• Report: #493913

Complaint Review: First Data Merchant Services

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  • Submitted: Sat, September 12, 2009
  • Updated: Wed, February 08, 2012

  • Reported By: James — Las Vegas Internet USA
First Data Merchant Services
www.firstdata.com Internet United States of America

First Data Merchant Services Citibank Merchant Services Citi Merchant Services First Data Merchant Services First Data are crooks and scam artists. They take your money and without notice freeze your account and hold it in their account for 6 months taking the interest whilst STILL allowing you to accept Internet

*Consumer Comment: Merchant Services Screwed me too

*UPDATE Employee: I Can Help

*General Comment: BUSINESS AS USUAL FOR FIRST DATA

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Same thing happened

*Consumer Comment: New Customer and this is already happening to me

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Doh, exactly the same thing happened to me.

* : Doh!

* : Engaged lawyers anybody else I suggest contacts the same people and lets get a class action together.

* : Lawsuit in process

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OK, I'm sure there are loads and loads of people out there who read these things and nothing comes of it. I feel SO passionately about this I am looking to start a class action against First Data (Citi Merchant Services) and if there is anybody else out there, please either look me up or if you're a lawyer - you can probably make a FORTUNE out of this!!




---




So the story (easier to read ;-) )




We're an internet e-commerce company and launched around February this year. [continued below]....

..... We've been processing cards perfectly (around $150,000 and 0% chargebacks and 0.1% refunds) so all in all you would classify us as low-mid risk on our trading history.




We scoured the internet and came across First Data who apparently are the merchant service provider for Citibank. Now we bank with Citibank Premier and have always found them exceptionally good - I mean really good and so that led us to naturally believe that First Data was a great company to partner with.




We called Michael Ross in the telesales team and he couldn't have been more helpful (a great credit to you Michael!). He helped us through the application, was very very polite and even sent us through the paperwork in record time.




We thought wow, this is good, totally unlike the other merchant providers we had come across.




So we rushed around filling in forms and sending everything over even to the point I thought we were going to have to fax a copy of the dog! But nevertheless, we did it.




The paperwork went to Michael and then onto the underwriters who asked us for a bit more information, which we gave them and they also asked for copies of bank statements and trading histories etc etc.




We waited another 24 hours and hey presto, we had a merchant account. We were so happy and integrated it with Authorize.net within minutes and off we went.




We were so so so so so happy, the account management team were excellent and the money was quick to arrive in our bank account.




$18,000 had arrived so far and it kept coming in.




Then............BAM..............it all stopped dead - no money coming in.




We phoned Authorize.net who said it was nothing they'd done and all the funds had gone to First Data as usual.




We phoned our bank who said nope nothing to do with us.




We thought ok maybe they're having technical problems.




We phoned First Data (Citi Merchant Services) and they said we'll call you back in 30 minutes, we'll just look into it for you. 




A lovely lady called and said "oh we're really sorry we've been having some technical problems and it should all be ok in 48 hours". MAKE A NOTE HERE THAT THEY CALLED US BACK! So they obviously had our telephone number. As a point they called on my cell and I missed it and within seconds they called the office number and I answered it. Naturally they had BOTH our telephone numbers on record as they managed to reach us perfectly.




So we thought ok, it will get resolved.




DID IT HECK! 




We checked our online statement the following morning and they had WITHDRAWN without telling us anything whatsoever ALL the money from our bank account that had gone in through them. EVERY last cent!




This caused salaries to bounce and everything. A complete and utter mess.




So we called First Data and we were told our account was being handled by somebody called KAREN WALFORD - now if anybody else has every had experience with this witch you will know that she's the most unbelievably unhelpful person you could meet!




So I left 2 voicemails on Karen's machine and also sent her 2 emails




NO response




So I tried again and kept trying until I got through.




"Karen speaking"


"Good afternoon Karen, I'm phoning from XXX and I've been told to speak to you about our Merchant Account number XXX"


"Hold"


music played for 8 minutes! Yes 8 minutes


"Yes we've closed your account and will be refunding all the money to the purchasers"


"WHAT", I said, "you haven't even contacted us


"Well I have tried every single number you put on your application form and none of them work"


"No Karen that's not correct because your colleagues phoned be yesterday"


"yes it is"


"Why have you closed our account without even telling us?"


"Because I couldn't reach you and I've made a decision that you're too high-risk for us"


"Why?"


"I'm sorry this is the end of the conversation, goodbye"




and then proceeded to hang up the phone - are you kidding me??????




And that was it.




