Request Legal Help Now - Free

LAWSUITS NEWS & LEGAL INFORMATION

The Debit Card Surprise at Hess Gas Stations

. By
Clearwater, FLSomewhere in the U.S. this story is probably playing out right now. A driver has decided to top up the tank and pulled into a service station owned by the Hess Corporation. They slide that handy debit card into the slot and pump maybe $20 worth of gas into the vehicle and then they're on their way.

Gas StationBut the next time they try to use their debit card it's declined for insufficient funds. Oops! So what happened?

When a consumer uses their debit card like a credit card at a Hess gas station (they slide it into the slot and don't enter a pin number), it's company practice to put up to a $100 hold on the bank account for 3 days even if the consumer pumped less than $100 worth of gas into the car.

More than one consumer has found himself or herself wondering what happened to the money they thought was in their account after filling up at a Hess station on the eastern part of the country.

Two Florida attorneys, Jim Staack and Cameron Moyer, are currently wrangling a class action through the court system on behalf of a client who was pretty revved up after a Hess gas station drained $50 out of her account after she bought $10 worth of gas.

When Staack and Moyer's client went to buy groceries shortly after, the store clerk handed her card back to her. "Your card is declined ma'am," is not something anybody likes to hear.

"If you buy $10 worth of gas you don't expect a $50, $75 or $100 hold to be placed on that account," says Jim Staack from Staack, Simms and Hernandez in Clearwater, Florida. "When they fail to tell you what they're doing--that it can result in all kinds of nasty surprises like bounced checks, overdraft charges."

And their client isn't the only person stung by the "debit card surprise". Since they launched the suit they have heard from dozens of other people left standing at a store checkout counter with a red face because of a rejected debit card.

The Hess Corporation is one of the nation's largest oil and gas companies with drilling and refining operations and hundreds of gas stations up and down the east coast. The policy of putting a minimum hold on funds in customer's bank accounts likely affects millions of Americans at the very least.

"This goes to the very core of American law," argues Cameron Moyer of Moyer Law, co-lead counsel in the suit. "Anyone in America that makes a purchase has a right to know all the terms and conditions before they make the purchase."

Simply put, Moyer and Staack say this is an unfair business practice that violates consumer rights. "The problem here is that they have failed to adequately disclose what they are doing, because if they told you then you would know whether to go forward with the transaction," says Staack.

The case was certified as a class action last fall, but the Hess Corporation is appealing that decision. "We believe we have a good case, we think the fact that the judge certified it as a class in the first place shows that," says attorney Staack.

"If you boil it down," says Moyer "a customer has a right to know all the details of the transaction before they enter the transaction."

Staack and Moyer are seeking to recoup all the overdraft and bounced check charges for anyone who found themselves without the funds in their account they thought they had because Hess put hold on it.

"We see it as an unfair and deceptive trade practice. It's a failure to disclose to the consumer," adds Staack. "It would be fine if they told you they were doing it, but our clients and a lot of people who have called us aren't happy with this," says Jim Staack.

Jim Staack is the founder of Staack, Simms & Hernandez and has an extensive background in Real Estate and related transactional and litigation work, class actions and bank work. Cameron Moyer, from Moyer Law is a University of Baltimore School of Law graduate and specializes in appeals and appellate law, business law, estate planning and general civil litigation.

READ ABOUT Unfair Business Practice LAWSUITS

READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
Hess is not the only culprit. I just purchased $25 of gas at Buc-ees a Texas operator with many huge stations. They put a $150 hold on my card. There is no notification at the pump regarding this. In my view this is an excessive hold (especially without notification) . By the way, my AMEX representative basically said it was not their problem because it would probably show the accurate amount once it was posted in 2 to 3 days! I asked AMEX if there was a limit to the amount of hold a vendor could ask for and was told there was not. In theory, the vendor could put a $1000 or unlimited amount hold on the card and AMEX would not question it.

Posted by

on
What do you people expect. I worked for hess from october 2007 to April 2008 and NEVER GOT a day off. I was expected to go in sick, rain, snow. They wanted me to leave one cashier on. hired me an assistant sent him to my store and he got so frustrated he left the deposit with the cashier? then i had someone come in under my assistant manager and steal a whole plastic container with scratchers...would not let me fire him for not protecting company funds. So i took the keys to another store after locking up and i quit. I lost 27 pounds the first month. My district manager was worthless. my manager who was only there until 11 a.m. would leave every day at 11 and leave me to run the place while he took all the credit. This was one of the worst companies I have EVER worked for.

