Personal Finance 

Unauthorized Charges on a Skype Account

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At around noon today my email inbox is deluged with about a dozen emails from Skype, notifying me that I’ve successfully completed a series of transactions. In total my account had amassed about a week’s work of talk to to Poland. I spent about an hour on the phone with Citi (the card on file) and online with their ridiculously slow “chat” service (I’ve been too spoiled by Ally Bank’s awesomely responsive chat representatives) only to find out that my only recourse is to file fraud reports and dispute the charges.

As it turns out, Skype can’t do anything. As Karina A. says, five minutes I ask a question, “No. Since we do not refund any unauthorized orders.” And once I dispute the orders my account will be blocked for security reasons until I enable it again with verification (which you do through online chat!). This doesn’t sound like customer service you should expect from a company that Microsoft paid $8.5 billion for. It reminds me of that Capital One commercial where the customer rep is some shady looking dude sitting in his basement.

Here are a few tips when working with Skype’s customer service:

  • Don’t. If you try to go through the support tree, you will end up with two options – Chat with a Slow Representative and Posting to a Forum. I didn’t try the forum but chatting was abysmal. I’d write something and get a response about 3-4 minutes later (companies: if you’re going to do this, don’t timestamp the messages so it’s not that obvious).

Ok, that was only one tip. But here’s another one – don’t save your credit card account on file anywhere unless you have a really good reason (I only kept it on Skype because I had auto-recharge set up). And use a strong password.

{ 12 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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12 Responses to “Unauthorized Charges on a Skype Account”

  1. DB says:

    I had a very similar experience with them after my account was hacked, they continued to try to blame me for having my personal information exposed even though I assured them this happened on their end, since I work in IT and secure all of my systems and don’t have any virus’s.

    Through a whole series of advancing threats I was able to get the money refunded. It took me threatening to blog about it and also not buy any more Microsoft products. It wasn’t the money that was the issue but that they kept blaming the end user for their bad server security. Needless to say I had my account deleted upon my request.

    What a terrible experience…

  2. Jim, I had a similar experience when I tried to correct a mistake their system made. They charged me full price for a year’s subscription for a phone number when you’re only supposed to pay half that if you pay it annually. When I went in to fix it, the system charged me again – so I ended up paying 150% of the actual price. I did the chat option and it took a loooooong time to get the issue resolved. Thankfully, they did refund the extra charges and got everything sorted out correctly. I agree though – their chat system is way too slow.

  3. eric says:

    After reading this, I immediately logged into Skype. Luckily, I don’t have auto charge set up. Normally I wouldn’t have done it anyways but I haven’t used my Skype in so long that I had to check. Good reminder post. Sorry this happened to you Jim.

  4. uci10 says:

    Skype is terrible, I had a similar experience and they do not refund any money. The chat always takes a long time and their responses are always the same. “Use a stronger password or make sure your computer does not have a virus.” Make sure never to leave your credit card information and only recharge in small amounts if you want to use their service. I’m pretty sure its easy for hackers to get into skype as this has happened more then once and I know its not a virus on my end.

  5. echidnina says:

    That’s a shame. I loaded some credit on to Skype because it’s helpful to be able to call phones from the computer every one in a while; I’m going to have to check if they have my CC on file.

  6. Jim, thanks for telling us about this. I went and checked and it doesn’t look like I’m set up with auto-pay. Twice this year I have had similar incidents and both times the credit card company refunded my money. The first was for one of those places where you sign up for one free week and I tried to cancel on the weekend but got charged. The other was Flickr. I accidentally purchased Pro on my second account which I rarely use (but is tied to my main Yahoo groups account) and Flickr refused to refund my money. So I called the credit card company and they refunded it within a couple of days.

  7. rwwonwheels says:

    Notwithstanding that they are the “in” way to chat/call, STAY AWAY FROM SKYPE!!! Several months ago I accidentally added money to my account using Paypal (computer issues). First, even though they have been purchased by Microsoft, it is only after an extensive internet search that I learned that they are in Luxembourg!!!!!!!! Second, this explains why their robotic, chat-based customer service reps (with weird names) do not seem to understand the most basic English. Third, when disputing the matter with PayPal (or with them) they state they aren’t subject to U.S. law, and you don’t get a refund until you threaten them.

    • Scott says:

      Yeah, it’s been pretty well publicized how stupid it is to be charged a foreign transaction fee by your credit card because Skype runs everything through Luxembourg. Maybe Microsoft will help fix that.

  8. ScottH says:

    I have just had the same experience. Got a bunch of email from Skype about orders being delivered (meaning more money put into the account from my Visa card), and also one stating there was unauthorized use and a credit given. A few days later, the whole thing happens again, only this time Skype chat reps say they do not provide refunds and I need to take better care to protect my account! What we need now is a class action suit against Skype. That will get their attention.

  9. justin love says:

    when making a call with skype credit always end the call or you will continue to be charged.

  10. jim smith says:

    They tried to put charges on my account for Skype not on did not use it for about 5 years. Charges attempt came out of Luxemburg.

    Should be reported as that’s to much for accident.
    Seems to be crooked operation

  11. jim smith says:

    I was not set up ever to pay anything.

    Looks like they search your data via hackers to locate bank then auto try to run bill.

    Only way to no my bank.

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