Karen Walford LIED and to say again so google indexes it - KAREN WALFORD IS A LIAR




She then proceeded to write a letter saying this:




"I spoke to you and Michael Ross yesterday regarding the


decision our company made on the processing relationship. ...  My conversation concluded that a withdrawal confirmation needed to be faxed (402-315-5259) to me showing the withdrawal(s) cleared your bank successfully.  I have not received


that confirmation to date.  Please advise when I should expect to


receive the confirmation."




Well I can exceptionally clearly tell you that at no point during our conversation was that requested - ANOTHER LIE!




So we wrote the following email which was sent to the FULL executive board of First Data:




Michael De Capellas


Peter Boucher


Bob Derodes


Ed Labry


David Money


Grace Chen Trent


Phil Wall


David Yates


Cara Taylor


Glen Turpin


Nancy Etheredge


Elizabeth Grice




"Good evening,




We have had a business crippling thing happen to us today without any notice whatsoever from First Data, apart from the rudest woman on the planet, Karen Walford refusing to respond to voicemails and emails, after taking money from our bank account without any knowledge to ourselves!




I would be grateful if somebody could please provide me with details of somebody we can talk to at First Data or alternatively somebody call the US CEO as a matter of urgency.




What happened over the past 72 hours without any notice nor explanation is inexcusable and almost as bad as some of the things that have happened in Wall Street over the past 12 months.




I apologise in advance for emailing the entire Executive Board of First Data but this seemed the only option left available to us after the appalling service and communication we had today with Karen Walford and her refusal to provide us with any further contact details or help.




Hopefully somebody further up would help and provide us with some actual contact rather than phone 'grunting'.




Many thanks and we await your further communication."




Which we thought was a very nice email.




We had no response whatsoever. Nothing. Not even a call. We know they got the emails because we have delivery and read receipts of it.




So we sent another one 48 hours later:




"All,




Please see below further correspondence. Currently we have had no response from anybody except Karen who again was non-committal and abrasive.




We look forward to a response."




Again no response and this is 5 days later.




---




How on earth can any company do this.




This is THEFT. First Data Theft.




Do Citi Merchant Services know that First Data are thieves?




The whole executive board has turned into ostriches and buried their heads?




---




The thing that we find astonishing is that the numbers that Karen Walford read out to us that she had on record were ALL 1 digit different. Oh Karen what a surprise, let me guess you changed it to make it look like you hadn't been able to read us. Either that or your STUPID and can't read!!!




So we'll see where our legal case goes and we're not going to stop until we get justice.




If this means that we have to submit PRESS RELEASES all around the globe about it and speak to our very very good friends at Citibank, then so be it.




People need to know that you are crooks, thieves and liars.




---




PLEASE a lawyer pick up a class action against First Data. The money isn't a big deal it's the fact that we have been STOLEN from and LIED to.




It's disgusting.




Advice to anybody else out there - even if they offer to PAY YOU to open an account, don't touch them. First Data are theives



This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/12/2009 01:10 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/First-Data-Merchant-Services/internet/First-Data-Merchant-Services-Citibank-Merchant-Services-Citi-Merchant-Services-First-Da-493913. 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:
1Author 6Consumer 2Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Comment

Merchant Services Screwed me too

AUTHOR: hsmoke - ()

 They were proscessing credit cards for me and I found out they were over charging me.  I changed proscessors and attempted to cancel their services.  Took me 3 mo. to get my acct. cancelled and they charged me several hundred dollars in service fees, even tho I had not used their system and had notified them by phone, email, fax, and U.S. mail.    They kept refusing to cancel my service after repeated notification.

Thank God I finally got rid of them.

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#2 UPDATE Employee

I Can Help

AUTHOR: MysticSage22 - (United States of America)

If you give me some info I could find something for you.
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#3 General Comment

BUSINESS AS USUAL FOR FIRST DATA

AUTHOR: Old88 - (United States of America)

I am a decorated US Marine, I have been to Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. I just got back a few months ago since I am retiring from 15 years of military service in 2 months, so I bought a t-shirt company from a friend, and started doing business online. The previous owner had used First Data and had no issues with them. I signed up for an account, telling the sales rep that I needed an account for an anticipated 20 to 30k in monthly sales. 3 months later my account deposit stopped, and I was told that I needed to speak to the risk department. I called them and they said they needed documentation to show that I was actually doing business. We have hundreds of happy customers, so I provided them with the receipts and shipping information to show that we have completed the transactions. 2 days later after they have $3000 of my money I was told that they are closing my account, and it could take up to 6 months for the funds to be released to me or returned to my customer. This is convenient for them, since from what I am reading on the rippoffreport.com site and other consumer blogs, they are doing this to hundreds if not thousands of merchants? Can you imagine the interest they are making off of this? Taking thousands or tens of thousands of dollars from so many small businesses and leaving it sit there? Its a total scam!!

