Stranded In Remote India With Damaged Debit/Credit Cards And USAA Does Not Care

Stranded In Remote India With Damaged Debit/Credit Cards And USAA Does Not Care


It has been over 9 days since I requested help via email from USAA concerning my damaged debit and credit cards while on vacation in Dharamsala, India where I am attending teachings by the Dalai Lama, volunteering with the Tibetan refugees, and studying Budhist philosophy. My credit card does not work at all and my debit card is also damaged, but is currently functioning (although I do not know how long that will continue). I gave them my hotel's address HERE IN INDIA, but having not received them by the appointed date, I realized that THEY HAD BEEN SENT VIA FedEx TO KANSAS ... "Dharamsala, Kansas" and an Indian postal code.


It's no wonder I have not received my replacement debit/credit cards because if USAA employees had simply read my emails in their entirety, they would have realized that I AM IN INDIA AND THAT THERE IS NO DHARAMSALA IN KANSAS!!! Unbelievable! They also would have answered the questions I asked about MY DAMAGED CREDIT CARD and HOW AND WHEN TO CALL USAA AS INSTRUCTED in a previous email.


I find this all very concerning as I am half way around the world and potentially without a source of funds and USAA DOES NOT SEEM TO CARE ENOUGH TO READ MY EMAILS IN THEIR ENTIRETY, ANSWER MY QUESTIONS, AND GET ME THE CARDS I DESPERATELY NEED!


I am also EXTREMELY concerned because I specifically asked not to have my current (new) credit card replaced because I had to notify numerous auto-pay accounts of the change in cards WHEN FORCED TO REPLACE THE CARD AGAINST MY WISHES, THE SECOND TIME IN LESS THAN 2 YEARS!  USAA apparently does not understand the inconvenience caused by mandating card changes on customers THROUGH NO FAULT OF OUR OWN.  Being in India, where internet connections are slow at best, it would be IMPOSSIBLE for me to contact all of my account holders AGAIN to update payment (card) information, AVOIDING MISSED/LATE PAYMENTS AND POSSIBLE NEGATIVE IMPACT ON MY CREDIT RATING. If USAA cannot figure out that I am in India, how could I possibly count on them NOT TO CANCEL my current credit card and AVOID HAVING TO CONTACT MY CREDITORS FOR THE THIRD TIME IN TWO YEARS.




We will see if and how my case is handled and I will update you here and on my blog:  USAA has gone downhill in recent years in terms of customer service. It seems as though they have gotten too big for their britches since rolling in non-officers. I think it's wonderful that all Veterans now have access to USAA's services, but before the change we (officers) received quality, personal customer service, athing of the past based on my experiences with USAA in recent years.




We lived in India for four years.  Nothing gets through the Indian postal system.  Good luck.

Dear CombatCritic,

I would like to start by apologizing for the miscommunication and the frustration this mix up is causing you. Please email us at and we will escalate your credit and debit card situation and check on the status of the card that was sent to the wrong address. Please include your member number and the best way to contact you in the email. Thank you.


Briana Hartzel,


Maybe you will be more responsive and concerned than the people who are supposed to help members as it has been nearly 24 hours and I have yet to receive a response as promised.


I have been a member for nearly 30 years and am appalled by my recent experiences with USAA. This is only the top of the iceberg. Even though my credit rating is OUTSTANDING, I was recently denied a credit limit increase (we needed a new roof on our house, $12,000, and barely had the funds to cover it) on my credit card for unexplained reasons, only receiving a form letter in the mail telling me to check my credit report. In regard to the same issue, I filed a claim for the same roof, but the assessor “magically” came up with a $2495 damage claim estimate when our deductible was $2500 even though many of the contractors told me that their was “far more wind/hail damage” than USAA had estimated.


USAA has suffered in recent years when it comes to Member/customer service. The company was founded for officers by officers and before enlisted, and now ALL VETERANS, were allowed to be members, I was extremely pleased with the level of service I received. Now, USAA is just like all of the other companies out there that treat their customers with indignity and disrespect. I hope the Board of Directors hear about these types of issues because if this were a military organization, somebody would definitely be fired!


