Class-action lawsuit alleges lunch payment defrauded parents in multiple states
An article published by the Washington Post on September 26, 2019 claims families are seeking damages from Heartland Payment Systems, which owns and operates MySchoolBucks, based on fraud.
Heartland is accused of stealing money parents thought were going to their children’s schools. The lawsuit was filed by Florida resident Max Story in conjunction with families in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Mr. Story says Heartland misled him into believing program fees associated with the service were going to his child’s school.
According to Jennifer Bennett, Story’s attorney. “It turns out that it was Heartland, itself, that was charging fees, and none of the money was going to schools.”
The case filed is centered around a $2.49 program fee that took effect in 2017 and accompanies every MySchoolBucks transaction. The fee is lower in Montgomery County Public Schools, where users pay $1.95, according to the school district’s website.
Nationwide, over 2 million people with children in 30,000 schools may be affected by this lawsuit, Bennett said.
Heartland, in its Terms of Service agreement, told parents their schools may charge them a fee to use the service, according to the lawsuit filed in May. However, in its updated terms of service agreement, the company says program fees are paid to Heartland and “the school or school district may remit the program fee” to it.
Even more outrageous, Heartland has made attempts to stop the lawsuit, including trying to deposit $40,000 into the bank account of Mr. Story that was connected to his MySchoolBucks account. Mr. Story didn’t give Heartland permission to put the money into his account and refused the payment, Bennett said.
Moving forward, a hearing for the case — which has been assigned in the District Court for the Middle District of Florida — has been set for October 25, 2019.
Read the original published article written by Lauren Lumpkin here.