We have all heard about the many illicit scams that are trying to separate us fools from our money.
However, we never hear about the legal ones.
I rarely examine my credit card bills — unless I see that the numbers are going up and not down, I just pay up and shred. Recently, I managed to pay off my Macy’s bill, so I was puzzled when I received an envelope in the mail.
I opened it up and to my chagrin, Macy’s was charging me $2 for interest.
When I called to question the charge, I was told that it was because I was late in my payment.
I explained that I was not late — I had paid the account in full, on time, and did not owe Macy’s one red cent. The agent was very nice, and said there must have been a mistake and would reverse the charge.
A few days later, I found out that a friend was also charged this $2.00 fee for late payments from Macy’s, and like me, she was not late, and in fact had paid off her bill as well.
Yesterday, my daughter — another Macy’s card holder — received the same notice that the retailer was charging her $2 in interest because she was late in payment, even though she had paid off the bill, on time and in full.
After a phone call, they reversed her fee, too.
Now maybe it was just an honest mistake, or maybe it was a computer glitch that spit out bills to everyone, but I have a feeling that Macy’s would have never reversed anything if we didn’t call. After all, $2 from each customer is a whole lot of money.
The other scheming company is Amazon. Yes, it’s great — two-day free delivery, and it always has anything you might ever want, and all at the touch of a button — but its payment system leaves a lot to be desired.
Prime membership is $99 per year. You can either pay it all up-front, or Amazon will break it down and charge you monthly for the privilege. However, what it doesn’t say is that when you pay monthly you are being overcharged a bundle.
When I opened this past month’s bill, I saw the balance had gone up, even though I didn’t buy anything. I examined the bill and noticed a charge of $11.97. Curious, I called the company and was told it was the monthly service fee for Prime membership. I did a quick calculation and realized that at $11.97 a month for 12 months the membership fee was nearly $45 more than the $99 I had bargained for.
Amazon, of course, is now sending me a return check for the overpayment — but in the end, it is always “buyer beware.”
Not for nuthin, but it isn’t the thieves in the night we need to worry about — it’s the banks and credit card companies that are trying to separate us fools from our money. And legally too!
Follow me on Twitter @JDelBuono.