First American Payment Systems under the local Southern California name (they have many) of TransOne merchant Services has stolen thousands from our business and personal checking accounts, ruined our perfect credit, and has black-listed us from ever being able to accept credit cards as payment for our successful, thriving business.
After several very aggressive attempts to convince our company to switch from Costco merchant services (never gave us a moments trouble) to TransOne merchant services, I finally granted an appointment for a presentation of why we should switch. They sold themselves as our local, friendly bank who could give us much more personalized service, for less fees and a lower rate than costco. We finally agreed, and signed a 3-page application and agreement, with the understanding that we could cancel at anytime if we weren't satisfied with the service. The contract states a 2.35% rate for processing Visa, MC, Amex, Discover, with .05 cent and .10 per transaction, for mobile/phone order credit card transactions.
After approx. 1 year, a ran a transaction for approx. 41,000.00 for four pages of in-stock merchandise for immediate delivery. We had a very strict contractual agreement to complete the job by an important deadline/large event.
We were contacted the following day by the client who was appalled by phone calls they had received from the merchant services/credit card processor. They were asked several questions that would lead a consumer to be very concerned about the legitimacy of our business and our reputation. "How long have you done business with this firm," and "How much money in deposits have you given them," and "How much in balances do you owe them." The client had been pre-approved by their credit card company, and they were appalled that the processor would be bothering them for anything more than verification of cardholder, not questioning the validity of my firm.
From My car, I called them and demanded an answer for calling the client (approx. $1,000,000.00 contract)for anything other than verification. I insisted that we have an excellent reputation in the community, we are an award winning firm, and to question our integrity to an important client could cause extensive damage to our reputation.
On the same day I returned to my office to find my employees sending bank statements to FirstAmericanPaymentSystems, who claimed they needed the info to approve the transaction. They had previously requested copies of the signed contracts from the client. I thought this was just to verify the cardholder.
The next day, they called to announce that they could not approve the sale because it was over our "limit" of $10,000.00. I asked "what limit?" I had never been given a limit, or had been notified of one, and we had had several transactions that were over $10,000.00. They said read your contract. I did, and nowhere did it say $10,000.00 limit. I demanded a copy of what they were talking about, and they sent me a copy of my contract where they had written it in on theirs, but of course, it wasn't on mine.
Even though I knew it was fraud, we had already started delivering the merchandise, and I had to approach the client for another form of payment which just confirmed the doubts created in the clients minds by FirstAmericanPaymentSystems.
I asked if there was going to be any fees atached, because I know if you run a credit after 24 hours, you have to pay the fees anyway. They said absolutely you owe the fees, and you have to pay them. They said the fees were over $2200.00, and I said absolutely not. I will not pay you for several reasons. You pushed the transaction over the 24hour period by making us jump through useless hoops to create the fee, and you did not disclose the $10,000.00 limit. They had also altered the contract. They said Too Bad, read your contract. They kept quoting a contract that is seperate than what they provided us with, and was never given to us. I stated "why would I run a huge transaction and pay $2200.00 in rejection fees, if I knew I was not approved for anything over $10,000.00?
Then I asked why the fee was more than double what my contract states, and they said it is a much higher rate because it was denied. I started pulling the statements for the last year from them, and every charge was way higher than our contract states, and we were being robbed every month.
I asked for supervisors, and went up the ladder and was verbally abused and treated like a criminal all the way up. In fact the threats against us and our clients were just beginning. They said get up and run the credit/return through the machine or we are going to seize your clients money for six months.(they cannot steal the $2200.00 from my account unless I run the credit after 24hours.)
When I said I was taking everything I had to the district attorney to accuse them of fraud, they said they would reverse every charge I had processed for the past year,(approx $160,000.00) take it out of my account, and what they couldn't get, they would close me down and seize my business and assets. At that point, I knew who I was dealing with. A Fraud based racketeering outfit that is basically an illeagal money mill.
