Deceptive Pricing/Undisclosed Surcharges
Dollar and Thrifty car rental companies are settling a lawsuit brought by the Florida attorney general’s office about fees they charged for PlatePass or other tolls. The complaint alleged that they had not warned customers about the additional fees.
Fogle Enterprises, Inc. and Nolan Fogle are settling a class action suit alleging that their restaurants charged an unlawful 1%-1.5% “CDF fee” on customer bills, without disclosing the presence of the fee or that the funds collected were for non-charitable purposes.
What exactly is a “resort fee” that a consumer finds added on to the price of a room at certain hotels? According to the complaint for this class action, it’s not a valid fee but a form of “drip pricing” that allows hotels to advertise artificially low prices fools consumers into thinking they’re paying less than they are.
This settlement resolves five different class actions against North American Power & Gas, LLC (NAPG) that allege that NAPG misled customers and did not base its variable rates on market factors, as it claimed.
Patrons of Cabo Cantina, Baja Beach Café, Fiesta Cantina, PB Cantina, Jameson’s Irish Pub, or Sunset Trocadero Lounge have a refund coming to them. These restaurants are part of RMG Sunset, Inc., which has now agreed to settle a class action alleging it unfairly added a living wage surcharge to customer bills, in violation of consumer protection laws.
CenturyLink is again found settling a class action, this time one in the state of Missouri that alleges that the company sold a “Pure Broadband” package that was supposed to be broadband service only but actually included a limited-use phone line.
Plaintiff Michael Marko called Reservations.com and booked three hotel rooms in Paducah, Kentucky for December 8-10, 2016. According to the complaint, he gave Reservations.com a payment method and they made the reservation, but he never received a confirmation or receipt. He had no idea, he claims, that he had been charged a $14.99 fee for each of the three rooms he’d booked. Later, when he tried to cancel one of the rooms, he was not permitted to, even though he claims to have fulfilled all the requirements.
Most merchants nowadays must accept credit cards, but the merchant services payment system is complex. The complaint alleges that CardConnect takes advantage of the complexity of the system and employs deceptive means so that merchants end up paying more than they thought. The complaint alleges, for example, that CardConnect negotiates an agreement with the merchant for low rates and fees that are set forth in a contract (the Merchant Processing Application), but incorporates in the contract the terms of a second, non-negotiable agreement (the Program Guide) with many pages of fine print that allow it to raise or add fees if it wants to. The complaint also claims that neither CardConnect nor the member bank actually sign the contracts, leaving CardConnect the excuse that it didn’t actually “accept” the contract.
The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) has agreed to settle a class action alleging that since January 1, 2002, it has overcharged Indiana residents for certain transactions. The complaint alleges that the amounts that the BMV may charge are set forth in statutes and public laws and administrative rules, but that the charges imposed since at least 2002 are higher than those authorized.
Mercury Payments has settled a class action alleging that, when processing merchants’ payment card transactions, it:
- Marked up fees due to banks, Visa, and MasterCard, rather than pass them through at cost, and
- Charged fees that were not authorized by its contracts with the merchants.