I would appreciate any assistance you can offer because I have no idea how much longer my debit card will work and because my credit card is useless, I have no other way to pay for food, lodging, or travel. How would you like to be stranded in a remote, technologically stunted country without funds with a bank that could care less? Put yourself in my shoes. Not much fun.


Thank you for your concern and quick response.


Chris Sorrentino, LtCol, USAF (Ret)

aka CombatCritic



Leader, Published Author, Retired Military Officer, Disabled Veteran, Philanthropist, Chef, World Traveler,, Activist, Son,

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Well done, CombatCritic! Way to downgrade the enlisted force! They're second class citizens anyway, right? Oh. By the way...I'm being sarcastic. Just in case they didn't teach you that in officer's school. Just like they didn't teach you any manners. Maybe, along with taking your Dalai Lama courses, you could pick up some internet etiquette and stop using all caps to yell at people! Maybe that's how they taught you to get results from people in the Academy, though. So, it's probably not your fault. Yeah. Who would want to have an original thought anyway. Just rely on what other people telling you to do and then you don't have to take responsibility for your actions because "it's just the training talking."

Dear mkilgr (or whatever your name is),


I think you meant "degrade", not "downgrade" (which means to "reduce to a lower grade, rank, or level of importance"), a power I do not currently possess.


If you had read my message in its entirety, you would know that I was not "degrading" or demeaning (or even downgrading) the enlisted force AND WOULD NEVER THINK OF DOING SO (how do you like that ... ALL CAPS!). I have the utmost respect for my enlisted brethren and the thousands of brave men and women I had the honor of serving with during my 20-year career would likely concur. I was simply referring to USAA's services and how poor they have become since expanding exponentially (is that too big a word for you?) after opening services to enlisted, then all Veterans, over the past several years. Maybe if you could read, you would have been an officer too!

But here you are, a sad excuse for a Veteran who anonymously bullies people in distress on the Internet, hiding behind a senseless screen name (and senseless comments). Maybe we could meet in person so you can chastise me to my face? No, that probably wouldn't work for you because you likely spend the majority of your time harassing and degrading strangers on the internet, safely hiding behind the safety of your computer screen and anonymous name.


You might try showing some compassion for your fellow Veterans and people in general because the karma from your negativity is going to come back to haunt you ... if it hasn't already. Deal with your anger somewhere more productive brother, like in therapy.


Best wishes,


Chris S

aka CombatCritic

As a rolled in" non-officer" I have learned to take some plastic, some cash and some American Express Travel

Checks when I travel expecially to oversea locations.  I do hope USAA is able to find India on a map and get you the needed cards.  It must be very frustrating to take what should be such an enjoyable experience there in India (or any travel location) and have it ruined with worry and anger. You would expect with so much technology and ACH options that someone could figure out how to get you some funds. 

I guess that must be why I did so much traveling outside the USA when I was young and now enjoy staying in the USA and exploying the country I so loved serving..

Best of Luck to you.  I will check out your sites and see how well you handle any other travel mishaps.



Don't confuse college officers with Mustangs.  Mustangs rose through the ranks, don't attack their subordinates over their disagreements, and remember where they came from.  :)

I'll keep this short because it seems as though the only people posting on this forum are "trolls" looking to stab fellow Veterans in the back rather than provide helpful feedback or offer support.


After six weeks of "CEO-level correspondence", I am still in India without a credit card, having FINALLY been told a week ago that it would be processed and "in the mail" ASAP. After giving the "CEO's Representative" exactly what she asked for, I went to my Inbox to find another delay, sealing my fate and ensuring that I will not get my desperatly needed card as promised.


Lesson Learned: If you are travelling on the other side of the planet, do not count on USAA to help you out when things go wrong because they have gotten so big that one hand does not have a clue what the other is doing ... "We're USAA, we don't care, we don't have to!"


CombatCritic ... OUT!