Report: #583621

Complaint Review: Certegy Check Services

  • Submitted: Sun, March 21, 2010
  • Updated: Wed, July 25, 2012
  • Reported By: Ma'at — The Piedmont South Carolina United States of America
  • Certegy Check Services
    P.O. Box 30046
    Tampa, Florida
    United States of America

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

I have never had any personal dealings with Certegy Check Services until Friday, March 19th, 2010. In fact, I had never even heard of them. After my experience then, the only thing I want to hear about them is that they've filed for bankruptcy. It's what they deserve.

I was innocently shopping for groceries, as I had done for years since the store first opened, at my neighborhood Publix. I added a $100.00 store gift card, for my Mother-in-Law's birthday, to the total, and $25.00 for cash, bringing the amount to $170.00.  I handed the cashier my check, on an account my husband opened many years ago and which we had used there more times than I could count, and my driver's license. I stood there and chatted, as the check took an unusually long time to go through the register.

It was declined. I called the store manager to come over, and asked for an explanation --knowing my husband's paycheck had been deposited the day before, and that --even if it hadn't-- there were sufficient funds. During all this, I could see the people in the line behind me giving me the "deadbeat" or "Oh, sure..." look. I was mortified.

Then mortification became anger.  The store manager, who knows me, said "Do you want me to call the number they give for information?"  "Yes," I replied, since I was beginning to feel the steam rising from my ears and nostrils.

He called. He got a robot. He got no reasonable answer. The decline was explained as being "outside their security parameters" (or similar corporate-speak) which was the same (also automated) answer I got when I called later from my residence. Neither of us ever got to speak to a human "customer service" (what an oxymoron!) representative.

Fortunately (and unusually, since I don't ordinarily carry one with me) I had a credit card with me, or that night's supper would have been left, with the birthday gift: melting,rotting or drying out in the shopping cart.

I left the store more than annoyed: I was flaming angry, and worried, too. I wondered if something bad had happened to the checking account, and thought immediately of identity theft. The bank (where customer service means what it's supposed to) reassured me that there had been no unusual activity, that the checks I had written were in sequence, and the my very own, messy, inimitable signature was on the bottom. The rep did venture, "You write a lot of checks, don't you? Don't you like debit cards?" I was polite (since she had helped me) and simply said "Yes, I do.  And no, I don't."

Contacting Certegy via e-mail was an added annoyance, since when I input the information they asked for on their form, the (again automated) agency of fate replied it had "no record of the  transaction."

I found the main corporate web site of which Certegy is a part and wrote another e-mail  (who knows if it will get through?) and told them I would be filing complaints with their CEO, with Publix Supermarkets, with the FTC and the Better Business Bureau, and with this and other consumer-protection sites.  I also mentioned that I will be contacting friends in the local media (two television stations) who might just be having slow news days. (Hmmm... I forgot the reporter friend...)

So there it is. I wonder what my next experience writing a check will be? I am almost afraid to shop for groceries again. I feel like the middle-aged caucasian woman pulled over for a full body search at an airport when Homeland Security is looking for Osama bin Laden.

I want justice, apology, restitution... and from a real human being, thank you very much. And I want Certegy to quit victimizing anybody again. Ever.

I will be interested to see if Certegy tells me I need to get their "Gold" service so I'll never have a problem with checks again... Doesn't this whole thing sound like a "phishing" (sp?) scam, or even like downright extortion? I can almost visualize an old movie villian biting into an apple an telling the shop owner he needs... "protection." Maybe not, Vinnie. Maybe you need to find another job.

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/21/2010 12:51 PM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 Consumer Comment

Certegy (Via Big Lots) Arbitrary and Loathsome

AUTHOR: Piquerish - (United States of America)

