U.S. Direct Express handles the American Governments Direct Deposits for individuals that have retirement or military benefits. I have been using www.usdirectexpress.com for my military and social security benefits for nearly two years now. About 6 months after being with the this company an unknown company charged my account for $400 exactly. I noticed the charge the same day it occured as I was preparing to pay my rent and needed to check my balance. I was extremely upset that this happened mainly because I would not be able to pay my rent on time and could be evicted. I contacted the “customer service” number listed on their website and tried to explain my situation. I was told that the charge had not been completed yet, and that it was just a hold. I explained to them that I did not authorize this payment and did not even know who this company was that was trying to charge me $400. I thought that since I caught it quickly that they would be able to stop the charge and not allow them to take my money, I was wrong. I was told by the customer service representative that they were not a “normal” bank and that they could not stop any transactions once they were initiated, even if I didn’t authorize it. The representative told me that I would have to file a fraud report with them and that once they received it, it could take up to 45 days to be investigated before I might get my money back. In the meantime, the company that was ripping me off would have my money. I begged and pleaded with the representative explaining that if this company was allowed to take my money that I would not be able to pay my rent and could face eviction. I am a disabled veteran and former Police Officer from the State of Texas and had no other way to make money other than my benefits. The representative acted as though she didn’t care one way or the other what happened to me or that I had served my Country honorably and served the residents of Texas until I was injured and could not continue to work. She then told me the only thing I could do was to cancel the current card I had and they would reissue a new one to me, but that they would charge me for that service. I was left with nearly $17 in my account before they charged me for almost the rest of the balance to send me a new card. She also told me that I would receive a fraud package in the mail and was to fill it out, return it, and wait to hear from them and their decision on whether or not to return my money. I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and this event had caused me to go into a full blown anxiety attack. I could barely talk and was in tears as I begged this person to not let this company take my rent money from me, but she didn’t care and would not help. I even pleaded with her to have a Supervisor handle this, thinking that they could do more, I was wrong again. The Supervisor was very rude to me and made snide comments as I pleaded with him as well. In order for me to change my direct deposit to a different institution I would have to go to the Social Security Office in person. Suffering from PTSD makes going in public difficult to nearly impossible for some of us, so I knew this was not really an option I had. I filled out the fraud package and returned it, but never heard back from U.S. Direct Express, nor had my money that was stolen from me returned. I eventually was evicted from my apartment and had a family member not came and gotten me from New Mexico to bring me back to Texas I would have been homeless along with my service animal. This family member basically saved my life by doing this. He bought me an RV to live in and I eventually paid him back. He also gave me one of his trucks and never asked for a dime for it. I owe not being homeless and without a way to get to my Doctor to this family member. If it weren’t for him I have no doubt I would have ended up on the streets of Albuquerque, New Mexico and eventually died from exposure or who knows what else. I am back in Texas now and still have never received my stolen funds, but was starting to do better with my PTSD some. I was just beginning to be able to go out to public places like grocery stores without having panic attacks when another fraudulent transaction happened on May 3rd, 2014 for $.0.75, this time it was DirecTV. I had an account with DirecTV when I moved back to Texas, but wasn’t able to afford it so I had the service turned off and worked out a payment arrangement for the early termination fees. DirecTV, instead of honoring the verbal agreement they had made with me for the termination fees, probed my account and took my last $0.75 on the 3rd of May. I called the U.S. Direct Express customer service number again and spoke to another representative. I told them that I wasn’t worried about the $0.75, but more worried that they would try to charge my account again when I got paid in about 9 days. I asked about placing any kind of stop payment or the like on my account that would prevent DirecTV from making unauthorized charges to my account and I was assured that they would not be allowed to charge my account any further. On May 14th, 2014 DirecTV once again hit my account for everything left in it ($383.99) only 2 days after getting my monthly direct deposit. Thankfully I had paid my lot rent for my RV, but was visiting family about 4 hours away from my RV when the unauthorized charge happened. I had to sell the only two possessions that I had with me of any value for much less than they were worth just to get home again. I contacted U.S. Direct Express again and was treated very rudely and basically told that I was stupid for not getting a new card again when the first $0.75 was charged by DirecTV. I was told that I was lying about the representative telling me that they would not allow DirecTV to charge anything else to my account. The representative refused to let me speak to a Supervisor because she said that the Supervisor would only tell me the same things she was. She told me if I wanted my money back to contact DirecTV and ask them for it. I was very aggrivated by this time and basically told the lady to kiss my ass at this point. She was rude and questioning my integrity, I had had enough of her attitude so I did call DirecTV and surprisingly enough they are trying to help me get my money returned to my account. After some bad information from DirecTV initially and several phone calls I was holding back tears and my pride was hurt, but got a nice lady on the phone that told me exactly what I needed to do to hopefully get my money returned and setup another agreement to pay off the early termination fees. I did exactly as the DirecTV representative told me to do and am now waiting patiently to see if they will put the money I need to pay my Doctor’s bills, buy medication, and purchase food for the month back in my account. I really hope that DirecTV cares more about it’s customers than U.S. Direct Express. I also purchased a Blue Bird American Express card and am going to move both of my direct deposits to it as soon as I have enough money for gas to get to a local Social Security Office. I at least made it home where I feel safe and am away from anything that could trigger another relapse from my PTSD.
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