Consumer Beware Merchants May Be Tacking on Additional Fees for Credit Card Use Financial

Released on: August 1, 2008, 8:42 am

Press Release Author: Kessler International

Industry: Accounting

Press Release Summary: Fraud Expert Kessler International Alerts Consumers to Beware
Fraudulent Charges

Press Release Body: New York, New York, August 1, 2008-With gas prices at over $4.00
per gallon, you are already feeling the sting in your wallet. You decide that since
you are spending so much money every week, you might as well get airline points, so
you pull out the plastic. What you might not realize is that the gas station has
quietly imposed a three percent surcharge for using your card. Such charges are
added to offset the bank fees charged to vendors for processing the transaction, and
more often than not, they are simply not allowed.

These surprise charges aren't just happening at the pump, says Michael G. Kessler,
president and CEO of Kessler International. The world\'s premier forensic
accounting, computer forensics and corporate investigation strategies firm, Kessler
International offers expertise in the area of cyber fraud and urges consumers to be

As consumers turn to the Internet for deals on goods and services, Kessler warns,
the likelihood of fraudulent and unscrupulous activity also increases. In one
recent instance cited by Kessler International's President and CEO Michael G.
Kessler, a shopper in New York went online to purchase an item using a credit card
and realized later that a three percent surcharge was tacked onto his bill. He
called the merchant for a refund on the item and was informed that he could indeed
get a refund but that he would be charged another three percent transaction fee.

"The unsuspecting consumer is being taken here, not just once but twice, and it
needs to be stopped," Kessler said.

This is also is becoming a problem in the already fee-laden travel business. In
Europe, airlines are allowed to levy surcharges for credit card purchases, and
industry analysts believe that airlines will do everything they can to allow credit
card payment surcharges or fees to be applied in the U.S. within the next year or

Currently, Visa and MasterCard prohibit vendors from charging such fees, and it is
discouraged by American Express. If a merchant accepts Visa and MasterCard, it may
not impose a surcharge to Amex users. As an international online marketplace with
millions of online buyers and sellers daily, EBay has its own policy against its
vendors charging more for credit card use.

However, as in any case, policies don\'t mean anything if they are not enforced, and
as the online retail market grows, it becomes more difficult for companies to patrol
such activity. What\'s a consumer to do?

"Be vigilant," Kessler said. "Review your receipt before leaving the store or
Internet site to ensure that you have not paid a surcharge. If you have been, say
something immediately and alert your credit card company. If a merchant does not
want to pay additional fees for processing credit cards, they simply do not have to
accept them."

In addition to the credit card companies\' rules, the following states prohibit
merchants from adding surcharges to credit card transactions:
New York

For years, Kessler International has been using its expertise in accounting,
computer forensics and corporate fraud to investigate financial and cyber fraud.
Established in 1988, Kessler International\'s satisfied clients are comprised of an
extensive and distinguished list of Fortune 500 companies and prestigious law firms
worldwide. Its diverse staff includes former prosecutors, former law enforcement
agents, attorneys, certified forensic accountants, CPAs, certified internal controls
auditors, licensed investigators and researchers.

For more information on investment fraud, visit Kessler International's website at or call (212) 286-9100.

Web Site:

Contact Details: Kessler International
45 Rockefeller Plaza 20th Floor
New York, NY 10111-2000
Tel: 212 286-9100
Fax: 212 730-2433

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