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A business headache

Yesterday I was balancing the checkbook against the bank statement. I found a withdrawal that I didn’t recognize for $49.95. It is a monthly charge put in place for a service from a telemarketer. They tricked whoever answered the phone into agreeing to something. (I know that no one here knowingly agreed to this). Here is the scary part. This company is working through the Discover Network Merchant Services company so that they made a direct withdrawal from my bank account. The withdrawal says “CHNICAL UMG*MRECHANT TE” there is no phone number or any other way of knowing who accessed the farms bank account. This had happened once before with Discover last month too. That time I saw a direct deduction from my bank account for $39.95 but there was a phone number with it and I complained and had the charge reversed. It turns out that that time a similar fraudulent deduction was hidden in my Discover Merchant Services monthly statement and I would never have found it except that the 3rd time they were stealing the $39.95 they didn’t do it on my discover statement but instead went direct to my bank account.

So when Patty came in she put on her CSI hat and began investigating. Discover Network Merchant Services is allowing these companies to use their processing dept to steal from us. These companies did not ever provide us with anything that I saw or know about. They only quietly deducted money monthly. Discover Network Merchant Services made my bank account and routing number available to third party thieves. It is just lucky for us that they didn’t clean out my account. (Apparently they fly under the radar).

When I called Discover Network Merchant Services to complain they said that it was in my merchant agreement that they could share my information with third parties. We do quite a bit of business with Discover Network Merchant Services so I am loath to quit taking Discover card for payments, but I am really mad about this. I encourage anyone who takes Discover Card to examine their statements from Discover Network Merchant Services to see if they are paying for scams. The two companies that I ran into were called Merchant Discount Health Plan, and Merchant Technical Solutions. Merchant Technical Solutions is apparently “sold” by UMG (United Marketing Group) out of Schaumberg Illinois. I did not receive any benefit or information from either one of these companies. Now I am spending Saturday blogging and writing the Better Business Bureau and Chambers of Commerce to spread the word. It is a shame that we can’t interest the government in preventing these fraudulent ripoffs.