My wife's account of the out-of-the-clear-blue-sky abuse at the hands of Certegy's robot algorithms is very similar to the originating complaint above, but with one notable exception.  That exception is the frequency of check-writing.  Although we write perhaps half a dozen or so checks in a month, we generally use debit cards instead. On the day my wife visited Big Lots, she purchased a whopping $126 worth of lawn tent. We've shopped (truly past tense now) Big Lots for years. The Manager recognized her as a repeat customer. She prepared a check and presented it to the clerk along with her valid and current driver license AND a military dependent's identification card. Both ID's were current and had photographs. Our FICO scores are above 780, both of us. We have never, in the FORTY YEARS our checking account at the Pentagon Federal Credit Union has been active, bounced a check or had to redeem one for insufficient funds. We've never been bankrupt or insolvent or late in making payments.  Getting the picture here? I'm a retired military officer with Sterling credit, a new high-end automobile, two rental properties, a seat on a local city council, and more.  Our credit is easily confirmed, as is our good name. On the day of this incident, our checking account balance exceeded $5,000. And yet, on this day of days, these feckless losers embarrassed my wife in front of other customers and employees. To make matters worse, my wife is a Japanese-born naturalized U.S. citizen and the loss of face in public holds a special humiliation for her. I raised as much of a stink about this with Big Lots as I could.  I never was able to speak to anyone at Certegy, except the initial call that went to some person in some foreign land with an accent so unintelligible that I simply gave up.  This Certegy company is robotic and is completely indifferent about the trouble, the inconvenience, the embarrassment, and frankly, the rage their apparently arbitrary, if not capricious, decline decisions cause unsuspecting, honest people.  I would like to see these people investigated and sued.  And, yes, if it comes to a suit, sign us up.
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#2 Consumer Comment

Certegy's services are no longer needed...

AUTHOR: ewest305 - (United States of America)

Certegy advertises that they decline between 2-5% of the millions of transactions attempted each year. This 2-5% is more like a quota and does not accurately depict the number of fraudulent attempts. The quotas are used on reports and brochures to clients in order to promote their service as viable and necessary. 

As less people rely on checks and check cashing services, Certegy services become less needed. It is only though their 'proprietary fraud model' that they are able to convince big named corporations like Wal-Mart to continue using their system. 

This proprietary fraud detection model is written to convince big corporations that 'something is being done to prevent fraud'. In reality, the models goal is to meet the 2-5% quota that their brochures and reports advertise. This means that even if customers are law-abiding citizens who have no intention of committing fraud, they can fall within Certegy's 'proprietary fraud detection model' algorithm. 

Certegy gets away with this because they can hide the reasons for check declines through codes. The codes limit the detail that prevent discovery of the algorithms. In essence, they can arbitrarily deny transactions based solely on the hidden algorithm and consumers have no right to know why they were declined. 

In summary, your check was declined so Certegy can continue selling their product. You become a statistic that Certegy reports to their shareholders in order to justify the costs of the services. 

This is a completely unethical way of doing business especially in the United States that has laws protecting credit and consumers. Certegy has managed to circumvent the laws. They understand fraudsters are finding other ways to steal from businesses and the fact that they sacrifice a few thousand innocent people per year, by denying legitimate transactions, is a small price for them pay. 

Please continue to report them to FTC at Also, please make sure you report them to the Tampa, Florida BBB. So far, at the BBB, they have over 500 complaints with around 300 that continue to go unresolved. Eventually, they will have an F business rating that we can use to demand our favorite stores stop using their unethical authorization services. 

Feel free to copy and paste this as many places as you can. 
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#3 Consumer Comment

No Ripoff..

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

They are a Check Guarantee/Verification service.  Stores go to companies like this because of the amount of fraud with checks.  Since you were "outside" their parameters, and you appear to write a lot of checks.  You probably had written several other checks to stores in a short period of time that use them and they didn't want too many "hanging out there" in case(and not saying that they would) they come back bad.  Because they would then be responsible to pay the stores for those checks.  There is no law or regulation that requires a store to accept your check in the first place, so not really sure what "restitution" you want.

Now for something else you don't want to hear.  What ever your feelings on Debit Cards are, they are taking over checks as accepted method of payments.  A lot of smaller stores, and some major stores no longer even accept checks. 

The question is why are you writing checks?  If it is because you feel you can "float" funds, that will come back to cause you problems in the future.  Because stores can now process checks "electronically", which means that instead of it taking 2-3 days(or longer) a check may actually post the same night.

If you feel that checks are "safer", then you again are under a misconception.  When you use your Debit Card the only thing that ever gets printed on the receipts is a partial number and never anything like the PIN or expiration date.  This makes it pretty much impossible for people to have easy access to your information.  But with a check, you now have a piece of paper that in effect is laying around the store.  With this information including not only all of your personal information such as your address, but your signature as well.  It also includes all of the information needed to have someone wipe out your bank account.  There is probably no fewer than 3-4 people who have direct access to every check you write at that store.  All they need to do is get the information from that little piece of paper(aka the check).  Talk about "Identity Theft".

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