ev en if used to purchase goods or services. Transactions that are not Qualifying Purchases do not earn any Cash Back. ” Due to the listing of transactions that do not qualify as a purchase I understood their definition of ‘purchase ‘ to be expansive and since tax payments was not listed there, I mistakenly believed that tax payment would still count. In addition other banks such as XXXX XXXX and XXXX that use similar language on their websites also have language that suggests that paying taxes with their credit cards would earn points. Finally both the XXXX and XXXX XXXX company website suggest that paying taxes with a credit card earns rewards from the card issuer if the card is in a rewards program. For all these reasons, I felt safe in assuming that such a payment would render a certain amount of cash bac k and offset the servicing charge levied by the online processor. ( the card used was a cash back card ) How eve r, USAA decided to not pay a reward for th e Federal Ta x payment. ( although they still did for the Colorad o State tax payment inexplicably. ) When I called to question the lack of a reward they gave me several explanations. After I pointed out logical flaws in each they finally settled on the explanations that payment of taxes is not a ‘purchase ‘ since nothing was received. I argued that the industry use of purchase is expansive but even if it was not I did purchase the service of having a middle man pay my taxes electronically for me. To which the person I was speaking with replied that services do n’t count either. After further pushing that obviously incorrect statement it became clear the person I was speaking with did n’t really understand what a good or a service was and refused to let me speak with someone higher so I was stuck with his final position. Again, the key point of my complaint is that especially since a large part of the credit card industry seems to consider paying taxes on a credit card to be a valid way to earn rewards, aka a qualifying purchase, it should be on the issuer to make clear in their rewards terms and conditions that they do not hold the same belief especially since contracts are interpreted against the drafter when there is such ambiguity. USAA an d likely o ther Card issuers is sues seem to be using the ambiguity in their terms and conditions to make arbitrary decision about when to pay out an award and when not to. To be sure, I recognize that a company can not be expect to account for every eventuality in their terms and conditions. However, as noted above several companies have predicted that consumers would use their products to pay taxes and found it worthwhile to address that issue on their websites.
Complaint Tags: Servicemember
Response Type: Closed with monetary relief
Company believes complaint is the result of an isolated error
FairShake accessed this complaint from the public archives of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). You can file your own complaint with the CFPB here.