Thursday, July 24, 2008


Have you ever dealt with a company by the name of TeleCheck? You may have dealt with them unknowingly, even. They are a check guarantee system that some merchants use to, well, guarantee checks.

OK - Here's the situation, my parents went away on a week's vacation, and, I took the keys... (got a little carried away with Fresh Prince in my head, there. Anyway..........

Here's what happened:

The kids and I went to the free movie this morning at Regal Cinemas. It was Alvin & the Chipmunks. Cute movie. Anyway, after lunching at Chick-Fil-A (we affectionately call it "Chickee Fil Lay Lay") using our free meal vouchers from the first 100, I thought we'd head to the mall across the street and check out the end of season sale at the Children's Place. Rumor was they had an extra 50% off already marked down stuff.

They did, and I picked some stuff out for both kiddos for next summer. About $50 worth. I try not to shop with kids in tow, but in the name of saving gas money, I succommed to the sale since we were right there. I bought Zach a ton of stuff at $2.50 each and the most expensive purchase was for Taylor. A playdress, coming in at $6.99. Considering that's not tons more than I pay at thrift stores, I'm pretty happy with my purchases. Well...almost purchases...

Are you wondering what the heck this has to do with TeleCheck? Well, here's where it gets frustrating.

My total...$54.99. I wrote my check and handed it to the friendly employee. After a few minutes, she told me that it was declined. They use a check guarantee system and it wasn't approving the check. She didn't know why, though.

She handed me a little slip of paper with this message:

"We are sorry that we cannot accept your check, open your account, or cash your check at this time. Our decision is based, in part, on information provided to us by TeleCheck. If you have recieved a turndown, our decision may also be based, at least in part, on TeleCheck's need for additional information. We encourage you to call or write TeleCheck's check Writer Services Office to obtain the information in TeleCheck's files. Please include...blah...blah...blah..."

Also included on that paper was a toll free telephone number to call 24 hours a day.

So I did.

I rounded up the kids (who may or may not have been crawling on the floor under the clothing racks) and sat them on a bench outside of the store so I could make this phone call and straighten this situation out.

I knew there was plenty of money in the account and that it shouldn't be declined.

Lo and behold, after entering umpteen million (yes. I' m pretty sure that's a real number) phone numbers, check numbers, etc., etc., I was told by a recording that they couldn't accept the check. No reason, no human.

I tried back seveveral times, trying multiple ways to get a human on the phone with me. It. did. not. give. me. that. option. In desperation, I tried pressing zero to get a human. It hung up on me. Seriously. (Is my level of frustration coming across here?)

I went in to talk to the girl at the counter and explained the situation and she over-rode the transaction. Thank goodness for customer service.

We came home and I looked up the TeleCheck company online and found another phone number for them so I could speak to a human.

Enter a not-very-helpful customer service human being that works at TeleCheck. I told her my story...blah...blah...blah. I asked to speak to her supervisor. Cue the not-very-helpful, beligerant customer service human being supervisor that works at TeleCheck.

Get this - she told me that the account didn't have enough history in their system. Mind you, that account is about 5 years old. I told her that. She said that there weren't enough transactions or purchases made with it in the last 365 days. Whah????

Mike & I have several bank accounts for different things. One of those accounts gets money deposited into it EVERY PAYCHECK and rarely gets checks written to withdraw money from it. This is for things like school supplies, seasonal clothes, once-a-year payments, etc. And I use billpay online a lot. So basically, because I choose to save my money in this account, I can't use it when I need to. Seriously flawed system. "It didn't meet their company's parameters" (to quote the ever helpful Telecheck supevisor) for a check that could be approved.

She said that I should've called from the store. I told her that I did (multiple times, in fact), and that I could not get ahold of a human to help me. She says that the recording comes on when all the representatives are busy. It did not tell me that, nor did it give me an option of holding for a human representative.

The wonderful, helpful, beligerent supervisor told me that they just had to call the bank to verify the balance amount. Well - I guess that would've been helpful if I could get ahold of a human while still at the store, then, huh? She could care less that their system is flawed and told me she had no supervisor there and wouldn't give me a way to talk to one.

My next plan of action was to call the Children's Place customer service and let them know about the bad experience with TeleCheck. I thought they'd want to know that they were "partnering" with a company that is that difficult to deal with. The nice CS lady (I was totally nice to her too, btw. My problem was not with TCP at all) at TCP said that they'd had lots of complaints about TeleCheck and they are in the middle of getting a new check guarantee company to work with. She thanked me for sharing my experience and said that it did matter to them how their customers are being treated by TeleCheck.

There. I feel better.

Anyone else have a frustrating experience with a check guarantee company?

(photo sources:;;

11 love notes to me!:

Tfritz said...

nope! ^.^ but i refuse to use checks soooo that could be why =P
though i do have a constant problem with my husband wearing out his sharecheck card.

Mamasphere said...

I hardly ever write checks anymore, just use the debit card. But thanks for the Children's Place mention- I totally forgot about the sale. I'm going to head over tonight!

Hooked on Houses said...

I've never heard of these kinds of companies before. That's just ridiculous!!! I was ready to call The Children's Place and complain about it myself as I was reading your story. They should not be partnering with a company like that because, like it or not, it reflects on them. But then as I kept reading I saw you took care of it, and they're taking care of it, so--GOOD. I'm glad this had a happy ending. -Julia :-)

April said...


I wrote I nice lovely (and long) comment and it disappeared on me. And I can't fully remember what I saud, but we don't use checks because they drive us nuts!! Debit card and cash only here!

Heather said...

oh, this stinks. can't say i've had any problems, we use our debit card all the time. hey, at least you got some great deals!!

Leslie said...

Sorry about your experience. Hope you don't have to go through that again. How frustrating. I am a check-card gal. So I always use that these days. I was also going to say, ummmmm Children's place, LOVE them, Chic-fil-a, MISS them. And movies in English? Miss those too. (I'm conveniently out of the country right now) lol~ Happy POW

Amy said...

That's crappy! I don't use checks, but I did cash in on that great sale at TCP...we love that store.

McMommy said...

I don't use checks anymore if I don't have to...usually use the debit card.

But geez, that does sound like a frustrating experience!

Also..I was laughing out loud with the Fresh Prince...I wanted to jump right in and sing with you! "I took the keys to the brand-new Porsche. Would they mind? Hmm..well..of course not! I'll just take it for a little spin...and maybe show it off to couple of friends..."

Ok, sorry to hijack your comments with my rapping/singing.

Chelle said...

What a pain! I feel for you that you had to even go through that mess. Happy POW!

Kelli said...

What a pain in the you-know-what!!! I'm sorry, Jen. I'm so glad the Children's Place lady took your check anyway. You got some great deals!

That would probably happen to me too because I never write checks anymore so therefore there would be no "history". How stupid is that?

P.S. I tagged you for a meme (why do they call it that?) yesterday, if ya wanna know you want to! Not really for my benefit since I know pretty much everything about ya, but "inquiring (blogger) minds want to know"...haha!

Anonymous said...

I don't use checks, either and, after reading this, I'm glad that I don't. Sorry you had a bad experience but at least you had some sort of resolution. Happy POW!