• Report: #451870

Complaint Review: Elavon Merchant Services - NOVA Information Systems

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  • Submitted: Thu, May 14, 2009
  • Updated: Tue, August 30, 2011

  • Reported By:Carson City Nevada
Elavon Merchant Services - NOVA Information Systems
7300 Chapman Highway Knoxville, Tennessee U.S.A.

Elavon Elavon Merchant Services - NOVA Information Systems WARNING To All Merchants - Will take money without cause from your bank account!! DO NOT TRUST ELAVON to look out for your interests! Knoxville Tennessee

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Elavon isn't as bad as you are claiming

*Consumer Comment: Received similar treatment

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: same thing happened to us

*Consumer Comment: You do not have receipts of the transactions?

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When I first signed up for Elavon Merchant Services provided through Costco Wholesale, I was happy because I thought I was signing up with a trusted provider of merchant processing services who would be a partner in helping my small businesses grow. BOY WAS I WRONG.
Elavon could care less whether your business grows or does well, except as far as they would like to collect as much money in fees from you as possible. My situation is similar to others on here...this is basically what happened:

1. Company Signed up for Elavon Merchant services to process credit cards.
2. Everything was fine for a few months, no problems.
3. Suddenly Elavon sends letter saying they are questioning the volume of sales (which was only about $15,000 a month at that point). Little did I know that when I called and did the application over the phone the rep put $1,800 instead of $18,000...as our average monthly sales, so I guess they thought we were risky when they saw our sales volume.
4. Suddenly Elavon terminates our account and takes 5 charges of $10,000 from our bank account on one day without ANY NOTICE - they just yanked the funds from the account, almost causing our small business to miss PAYROLL for our employees.
5. We call Elavon to ask what is going on?
6. They explain we are considered risky due to the volume of transactions.
7. They advise we can get our money back eventually, but they are holding it. We accept their explaination and wait 90 days.
8. After 90 days we call and ask when we will be getting our money back... we have NEVER had any chargebacks on our account or any negative problems what so ever with our services.
9. Elavon states that they must contact our customers to verify they recieved services. We say...sure go ahead, we performed all the services and as far as we know all our customers are happy.
10. We wait another 60-90 days.
11. We call Elavon again requesting money. Brian Crabtree at Elavon states that he needs all the contact information for all of our customers, including credit card information, names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, etc. so he can contact our customers and verify that they got services before he releases the money...mind you they have been holding our money $50,000 for at least 6 months by this point.
12. We dig through our info and come to find out in order to comply with the law we DO NOT store credit card information or private information on file, so we are unable to determine which customers they actually took back the money from.... Because they yanked the money from our bank account WITHOUT telling us which customers it impacted. Just took $50,000 arbitrarily.
13. We demand payment WITH interest on our $50,000 when the money is refunded to us (as it most assuredly will be, because it is OUR MONEY, we performed the services, we paid out our payroll and staff to perform the services, but we have not really been paid, because Elavon is holding the money without having Earned it. Do you think they gave that money back to the card holders? NO WAY. THEY ARE KEEPING it and earning interest on it and using it for "general corporate uses". Talk about a company taking advantage of the credit crisis to use funds from small businesses to finance themselves during tight credit conditions, Elavon takes the cake! Brian Crabtree further tells us that there is no timeframe he can give us as to when he can return the money. He says they can hold the money "indefinitely" according to their terms of service agreement. However, I believe that there should be some kind of CAUSE for them to do this... of course most people when they sign agreements want to believe that large corporations will not take advantage of the little guy, but with Elavon, you can be sure they will stick it to you when they can.

This is the guy that is currently holding our money, along with his title. I would hope that an attorney general will look in to this. Taking advantage of small businesses in this way should be illegal.

Brian M. Crabtree

Manager - Loss Prevention Association Compliance and New Account Verification

Elavon (formerly NOVA Information Systems)

7300 Chapman Highway

Knoxville, Tennessee 37920

ph 1.865.403.8161

fax 1.865.403.5161

e-mail brian.crabtree@elavon.com

Zyoninc
Carson City, Nevada
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/14/2009 12:40 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Elavon-Merchant-Services-NOVA-Information-Systems/Knoxville-Tennessee-37920/Elavon-Elavon-Merchant-Services-NOVA-Information-Systems-WARNING-To-All-Merchants-Will-451870. 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 3Consumer 1Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Elavon isn't as bad as you are claiming

AUTHOR: CCochran - (United States of America)

I am an Ex-employee at Elavon Inc. I have to say, I did not particularly enjoy working there. The work environment was hostile and unfriendly. The pay wasn't that great. That being said, the business itself IS NOT as bad as you are claiming it to be.

Yes, Elavon is a business and wants to make a profit, but the money that they put on hold does not stay in their coffers. It is placed on hold in a separate account specifically made for that business transaction in case the transactions are found to be fraudulent. If a customer had disputed the transaction, their credit card would have to be credited.

