After some research in trying to find a gun friendly credit card processor I called Payment Alliance (GoPAI). I called December 21st and spoke with Leonard Watson. We went over fees, set up costs and so on; he emailed me a quote so I could discuss it with my husband. The set up fees were pretty high and the monthly fees were ok but the per transaction cost was less than 1% and much lower than the merchant account we currently had set up, but it was decided to give them a whirl. I tried calling Leonard back later the same day but he had gone for the holiday.
On December 26th I called Leonard so we could get the ball rolling on getting an account set up, we spoke and he assured me we'd have a merchant account up and running with them within 24-48 hours. He sent me an email asking for company name, FFL license, federal tax id, bank info, etc...I promptly sent that stuff over. He reviewed it and called me back saying he'll need to contact our bank to verify our account and once he does that he'll get a formal application sent over the same day. Within a few hours I received the formal application but had a few concerns in regards to what our per ticket amount was set to.
I explained that a $500 average ticket amount is low for our business and that it won't be uncommon to run amounts between $5000-$10000 regularly on credit cards. He assured me over and over again that there would be no problem, he'd put notes on the account specifying the amounts we will be running and we MAY have to call customer service to get approval on the transactions.
I followed this up asking in several different ways if GoPAI was going to hold our money should we run these high amounts, he further assured me that as with all of our other transactions our money will not be held and it will be deposited into our bank account within 24-48 hours. He again assured me everything was going to be fine, he said a few times that he wanted to set the amounts low so we'd get approved and not set off any red flags. This all sounded too good to be true, however I was taking him at his word and we proceeded with the application.
December 27th came and went. December 28th I get a call from Leonard asking if I've had a chance to contact our bank to get a letter from them verifying our account. I explained that he was suppose to do that, he promptly apologized and then asked me to take a screen shot of our online banking so they verify our account at the bank. I sent this over. Later in the day I call back asking if our account had been approved yet, he said he'll check on it and give me a call back later that day. 4:30 rolls around and I haven't heard back from him so I call him, at this time he discovers that underwriting was unable to run a credit check. He doesn't know why but he verifies the information and even though all the information on the application is correct (applicants name, SSN, FEIN, etc..) Leonard decides to resubmit it. He said we should be set up by Monday at the latest.
Monday (January 31st) comes I call Leonard first thing in the morning asking for an update, he says at this time I need to give them time because he just got all of our information over to underwriting on Friday (December 28th), its year end and they are really busy. At this point I ask to talk to a supervisor. He refuses to let me talk to his supervisor and emphasizes over and over again that he's working for us, he's here to help us, etc.. I listen to his BS and then hang up. I immediately call back and talk to the operator explaining my situation and demand to talk to a supervisor. The sales supervisor was out of the office taking personal time so I was transferred to Rebecca Johnson, Client Services Group Manager.
She listened to everything I had to say and she said she would personally go over to underwriting to see where the application stands. Within an hour she called me back saying they were unable to pull the Articles of Incorporation for the business and asked if I could supply them. I explained they should be able to get all this information from the Secretary of State in South Dakota but agreed to get a copy of the articles of inc. sent over. Within 10 minutes she called back saying they were successfully able to verify the articles of inc and also that underwriting was unable to pull credit before because their systems were down, not because something was wrong on the application. Within 90 minutes max, she calls me back saying underwriting is approving the application as we speak and I should have log in information later that day.
Fantastic, it's been a pain in the a*s at this point, but it finally sounds like we are out of the woods and ready to continue business as usual but with a new credit card processing company.
Wednesday January 2nd we're finally able to run our first credit card through our new merchant account. The first order is WAY above our per ticket amount, but we didn't hesitate because we were assured that everything would be fine. Thursday GoPAI's risk group calls my husband on Primal Rights phone saying their holding the funds and we have to supply a bunch of stuff. I was told later my husband let loose a few "harsh" words, but given the circumstances they were completely warranted. My husband calls me and has me run with the ball again to get this situation resolved.
I call Leonard explaining the situation to him; he immediately says we were supposed to call to get the transaction approved first. I called him a liar and explained to him that he said we MAY have to call customer service. I asked for his supervisor, he started telling me he's here to help us, etc...I kept repeating I want your supervisor until he transferred me to his "supervisor". I talk to Chelsea and she puts me on hold to check on a few things, then comes back saying someone from risk is talking to my husband right now. We hang up.
My husband calls me shortly after asking what's going on. I told him what I was told and turns out he wasn't talking to someone. At this point I call Rebecca, she proceeds to tell me Chelsea isn't a supervisor but she's a team lead and apologizes for everything. No surprise that Leonard lied again. Anyway, Rebecca runs over to risk to see what she can do. She calls me back a short while later explaining Rick Anthony (VP of risk) is going to call me but I have to have my husband write and sign a letter saying I'm an authorized contact because at this point he can't legally talk to me. WTF? I was supposed to be added as an authorized contact from the beginning, another f*ck up by Leonard.
