THE REAL EZ-CARD STORY

by Letters to the Editor, November 24, 2009

To The Editor:

This concerns the EZcard money machines in the lobby of the County jail.

I had $20 put on my account. After the $3.49 “convenience fee” I got $16.51. That is a fee of around 16-17% — quite a lot of money lost. Another person had $300 put on their account and paid a fee of $24. Nobody in the “free world” would stand for this. But because we are in jail, we don't have a choice.

The new EZcard machine in the jail lobby won't accept money orders anymore either. My wife does not have a car, driver's license nor credit card. She lives in Brooktrails outside of Willits. That means my wife can no longer send me money. The Sheriff’s Department has created a monopoly here. If people don't use the EZcard machine or the Internet with a credit card, we can no longer receive money on our accounts. The new EZcard adopted by the Sheriff’s Department is prejudiced against people whose family or friends do not have the means or a way to get to the jail or use the Internet.

If you read the fine print it says there will be a “convenience fee.” If you take money out of an ATM there is a fee now. If you put money into one there is also a fee. And then you will have to pay the interest charge on your credit card if you don't pay the whole balance.

The Sheriff's Department says they have to count change. There is no change involved in a money order, just a single piece of paper. So what's the big deal?

The promotional article about how wonderful this new machine at the jail is in the Ukiah Daily Journal only tells part of the story.

Thank you for your time.

David Rogers,
Mendocino County Jail, Ukiah

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