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  • Report: #398249

Complaint Review: Elavon Aka Nova Information Systems

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  • Submitted: Fri, December 05, 2008
  • Updated: Mon, May 17, 2010

  • Reported By:Vancouver British Columbia
Elavon Aka Nova Information Systems
One Concourse Parkway, Suite 300 Atlanta, Georgia U.S.A.

Elavon Aka Nova Information Systems deceptive contract and illegal withdrew fund from bank account Atlanta Georgia

*UPDATE Employee: Better Business Bureau

*REBUTTAL Individual responds: Elavon is full of illegal and unethical practice

*Consumer Comment: Elavon did nothing wrong

*Consumer Comment: Terms of Service clearly permits all of these actions

*Consumer Suggestion: Elavon following Visa and banking rules regarding risk

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I have had a merchant account with Elavon, then known as Nova, since 2006. I have had a perfectly clean record without any incidents, no chargebacks and no complaints.

A customer placed an order for DVD players, resulting in a charge of about $9500 CAD which went through. In October, I received a request from Elavon's Chargeback Department requesting for details regarding this transaction. I in turn contact my customer to ascertain what had happened and was advised he confirmed the transaction was legitimate but that his own accounts payable department had mistakenly failed to recognize our company name in their records and requested a receipt inquiry via their credit card's issuing bank. One day later, we received a phone call from someone of Elavon's Chargeback Department. I explained the situation to her, that this was a misunderstanding and that my customer had since withdrawn their inquiry via their issuing bank. However, instead of listening to my explanation, she took it upon herself to call into question the nature of my business and the volume of my business, questioning the very product my customer purchased from me and that I was now doing more business than I had initially estimated on my application. Later that same day, I faxed to her my invoices pertaining to this order and a letter to clarify that this situation came about due to a miscommunication with my customer and their employee.

A week later, I found my Elavon account was on hold. I called Elavon's Customer Service and was advised that the hold on my account had been initiated by the Chargeback Department. The customer service representative advised she would send an email to the individual who had initiated this hold and that she would call me back. The following morning, I had not received any return call so I called Customer Service again myself. After explaining the situation to a different representative, she transferred me to the voicemail of the supervisor of the Chargeback Dept on which I left a message regarding my situation. 4 hours later, and still no return call from neither Customer Service nor Chargebacks, I called again only this time, I was advised that the individual handling my case was with the Loss Prevention Department but that they do not receive external phone calls and can only be contacted via internal, in-house email. That same afternoon, I received a next-day letter delivery via UPS. Therein were 3 letters sent by Elavon's Chargeback Dept all dated October 13, 2008. The letters advised Elavon was canceling my account effective October 15, 2008 and that "Elavon has placed a hold on [my] merchant processing account to establish and fund a security reserve. Credit card transactions may still be presented for processing, however, [I] will not receive funding for these transactions at this time as these funds are being rerouted to the established security reserve. This security reserve account may be maintained by Elavon for a minimum of 270 days with periodic reviews of the merchant processing history for any release of the funds held in the security reserve." These letters contained no explanation as to the termination of my account.

In the same day, Elavon tried to deduct 5 times of $4600, a total of $23,000 CAD from my bank account. This was done without any notification. This amount of $23,000 CAD is haphazard and random. My monthly average of my transactions is about $4000 CAD. I then received a phone call from the Assistant Manager of Elavon's Chargeback Dept. I explained to her that the chargeback inquiry had been erroneously generated and that my customer had since withdrawn their inquiry via their issuing bank. Instead of listening to my explanation, She instead insisted that I had violated the contract with Elavon by exceeding the monthly $5000 cap in my sales or transactions processed and that I was selling products in wholesale volume to my customer. Firstly, this $5000 figure is denoted only as the "Total Monthly Visa/MC Sales" on my Elavon application and in no way does it note nor imply that this figure represents a cap to the sales I may process. Secondly, Elavon has no right to interfere not call into question my business dealings with my customers. I advised the person that my customer has since acknowledged my transaction but she insisted on terminating my account. I insist my customer right, but she replied that I had no rights at all since they had already terminated my account and that my only right was to find another credit card processer.

During this phone conversation, a third voice suddenly appeared and it was the first person called me from the Chargeback Dept. I had not been made aware, not until this moment, that I was part of a conference call. Together, they were now stating that it was my responsibility to prove the transaction was legitimate and implied that the transaction was potentially a scam, however baseless the implication was. They refused my explanation and rejected verifying that the initial situation no longer existed by contacting my customer's issuing bank. They went so far as to say they have the right to do whatever they want and even to go into my bank account and withdraw funds without legitimate reason. They insisted that the $5000 figure I had provided in my application, provided as the projected amount of my monthly transactions, was instead a contractual cap of the amount of transactions I would have.

