Kyetra Bryant of Charlotte, North Carolina, United States and her boyfriend travelled out of Charlotte Douglas Airport on November 26, 2020 and checked in with the American Airlines. On November 28, 2020, she was surprised to find an “African American, African service charge” in her bank statement.
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 the American Airlines 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. Its customer relations team has reached out to Bryant to update her on the findings of their investigation and apologize for what she has experienced.
From November 2020 to January 2021, Bryant was not able to get an explanation from the airline and her bank. On February 3, 2021, CONAN Daily received statements from Capital One, Mastercard and the American Airlines.
“The customer 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.”
“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.”
“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.”