I recently went to pick up my car after repairs and telecheck indicated to the shop that my check was 'high risk', even though I had plenty of money in my bank account to cover it, and have no history of hot checks, etc. I have used the account for 12 years. So I called my bank and we conferenced called into Telecheck. My banker assured Telecheck that the check was good, no history of bad checks, etc. This didn't matter to them at all. They were more concerned with the fact that I don't have a long check writing history with Telecheck businesses. Of course, several of those businesses have declined my checks in the past due to Telecheck's recommendations.
They went on to say that they are only trying to prevent fraud and that they don't have a direct connection to banks, but instead rely on a vague heuristic algorithm. I mentioned that we were on a conference call with my banker who could provide all the verification they needed. They said that wouldn't impact their assessment of my check's risk and they were still recommending that the shop not take my check. This blew my mind. How much better assessment of the validity of the check can they have than my banker telling them that I could write 50 such checks with my account balance. They could only reply that their 'system' cannot take that into account. I asked to speak with her supervisor and we put on hold for a while. She then returned to tell me that no supervisors were available and proceeded to just hang up on me and my banker who had spent 45 minutes on the whole process (our first call had also been dropped after waiting 15 minutes for a representative).
I was expecting the reasonable response: "Ok, it looks like you have the money in your account and no negative check writing history with your bank - we have changed our mind, your check is approved". Instead they appear to be completely unreasonable. To rectify their low opinion of me, they suggested that I start writing small checks everywhere instead of using my debit card as I typically do for small purchases. This amounts to extortion of consumers - increase your check writing activity with telecheck so that you can obtain the proper telecheck profile (also increasing telecheck revenues) or we will black ball your checks.
Of course, this causes considerable embarrassment when it happens. On this occasion I gave the business owner the option of taking my check or losing me as a customer forever. They decided to take the check despite Telecheck's recommendation. I will not get back the wasted hour and embarrassment, however.
Monetary Loss: $1.