This is an ongoing investigation which has led to a pending class action lawsuit against American Express Company in which it alleges that American Express wrongfully charged merchants and retailers a fee for goods and services not actually purchased using an American Express card.
American Express cards are held by millions of business and consumers throughout the country. American Express requires a merchant, retailer and any business for that matter to enter into a contract with American Express if that merchant wishes to allow a consumer to purchase that merchant's products using an American Express card. That contract provides that when American Express extends credit for a purchase, the merchant must pay a percentage of that sale to American Express. American Express's fee is called a "merchant fee" or "discount fee".
The class action lawsuit alleges that American Express charges a merchant fee on items returned or items where American Express does not actually extend credit. The class action lawsuit alleges that American Express's practice of charging a merchant fee on items returned or for which credit is not extended is not disclosed in the agreement merchants are required to execute with American Express.
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