We write up the letter and get it back to them. Within a few minutes I get a call from Rick, he explains that had Rebecca not came and talked to him he was going to shut down our account because of the profanity used. He said he won't tolerate that kind of language, etc...I talked with him at length assuring him that won't happen again, explained what I had talked with Leonard about. Rick explained that there were no notes on the account indicating we'd be running such high transactions and also because the first large transaction was keyed in and not swiped that is another red flag.
We spent a good chunk of time going over how they rate transaction risks, etc. Throughout this conversation and past ones with Rebecca I explained over and over again how this is costing us money and time because of the screw up etc. By the time we were done it was very obvious how badly Leonard had screwed us. Rick agreed to release our money and that he'd have it put back in our accounts Friday hopefully, Monday at the latest. He said if he had to wire the money to get it to our account on time he'd do that.
Fantastic, so the supervisor and VP have made us feel peachy and ok at this point. Later that day I talk in depth with Rebecca and we agree to modify our application to more closely fit what our needs are. We agreed on a $5000/ticket average and changed a few other things that would make it so we wouldn't be posing such a high risk with each transaction. We also agreed that we shouldn't do any more transactions until this has been approved. She said she'd immediately get it back to underwriting and call me once she heard something. I also asked if they would compensate us for our troubles this far but reversing some of the fees we've paid or discount our monthly service feeds for awhile, she said she'd talk to the sales supervisor and get back to me.
I called on Monday (January 7th) to see if she had gotten the information, but I didn't get a call back. So on Tuesday (January 8th) I called her first thing in the morning, left another message AND sent an email asking for an update. She replied via email at 9am: "I was just getting ready to call you. Yes I did receive them and I will be getting the device ordered today and I have to give the applications back to underwriting. As soon as I get the word from underwriting I will email you."
I called later that day several times looking for status, voicemail each time.
Wednesday January 9th I call and her voicemail says she's in a meeting all day and is expected back at 5:30pm. Great so she's out all day. I hang up and call Rick Anthony's number, I get voicemail. I call the operator and ask to talk to a supervisor, I get transferred to support. I ask them to talk to a supervisor and explained the situation to them; I get transferred back to the operator. I call sales and ask for a supervisor, I get transferred to risk that then transfers me back to the operator. At this point I ask the operator is Rick Anthony available or is in a meeting all day like Rebecca Johnson is. I'm put on hold and a few moments later the operator comes on saying Rick Anthony is walking to his desk to take this call.
I talk to Rick Anthony and he's not being very friendly at all at this point. His attitude leads me to believe I'm being more of an annoyance at this point then anything. I explain to him what Rebecca and I did and asked if he could check if underwriting had approved this yet. He proceeded to tell me that that's not what we're doing, we can process credit cards as usual but he can't guarantee they won't hold our funds if it's a significant amount over what our per ticket amount is set up as, etc...basically repeating all the risk analysis mumble jumble. I interrupted and said Rick I understand what you're saying, apparently you weren't filled in that Rebecca and I came to an agreement that it would be best to set the amount to X, the documents have been signed and sent over to underwriting. I'm simply asking for an update. He went back into his risk speech, I interrupted saying thank you for your time goodbye.
I called my husband explaining the situation and was told to cancel our account. I called Rick and explained that this is not going to work out for us and to please cancel our account. He simply said ok and did not try to retain us. I further asked about getting a full refund for all the money we've spent thus far and returning all equipment we've received. He said he'll have to talk to Rebecca and get back to us. My husband received a call later from someone verifying we wanted to cancel our account and end of business day I had not heard back in regards to the refund.
* I will note that we switched BOTH of My husband's businesses over to GoPAI and they made absolutely no attempts to save us from cancelling.
This company claims they are gun friendly, they are here to work for you, etc.. But they are really only out to take your money and make things difficult. They wasted 2 weeks of our time and left us with no choice but to cancel and start over.
January 10th - tried calling Rebecca Johnson again but it goes to voicemail. I hung up and called the general number, spoke to the operator and asked to be transferred to retention. I spoke with Verna, she said Rebecca is out of the office at a conference again today. She did verify that both accounts were indeed closed but couldn't help me in getting the set up fees and equipment fees refunded. She placed me on hold to see if she could find someone who could help me since Rebecca is out of the office. Verna put me on hold, she said she spoke to Rich (maybe Rick), I asked her to spell it out but I couldn't understand what she was saying, but he's in Rebecca's department and he said that there isn't anything further they can do for us. Once an account is closed there is nothing further to be done.