I received a cold call from Kelly Oke, who identified herself as CEO of Merchant Services Inc, in Beaverton Oregon. Just her luck, my equipment lease and processing contracts had expired and I was shopping for a new processing company...So I took the meeting. Big Mistake!
When Kelly arrived she presented herself well and really sold that fact that she has been in this business for many years and is well respected in the industry. We discussed my concerns with my current processing company and how MSI could save me money on my processing. I showed her a billing statement, which she briefly looked at and told me she could save me $70.00 a month minimum on my processing. I thought that was a little strange considering most reps have to do a few calculations before they start spitting out numbers, but since she was the CEO I continued to listen.
I told her I wanted a complete breakdown of all processing, item, statement, batch and junk fees. Not just the teaser rate. Which kind of set her back, but she quickly recovered and said she give me special pricing because it is more important for her to establish long term clients than getting short term residuals.
She then brought up equipment leasing at 59.95 per month for 48 months. I asked her why would I want to lease a machine for $2800.00+ when I can buy one over the internet for $350.00. She quickly agreed but insisted that she can get one for cost and would I buy it directly through her. One again she stated that it was more important to establish a long term client than make money on the equipment.
Once Kelly came back her pricing in writing, I signed the agreement and issued her a check for $400.00 for a verifone terminal. Then the s**t hit the fan. I got a call from Kelly stating that she could get better pricing through North American Bancard instead of MSI, she asked if she could fax me another agreement and have me sign it as well. I told her to send it over and if everything looks right I will sign it. I then asked her about my equipment. She stated she had it in her trunk and would be over that week to drop it off.
The next day I get a call from Tanya Oke, apparently she is Kelly Oke's 22 year old neice and office manager. She wants my social security number to personally guarantee the contract. I told her no way, and asked her for an explanation. All that she could answer is that it is required by visa/mastercard to set up a new account. I still refused. She called back later and said she found a way around it. Only later did I find out that she somehow obtained my social security number, without my consent, and included it on the contract.
The very next day after my check cleared I get a call from Kelly Oke, claiming that Tanya has instigated a coup de tat at MSI and that she is no longer with the company. She went on and on about how unethical and shady this girl is and that I should'nt be doing any business with MSI. To her credit she did tell me that I had 45 days to cancel and asked if she could have one more chance to keep my business by finding me another processor. I gave her a week to do so.
One week later, no call from Kelly, but I get a call from Tanya, now claiming to be the CEO, asking whats going on with my account. I told her I am still waiting for the equipment I purchased from Kelly. She confirmed that Kelly was no longer with the company and that she had'nt received any money for a terminal and thus MSI was not responsible for it. She gave me the option of leasing, purchasing another one, or getting a conditional free terminal from North American with and $895.00 penalty attached if I don't complete the terms of the contract. I told her none of those options were acceptable, and that she as the CEO of the company is responsible for the actions of her employees so get to the bottom of it and get back to me with a resolution. She agreed and said she was "new to the running a business thing" and that she would eat the $400 and make it right. Thats the last I have heard from her.
About a month goes by with me trying to call either one of the Oke's with no success. I then get a statement from North American Bancard that has debited my account for services that they did not provide and with junk fees that were not negotiated or listed on the pricing quote. Now I've had enough, luckily I was able to cancel my account with 2 days to spare and I've pressed charges against both of these women and MSI for theft and fraud. Got a call today from a detective who tracked the business address of MSI to the exact same abandoned offices of MPI, which was shut down by the FTC for fraud.
I have since purchased another terminal and signed with NPC, their rep Lisa Makinson was excellent and professional and everything that she negotiated has been honored to the letter.
This story is far from over, I own three businesses and am very busy but I am going to make Kelly and Tanya Oke my special project. I will be contacting the Oregon attorney general, FTC, as well as pursuing criminal and civil litigation.
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Merchant Services CLICK HERE to read about Credit Card Scams... find out how to get your money back. Consumer makes harsh but accurate statements. *Rip-off Report Investigation follow-up provides valuable information.