I brought my complaint to Elavon's mother company, US Bank later and 2 higher officers called me few days later. But in the phone conversation, they denined any wrongdong and insist they were right. Then one of the person said in mercy, they would return the money they withdrew but it will take at least 1 month. I insist, they can retrun the money within a week since they used a canadaian entities to withdrew the money.

On Nov 3, Elavon tried another withdrew from my bank accout for $73, probably for the service charge. Since my bank can't prohibt further withdrawal from Elavon, I have to close my account.

I brought my complain to OCC, and Elavon replied on Nov 19. In the letter, the legal councel insisted Elavon was right and they have the right to withdraw fund from my account even without legitimate reason.

Before I used Elavon, I used InternetSeceure but actually it was bought out by Elavon without my knowledge. Without any notice except posting on tehir web site, they totally changed the contract in 15 days and apply new fees.

Even I succesful cancelled my accounts with 30 days notice, they still charged my accounts servcie charges.

Blue plume
Vancouver, British Columbia
Canada

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/05/2008 12:49 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Elavon-Aka-Nova-Information-Systems/Atlanta-Georgia-30328/Elavon-Aka-Nova-Information-Systems-deceptive-contract-and-illegal-withdrew-fund-from-bank-398249. 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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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
0Author 4Consumer 1Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE Employee

Better Business Bureau

AUTHOR: REALITY_1 - (United States of America)

You know what? This is what sucks about the internet.

All you people making complaints on here have absolutely NO CREDIBILITY, however for the individual who finds such vague and "potentially" bogus complaints, the tendency to belive is very high.

I for one, happened to check with a highly credible and bonafide institution to see if what is being said here has any particular TRUTH.

According to the BBB (Better Business Bureau) Elavon has an A+ rating (this is the highest rating by the BBB).

Sure, there have been 145 complaints in the last 3 years (THREE YEARS), however they have all been addressed to the satisfaction of the BBB. So, what I am seeing here is nothing but a bunch of nonsense and more than likely, defamatory statements from either competitors or people who lie or are bitter and wish to blame someone for their own failures or that of the current state of the economy.

Elavon is saving business owners thousands of dollars in processing fees and offering a tax deductable alternative to what the big banks offer for POS processing systems.

Go to the BBB and see for yourself, looks like a good company to me...

After several years in business and perhaps 1000's, or TENS of thousands, even HUNDREDS of thousands of clients and only 145 disputes reported, either we have a bunch of lugans slandering or we have a respectable company offering a better alternative for POS services than is offerd by the big banks.
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#2 REBUTTAL Individual responds

Elavon is full of illegal and unethical practice

AUTHOR: Ken - (Canada)

Apparently someone replying this complaint is from Elavon but not disclosing their relationship to Elavon, interesting enough both Las Vegas and Scottsdale have Elavon offices. Knowing some detail about my case and knowing Elavon's term of service is in a booklet form are absolutely not co-incidence.


The fact is after one year, more and more complaints about Elavon come up all over the internet. The replies say Elavon follow the rules of Visa and banking regulations. Well, Visa and MasterCard clearly state out merchant can not set minimum or maximum amount. So what rule Elavon is following. Indeed, Elavon only asking merchants their monthly average amount, and then using it as an undisclosed limit to merchant. It is a joke, do they know what average means. In his comment, David used credit card limit to compare to processing amount is irrelevant. Credit Card holder can plan how much money they use, a merchant can not plan how much business he can get. Business can go up or go down and beyond prediction. It is basic business sense, if Elavon and their staffs have none of it, they better close their business. If Elavon want to set a cap, just say it and ask merchants to fill it up. But they are no doing it but secretly set up without any clue to merchants.


Risk assessment is a common process but not in the way Elavon did it. You provide them information about your business but how they imply it. I told them I sell office equipment and supplies but when I sell DVD players they say it is not office equipment /supplies just because their office does not have it. I told them I do business over internet, they imply all transactions must be from e-commerce, do they know the different. They never ask me what customer I will sell to, and they imply I can only sell to big customers. What about you are selling to a reputable muti-location business, and in what way the risk increase? What about the staff of Elavon making up their own information instead of listen to you. Where in the contract say you can not do wholesale? Where do the contract say you can not over a transcatuon amount limit? Where is the contract says you can not do business with big customer? Business is full of changing, if Elavon does not understand it, it is just because they suck and they are scammer. The bottom line is , merchants are not borrowing money from Elavon, merchants are asking Elavon to collect money for them. The money belongs to the merchants not Elavon. If withdrawing ten of thousand from merchants bank account is only about risk Elavon implied, I think we should talk about real damage.  


