|May 19, 2011
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150
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ORLANDO, Fla.– Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office is investigating five prepaid debit card companies for possible deceptive and unfair practices. The Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Division issued a series of subpoenas regarding possible hidden fees on prepaid debit cards. Some subpoenas also ask for information about possible misrepresentations promising to improve consumers’ credit scores.
“Failing to disclose fees is essentially stealing money from consumers,” said Attorney General Bondi. “We will aggressively investigate these practices and ensure that Floridians are protected from hidden fees and charges.”
Prepaid debit cards work much like traditional, bank-issued debit cards, except they are not associated with a bank account. Instead, consumers purchase a prepaid debit card, often available at grocery or convenience stores, and load funds onto the card. Prepaid debit cards can be used like traditional debit cards to withdraw money from ATMs, buy groceries, pay monthly bills, or shop online.
The Attorney General’s Office has reviewed complaints alleging that the companies servicing prepaid debit cards often fail to disclose numerous fees. In some instances, every transaction a consumer makes using a prepaid debit card may be subject to a hidden fee.
The subpoenas were issued to the following companies: First Data Corporation; Green Dot Corporation; Account Now, Inc.; Netspend Corporation; and Unirush Financial Services, LLC.
The Attorney General’s Office encourages Floridians who believe they might have been victimized by unfair practices when purchasing and using a prepaid card to contact the Attorney General’s fraud hotline at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226) or file a complaint online at http://www.myfloridalegal.com.