Stay Alert Out There, Folks

I’m not talking about while jogging in the dark or during inclement weather, although that’s important.

I’m talking about how corporations are acting pretty sneaky these days. If you haven’t heard, Starbucks is selling $200 silver gift cards. Aka, a gift card made out of silver, with just $50 loaded onto it for coffee. (You can read more about that here).

In addition, Comcast is causing controversy by forcing customers to upgrade their modems. When people click on a link promising more information, they’re hit with the following notice, “Great news! You have already placed an order to upgrade your current modem. Your order will be processed in approximately 24-72 hours and, if eligible, your easy to use self-install kit will be automatically shipped in approximately 2 to 4 weeks.” (More about that here and here).

It reminds me of my own experiences earlier this year with Discover (the credit card company). Now I love Discover, but I haven’t always loved them. I think the company does a lot of great things, such as their 5% Cashback Program. (But more on that later).

However sometime in January 2014, after paying off almost all of my credit card debt, I noticed that Discover was charging me bogus fees under the names of “Wallet Protection” and “Payment Protection.” Um, what? I definitely didn’t remember ever signing up for anything under these names. I also, unfortunately, had never checked my credit card statements, so I never realized that they’d been charging me these fees monthly. (Rookie mistake – always check your credit card statements).

The fees always varied – from as little as $3.99 to $7.99 a month. Still, small fees add up. When I called Discover and politely asked them to “un-enroll” me from the programs, they promptly offered to reimburse me for all of the times I was charged for these programs. Which was great news for me! (I have a feeling I wasn’t the first person to bring this up). Sure enough, about a month later, Discover reimbursed me more than $500 in bogus credit card fees. It kind of felt like Christmas again in February.

But the point is that these fees should never have been charged in the first place, and that it’s important to keep an eye on your transactions – all of them – so that you can catch these types of…. “discrepancies”… when they occur. As for the Starbucks gift card… I’m pretty sure all of us could find a better way to spend $200.

Now go check your credit card statements!! …and let me know if you catch anything.



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