Following banking rule is also a joke, Elavon even does not have any legal base to withdraw tens of thousand of dollars from merchants. The contract only say they can deduct fee and expense but what fees can be up to all of your transactions last few months. They withdrew $23000 from my account, what fees or expense is that.


Elavon belongs to US Bank, as everyone knows; the banking industry is full of illegal and unethical practice.


It is just another same example of it. It is only the matter of time when Elavon will be sued and I will keep fighting for the merchants.

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#3 Consumer Comment

Elavon did nothing wrong

AUTHOR: Mike - (U.S.A.)

David is correct. Elavon is protecting themselves because they need to honor the associations (Visa/MC/Disc) cardholder rights. You have to understand that as a cardholder you have some very strong dispute rights when you purchase with cards and that the dispute process can take quite a long time. Elavon has to limit their exposure because they are funding you for a transaction that can potentially go bad a long time after the fact. This is a good warning to everyone when they set up a merchant account to disclose everything about what, how, and to whom they sell to up front so these things do not happen!
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#4 Consumer Comment

Terms of Service clearly permits all of these actions

AUTHOR: George6654 - (U.S.A.)

My employer is looking for a new credit card processor and was tasked with reading the documentation provided by Elavon. I just read the Terms of Service ("TOS). Everything (and I do mean everything) that you are upset with is clearly permitted by the version of the TOS I reviewed (March 2008).
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#5 Consumer Suggestion

Elavon following Visa and banking rules regarding risk

AUTHOR: David - (U.S.A.)

I know something about the process here since I've been a merchant for a long time. When you sign up for a merchant account, your approval is based on a number of factors including but not exclusively, your personal or business credit worthiness, your financial ability to support any potential risk (monthly fees, chargebacks, etc.), the type of business (mail order, internet, retail, restaurant, etc), the products you sell, the kinds of customers you sell to (retail customers or wholesale, etc.), avergage transaction per customer and projected sales per month. These and other factors determine the MCC code (Merchant Classification Code) used by credit card associations (Visa/MC/Amex/Discover, etc) to assign risk assessments based on that MCC code and the other information provided.

If you pass the underwriting requirements (most are required by Visa/Mc and others are required by banks), you're approved to accept payments. You receive your funds well in advance of the banks and processing companies receiving their funds, so this is a credit product in the truest sense of the word.

If you were, for example approved to sell beach balls by mail order for $25 average per order and estimated you'd sell about $5000 in sales per month, that information was used to set parameters for your account approval. Processing companies like Elavon set limits on processing volume based on what you could support financially if suddently your business failed and hundreds of customers wanted their money back, but the account was closed. Someone ultimately has to be the liable party to satisfy Visa's customer assurance policies. So if you all of a sudden did a $10,000 sale, red flags went up all over the place. Elavon would be placed in a highly liable position for losses if the transaction went bad and you couldn't support the chargeback because you already spent the money. Also, if you were approved to sell to the public, but changed to sell wholesale, you've violated the terms of service standard to all payment processors by exceeding the very definition of what your account approval was based on. And if you were selling to people in the US and all of a sudden you have gigantic orders coming in from a foreign country, the industry knows from experience there is a huge risk of fraud, regardless of whether this one particular customer of yours is the exception.

When you travel overseas and are going to use your credit card extensively, you should always advise your credit card company so they won't shut it down when they can't reach you to question whether it's you suddently buying things all over Europe. The same is true with payment processors. If you have a significant change in the way you do business, the sales projections, average ticket, where you do business, what you sell, etc., that falls outside the initial intent of the account, or if you have a once in a lifetime sale that well exceeds your average ticket, in most cases if you call customer service ahead of time and let them note it on your account, you'll be approved to do the business or they will help you change the business category you're assigned to so you're in the new correct category for your business.

Based on reading your report, I don't think Elavon did anything that is outside the rules set forth in Visa/Mc's operating guidelines or your terms of service (no one ever reads their booklet, but you should). Further, funds being debited to cover anticipated risk of losses is justified when your business is operating in a manner or fashion other than what you initially agreed to. The debiting of these funds until it can be determined customers won't want that money back is allowed by the associations and banks as a way to protect the consumer and the banks from merchants who commit fraud, take the money and run, and leave no way for recovery.

Elavon and other processors don't willy-nilly bindly pick a business out of a hat and mess around with them. Something happened that changed the dynamics of your relationship with them which caused the initial risk calculation they did on your initial application to become higher than estimated. They appear to have followed the letter of the law in closing the account and holding funds to insure against losses. And a payment processor with as much respect as Elavon has as one of the largest processors who actually sit on the board of the associations and are owned by one of the most trusted banks in the world (no sub prime mortgages or toxic security assets) would not put themselves in jeapardy of a suit over an account that only does $60,000/year out of more than $150 billion they process over 30 different countries.
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