Friday, January 17, 2014

Check Cashing Part two

Well, in doing a bit of digging on this Certegy Check Services, I found some interesting stuff.  Well, lets get this show on the road shall we, because the rabbit hole is deep, and the bullshit will soon fly.  Pack your umbrella kids, we're gonna need it for this.

Stop one on our road tour, the Certegy Check Services website(Ask Certegy).  So, lets see...

"Certegy is a check risk management company that provides verification, guarantee and risk analytics to thousands of businesses that choose to accept checks as a form of payment for goods or services. Certegy pioneered the check risk management industry in the U.S., and has been providing services to businesses for more than 45 years."

Well that is kind of obvious.  So how do they determine who is going to issue a fraudulent or bad check?  Surely they can quickly look at the bank account of the issuer of the check?  Maybe, they act as a go between like Visa does for our debit or credit card, you know loaning money to the store until the check clears?  Nope, nothing like that at all.  "Certegy uses proprietary risk models for the decisioning process regarding the acceptance of checks. Certegy's risk models are based upon factors that closely model previous transactions that resulted in losses for our merchants. To know those factors would give anyone, including fraudulent and bad check writers, a way to bypass our system. For those reasons, even our employees are not privy to that information."  Seriously, you run a risk model on factors which may or may not correlate to previous bad outcomes involving checks?  No wonder they refused to cash a check for an old woman that was from the US government.  Am I the only one concerned that even their own employees don't know how their jack-shit system works?  And before you guys start complaining about my horrid spelling, I am not proofing their crap, I am not editing it, and I am not running a spell checker on it.

It gets better, so what do you do when they say no go on a check.  Well, you are done.  They say they cannot undo a decision made by the computer.  I know this to be untrue.  Last year, they refused a check of mine, because it was a bank issued check.  My debit card had broken, and I was waiting for a new one, so while I was making my yearly appearance at my local bank, I had them run me off a few.  I'm cheap, deal with it.  Anyway, after they refused the check, I called up, raised some hell with a guy, and he told me to go back in, and the check would clear.  It did, and I have never been back to that store. 

But never fear, you can prevent your checks from being declined (most of the time anyway) just give them some money.... "Yes, in order to assist you in possibly avoiding a decline in the future, you can complete and submit to Certegy a Certegy VIP Enrollment Form. Membership in the Certegy VIP program is free. By completing the Certegy VIP Enrollment Form, we can assess any additional information not provided with your original check transaction. The additional information will elevate your check acceptance level in our system and help you to avoid most types of declines in the future.

If you would like more information on how you can become a member of the Certegy VIP program to assist in future purchases using your checking account, you can click here to download and print the Certegy VIP Enrollment Form."

I checked, no price given.

So our next stop on this road show is to the Federal Trade Commission.  The FTC link actually appeared before their website.  I would laugh, but that is sad.  So, here we are looking at the FTC website from last year.  Seems our little baby check checking service got busted.  Among the things they were said to have done "failed to follow dispute resolution procedures", " failed to follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of the information it provided to its merchant clients", and basically "the company not only failed to assure that the information it provided to retailers was accurate, but it also failed to follow proper dispute procedures".  That was a big no-no that cost the company a minor 3.5 million dollars to settle.  Sadly I do not think they learned their lesson.

Last, we stop in the realm of people who have been affected by these people.  When you get a "reason 2" slip from these people, it means you have been flagged as using a fraudulent check or you and or the check writer are high risk.  It explains the code red at Wal-Mart earlier last night.  They thought it was a bogus federal check, or dear ole Uncle Sam is bouncing checks, thank Obama kids. 

So then I hit the cesspool known as Topix.  Hey, its not reliable, it isn't pretty, but when I worked security, you can get a good impression of what people are thinking in a community.  Guess what, when a bunch of people (1492 to be exact) in a community says the same exact thing, its time to worry.  Sure the complaints started in 2006 but that was 8 years ago, and its still going on.  People rant on Topix, but eventually they get bored, the thread dies.  Not with this idiot company.