Report: #651173

Complaint Review: Alpine Payment Systems

  • Submitted: Fri, October 15, 2010
  • Updated: Mon, September 26, 2011
  • Reported By: Todd — Vancouver Washington U.S.A.
  • Alpine Payment Systems

    Vancouver, Washington
    United States of America

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

I worked briefly for this company.  They leased a Nurit 2085, which costs only $125 to buy, for $99 per month for 48 months... $4,800 for a $125 piece of equipment.  In fact, the leasing company would not do this much of a ripoff.  So what did Alpine do?  They told the merchant they were getting a "free" second Nurit 2085.  This satisfied the leasing company  Really?

Then they told us to lie and tell the merchant their old equipment would not work with our systems so they had to buy new.  But hey, we were saving them so much money the extra equipment lease would be covered by the savings.

Most companies have 3 tiers of rates.  So does Alpine.  However Alpine calculates them differently.  They use a complicated system of calculating your rates.  They offer a really low Qualified rate.  However, most cards do not come through as Qualified.  It is too hard to explain here but understand... it is a REAL high rate if it does not come through as Qualified.

Their philosophy is "if the merchant thinks they are getting a good rate that's all that matters" and "if we tell people often enough we are honest... then we are (even though that is a lie).

Now they are running ads saying they are "one of the top 25 in the world".  Top 25 what?  Liars, deceiters, thieves?  Alpine is NOT one of the top 25 processing companies in the world.  I would not believe a single word they say.

The owner was a liar and deceiver when he managed a car dealership (he made TONS of money doing so).  Now he used the skills he used there to spread these tactics throughout the country.

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#1 Author of original report

I have no idea how ethical your business practices are NOW but...

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

I have no idea how your business practices are NOW but I can attest to what they were a couple years ago.  I have always believed if you build a house on poor character, deceit and more as a foundation then no matter how the structure is put together it still has as its base a very bad footing.

I will not debate the points you stated one by one.  I can tell you I sat in the room at a team meeting where Robert Ensminger told all the reps there that the leasing company "won't let us lease one Nurit 2085 for $99 per month so we have to give the merchant a second machine and tell them we do that as a backup in case their first one has problems."  OK, not an exact quote but something like that.

Perhaps the company is more ethical now but back then it was not.  Of course, many processors have the same problem, forced (or nearlly forced) leasing of equipment to the merchants.  Leasing of equipment is the only way to pay the sales rep, the entire companty, big money up front.

Dine Fraud Free sounds great.  It is simply Pay at the Table technology, out there everywhere now.  If Alpine's focus now is to not just lease new equipment but to change the processing methods to a more efficient and safer way for the customer to pay then great.

Quote your rates all you want.  Hopefully you are honest now but how am I to ever know?  Alpine had a very low, below Interchange rate back then as their qualified rate.  However, almost nobody qulaified for that rate as most cards are either mid or non-qualified.  When people used a mid or non qualified transaction the rate was NOT the quoted mid or non rate.  You would subtract the qualified rate from the non-qual rate, typically about 2% and THEN ADD THAT 2% to the non-qual rate.  THAT IS UNETHICAL!  That is why your rates mean nothing. 

No matter what rates or terms you quote people deceit lies at the core of your practices, OR THE DID when I was there, for a very short time.  Since then I have built a career in this industry with very ethical companies.

Oh yes, regarding your PCI compliance program, all good companies, and 99% of the bad ones, have a compliance program or Visa/MC will fine them.

Good luck to you...

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#2 UPDATE Employee

To The Author

AUTHOR: Kyle - (United States of America)

I would like to state that these allegations seem to derive from some hostility towards Alpine. I apologize to you for anything that you feel Alpine did wrong to you during your employment. As the National Sales Manager of the company I would like to share with the readers our side of what has been stated.

We do lease equipment to merchants for $99.99 per month. We consider ourselves a customized company and understand that there are no two businesses that are the same. With that being said, some companies pay $99.99 for the plan they are set up on, some pay substantially more with additional equipment. You are also correct; the term of the lease is a 48 month agreement.

What you have neglected to share is that we also include our compliance assistance program for all equipment supplied by Alpine Payment Systems. This program states that the equipment will be compliant with current PCI/VEPP security standards. Alpine also provides continued compliance assistance with every equipment lease through our company as well as a basic and extended warranty for all terminals.

Merchants are not simply paying for a piece of equipment. Rather, they are paying for a service that not a lot of other companies offer in this industry. I cannot comment on the allegation that Alpine would give a "free" terminal to any merchant. Every customer is different and there may have been an exception made to meet that specific customers needs from us.

At no point is our sales staff asked to lie to customers. We have specific equipment that we use with our programs such as Dine Fraud Free. With this program we use Bluetooth wireless equipment to enable our merchants to obtain a Pin debit transaction at the table offering 0% + $.49 cents per transaction. Merchants using a standard POS are unable to take PIN debit transactions. In this case we do tell our customers that they will need our equipment for these type of transactions. An example of why merchants would do this: Most restaurants pay 2% effective, for a $50.00 ticket they pay $1.00. With our program and our equipment they are able to save $.51 cents per transaction.

As stated before, we consider our company a customized rate plan company. We like to look at every company and find the best program for them. In some cases we find merchants save the most using our 1.00% + .19 cents qualified, 0% + $.49 cents PIN debit, and 2.99% non qualified fee. And in other cases we find it best fit to set merchants on an interchange program due to the quantity of non qualified business that they do. To the author, you are correct, a 2.99% non qualified fee is high, especially if 60-80% of the business in non-qualified. And it would be ludicrous of our sales staff to set merchants up on this program if that were the case. Our entire management team trains our staff on how to choose the appropriate program for each merchant to save them the most amount of money. Depending on your position with the company, you may not have been involved with that part of the process.

You state that we advertise that we are "one of the top 25 in the world." I would ask that you show where we state that. We are on the presidents club with First Data who is one of the top processing companies in the world. For 2010 we were ranked the 7th fastest growing company by The Portland Business Journal. Those are true facts. We are not one of the top 25 processing companies in the world.

For future readers of this, I would hope you understand that the statements made by this author are not the true practices of our company. We did not get to where we are as a company conducting business as stated here. We handle every account earned with the highest integrity and honesty. Every customer has a choice to join our business; I would recommend looking at all the facts before deciding to go one way or the other.

One thing to look at, its always easier for people to state when they have a problem then to find the time to state everything is fine. If you are having an issue with our company, or if you have any additional questions about our company, our practices, or our programs, please contact me on my direct line (877)217-0707.

Thank you

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