This month I had some interesting events occur on the internet. First I tried to pay our impuesto predial (property taxes on our Manzanillo Condo) online at http://www.manzanillo.gob.mx. I put in all the information from the assessment sheet and sure enough, there was my condo and taxes owing. I went to the pay page, chose Mastercard as the method of payment and entered the information requested and clicked on the submit payment button. The message on the next page informed me that my bank had refused the transaction. I should have stopped here. I re-entered the information and tried again.
Same response. I printed the different pages out and called MasterCard. I was informed that the transactions were there and they obviously had not been refused. I asked the service agent to cancel the transactions because I had proof that the charges should not have occurred because the site still showed my owing the full amount. She told me to call back after the weekend when the transactions were posted to my account.
On the Monday I called and was told that since I actually did not pay the taxes, I would have to go to a payment centre and pay the full amount so that I have a proof of payment. Which I did. When I called back, I was now told that I could dispute the charges. They would email the me the forms, but I would have to return the forms by mail. Once they received the documentation the merchant (in this case The City of Manzanillo) had 45 days to respond to the dispute. If the merchant disagrees, then the process starts all over. I am thinking to myself, this is a pretty good scam considering the credit card company whose business is based on charging interest for purchases is charging interest on these bogus transactions for the waiting period.
The documentation I sent clearly shows that the charges showed were refused and did not go to the City of Manzanillo. I told the service representative that this should be treated as fraudulent charges, but he insisted that they had to follow procedure. In the interim I am out two years of taxes.
The other issue I experienced was with ETN, the bus company. Señioranotsotechie and I were planning a trip to Guadalajara to attend our annual Condo meeting.
The busses are clean and very comfortable and have in seat entertainment and WiFi service while on the bus. And the senior (60+) cost for two return tickets is 920 pesos which is just about 200 pesos more than just the tolls. But I digress, every time I tried to complete the online transactions with Visa, MasterCard, and Señioranotsotechie’s Visa card. The message came back that our banks had rejected the charges, even after we verified our identities with the bank anti-fraud protection. I called both Visa and MasterCard and they confirmed there were no charges or rejection notifications. However when we were at the bus depot, the credit card charges went through without any problem.
At this time, I think that the Mexican Banks are refusing to accept foreign credit cards as a means to curtail fraudulent internet charges. So my recommendation is to avoid the hassles and get a Mexican Credit Card if you want to be sure that you can pay online, or pay in person.
We have friends that are still out over $1,200.00, dollars not pesos. They tried to pay their impuesto predial last year. They had to pay the full amount again and are still waiting for a resolution.
Next month I promise to write a positive article and tech tips.
(Graphics courtesy “Credit Card Padlock” by vectorolie. http://www.freedigitalphotos.net)