I took all of the corosponding paperwork to my bank, and Wells Fargo assured me that closing the account was the only way to keep them from stealing anymore money. I closed and re-opened a new account, which required many hours of bookkeeping with approx. 50 outstanding checks, including the State Board, and workmans comp.
Within a couple of days, they tried to extract the money from my account, because I had run the credit/return because of threats and extortion. They faxed my office to contact them for payment immediately. I left a voicemail for Mrs. Comer stating that I was disputing the charge, as well as all of the over charged fees, and I would be happy to let a judge decide who was legally correct, and that they did not allow me to dispute the charge throught their own organization, instead, we were threatened and abused. She called me a little snit, who would be getting what I deserved.
I then received a voicemail from Mrs. Comer stating that I am in no position to negotiate anything, that she had already ruined our credit, and blacklisted our firm from ever being able to process credit cards. She also stated in her numerous threatening voicemails, that I could not use her voicemails against their company because it is over state lines, and there was nothing I could do about it. She also said that I could't sue the local branch that signed me up, that I had to try to do it over state lines. How blatant can corruption be?
I talked to an attorney who said, just pay them, and sue them after. That will keep them from causing any more harm. But make them put it in writing that they will stop the harrassement, and reverse anything negative they have done.
I followed his advise, sent a check for over $3000.00, (the amount got bigger everytime they threatened us) and received a letter from them stating they would reverse all actions.
To my further horror, I received copies of collection where Mrs. Comer had pre-dated them by almost 2 months. This, I am assuming was to make me look like a deadbeat, when in reality this all happened within about 6 days.
Then I found out that they had stolen over $3,000.00 out of my personal checking account. I had not even been given a chance to reply in writing explaining my dispute of their fraudulent charge. Furthermore, I found our that they had stolen the over $3000.00 out of my personal checking account prior to faxing me the demand, and prior to me sending the check. In fact, they stole the money prior to ruining my credit.
Their threats are real. within just a few days, they had ruined our perfect credit, and within the first month our new credit card processor shut us down
stating we had been blacklisted from ever being able to accept credit cards from our customers. We are now a security risk, which has huge financial reprocussions. Even though I provided a copy of the letter from FirstAmericanPaymentsystems that stated we did not owe them anything, It did not help at all because they themselves were blacklisting our firm, and we just get hung-up on when we call with demands for promised repairations, The damage and liabilities are staggering. We had spent the last year filling our warehouse with merchandise for our new online store, the investments costing us a fortune and possibly causing the failure of our 20 year old business. Furthermore, the new company Wells Fargo Merchant Services, had also seized money for "security" purposes, shut us down, and would not cooperate with correcting the problem, or even telling who to contact. First American Payment Systems would not give any information, and through terroristic tactics, shut our business down even though we paid them twice for a fraudulent charge that they invented, and was not legally intitled to.
To compound the "Terror" we had taken a huge leap with the purchase of our home, and the only way we could qualify was to take very expensive financing with the understanding that we would re-finance in April when our previous home that had fallen out of escrow finally sold after a year of sitting empty. We now cannot re-finance because they have ruined our perfect credit, and in the meantime, home values have dropped in our area, and now we owe more than the home is worth, with our expanding mortgage climbing towards $10,000.00 per month with no end in sight. Now Interest rates are climbing, and we may loose our home. I had perfect credit and a thriving business, with a sound plan for our future. First American Payment Systems has stolen our future.
Contract tampering, Non-disclosure, threats, illeagal seizure of funds, lies, and slander are just a few of the crimes that have been committed against our company. First American Payment Systems is no more legitimate than the Mafia, demanding and stealing money for protection. But even if you pay them, double, in a timely manner, money that you don't owe, they still will not give you protection, but still ruin your business, and your life. Your persuit of happiness, the safety and comfort of your family, your livelyhood, and your persuit of the american dream is all at risk if you trust a bank, with apparently no system in place to protect honest, hardworking, people. To me, this is nothing short or Terror.
Mission Viejo,, California