After reviewing my monthly statements, I've uncovered unauthorized batch fees, inflated transaction percentage rates, and other miscellaneous and buried fees. The company has declined comment and doesn't return phone calls.
I asked the sales rep to explain why I'm being charged the mid-qualified rate instead of the qualified rate on all transactions. I was told all of my customers have been using rewards cards.
Not believing it. I decided to verify the information myself. I called some of my customers and asked about the type of card they used. So far, no one used a rewards card. I'm in the process of collecting signed statements from my customers as evidence of fraud.
Not appearing on my statement, but disappearing from my checking account is $10.95 for the Premium Customer Care Program I joined by omission. This fee doesn't appear on the schedule of fees page of the contract; instead, it's listed on the pre-application page under the header please send a voided check. I found it with a magnifying glass. The company has agreed to stop future charges, but refuses to refund fees they've already collected.
They also charge a non-qualified per authorization differential of $0.15. This fee is not on pre-application but added to contracts fee list. Again, I found it with a magnifying glass.
Apparently, the company knows it is not an easy task to trace a card after it leaves the point of sale and the likely-hood of determining the card type after the sale is minimal. This makes it easy for them to classify all cards as rewards cards, an easy bait and switch tactic that is, potentially, untraceable.
I called Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and filed a complaint. Unfortunately, the FTC doesn't act on individual complaints, but stores complaints until they rise to the level of a class action lawsuit.
My next stop is the Santa Barbara BBB, followed by Connecticut Attorney Generals Office. Wish me luck.
New London, Connecticut