Posted by

on
Ok, I let my boyfriend use my debit card to get gas . He only used $7.00 ..Hess/Wilco ..whatever you want to f*cking call it charged me $56.00 ! It's been two days now and my money still has not been refunded in my account! This is RIDICULOUS !!! That was part of my rent money and now my rent is late because a gas station has held $56 on my account for a $7 transaction! They don't even let you know at the pump before you swipe that that much will be held on your account ! If my money is not refunded by the end of today, I will pursue legal action..this is just ridiculous . Norfolk, Va

Posted by

on
Welp! Hess/Wilco is at it again in the state of Virginia! Got 10.00 worth of gas and they took 75.00 out. I was irate! I thought the workers did it because I had out of state tags and I was black. Oops. Nope. And the lying Customer Service manager for the whole corporation lied and blamed it on AMEX. They said it was an AMEX policy. AMEX refunded my 75.00 and said what liars they are. Lesson learned. I will never use another Hess again. They hate their customers obviously.

Posted by

on
Well here we go, apparently this is still on-going. I just stopped at a Hess Gas station after picking my son up from preschool. Swiped my Visa Gift card, put in my zip code and then was prompted to see cashier. I had to get my son out of the car seat and head inside the store. Inside I handed my card over to the attendant who swiped the card, and told me it was declined. Knowing I had plenty on the gift card, I was surprised and assumed maybe something was wrong with their system. Drove home to check my gift card account online, and saw a $25 hold on the account for the gas station. So basically, as I swiped my card the first time, it sucked the account dry before even allowing me to gas up. I am fuming. I now have to borrow gas money from a friend, which is never a place you want to be in.

Posted by

on
My daughter just had this happen at a Hess in Northampton, MA. She purchased $14.00 in gas. There are two holds on her account, one for the $14, and another one for $125! This is insane! How do they figure it is ok to debit someone's account for such an outrageous amount??!!

Posted by

on
This happend to me on October 4th 2014 at Cooper and Cypress Avenue HESS gas station. I have my receipt showing a $10 gas purchase right now ... but HESS took $75 from my card!!! I just checked ... money still isn't back. i called my card company and left a complaint/message. I am contacting the Attorney General!!!

Posted by

on
It happened to me also but when I tried my card at the pump, it said 'please see cashier'. So I went inside and paid with my card. I purchased $30 in gas, this was Sept 26,2014 at approximately 9:00 am. The $25 temporary hold was placed on my card seperate from the $30 in gas. The gas purchase of $30 went thru on Sept 29,2014. Today is October 1st and the $25 hold still hasnt been released. Now my card is -1.36. This is not right to do to customers without their consent.

Posted by

on
I purchased gas in Compton, CA shortly after work with the machine outside. Later that day I tried to purchase something to cook for dinner and card declined. I was so sure to have $100 + on my account so I insisted her to try again. Declined for the second time I immadietly called my bank to find out my account was overdrafted. After checking it out they charged 2 separate charges on go my account of $123.15 and $41.78. At this point I'm pissed. I put $15 worth of gas in my tank and they pull this BS. I'm pissed to the 10th power. It's 4 days now and still no sign of my money. Where the fuck is my Money? I will no longer swipe a card at any gas station.

Posted by

on
this is the only gas station in town and its a weekly thing $100 every weekend they have caused multiple overdrafts for me and countless nonpayment for bill i fucking hat them why cant anyone stop them from ruining peoples lives

Posted by

on
Hess just did this to me as well. Tried to use a gift card received for Christmas at the pump, but could not so canceled the transaction. Then filled up with my Amex. Now the gift card balance is $75 less then what it should be. Hess basically placed a hold on $75 of my funds even though I canceled the transaction. Bye bye Hess! You will get no more of my business! Also only have kids working in the store so they have no clue what is going on. No manager around to try to fix the situation. Guess I'll check again in 3 days to ensure my money it given back to me!

Posted by

on
This afternoon,I've stopped by at the Hess to purchase $25.00 of fuel .Later this evening I went again to purchase some snacks and the clerk said 51 more cents.To make the long story short,I was charged $75.00 for my gas.I believed they placed a $50.00 hold down fee not good for all of us trying to do some Christmas shopping.Hess is no longer my fuel store big loss, I hope they like surprise.

Posted by

on
Tried to use my card last week at a station, it got denied, turns out they sucked out all the $42.21 that was left on it. They've been holding it since 9/11/13 and from what I've read calling them isn't going to do a bit of difference, just gonna have to wait tit out, they will definitely be losing my business.

Posted by

on
It happened to me tonight at a shell in az. So its not just a few stores its organized crime across America by big co. that own judges.

Posted by

on
They're all doing it now; Racetrac, Mobil, Chevron, etc., and all holding $125, no matter how much gas you get, with a three day hold date. If you call the merchant to complain they say call your bank. When you call the bank, they blame the merchant. These funds are somewhere - I don't have access to them - who does? I can guarantee you that SOMEBODY is making money off of this SOMEWHERE in the system. This is total BS.

Posted by

on
Today, on 5/11/13 Hess charged me 75.00, and I got 15 dollars worth of gas.. Because of that I'm missing a bill's deadline and am going to be charged late fees. I'm not a very happy man right now.

