How long is your credit card information kept? - FOX 13 News

How long is your credit card information kept?

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Let's be up front, and get it out of the way: Carla bought some everyday underwear from a racy store: Frederick's of Hollywood.

Boring underwear, that's it.

"It was just a really good deal," she said.

That ordinary purchase of "unmentionables" back in June is hardly newsworthy. What's intriguing, however, is what happened in October.

Carla, who has asked us to keep her last name private, says the lingerie company dipped back into her account and charged an extra $9.95 plus tax.

"I thought that the order was complete and done," she said.

She said she received a notice, not a request, stating that the company was due an extra $10.65 because of an error in the shipping charge. It was taking more of her money, like it or not, using her original form of payment.

Carla had a receipt from June that shows shipping and handling were "$0.00." But her argument fell flat.

"There was nothing I could do,"she said.

Four months after processing her order, Frederick's of Hollywood charged Carla's card $10.65 with zero authorization. It had apparently stored her card number.

Carla was dumbfounded. She is alarmed that Frederick's of Hollywood still had her card number and was able to process a charge without her consent.

"It's not the $9.95," she said. "It's the principle that four months after the fact, that they want to charge me."

Frederick's of Hollywood didn't respond to our questions about the charge.

Visa, the company that issued the card Carla used, also did not respond to our inquiries.

If Visa's competitors are any guide, a four-month lapse is likely a violation of the merchant agreement Frederick's of Hollywood has with Visa.

American Express said it gives merchants three days to close a transaction; MasterCard said merchants have just three days to complete a sale.

Carla is not satisfied. She is worried consumers' card numbers are being stored on corporate computers far longer than most of us might expect.

"Am I the only one out there," she asked.

Carla's situation is a reminder to carefully scrutinize everything in your monthly bills. It's not enough to just scan for unusual names, since the stores you trust might be on the take.

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