Sen. Dick Durbin
today after the company told customers it was raising rates because of a Dodd-Frank amendment
the Illinois Democrat passed limiting the fees credit card companies can charge retailers.
"Your company's email and press release incorrectly blame the Durbin Amendment for increasing your processing fees. My amendment did not raise these fees," the senator wrote in letter to Parkmobile CEO Albert Bogaard.
Parkmobile, which allows its 400,000 Washington customers to use its apps and services to pay parking meters remotely, wrote in an email on Thursday that starting Monday transaction fees in D.C. "will increase from $0.32 to $0.45 due to increased costs triggered by recent federal legislative reform enacted by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act's Durbin Amendment."
Parkmobile blames the Durbin amendment for the fee increases. Before the amendment, credit card companies could essentially charge merchants based on the cost of the item sold. Cheaper items incurred lesser transaction fees, said Parkmobile's Laurens Eckelboom.
But in March, credit card companies raised Parkmobile's transaction fees from 10 cents to 30 cents to offset the fact that they could no longer charge merchants as much for more expensive items, Eckelboom said.
Parkmobile, which charged 32 cents per transaction, saw its margins shrink, he said.
Now Parkmobile is telling customers that, instead of paying the 45-cent-per-transaction fee, they can enroll in a prepay program called, which Eckelboom compared to EZ-Pass. Those transactions will carry a cheaper 30-cent transaction fee.
"We have decided not to pass along these increased fees until we were able to come up with a solution," Eckelboom said.
Parkmobile's blame is misplaced, Durbin wrote.
"Visa and MasterCard raised your fees, and as a merchant you were helpless to stop them short of the ceiling the new law created," he wrote.
Durbin asked Parkmobile to retract its statements. Asked if Parkmobile would retract the statements, Eckelboom declined to comment beyond his previous statements.