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A handful of merchants groups are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take a second look at the debit card swipe fee cap.
The National Association of Convenience Stores, the Food Marketing Institute, the National Restaurant Association, the National Retail Federation, Boscov’s and Miller Oil Co. all filed the petition asking the court to have another look at the Federal Reserve’s decision to cap swipe fees at 21 cents per transaction instead of lowering it.
Originally, the Federal Reserve had pegged the average incremental cost at four cents per transaction and suggested the cap should be no higher than 12 cents. However, its final decision didn’t reflect those numbers.
“There’s so much at stake here for U.S. retailers and their customers that we have no choice but to pursue this case as far as possible,” Mallory Duncan, the National Retail Federation’s senior vice president and general counsel, was quoted as saying.
“When a federal agency blatantly disregards the clear intent of legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by the president, that’s a dispute that cannot be ignored.”
About 8 million merchants in the United States accept debit cards, so any decision will have far-reaching impact.
SaskTel is revising its numbers after it was revealed the company under-reported the number of times it disclosed customer information to police and government agencies.
Initially, SaskTel said it received over 6,800 requests for such information, when in fact it received 11,610 requests. Only 4,139 were accompanied by warrants. The company handed over the information about 98 percent of the time.
According to John Meldrum, SaskTel vice-president, corporate counsel and regulatory affairs, the initial counts failed to include after-hours emergency and routine requests for names and addresses.
Other Canadian telecom providers had reported much higher numbers than SaskTel, which raised his suspicion.
“I started to wonder why the heck we had such a low number,” Meldrum was quoted as saying. “It didn’t make sense in relation to the rest of the country.”
Privacy experts have voiced concern about telcos disclosure processes, fearing customer data is being handed over without much thought and without a warrant.
In the age of social media, it seems inevitable that our online profiles will outlive us. Of course, when someone passes away, a family member is left with the responsibility of dealing with such matters. Recently, Twitter announced that it would handle the task of removing photos and videos of deceased loved ones at the family’s request.
However, there will be some restrictions. In a tweet, Twitter spokesman Nu Wexler said, “When reviewing such media removal requests, Twitter considers public interest factors such as the newsworthiness of the content and may not be able to honor every request.”
The decision follows the high profile death of actor Robin Williams, whose daughter Zelda William removed herself from the social media site due to cruel images sent to her of her father. As well, Twitter has been working to remove images and videos of James Foley – the American journalist killed by ISIS militants – which had been posted on the site.
Interestingly enough, Twitter is not the only group to think about social media profiles in relation to the deceased. Facebook will remove the account of a user who has passed away at the request of a verified family member. The State of Delaware has passed a law bequeathing email, Facebook, or “any similar storage device which currently exists or may exist as technology develops” to the person’s family or executor of the will.
Earlier this week, we discussed the practice of phone cramming, sharing a story about a scam artist who faced major Federal Trade Commission penalties for his participation in the fraudulent activity. Today we take a look at phone slamming, which has nothing to do with hanging up on someone after a particularly heated conversation.
Instead, it is something that is usually even more frustrating. Phone slamming occurs when a subscriber’s services are transferred to another provider without their consent. Typically the unethical provider contacts the company supplying the current service and falsely reports the customer is jumping ship. In some cases, an unsuspecting consumer enters a contest without reading the fine print, which has them agree to switch their phone services to another carrier.
We’re not quite sure what exactly happened in this instance, but we do know an elderly woman was without phone service for weeks after getting caught up in a slamming scam. KRCR News reported the 77-year-old California resident picked up her phone one day to discover silence on the line. After calling AT&T, it was revealed her account had been switched to Charter Communications without her permission, and her number reassigned to a different residence.
After countless phone calls – and wasting $130 on a temporary phone – the woman’s service was finally restored yesterday.
We wish this was an isolated incident, but sadly it is not. What would you do if your business telephone suddenly went dead?
Schooley Mitchell is the largest independent telecom consulting company in North America, with offices from coast to coast. Our Telecom Consultants deliver telecommunications expertise to companies large and small from all industries. We offer a broad range of services that include analysis of existing and future telecommunications needs, assessment of best alternatives and implementation of cost-effective telecommunications solutions.