ED Magedson – Founder
AppStar Financial4619 Viewridge Ave., Ste. C San Diego, California USA
AppStar Financial Merimac Capital, First American Payment Systems How can you save $$ when there are SO MANY hidden fees? San Diego California
I signed a 3-year contract with AppStar Financial to take over my credit card processing based on the sales rep showing me how much money I'd be saving by switching to their services. While filling out their 18 page application, I had several reservations, but was told that everything would be OK, and to just continue signing the paperwork. Part of this paperwork included signing up for a 5-year lease with Merimac Capital (First American Payment) for the actual credit card processing machine.
I requested an option to buy the equipment outright since I wasn't too happy with the idea of paying for something for 5 years and still not have ownership of the equipment. I was told that's not how they do business and in order to switch to them, I had to sign the 5-year lease with Merimac and use their machine. (I also had to add that equipment to my insurance policy else I'd be paying an additional fee monthly)
I started using the services of AppStar Financial and Merimac Capital on May 1, 2013. My first debit card transaction wasn't presented until 5/3/13, and when I attempted to run the card, I got an error message. I called the Customer Service number to get immediate assistance with my terminal and see what the problem was.
Come to find out, the machine that I was convinced to lease because of all of the 'bells and whistles' associated with running both credit & debit cards, wasn't set up for debit card processing. Needless to say I was extremely upset at this information and actually got a regional supervisor involved with correcting the issue at hand. (Their initial resolve was for me to box up the machine and send it back to them, and once they received it, they'd get a new one out to me as soon as possible)
On 5/16/13 I found out that AppStar did not have an agreement with American Express, and that I'd need to open my own merchant account with them, which AppStar took care of for me, and I had the pleasure of conducting a 3-way call between AppStar Financial, American Express, and myself for approximately 1 hour (during normal business hours nonetheless) because on 5/10/13, American Express received an electronic request from First American Payment to change the method of how fees were to be taken from my account. This was without my knowledge or approval.
On 6/17/13 I spent 18 minutes on the phone with an AppStar customer service representative trying to resolve an issue I had with not receiving my statement from May yet and was curious to know when to be expecting it. I was told that it was already mailed and that perhaps I should go to the Post Office to see if they were holding it for some reason. Really?
I requested that it be sent again since I had not received my statement in the mail, and was told they would be happy to send it to me but they'd charge me $10 to re-send it, even though I was already paying $5/month to have my statements mailed to me. Had to get a Senior Operations Specialist involved to send me a copy at no expense and was advised that I could view my statements online.
(Although by doing this, it automatically stops sending the paper statement, and since I had just changed to go with AppStar, I wanted a hard copy to review until I felt comfortable to view online) That was just in the first 2 months of using AppStar, and there were several other instances that I dealt with the customer service department over the next year that led me to the decision to sever ties with the company and move on with someone else to process my credit card transactions.
I submitted a letter at the beginning of March 2014 stating that I was wishing to close my account effective March 1, 2014, and that I was revoking access to my account after all settlements from services through 2/28/14 have been processed and the monthly fees through 2/28/14 had been collected. I requested to be contacted to discuss the terms of paying the early termination fees upon receipt of the letter of termination.
I was called on 3/12/14 at 6pm and told the representative that I was on the way out the door to dinner to celebrate my son's 18th birthday and requested he called back the next day. I received a call on 3/13/14 at 6:45pm and I immediately apologized for not being able to talk the previous night, and thanked him for returning the call that day. He asked me if it was a good time to talk, and I said yes.
We talked for a few minutes and he put me on hold a couple of times, and the second time he came back from placing me on hold, he said there were a few different ways he saw this working out....but he didn't have time to talk to me about it at this time, and he said he'd call me back on Friday, 3/14/14. I managed to ask a question as to what time to expect the call on Friday to attempt to be available to talk when he called, and he said it would be earlier in the day than this call and promptly hung up on me.
I didn't get a phone call on Friday or on Monday. I was called at 12:20 Tuesday afternoon ("lunch hour") by someone named Louis. We talked for 24 minutes and got nowhere, and at the end of the 24 minutes, he interrupted me and said it was a pleasure talking with me and the account would be considered closed when my bank account was charged the early termination fee and attempted to hang up, but I persisted stating that I was not at all comfortable with that outcome and that I would like to have a letter from AppStar stating the account was closed. He informed me that they didn't do that and that when the fees were posted to my account, consider it closed.
I then received a phone call on 3/24/14 at 10:00am from a supervisor named Joseph. He said that he'd be happy to close the account, and that upon review of my request to waive or lower the early termination fees, they determined everything was done properly and they would not entertain anything less than the stated fees in the contract.
He went on to say that another option would be to terminate the contract with the local company I went with and return to AppStar and he would personally look after my account and offer me even lower rates than what I was previously paying. WOW! I don't want to continue business with this company because of the practices they use, and now they are trying to sweeten a deal to stay with them?! NO THANK YOU!!
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 04/01/2014 08:41 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/AppStar-Financial/San-Diego-California-92123/AppStar-Financial-Merimac-Capital-First-American-Payment-Systems-How-can-you-save-whe-1135317. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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