Many of us have at least one (1) relative, friend, and/or no of at least one person who receives a Social Security Check. And there are all sorts of vultures, I mean frauds, I mean businesses that prey on these consumer types – daily. The government settled a case with a bank in Georgia that had provided a “debit card” that actually provided a “direct deposit” service to its consumers. The company stated that:
- There was no set-up or upfront fees, when in fact there was a $19.95 processing fee
- In addition, there was also a $9.95 monthly service fee (for consumers drawing a Social Security Check?) – heartless.
- They then stated that they were affiliated with a governmental agency. And they were NOT.
- And that there was overdraft protection – automatically assigned to the card; when in fact it charged another $19.95 for the protection for each month that the account is overdrawn up to $80.
Spread the word and talk to the elderly and/or the disabled in your families about this type of product (the debit cards). I think most of us are ok with the idea of companies making a reasonable profit for a product or service, but they so take advantage of the disenfranchised who have no or very little access to information. It is good though that many elderly are taking computer classes and are becoming users of computers and therefore have access to information. In fact, the many county and city libraries in most cities to include community centers offer FREE computer classes or classes with a nominal fee. Either way, it is a great deal in that the skill sets learned are invaluable.
This particular bank agreed to a negotiated settlement of $250,000 with the governmental agency that is the watchdog for these corporate bullies. And there were some other agreements that really aren’t worth mentioning here. However, be it known that the power is in the hand of the consumer. Think before you act, utilized knowledge is Power. If you can’t read the fine print…then ask the bank manager to read it for you. In fact, ask to speak the corporate attorney. I bet even they can’t make heads or tails out of the contract. The banks or financial institutions can call it a Debit Card, A Credit Card, A Check Card, a Card Debit, or Card Check, the fact is that it is a product that they are selling and you must absolutely understand the charges prior to signing up for the product. I keep hearing that Credit Unions are a better alternative. I’ll research and tell you of my findings later. Meanwhile, it is understood that companies have to maintain the computers that maintain, store, and process a multitude of information. But how hard is that computer really working when it receives your “automatic” payment each month on one of these debit cards? And they “automatically” charge you that $19.95 for the card…and freely lend the monies that you deposit to other customers. I think that’s a question of the month.