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
Carson City, Nevada