On behalf of AUto Engine Rebuilding Pros, I had opened a business checking account in March 2011 with US Bank in Pomona, California. At the same time, I signed up for a merchant account, so that I could accept credit cards, debit cards, personal checks, etc., from my customers. A few days after the account was opened, I received a package at my business location. The package included the equipment required for the merchant service.
Then, a few days later, a US Bank representative came to my business location to set up the equipment. We started using the equipment. After using it for less than two months, I learned that the merchant service provider, called Elavon, had set aside $25000 from my account on May 27, 2011 as a security reserve to take care of chargeback issues, if any. This came as a terrible surprise to me.
The other surprise was that now I was dealing with another company called Elavon. I thought I was dealing with US Bank only. As a new small business owner, I could not afford such a large amount to be taken out of my account. When I inquired Elavon, I was told that this action was taken because of poor reputation of the previous business that existed at the same location. What did I have to do with a poor reputation of a business that I had no part of? When I asked Elavon to provide me with a rationale in writing, it was refused.
I asked the same question again to the Elavon management, they refused to give me anything in writing. Out of frustration, I told Elavon to cancel my merchant account, which they agreed to. On June 16, 2011, the merchant service account was closed. Elavon sent me a letter confirming the account closure. The closing of the service has cost my business tremendously, since I lost a lot of potential customers who wanted to pay by only credit cards.
This action by Elavon was taken prior to informing me via a letter dated June 8, 2011 which I received about two weeks after Elavon had set aside $25000 as reserve. This resulted in several of my business checks to bounce due to insufficient funds. One of my valued employees even quit my business as his payroll check bounced due to insufficient funds. Several of my suppliers wanted the money up front before supplying any parts.
The story does not end here. Although the complaints so far applies to Elavon, I discovered yet a third party now called LADCO Leasing. Even after the closure of the merchant processing account, I continue to see a charge of $75.17 each month. In fact, lately, that figure has ranged between $75 and $110, which I have no information of. This charge is from LADCO Leasing. When I contacted LADCO, they said that I had signed a 48 month lease with them. I told them that the service is stopped, therefore they should not be billing me. I asked them to take back the equipment. They refused. I always thought that LADCO was part of US Bank and so was Elavon.
When I cancelled the account with Elavon, it was my understanding that my contract was also cancelled with LADCO and that I would not see any charges from them any more. Well, as of this day, LADCO continues to charge my account each month when I am not using their equipment since June 2011. I have approached US Bank numerous times, but to no avail.
This is all a scam. Elavon and LADCO both are doing such corrupt business under the umbrella of a bigger banks and it is not made clear to the customers at the time of service initiation. They have already ripped me off close to $1900, and want me to pay for the rest of the lease when I am not using their equipment and service. Absolute nonsense.