Be wary of Arcot, a credit card security company that’s devoid of customer service.
Nels had to sign up for Arcot’s SecureCode to complete an online purchase. Now he wants to cancel it, but can’t find anyone at Arcot who can help him. The web pages he’s sent to are dead ends, and he left messages with Arcot’s executives that were never returned.
I purchased Portishead’s album Third on Monday morning. It was an international purchase, so WorldPay.com enabled the credit card transaction. After I entered my credit card and billing info, I was redirected to a Web page hosted at arcot.com. To my surprise, a second form once again requesting my credit card info was presented to me.
Since I already entered my information once, I read this new page carefully. The page was a sign-up form for a fraud protection service called SecureCode. A small link indicating terms and conditions opened a pop-up page with two paragraphs, the second of which was entitled “Terms and Conditions” but the entire body of the paragraph was just the sentence, “Your financial institution will provide the terms and conditions for this service.” repeated 6 times.
It is sufficient to say that I did not want this service, but wound up being forced to re-enter my credit card info because WorldPay.com would not let me complete the transaction until I completed the enrollment form. I got my receipt for the purchase, and immediately began to investigate how to cancel my enrollment with this service.
Searching high and low for a contact e-mail address on mastercard.com, I found only a 1-800 number. Calling that number, I spoke with a support rep who knew nothing about WorldPay.com or the SecureCode service, so I demanded to speak with someone who did. I was eventually informed that SecureCode is a voluntary free service provided by Arcot Systems, and that I would have to cancel my enrollment at the financial-institution-specific portal on arcot.com. Going to http://www.mastercard.com/securecode, I was able to search for my financial institution’s portal and found this site:
This page simply did not allow me to cancel my enrollment. So, I decided to try to get someone at Arcot Systems to help me. I called their contact numbers that I found on their Web site and for the next 5 hours I spoke with several people, including a tech on his BlackBerry who was on-call for their Web systems on his way into work in Sunnyvale, California, and a sales person who claimed that he was “the top of the food-chain” at Arcot Systems and who eventually hung up on me. After explaining my situation 8 times, and asking each person to cancel my enrollment with SecureCode, I was told flat out, “we can’t do that” 6 times, and hung up on twice.
All in all, I spoke with 8 people, left 3 voice-mails, sent 5 e-mails, received 3 e-mails, and also spoke with the secretary of the CEO of Arcot Systems, Ram Varadarajan, and asked her to set up an appointment to have Mr. Varadarajan call me to discuss why I am unable to cancel my enrollment with SecureCode. He never called me back.
What can I do? Do you have any advice for me? Can I file a civil suit and demand that Arcot Systems eliminate my information from their records? Can I file a restraining order? I need help.
Okay, first we want to stress that you should never fill in a form with your credit card info just because you’re impatient and want to complete a transaction. But clearly you’re already dealing with the consequences of that impulsive data-entry moment, so we’ll move on.
Have you tried revisiting the site where you purchased the album, to see if the SecureCode service was offered through the merchant instead of the card issuer?
You could also call your bank and explain the situation, and ask them to either cancel the membership for you or issue you a new card.
And the next time you shop online, consider generating a single-use card number from PayPal or your own bank if they offer it.
“Shop Online Safely With Temporary Credit Cards”