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March 30th, 2007

The Oak Park Leona’s Stole My Credit Card Number

Leona’s Restaurant in Oak Park, IL, stole my credit card number.

Back in February I received a call from American Express at work, out of the blue, telling me that my card had been compromised. I covered the finer details here.

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I were doing our usual review of our credit card statements, and found something interesting. In January, we had ordered from Leona’s on a particular day. However, our credit card statement had three separate transactions from Leona’s. The legit one was around $30, and the faux ones were around $60 and $70 respectively.

It wasn’t us because I was out of town those two days and my wife didn’t buy $130 worth of food from these jokers. In addition, the bill broke down the food and the tip – and the tip was lousy. We don’t play that game.

Armed with this information I called American Express and they halted the charges immediately. I then called Leona’s, and asked for the manager. The guy said, “Can I help you?” “Are you the manager?” “Yes.” Uh… sure. Okay. I told him the story and he was very interested. He said that he would look into it and the general manager – Pat – would contact me before the weekend was up.

An hour later, a follow-up call. The same guy asking what the credit card number was. I thought this was maybe a little odd but, I didn’t care because the card number was cancelled. (So if you were trying something fishy, I just pwn3d you.) Then, nothing.

No one called me back. No one called me at all. They know my phone number, and that’s that.

So I’m putting this Ping up as a big giant warning: Do not use any credit card in dealing with Leona’s in Oak Park, Illinois. If that wasn’t enough damage, their service really sucks, their phone order takers are rude, and did I mention their service sucks? Because it does.

Posted in Consumer Commentary

Dave Walls March 30, 2007, 4:53 am

I bet the tips at Leona’s are gonna be lousy from now on, though…

jk March 30, 2007, 1:49 pm

Do you know anyone in local tv news there whom you could tell about this? (Someone who does consumer interest stories.)

Can you please give me your credit card number so I can be sure I understand this?

Good grief.

Greg March 30, 2007, 2:55 pm

Did you think about sending your story to the local newspaper or television consumer investigation reporters?

Paul March 31, 2007, 2:12 am

Yes, and yes, I am doing so.

Paul April 29, 2007, 10:48 pm

As an update to this, the final word from AmEx was that Leona’s agreed to credit one of the charges.

However! They included photocopies of the receipts for the fraudulent charges.

It’s amazing: this happened in two consecutive days, and both have entirely different names and addresses (!) with them. Neither one is even close to my name, and neither has a credit card expiration date listed. It seems pretty obvious that I didn’t authorize either charge.

I’ve written a letter to the owner of Leona’s to get this resolved. Naturally if it does, I’ll amend the Ping (the Second Pingmendment) to reflect the changes.

Aanen April 30, 2007, 1:07 pm

That’s why I try to pay with cash. 90% of the people in the world are crooks. IMHO the majority being in the US of A

Paul June 3, 2007, 2:22 pm

Another update.

That letter I sent to Mr. Salvatore Toia, owner of Leona’s? Unanswered.

I called back American Express this week and explained the situation, asking them to reopen the investigation over the charge that Leona’s decided not to credit. The woman I spoke with on the phone pretty much went through the motions, telling me it’d go through the same process as before.

However, she was surprised (as was I) that AmEx would send back evidence that proved the charges weren’t mine. “You’re telling me it wasn’t even your name on those receipts?” “No.”

This is beyond ridiculous at this point. Leona’s hasn’t responded at all, at the corporate NOR local levels. Really, what kind of poorly-run company IS this?

As I said in my letter to Toia:

“In the interim, we have stopped dealing with all of your Leona’s locations and have warned all of our friends and colleagues not to support your business in any way. They’ve all been surprised at the lack of response from the Oak Park location, as this entire incident is out-of-character with the image your company projects. Until the situation is fully taken care of and I have received the remaining $79.10 credit, however, I can not in good conscience recommend Leona’s to anyone.”

Stay far, far away.

Dave Walls June 3, 2007, 5:31 pm

Sometimes, boycotts just need to stay in place due to incredibly inept service.

When my now-fiancee and I moved in together in 2005, we opened a joint checking account at Sovereign Bank. We were told the checks would take a few weeks. No big deal. 3 months later, we still hadn’t received any checks. We were calling every week to check on them, and we received a garden variety of excuses, even telling us on two occasions that they had been printed and shipped already.

Two weeks later, we got our statement, and noticed there was a check written for 70 dollars. Since we obviously don’t have checks, we knew something was terribly wrong. We immediately headed to the branch, where it turns out that our checks had been printed with our name and address…as well as SOMEONE ELSE’S address. Despite her name NOT being on the account, or even on the checks at all, this woman (who was up in age) wrote the check to cash, signed HER name (again, which weren’t on the checks), and was able to take it to this same branch, and cash it.

All the f’n security devices in the world don’t matter one bit if your employees are as dumb as bricks.

They seemed genuinely surprised when we were furious and cancelled our account.

Paul June 24, 2007, 5:35 pm

I have now sent requests for help to the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times. It’s been two months since my letter to the owner of Leona’s, and nearly 30 days since the launch of the second American Express investigation.

Absolutely ridiculous, at this point.

Dave Walls June 24, 2007, 10:37 pm

I’m amazed this hasn’t been settled yet…but please, keep fighting and updating.

Are there any other options that can be explored here? Small claims court?

Paul July 11, 2007, 4:33 am

I am proud to report that finally, after FIVE MONTHS of effort, American Express was able to get Leona’s to credit my card the damn $79.10.

Again, it took American Express’s power to do it. My letter went unanswered. I have no apology. I have no promise it won’t happen again.

Therefore, Leona’s won’t get any more of my money. Avoid them.

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