I agree with the first comment made here. If you are not keeping adequate records of transactions then you are at fault for the hold not being resolved. In case you aren't aware, the federal government has placed many restrictions on credit card transactions in an attempt to prevent terrorist funding and money laundering. Elavon isn't holding your money as a personal attack. They are holding it because your transactions looked suspicious and you weren't able to provide the documentation needed to prove your innocence. Elavon stands to lose millions if they give you all the money back and the transactions turn out to be fraud.

As for the other comment about the wireless terminal and having no other way to complete transactions, this is also false. I worked in the voice authorization department for three years at Elavon. You can call in with your merchant ID, the card number, expiration date, and amount and get an approval code. This will hold the money you need from the customer for up to 30 days. It insures that the funds are available so you can sell the merchandise. You can then go to a regular wired terminal (available for purchase or rent through Elavon. You can even trade in your wireless) and put the codes through as force transactions in order to get payment on the held funds. If you turned off your terminal, this does not excuse you from paying merchant fee minimums agreed upon in your contract. I have a tanning membership that I pay $20 a month for and haven't been in almost 7 months... I don't get out of paying the $20 a month on the contract just because I don't use the service. It is available for use. That is what you are paying for.

In conclusion, yes, I understand that having your funds held is a frustrating process. I dealt with this same situation time and time again. But if you do what you are supposed to do on your end, things usually get resolved rather quickly. Bottom line, if you have nothing to hide, KEEP BETTER RECORDS! The commenter was correct, you should keep the receipts for at least a year. All Elavon needs is the name and last 4 of the credit card and the contact info. No need for you to have the full card numbers on file there at your business.

I would give up on thinking you will collect interest on the money being held. You signed a contract with all the details about your business, including your average transactions and what will happen in the case of potential fraud. If you signed without reading, that is your own mistake.

Again, I worked there for over three years. I know how they operate. It may not be the best place to work, but it is a reputable company. Every single thing you have experienced could have been avoided if you had read your contract before signing. Your bad. Suck it up, keep better records, and stop blaming other people for your mistakes.
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#2 Consumer Comment

Received similar treatment

AUTHOR: Cowboy - (United States of America)

I too am not happy with Merchant Services.  I contracted with their services so I could go to shows and take credit cards instead of checks.  I looked at it like an insurance policy.  Most of my business is cash or check locally, rarely is a credit card used.  But on the road a couple hundred miles from home I refused to take checks as collection on a bad check would be difficult.

I set up an account with Merchant Services, which cost $49 a month even it I don't use it.  The fee is taken directly out of my bank account.  The only way they will set up and account.  I used their service twice the first season, worked great.

In the second season I had difficulty using their service at two shows.  My wireless terminal showed it was working but not connecting.  I contacted Merchant Services about the problem.  I learned Merchant Services had turned off my terminal without notifying me and continued to charge me a monthly fee.  I was told the program automatically turns off terminals which aren't used for an extended period of time to protect the merchant.  I don't know how that would protect a merchant, if the machine isn't being used the Merchant isn't being ripped off.

I contested the fees for the eight months my terminal had been turned off.  Merchant Services denied to refund the service fees claiming I wasn't denied accepting credit cards through their services, I just couldn't do it with the wireless remote they shut off without telling me.  I had no other means to accept credit cards.   I had to send in the old terminal and they supplied me with a new one which was activated. 

I have been exploring other options for the low volume business I have and have found a way to accept credit cards without monthly fees.  I called Merchant Services to cancel their services and was told I couldn't cancel the service, only the bank could cancel the service.  I found it frustrating to be prevented from canceling a service for which I pay the bill for.  Needless to say I went straight to the bank and had them cancel the service.

If you are a large volume business Merchant Services may be a good deal but for small business I don't recommend them.  They are all about charging fees.  I describe them as cold, non-communicative and greedy. 
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#3 REBUTTAL Owner of company

same thing happened to us

AUTHOR: MICE - (Canada)

We had the exact same experience as you had with Elavon and Mr. Crabtree. What happen to your situation now?

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#4 Consumer Comment

You do not have receipts of the transactions?

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

Again, I have been through this in YOUR shoes. Why don't you have any of the receipts from the transactions in question? You are supposed to keep the signed merchant copies for at least a year. It does not matter if you have the full card number because Elavon has that info. They just want your customers name and the last 4 digits of the card and contact information. If you are not keeping proper records this is a HUGE red flag. Also since you stated that it was a typo in the amount entered on the application why did you sign it? Since you processed fine for a few months before this happened why did your volume skyrocket all of a sudden? This is information that you as a merchant should have and disclose to Elavon in order to protect your interests. Elavon is doing nothing wrong as they are protecting themselves as they are on the hook to your customers when they dispute the transactions. I find it hard to believe that you do not have the information that Elavon is asking for. If you truly do not have this information you really should evaluate your record keeping policies.
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