Hello Fellow FairyGodBossers!
I’ve recently encountered what I believe to be yet another atrocity on the employee landscape! In early February I joined a retail store as a part-time sales consultant only to realize from the very beginning that I HATED it. So, I (politely) let my manager know I wouldn’t be returning to the job.
After a few days, I realized we hadn’t talked about my getting paid. We were supposed to set up direct deposit on my second day, but “Bob” was so intent on speeding me through the training process that he forgot and I forgot to take care of that. (My fault, entirely, I know!) I assumed, mistakenly, that the company would send a one-time paper check. Wrong!
So, I called my boss and he said he assumed I’d “taken care of that” on my own, conveniently sidestepping the mistake he’d make in not setting up direct deposit from the get go. But he said he’d look into it. After I few days, maybe a week, I received this strange “money card” in the mail. After reading the material, I realized it was an Employer Card—I guess like Brinks or something. The company simply sends the employee’s pay to the card, which of course, is supported by a bank. No big deal. Or so I thought.
I had $91 and change in my “account.” There were no real directions on how to use the card, other than the activation process. So, after activating it, I took it to my bank and tried to access my money through their ATM. Not only did it not accept the card – even though it is a Visa/Mastercard and other popular card types—my bank charged me a fee of $3.00. No money and a FEE.
I called the card’s customer service department and learned that only a VERY SPECIFIC ATM will take the card and process the payment without fees. So, after taking some time to locate such a designated ATM, I found one and, as the CS rep suggested, withdrew $80 of the $91. (The reason for the $80-only withdrawal, he’d said, was to allow the $3.00 bank charge he’d refunded to the card time to “go through.”) But before the transaction began, language warning of a $3.95 “processing” fee popped up. Feeling helpless by now, I pressed “ok.” Home I went—with $80 out of $91—to call the card company AGAIN. The rep told me not to check my balance (which I hadn’t done), even though the ATM urges users to do just that. (Suspicious by now?) That would automatically impose a “fee.” He assured me I hadn’t been charged the $3.95 for the withdrawal. Again, he told me to “wait a few days” before going for the balance. So, the next Saturday I visited the ATM (which was conveniently located inside my grocery store, thank goodness), only to find it out of order. I returned the following Monday, ready to get my remaining $11. The machine informed me it only processes withdrawals in $20 increments, even though there was clearly a button for “other” amounts. I pressed OTHER and entered the $11.00. Error message: Too little amount. I started again and entered “$20.00.” Insufficient funds. Finally, I think I tried $10.00. Card denied. I found an 800 number at the base of the machine and called for remote or mobile help. After being placed on hold forever, I disconnected, realizing that my cell phone service was probably charging me more for the interminable “hold,” than the amount I was trying to access.
Once again, I called the card’s customer service department, asking how the heck I could get my $11 from a machine that only allows for $20 and UP. Now my balance was somewhat lower than the $11. You guessed it—more “fees” for being denied access to my money.
What is alarming about this is that I have been told by others that this is the new “paycheck” trend companies are using to “save money.” So, employer companies are indirectly, perhaps, but routinely, poaching employees who have worked hard, only to be charged fees to get their own money! I can’t imagine working a minimum wage retail job only to be treated like this. I wrote previously about the employee “stop-and-frisk” practice at the end of an employee’s shift, which I found repulsive enough, but this is just legalized robbery.
Has anyone encountered this harmful “new” trend with their employers? I’d like to know. And I would love to know how to handle this situation, other than simply forfeiting my $11 in order to stay sane.
Anyone? Thank you, thank you, thank you!
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