Neteller Takes a Gamble on Hidden Fees

Dustin signed up to do a lil online gambling and deposited some funds online. The transfer company snuck in an undisclosed 8% transfer fee.

When he called to demand a refund, they told him to choose a different transfer option next time. Did he stop there? No, he threatened to take them to small claims court.

Read his tale of consumer vengeance gone right and an online scam to beware, after the jump.

Dustin writes:

“Neteller is used by many on line casinos and poker sites to fund a bankroll.

Last month, I was about to sign up to a poker site but I wanted to have money in a Neteller account before I signed up so I went directly to the site to open up an account.

I went through the sign up process. It was pretty cool how they identified me. I gave them my name and address and they asked me a bunch of personal questions they must
ve gleaned from Choicepoint-type databases they subscribe to. The questions were multiple choice,
You once lived on a street shown below. Select the street. A) Imperial Highway B) Buttonwood Ave. C) San Remo Drive D) Sarah Circle

You have a sister, is her name A) Karen B) Diane C) Christine or D) Mary
They also called my phone to verify identity.

Once they verified my identity this way, they took my bank account information and offered to transfer money from my bank account to my Neteller account instantly, up to $750. I chose the full $750. I received an email a few minute later that said
was debited from your bank account.

I called Neteller and was surprised to reach a human being who spoke English. It was pretty late at night. He said that the method of transfer that I chose was called Instacash and it came with a fee. I asked that he cancel the Instacash transmission and refund the fee. He said he couldn
t do that. He said next time, I should choose normal transfer which is free. I didn
t remember choosing Instacash and I
m sure I would never authorize a $66.75 fee to transfer money, but he insisted that I authorized the payment and the extra fee.

I asked for Neteller
s Agent of Service in California. I told him I would not be touching the money tonight but that I would be filing a claim in my local Small Claims Court on Monday morning for the full $816.75 plus expenses and interest. He put me on hold while he spoke with his supervisor.

His supervisor said that if I left the $750 alone in my bank account until Friday, they would waive the service fee and my balance would be raised to the $815.75. I would have to call back in order to have this done. The following Monday, I called back and they put the fee back in my account.

So, the story ended well even though I had to spend too much time on the phone (twice) when all they had to do was make it very clear about the fee instead of burying the language in the small print. I
m normally very careful about extra fees and I
m sure I would
ve seen mention of it, if it wasn
t hidden in the click through screens.

Notice they don
t mention fees here where you choose what kind of deposit you will make:


Or the next screen:


Even if you click on the
View Info
from the first page, you won
t see them mention any fees:


Should I have known to use
Electronic Funds Transfer
because it received 5 stars from the Preference people?


No Dustin, you should’ve known that internet gambling is immoral and gone to a scuzzy riverboat like a normal person.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Hawkins says:

    I don’t get it. How can somebody as apparently intelligent as Dustin be so stupid as to play online poker for money?

    Maybe he thinks he can beat the colluders, bots, sandbaggers, pot manipulators, and artificially-intelligent carpetbaggers. (Google “online poker cheat” for a catalog.)

    Good luck.

    No offense is intended, but I wonder if Dustin simply needs to transfer money to a… uh… business associate, in a difficult-to-detect (and tax-deductible!) manner.

  2. Jesse says:

    I use Neteller, and I’ve never run into this problem. Usually I’ll do the transaction from the online poker application directly, and I think that eliminates the fee.

    Hawkins — lighten up. Poker is fun.

  3. Paul D says:

    Hey Dustin, I live in Nigeria and I need you to transfer some money for me…

  4. Paul D says:

    Damn you faulty comment script! Damn you straight to h-e-double-hockeysticks!

  5. GenXCub says:

    Okay, after all the drubbing that’s come in, I’ll step forward and say that I’ve played at partypoker, and used their transfer service. It was exactly as described above (yes, someone in the carribean called me to verify), but I didn’t have a transfer fee.

    For those not in the know, you can easily break even in online poker by using their incentives. Most of the time, you need to have participated in 250 raked hands for up to 25% bonus. And if you choose to use the .50/$1 hold em tables, that means you can sit 10 hands and fold every single one of them, and it’d cost you .75. If all of them were raked, it’d take 25 rounds, and you’d come out ahead a few bucks, but most of the time, you break even.

    I’m going too long here, but I haven’t felt cheated about the play. And it’s been a better experience than some of the casinos here in Vegas.

  6. Except that my computer has never managed to bring me free booze.


  7. factotum says:

    Fercrissakes, the booze isn’t really free! Unless you’re sitting at the table or the video poker machine betting 1 coin per hand, those drinks are costing you!