Posted by

on
HESS GAS STATION# 08502, RTE 13 NEW CASTLE. DE. FRAUDULENT CARD ACTIVITY, REPORT ANY FRUADLENT TRANSACTIONS AT THIS STATION TO THE NEW CASTLE COUNTY POLICE DEPT OR THE DELAWARE STATE POLICE
I first went to the Diesel pump mistakenly and swiped my credit card, before pumping ANY gas I realized it was diesel fuel and canceled the transition, once the pump said canceled I move to another pump and Gas my car with standard gas in the amount of $62.11.When I got my credit card statement I saw TWO charges from this station ,there was another charge for $87.00 that was actually PAID from my account. I spoke to the attendant and she was very defensive to the point of suspicion, the manger was rude and tried to insist that my bank pay it, the Hess Corporate just pass the problem back to the offending station instead of loss control.

04/11/13 04/12/13 051404836LM7T3BJF -HESS 08502 $62.11
04/11/13 04/12/13 051404836LM7T3BJ7- HESS 08502 $87.00

Posted by

on
Hess in Rochester NY are doing this as well, over the past few weeks I have tried to by a sub, pizza and been declined during my lunch break and have had to walk away hungry. I've been declined for additional gas while on E and had to have a parent come meet me and lend me money to cover until I found out that the gas stations were doing this but only after looking it up. As a college student who only makes a little money a week, this is not fair when I am budgeting my money day to day.

Posted by

on
I stopped at hess in south carolina and put 10 dollars worth of gas in my friends truck. Later I went online to pay my phone bill and was declined. WTF?? So I get on my phone use my bluebird app and checked my balance. I had a little over 10 dollars on my card. WTH?? So I go thru my transactions history. I see a purchase of 125 dollars at hess. There is no way in hell I spent near that much at a gas station. I'm pissed now my phone bill is late I'm being threatned of being shut off and I need my phone. I am a single mom of 3 little kids under age 5 and I put all my money on that card and cant use it. 115 dollar hold is just BS. They say use it as debit and you won't have that problem bs cus I used it as debit. For 10 dollars in gas they hold 115 who the hell are they to think they can do this to people. Apparently I had money otherwise my card would've been declined. I had to borrow food from a neighbor to feed my kids my phone is getting ready to be shut off and I have money I can't touch. This is bs as I know alot of people who depend on every dime they get. It's going on 2 days and I'm sure my neighbor is getting tired of me saying I need to borrow this or that for my kids. But I did show her the receipt from what I spent and I showed her on my app so atleast she knows I'm not lying but I feel like crap having to borrow until they release my money. But everyone I have talked to can't believe they held 115 dollars. My sister has never had this problem and she always uses her card at the pump.

Posted by

on
I went to Hess gas station after work today and used My debit card through the machine outside but as I was pumping it only went up to 28cents. I went inside to tell the lady and she tried. But it didn't work. She said it wasn't nothing on it. I told her Hun I have $50 on it try again. She did but still nothing. I called the bank and they said it will be returned to me in 2 to 5 days. I was pissed because I didn't even get gas it stopped on me but I still was charged. Wtf.

Posted by

on
Hess in Port St Lucie is also doing this. Avoid their stations whenever possible

Posted by

on
I stopped at Hess last night for $25 in gas and now have a $90 hold on my debit account for the next 3 days...my bank indicated Hess started this practice in December. I won't be stopping here anymore to say .05/gallon

Posted by

on
hi i got gas for my sister lastnight at hess 15$ they put a hold for 126.55 all the remainding money in my account because of this i did not have money to take public trans to work so i missed work today resulting in more lost wages i want onboard with this class action if they told me or i seen it in writing i would have never got gas there i would have went elsewhere or to an atm first and thats why they dont there afraid of loss of custumers im so beside myself right now ahhhhh

Posted by

on
My wife had this happen yesterday at the Sunoco on the corner where we live. The problem is, is that she swiped the card and then canceled the purchase without buying anything because she noticed the price difference from cash to credit and decided to go up to Stewarts where they have one price for gas cash or credit. They still put a $100,00 24hr hold on the card. This is bullshit. They need to post it at the pump like atm's do to give people a choice to continue or not.

Posted by

on
This evening, 1/23/12, I wanted to top off my tank at our local Hess station, using my debit VISA card. I was not even given the opportunity to type in my pin number. My purchase was simply denied. I believe the word they used was "cancelled". Never got any gas.

They could lose a lost of sales this way.

ADD YOUR COMMENT ON THIS STORY

Fields marked * are mandatory. Please read our comment guidelines before posting.

*Name:

Note: Your name will be published with your comment.

*Email Address:

Your email will only be used if a response is needed.
*Your Comment:

Are you the defendant or a subject matter expert on this topic with an opposing viewpoint? We'd love to hear your comments here as well, or if you'd like to contact us for an interview please submit your details here.


Click to learn more about LawyersandSettlements.com

Request Legal Help Now! - Free