CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE)- A Charlotte woman wants an explanation after receiving a racially insensitive bank charge after a flight from Charlotte, she says.
Kyetra Bryant said while traveling out of Charlotte Douglas Airport on Thanksgiving Day, she and her boyfriend were checking in with American Airlines.
She said they had both paid for their own tickets and checked-in luggage, but when she looked at her bank statement that Saturday, she found a strange charge. “I said hmmm, ‘African American, African service charge.’ It was just on my cell phone because I was looking at my banking app. I’m like ‘what is this?'” she explained.
Bryant contacted the airlines immediately, but said no one was helpful. “She’s like I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Bryant said about the representative. “I’m like I have a screenshot here on two different phones and a computer, and it says it’s from American Charlotte, and I want to know why it’s listed this way?”
From November to January, she would get the runaround from the airlines and her bank. Both blaming the other for the peculiar charge.
“The bank told American directly, we don’t have anything to do with that. When you put something into your system, we charge it as the merchant charges it, and that’s it,” she said. “To this day it hasn’t changed on each of our statements.”
FOX 46 reached out and received multiple statements from American Airlines.
“The customer alerted American to the offensively labeled baggage fee on her bank statement in mid-December. We were disturbed by what we saw and immediately launched an investigation to understand what occurred. The baggage fee was purchased at a self-service kiosk in Charlotte. Our team members are unable to change text when processing a charge and we’ve determined the issue originated with the credit card company and bank issuer. We reached out to Mastercard who confirmed that American submitted the baggage fee information correctly during the payment process and Mastercard is conducting its own investigation.”
FOX 46 shared the statement with Bryant and she said there’s no way that could be true.
“There’s really no justification. We definitely felt targeted. That’s an instance of racial bias.”
Bryant plans to reach back out to both parties and hopefully get an apology in the near future. It is unclear at this time if she has heard back from anyone. The airline released an additional statement on Wednesday.
Ms. Bryant alerted American to the offensively labeled baggage fee on her bank statement in mid-December. We were incredibly disturbed by what we saw and immediately launched an investigation to understand what occurred. After consulting with Mastercard, we were able to verify that the issue did not originate with American.
The baggage fee was purchased at a self-service kiosk in Charlotte with a Capital One debit card. All bank statement transaction descriptions are managed through the issuing bank, in this case Capital One. Mastercard has confirmed that American correctly submitted the transaction information during the payment process.
Capital One and its payment processing partners are conducting their own investigation to determine the root cause and correct the issue. Our Customer Relations team has reached out to Ms. Bryant to update her on the findings of our investigation, and apologize for what she experienced.
Capital One also released a statement on Wednesday.
We are aware that a customer has come forward expressing concern with how a recent transaction was recorded on their banking statement. We immediately began investigating the issue and have attempted to make contact with the customer to apologize for any confusion and provide insight into the situation.
Our investigation has shown that this technical issue is the result of a miscoding of a merchant’s name. It is entirely unrelated to any specific customer information.
At Capital One, we created a proprietary system that offers our customers greater details on all of their transactions. We do this in part by using technology that relies on an external database of business information. We are actively investigating precisely where the technology misinterpreted the merchant data and we are correcting the issue.
Mastercard also released a statement on Wednesday.
We are in the process of conducting a thorough investigation, however it is our understanding that American Airlines is not responsible for this error. American Airlines submitted the transaction correctly for a checked baggage purchase — including the proper merchant name. Our bank issuing and payment processing partners are working to understand how the error occurred so this does not happen again.