Local Businesses Experience With Credit Card Processing

  1. I opened a temporary store in Welland (4 month lease), while setting up I was approached by a sales rep asking me who was doing my credit card processing. I told him and he asked what the rate was, I didn’t understand the rates told him what I thought it was and he said he could do much better. I told him I was only open for 4 months and asked the cancellation fee was, he said his company had none. He promised to cancel the original agreement return the equipment and said there would be no fee because I hadn’t used it it. There turned out to be a $70 fee which I didn’t object to because their cancellation fee was $300 which I thought I would be saving. He brought a contract with 3 pages of terms and conditions which were illegible he apologized and said it was a faxed copy, his only copy as he was new and assured me the terms were as discussed. When I closed the store in January, notified  them of my cancellation and stopped transactions, a fee of $500 was was deducted from my business account for “inactivity”. I reversed the withdrawal and closed the account. A month later I received a notice from a collection agency that I owed over $4000 in cancellation fees. I did some research on the industry and decided to avoid long term harassment I should sue them for what they said I owed. When we went to court for a settlement hearing they backed off and I agreed to pay $300 (the original Chase cancellation fee) in order to get it over with. This is when I decided there might be a need for someone to help businesses with this complicated but necessary part of their business.
  2. Local client asked me to check his processing statement; he had just signed with a new company and thought he was paying too much. I asked his processor for a copy of his contract and discovered the merchants copy and the processors copy were different, some of the fees had been whited out on the processor’s copy and increased. The merchant was also under the impression that the processor was paying off his previous equipment lease, which was true but what he didn’t know was that the payment was added into a new lease. We contacted the processor and after some back and forth they agreed to cancel the agreement with no costs including paying off both leases. The merchant is now with a company having much lower rates and no cancellation fee should he decide to cancel or close his business.
  3. We did an audit, cancelled the current processing contract and changed processors for a local company as per provisions of the code of conduct for the industry with no cancellation related fees. The client noticed that the leasing company had deducted $200 per lease ($600) from their account for “property taxes”. Upon investigation we discovered the leasing company had been sued in New York for this practice. I advised the client to reverse the charges, I notified the leasing company, the reversal was done and no more deductions were made.
  4. A merchant was referred to us because he had received a notice from a collection agency that he owed over $2400 in cancellation fees for a processing account he cancelled. When he called to cancel he was told “no problem” and nothing was said about a cancellation fee. We checked the merchant’s copy of the contract (same company I had dealt with at my temporary store) and although almost illegible the clause used for the cancellation fee had been x’d out. I pointed this out to the collection agency they contacted the processor who then asked for $500 based upon a single line in the illegible terms and conditions that was non-specific. The client agreed to pay the $500 (against our advice) just to get it over with.
  5. Unfortunately we were called into this situation after court proceedings were in place and could not intervene for the merchant. They had cancelled a processing contract per the advice of a salesperson from competing processor who told them they could cancel without penalty and he would “take care of everything”. Turns out he didn’t and the original processor (again the one I dealt with for my temporary store) was suing them for over $4000 in cancellation fee. I looked at the court documents and saw a number of discrepancies and outright misstatements. Unfortunately the court would not allow me to testify and the merchant made a settlement agreement with the processor in spite of the fact that they did not have any obligation under the code of conduct for the industry to pay any cancellation related fees.
  6. We negotiated a reduction in fees for a local merchant. When we received the third statement (we check statements for 1 year) under the new rates we noticed that one of the fees had been increased back to the original amount. This particular fee does not show a rate on the statement so it is necessary to do some math to see the difference. We approached the processor and they denied the increase (incredibly)! We ended up cancelling the account with that processor and replacing them with a new processor at substantial savings.
  7. A local business was referred to us asking if we could audit and reduce his credit card processing costs. We did the audit and determined that indeed substantial savings could be had. The merchant preferred to stay with his current processor which he had been with for over 8 years. We were able to get a competing offer and contacted the processor asking them to meet the competing offer. They responded with a new application with over $800 in setup fees (for a current client) scattered throughout the contract and the basic discount fees were left blank. We tried contacting the rep who did the contract with no progress, we then tried his supervisor and finally emailed the CEO of the company (big company). We received an email in reply telling us they would no longer deal with us (in spite of having a legal direction signed) and would deal only directly with the client. This of course put the merchant at a big disadvantage as he did not understand the pricing or contracts. We helped him negotiate by being present for phone calls or being on another phone when he was talking to them. In the end he was not able to make a deal, cancelled and he went with the new processor. After all of this the processor deducted cancellation fees from his account in spite of the fact that they had no right to when he pointed this out they said “sue us”. The merchant had had enough and didn’t fight it.
  8. A local tradesman had signed a processing contract with an Independent Sales Organization. About a month into the contract his son received a call offering “free internet advertising”. The son agreed as long as it was free but it turned out to be free for only 1 month and they started deducting monthly fees from his account that had accumulated to over $2500. We submitted a code of conduct complaint and the business was reimbursed for the deductions.
  9. A large volume local merchant noticed on his August statement that his processing fees have increased substantially. They contacted the processor and were able to get some of the fees (over $10,000 in 3 months) refunded. They were referred to me and we were able cancel the agreement and find a new processor with further savings of almost 40% over and above the reduction they had already negotiated. This processor had several large increases in the last few years which many business don’t notice because the statements are so hard to read.
  10. A St.Catharines man who emigrated from China bought a local business and was signed to a processing contract in English which he couldn’t read. The contract had very high fees allowed him to accept MasterCard only and had a $10,000 cancellation fee as well as an 8 year term automatically renewing for another 8 years. He had asked to add Visa and Interac but was quoted large fees to do so. The client has not yet been able to cancel the agreement.

 

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