USAA almost had me arrested in Mexico - they laughed at me as I begged them for my life: MUST READ

Frequent Contributor
USAA almost put me jail or abducted - SCARY TRUE STORY So if you been following my post. I have complained about USAA randomly shutting down my ATM account They randomly do it with no explanation. Just recently it almost got me in a very bad scenario - almost arrested in Mexico or kidnapped. USAA has shut down my accounts several times and provide no reason. There typical explanation was that it was used in Mexico (USAA knows i live in Mexico). The best excuse and most comical is at the end of this blog - it will blow your mind away. Here was a typical evening for me in the beautiful Mexico City, Mexico. Here are the facts - see for yourself. Mind you, everything I reference was on a recorded line, so there is no dispute of events. On March 31, 2017, I decide to go to one of the best seafood restaurants in Mexico City called "La Docena", a hip and very popular place. We take a UBER from my neighborhood called Polance, a upper class neighborhood laced with cafes, markets and restaurants. The UBER ride is about 20 minutes and costs about 5 USC. UBER is recommended because it is the ONLY safe taxi in Mexico (UBER comes later in the story - just remember, my ATM account is my UBER account). We arrive to La Docena at around 9:30pm and have an amazing evening dining on various seafood items, mainly dozens of fresh oysters and octapus. We obviously enjoy several coctails of this pleasant Friday evening. It is not 11:40 pm and time to go home. I then pay with my ATM/USAA visa debit card, the same card I have been using daily in Mexico City (Yes, I have a pattern of life - the card is USED all over Mexico City and everywhere (e.g. Starbucks, supermarkets, cafes, pay cable and Mexican cell phone bills, etc). I carry only one card in case Im mugged or robbed. Here is when the NIGHTMARE and harassment begins - I go to pay for my tab, which is 1829.00 Mexican Pesos (or 106.USD). FACT - my account had in excess of $6,400 US). At 23:40:03 hours the card is declined, the waiter tells me and shows me the failed transaction. It states DECLINADA a.k.a DECLINED. I use my all and see $6,400 dollars and say to myself - HERE WE GO AGAIN - THE HARASSMENT CONTINUES. I politely explain myself to the waiter, show him the large access of funds that can easily cover a 106.00 bill. I go outside and call USAA. Here is where it gets scary. The customer service staff kept me onlive for almost 1.5 hours on the street as they made fun of me and hung up repeatedly. They stated the account was closed because it was "tax time", and that it was "spring break in Mexico". I called in excess of 7 times that evening, Here is that shady part...during the conversation, USAA stated they would unlock the account if I could read-back a 6 digit verification number they sent out. I did twice, only to have them keep my account closed, only to say I was not verified. As if it was a joke. At this point - I WAS TRULY SCARED. I had no other means to pay my tab (no ATM card). I had to make a very poor decision which I had to make which makes me sweat and dry cough vomit based on what I had to do next. I had 300.00 Mexican Pesos in cash, I did NOT want to be arrested. I put my girlfriend in a VERY dangerous position by hailing a street taxi. Street Taxis in MEXICO ARE DANGEROUS! She went to her house and back to get her credit card. I gave up with USAA after I literrally was pleading for my life to activate the card, all for $106.00US. I pleaded and begged and pleaded and begged. They laughed it off, giving no explanation, even after I verified myself. My girlfriend returned in about an hour and paid my bill. We both hailed a street taxi, since I had no options becuase my UBER account was also shut down. She was even in shock at the continued harassment I face by USAA - my only explanation I can give her is that I am in Mexcico and USAA views that as suspicious - can you imagine how that makes her feel as a Mexican National? I called the next day, early in the morning - the explanation was that it was "tax time" and one service operator stated it was "spring break" in Mexico. These are the FACTS how I almost ended up in Mexican Jail or even worse, kidnapped or extored by a taxi rip-off crew. Again, the calls all document me pleading for my girlfriends and my safety....I even begged them over and over to turn on my account - its my money! SHAME ON YOU FOR PUTTING ME IN HARMS WAY - YOU CROSSED THE LINE THIS TIME. REVIEW THE CALLS AND HAVE THE GUTS TO RESPOND TO ME.....the facts are written here - the calls began shortly after the declination of the card, I spoke to 6-7 customer service reps, most transfer me and hang up, others, after verifying me say they just cant do it. I mind my own business and rarely blog or complain - but lives were at danger and I was placed in great harms way for $106.00

2 REPLIES

Use American Express for travel. They stand by their card members and offer outstanding customer service.

I live in Mexico too and I have no issues. Everything that happened to you could have been avoided if you planned accordingly before you left your home.  For example, you could have pulled out cash before you went out to splurge, checked your settings on your account to make sure it still shows you're in Mexico, called USAA in advance.... 

 

Getting your card shut down by USAA is a security feature that has helped me in many situations. You dont even have to call to rectivate it.  Just log in to your USAA app on your phone and reactivate it.  USAA baking is all digital. If you call they are just going to walk you through the process on your phone. I been with USAA since 2005 and their customer service has been outstanding.

 

Rule of thumb, never go out without cash in your pocket. Credit cards are not reliable and not always accepted.  Mexican cops dont take credit.