Creation (IHG, Marriott) blocking all Curve transactions & closing accounts

The Financial Ombudsman Service does award financial compensation for lost points.

Another financial institution owed me EUR, which it should have paid to my EUR bank account. Instead it converted the EUR amount to GBP without my permission at an exchange rate that I hadn’t agreed and paid it as a refund to my IHG Rewards credit card. I then bought back the full EUR amount, which cost more than the refunded GBP amount. The FOS determined that the financial institution had to pay me the additional GBP plus the USD cost of buying IHG Rewards Club points that I lost through the refund to a points-earning credit card. The FOS then rounded it up to a round amount of GBP. There are some other unresolved matters in the same complaint, so I’m not yet naming the financial institution.

Wow, they clearly haven’t read their own letter - as you say it said nothing of the sort, in fact it was extremely light on detail!

It would be very strange if the closures were not linked to Curve, as Curve keep stating on social media that they’re still working with Creation to find a resolution for the account closures. Creation would just tell Curve it was nothing to do with them and not enter in to ongoing dialogue…

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Curve’s handling of this situation has been beyond poor. I’m sure there are many people like myself who have other branded vanilla cards with the likes of Hilton etc who cannot currently risk fronting it with Curve in case the same happens again! The robotic response is really not acceptable.

None of this is of Curve’s doing. The fault lies entirely with Creation, a very amateur card issuer with plenty of deficiencies long before these issues started in September. Creation doesn’t issue the Hilton card; it’s issued by Barclaycard. So you have nothing to worry about.

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How are you getting through to them? I am using the message function via the app but not getting any response… Appreciate under the 8 week rule this isn’t necessarily a problem.

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I just telephoned them about the missing points. The agent did not refer to the letter, but said “All accounts being closed under Section 14 will not have points transferred.” I immediately asked her to raise a further complaint about this. My original complaint (re pro rata fee refund, free night etc.) was raised on 19 October by email, and I still haven’t had even an acknowledgement (which their complaint process says will be provided within 5 working days). I phoned on 29 October to make sure it had been logged, and was informed that the relevant team is swamped and way behind. I’m not surprised! I fully intend to take both complaints to the Ombudsman if not resolved. Creation’s bill for this will far exceed what it would have cost them to treat me fairly.

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Exactly. Next Monday, it will be eight weeks since the first of my several complaints to Creation. I’m tempted to complain to the FOS separately when the eight weeks are up for each complaint, so that Creation has to pay a separate £750 case fee for each one, and so I’m compensated separately for each one. But it might be easier to complain all in one go so that the FOS can see the whole picture, particularly as most of the complaints are related.

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Yep I’m slightly undecided re that too. Have you had separate acknowledgements from Creation for each one? I’ve only had one so far and I do wonder if they’ve combined them.

Yes, they have acknowledged each complaint separately by e-mail, and each time I’ve had to reply back to correct inaccuracies in their understanding of my complaint.

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I’ve just noticed that the app is showing my running points total including last month’s non-transferred points. I’m sure they normally reset to zero each month, and thought they initially did this month too, so maybe this is a glimmer of progress.

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I don’t think that’s changed. I’ve been taking screenshots to evidence the accrued points that haven’t been transferred, as well as evidence that I’ve spent well over the anniversary night threshold.

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This is a very good point. The app gives better evidence than the web site of exceeding the £10,000 threshold. It shows how much more you need to spend until £10,000, after which it goes negative, whereas the web site just stops at £10,000.

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I today received Creation’s response to the first of my multiple complaints, just over 8 weeks since I made the complaint. Creation responded “we are within our rights to restrict any transactions without further reason, there is no breach of Terms & Conditions or MasterCard rules being broken”.

The letter was written with poor grammar throughout, and fails to cite which contractual term allows Creation to block a specific merchant.

Sounds like Opportunity 1 to engage the Financial Ombudsman!

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Definitely don’t think that is true. I just got a letter from them this week, upping my credit limit. I was a regular curve user linked to my IHG card, and often used it to withdraw cash to earn the points (I did this pretty much daily). I seem to have escaped the account closure that some curve users have had with creation, and got my free IHG night. I can only assume that I have escaped because my IHG card year ran from August to August, just before when creation seem to have started getting tough on curve users.

I got the anniversary night ok and they’re not closing my account (I actually got a letter from them this week upping my credit limit). I think part of it might be based on when your IHG year runs from. Mine runs from August to August, just before this kicked off. If they were looking at your usage during your IHG year then that may be why I escaped and others didn’t.

I withdrew cash pretty much daily. They aren’t closing my account and have just written to me to up my credit limit! My guess is that a lot of it depends on when your IHG year ran. Mine is from August to August and so my year ended just before all this kicked off, so if they were looking at annual usage mine would have been fairly small as only a few weeks of my year had elapsed before all this started. I don’t know if the length of time you’ve had the card was a factor too. I’d had mine for 5 years, since long before I started using curve.

My IHG year is January to January, I’ve used Curve with IHG, and my account isn’t being closed

It appears that there is no more logic or consistency to Creation’s “Curve decisions” than there is to their professionalism, customer service, website functionality, payment processing ability, etc!

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I phoned the Financial Ombudsman Service. Now that I have received Creation’s final response, just over 8 weeks since the first of my multiple complaints to Creation, they said I can submit all of them now to the FOS. If the FOS decides that some complaints are unrelated to others, which is true in my case, then the FOS will handle them as separate complaints and charge separate £750 case fees to Creation.

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Do you have a link confirming that? Any such complaint would not be covered by the FCA’s complaint handling rules as you’re not an “eligible customer” of MasterCard. That means no regulatory criteria for how and when they respond, and no right to refer the case to the ombudsman. All I can see on MasterCard’s website is complaint information if you’ve got one of their directly issued “cash passport” debit cards. All information for credit card holders confirms that MasterCard doesn’t issue those cards and so you should contact your card issuer (i.e. Creation)

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I think you’re rather assuming that most customers are like you. As anyone who’s familiar with frequent flyer schemes, many people aren’t particularly motivated by % conversion rates - it’s the earning points and getting status that count, and some people are willing to pay more for that. It’s underlined by the fact that creation was giving its black card customers double points on foreign transactions, so that has to be weighed against getting cheaper conversion rates elsewhere. It’s still very unclear as to why exactly creation has closed some accounts and not others. What does seem fairly clear though is that it’s a business run on wafer thing margins. It seems possible that income from foreign exchange rates was one of the items that made them issuing cards a viable option for some customers.

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