They used the excuse that my account was only approved for a few thousand dollars and that I was in violation of the contracted monthly sales limit.  When I asked for a copy of my contract, First Data said that they were going to provide a copy to me, but hasn't been able to produce it to date. I was specific in the amount of sales we would have, so I know this is a lie.

Now 1 week later they have my customer's money, and we have in some cases already shipped the items, in some cases we have not. So I have to ship items that I have not been paid for, or my customers will think I am ripping them off. Doing this will devastate my new company, and force me to lay off my 2 employees that have children, just weeks before Christmas. They said that it can take 6 months or longer to get the funds released. I tried to speak to someone up the ladder, and they refuse to transfer you to anyone else saying "we hear this all the time, there is nothing you can do but wait for the investigation and the funds to be released"

So now Im scrambling to find a new card processor, which isnt the easiest thing in the world to do and start over.  Meanwhile, Ive had to cease sales until I get a new processor in place while Im losing revenue every day.

I do have an attorney that is willing to file suit for me, and may be willing to file a class action if you are interested post or contact me here.
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#4 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Same thing happened

AUTHOR: Pamela Reaves - (United States of America)

Yes a class action law suite is great. I am out of business because of 1st Data and Group ISO. I was a small family run hoome based business doing great until these two business made over 20K of mine just disappear sighting fake chargebacks. Suddenly some account was establshed without my consent then monies were held and now no one will even achknowledge that account. I have emails! I am on board call me 800.590.7242
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#5 Consumer Comment

New Customer and this is already happening to me

AUTHOR: athenasbykeri - (United States of America)

I've been a customer for 2 weeks!!!  This is already happening to me and NO ONE ANSWERS THEIR MESSAGES!!  I'm a small merchant, home party business, and they are holding $200 in sales.  Nothing compared to what everyone here is reporting but it's still my income.  I received a call yesterday at 4:30pm and I have been calling them back since then leaving 4 voicemail messages now. 
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#6 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Doh, exactly the same thing happened to me.

AUTHOR: First Data Victim - (USA)

Exactly the same thing has happened to me.

We opened a new account and began running charges for our new venture.  the 5th charge we did never came through.  We tracked it down to First Data who said they were closing our account.  They said my personal credit score dropped over 50 points since I opened the account (three weeks ago).  I later found out that my score is exactly the same as it was when opened, on all 3 bureaus. 

While discussing how we had already rendered the $26,000.00 service to my client, Brendan O'brien of First Data told me to fax him signed contracts from my client that they had received teh service etc...  I even faxed him my credit score print out from all three bureaus showing it wasn't the score he was claiming. 

The next morning I checked my banking and they had debited $9,500.00 from my account, draining that account to only a few hundred dollars.  I justy found out today that they are closing my almost two year old account that has had zero charge backs and a history of large charges.  The reason he gave...  if we close one, we close them all with that social security number.  They then debited $5,000.00 from that account.

I called Wells Fargo and they said there was nothing they could do.

I could go on and on about this, but somebody does have to do something about this.  I'm in for a class action lawsuit if anyone starts one.
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#7

Doh!

AUTHOR: CarlosInNC - (USA)

Sorry that you went through this ordeal. As a former business owner, I have used different card processors and have seen different ways to add surcharges here and there. I switched from Suntrust(NOVA) to Bank of America, then to Heartland Payment Systems.

HPS was the only company that showed me how to break down my statements, sat down with my accountant and explained to him how to calculate my effective rate and show the additional fees that I was incurring.

After 5 years, I closed my business but will use Heartland again on my next business ventures.

I looked them up on here, and only saw 1 complaint which seemed to be taken care of.

I hope that you have been able to recover your business and retain your employees. By the way, congrats on your business! Not to many people take the steps to make a better living.
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#8

Engaged lawyers anybody else I suggest contacts the same people and lets get a class action together.

AUTHOR: anonymous - (United Kingdom)

Thank you for that!

Did you know they've just appointed a new financial director? Maybe he might be "available" before being First Data brainwashed!

http://ir.firstdatacorp.com/news/ReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=407407

Interesting!
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#9

Lawsuit in process

AUTHOR: anonymous - (Virgin Islands (US))

Have you visited the website NewLawsNow.com. He too has a horror story about his business dealings with First Data and found an attorney willing to take the case. He has contact info at his site. Best of Luck!
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