August 2 2007 by Ellen Roseman
If you don’t normally comb through each bank statement and credit card bill looking for errors, here are some stories that might make you change your behaviour.
Start with Dave, who writes: “Twice in the last month, my 15-year-old stepdaughter has been charged a false $35 NSF fee on her RBC bank account. Both times, we went to the bank and they apologized and reversed the charges. Both times, the tellers made statements such as ‘this happens a lot” and “you don’t know how often this occurs.’ My daughter checks her account online very frequently and caught both charges. How many people do that? Would they notice a $35 discrepancy over a month-long period.”
Then, there’s Fred who works in a bookstore. He’s noticed customers coming in with their bank statements and saying their book purchases, made with a debit card, were billed twice. They get a refund right away, but there must be others who don’t notice the double charging. How does it happen? He thinks it’s when the first debit card purchase doesn’t go through and the cashier puts it through again. The cashier may think the first transaction is cancelled, and may get a message that it’s void, but that’s not always the case.
Also, I’ve been hearing about new retail policies that no signature is required on Visa and MasterCard transactions below a certain amount, say under $100. The stores say it’s more convenient for customers and reduces the waiting time for those standing in line. But what about security of customers’ funds? Is it being compromised by these no-signature policies?
Unless you scrutinize your online banking accounts or paper statements, you may end up with charges that aren’t really yours.