Credit Cards

PC Optimum customers say their points were stolen and the company was slow to act

By: Jessica Mach on February 4, 2019

PC Optimum cardholders across Canada say that they’ve had their points stolen in recent months.

What made the experience doubly disappointing, they say, was PC Optimum’s lackluster response to their complaints.

Bob and Carol Bye found out that 300,000 points were missing from their PC Optimum account back in September, when they were unable to use the card to pay for their grocery purchase in Hanmer, Ont. The missing points had a $300 value.

When Bob called PC Optimum to report the breach, the rewards program said that the 300,000 points had been redeemed back in July. Because the program only logged transactions from the past 45 days, it would not be able to investigate the complaint.

But when Bob asked for proof that he had made the purchases, the program listed off items that included foods he was allergic to and would therefore never buy. In a later conversation with another PC Optimum representative, he was told that the first list of purchases was incorrect, and that he had bought different items in those July transactions.

“I made numerous phone calls to them,” Bob told the CBC on Monday. “We've emailed a dozen times and no one ever got back to us when they said they would.”

At the start of February, the couple were told that there was not enough proof that the July transactions were fraudulent. They were given 50,000 points valued at $50 — and would never see the remaining 250,000 points.

“It’s disgusting,” Bob said.

Gary Smith of Bridgewater, N.S., faced a similar situation. In November, he discovered that $240 worth of PC Optimum points had been stolen from his account. Like Bob, Smith never received calls back from PC Optimum. So he called in weekly until they gave him his points back earlier this year.

“I don't think much of the customer service,” he said.

Jennifer White of Vancouver, B.C., was also persistent when she found out that points were missing after she switched over to PC Optimum last year. The rewards program closed her case three times and each time, she would open a new complaint. After nearly a year of calling in, she finally got her points restored last week.

White’s mother is also trying to get back stolen PC Optimum points.

Why does this keep on happening? One PC Optimum cardholder in Halifax thinks she knows. Robin Arsenault found out that points had been stolen from her card after she got a notification that a member of her “household” had been added to her account. The rewards program believes that someone got a hold of her email and password information, and added themselves as a household member to redeem Arsenault’s points.

Back in November, the program had warned customers of a fraudulent text that asked them to log into their accounts on a linked site.

PC Optimum called the situation a “rare occurrence,” and said that they are constantly reviewing and updating their security measures.