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Credit Card Updater Services May Result in Unexpected Charges

When MrConsumer received a replacement Visa debit card from his bank because the old one was about to expire, there was a small note inside:

*MOUSE PRINT:

“Visa Account Updater: Your Salem Five debit card now includes Visa Account Updater. This feature automatically updates your debit card information with participating merchants you have recurring payment relationships with when your card is renewed or reissued at expiration.”

In other words, if you have certain bills like utilities, cable, or mail order pharmacy on “autopay” meaning they automatically charge your credit card or debit card every month for the balance due, Visa will tell those merchants your new expiration date or card number whenever the card is replaced.

This is good in many respects particularly for people who don’t want to be bothered having to contact each merchant with the new information, and to avoid bills not being paid on time because the card expired.

But it could also pose a problem for cardholders who deliberately give a company a soon-to-expire credit card number because they don’t want the plan they may have signed up for to self-renew. For example, you may not want your gym to keep billing you after your contract is up, or you took advantage of a free trial offer somewhere, and you don’t want them to keep charging your card because you don’t trust them.

Recently a Boston-area consumer thought the only way he could ensure that the bankrupt Boston Sports Club would stop charging her monthly fees for one of their closed locations was to change her credit card number… but he was wrong. The company transferred his membership to a new location and because of this credit “feature” they were able to start charging his new card the monthly fee again.

Some scam artists have even discovered how to use these card updater services to continue to defraud victims.

Visa is not alone in telling merchants about your new card. MasterCard has a similar program called “Automatic Billing Updater” as does American Express (“CardRefresher“).

My bank allows cardholders to opt-out of the automatic renewal notification service. (See how their Visa updater program works.)

If you don’t want your card issuer to automatically notify the companies to whom you have given your card number about updates to your card, ask if you can opt-out of that service.

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Subway Tuna Tested by Independent Lab

Two weeks ago we told you that Subway was being sued by two California consumers whose lawyers claimed there was no tuna in the tuna sandwiches sold by the company. [See original story.] Subway denied the claims and even launched an advertising campaign saying it used 100% wild-caught tuna.

Now Inside Edition decided to have Subway’s tuna tested by an independent laboratory that specializes in analyzing fish, Applied Food Technologies.



*MOUSE PRINT:

The results of the tests on three samples showed that indeed they all contained real tuna fish.

Below is the 2021 carton containing the actual tuna pouches that Subway currently uses (at least at the Queens location where it was photographed). The description on it perfectly matches what was on the tuna package displayed by a Subway employee last summer before this became an issue.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Subway carton
Subway pouch

At the time the lawsuit was filed last month, the consumers’ lawyers refused to provide the specific ingredients that their own tests revealed that formed the basis of their case. We asked the lawyers last week to comment on Inside Edition‘s test results and whether they were still sticking by their own analysis. The lawyers did not respond… but you can add your comments below on these latest developments.

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Hey, Tostitos, Where’s the Guacamole?

Just in time for the Super Bowl, Frito-Lay has introduced a new chip, Tostitos Hint of Guacamole.

Tostito

Ever curious reader HMC wrote to us after checking the ingredients statement having discovered there wasn’t even a hint of real guacamole listed:

*MOUSE PRINT:

Corn, Vegetable Oil (Corn, Canola, and/or Sunflower Oil), Maltodextrin (Made from Corn), Salt, Natural Flavors, Whey, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Cream, Spices, Sour Cream (Cultured Cream, Skim Milk), Tomato Powder, Jalapeño Pepper, Maltodextrin (Made from Tapioca), Cheddar Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Butter (Cream, Salt), Artificial Color (Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 1 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake), Swiss Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), and Artificial Flavors.

In the bottom left hand corner of the bag, nowhere near the Hint of Guacamole product name, there is a small disclosure.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Tostitos artificial

Unfortunately for shoppers, this disclosure is so low down on the bag (in line with the net weight statement), that it likely gets folded under the product as it sits on store shelves.

We asked Frito-Lay twice if the guacamole flavor in the product is real or artificial and if the green specs on the chips are guac flavor or merely decoration. The company didn’t respond… and that probably says a lot.

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