My company's merchant account was recently overdrawn by a surprise new fee from Cardservice International - the "Annual Compliance Service Fee". Both the nature of this fee and the required 60 day notification were obuscated by Cardservice International on their statements and on-line.
When I saw the charge to my account, I went to "MyMerchantService.com" and saw a reference to "other fees and adjustments" but no explanation of the charge. I then called the customer service line and got a taped message to call back later because of high caller volume - just the kind of service you do not expect from a company the size of CSI. The next time I called, I had to hold for 30 minutes (the estimate on the message was 10 minutes).
The representative and I went through my statement from two months ago where she said I had been notified of the new fee 60 days in advance. She directed me to the big grey box on the first page entitled "Important Information About Your Account" which had a section on "Important Rate/Fee Changes" and told me the notification for the new fee was located there.
I then pointed out that it was not mentioned at all in that part of the document. She then took me to page 7 (the last page) and, sure enough, there was a small notification. I asked why it was not included in the appropriate section of the first page and she referred me to the area that handle fees.
After another extended wait on hold, I spoke to Dr. No. It did not matter that CSI used the old slight of hand trick of focusing your attention on the front page, highlighted section of the page specifically designed for rate and fee information and then slipped in a minor notification at the end of the statement. I had been notified and any overdraft fees were not their fault.
In summary, yes, Cardservice International did provide notice of the new $120.00 fee, but they did it in a devious fashion by not putting it right up front in the part of the document specifically labeled for this purpose. As a result, I suspect I am not the only one who did not find out until they had already grabbed the funds from my account. Now I cannot get that money back even if I cancel today. And the attitude of their representative was basically, "tough luck".
I wonder if their is not some liability on their part for deceptive practices.
Oh, and they do have a dispute resolution area but they cannot be reached by telephone - only letter or fax.