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
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 aware.
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 two.
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: California Colorado Connecticut Florida Kansas Maine Massachusetts New York Oklahoma Texas
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 www.investigation.com or call (212) 286-9100.
Web Site: http://investigation.com
Contact Details: Kessler International 45 Rockefeller Plaza 20th Floor New York, NY 10111-2000 Tel: 212 286-9100 Fax: 212 730-2433 firstname.lastname@example.org www.investigation.com