• Report: #316901
Complaint Review:


  • Submitted: Tue, March 11, 2008
  • Updated: Fri, June 17, 2011

  • Reported By:Kent Washington
http://www.leadersmerchantaccounts.com/ Walnut Creek, California U.S.A.


*Consumer Comment: Digital Financial Group

*Consumer Suggestion: helper

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: What is the Wells Fargo Connection...



*UPDATE Employee: LEADERS would like to help this merchant but we need more information

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First of all, I would like to say that the company is very crafty. I almost respect them for their craftiness. When asked when I applied about all the complaints online that I read, including on Rip Off Report they told me they were from competing credit card companies, as well as people that did not read thorugh the contract as well as I did. This probably can partially be true, as I did read every word and I recommend everyone doing so.

Then when I asked about someone walking through my bill, as it was my first, they pointed out to me that 12 of my 14 transactions in my first month were for the Non-Qualified Rate. I asked why would this be, they said their canned response of these would be for business cards, government, or foreign credit cards. As I am a small vaction rental company, I knew this was not true. When I pointed this out to the representative he said that he would look into it further for me. His response, that I wasn't entering the invoice number when entering the transactions.

I would believe this if I had employees, etc. However I personally entered all of them in myself, and I remember accidently skipping over this step once, was never informed that this would result in the Non Qualified Rate so I did not think anything of it. However that was once, not 12 out of 14 times. So when this was explained to the rep they said they would look into it, but I would need to call back in a week.

They make a mistake, and I have to take time out of my day to call them back?

Then I looked at my bill further, and this is where I saw they were truly crafty. And may this be a warning to all business owners to look over your bill closely! As when looking at the total charges for the month, they worked out to be 177 dollars and change on roughly 7500 in charges for the month. This seemed reasonable, and close to the qualified rate that I was sold of 2.09% especially considering the monthly charges of X dollars on every bill.

Its only when you look real close you realize that really the company took twice that amount out, as they took it out the first time before the money is put into the account, and the bill at the end of the month is really just for non-qualified transactions! So be forewarned!! This is a nice way for them to trick business owners into thinking there bill is on the up and up when it is not.

Then to top all of this off, I was charged for 12 visa transactions, when I only had 6. This is only worth pennies vs. the qualified vs non qualified rate issue, but still. If they may this mistake of a couple dollars on every person's bill that they have...

And of course I am supposed to call them back about what the investigation turns up in a week, vs the other way around. I was stupid to listen to the sales people about the reasons for the complaints on line including: They are a big company, of course not 100% of their customers will be satisfied, People do not read through the contracts and then become upset, people use the machines for purposes other than those that they are allowed to, etc. They had several that they used. I am none of these types of people. I'm just an honest business owner that was looking for an honest company to run my credit cards through for my customers.

I will publish a follow up to this in a week after I call and see what turns up, and what line they give me then.

Kent, Washington

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/11/2008 12:33 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/leaders-merchant-services-isomsp-wells-fargo-bank-na/walnut-creek-california/leaders-merchant-services-isomsp-wells-fargo-bank-na-non-qualified-rate-on-12-of-14-trans-316901. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

Digital Financial Group

AUTHOR: Steve - (United States of America)

Interesting, Hassan.

Digital Financial Group complaints are all over the net and this web site.
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#2 Consumer Suggestion


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

My name is Hassan I'm an ISO, I own Merchant Services Company Express MPS Group partner with Digital Financial Group one of the best company Sponsored by wells Fargo and First Data.

WOW I'm sorry you got Ripped off, by these guys.

Do not sign a terminal lease if it's more than $30 a month. AND DON'T BUY A FREE CREDIT CARD MACHINE.BECAUSE IT'S A RIP OFF

Read the contract very closely and keep a copy of it and tell the agent to wait for TOW days or comeback within TWO day so you have time to read the contract and look up their company @ www.ripoffreport.com

when you decided to sign with them make sure you get your contract copy right a way. (Means) go to the copy machine and make your own copy of the contract you signed.


This is some Consumer Guide on Merchant Services to help you choose your merchant service provider wisely.

Merchant Services: Beware of Marketing Ploys
Like any other business field, merchant service providers have their own jargon, inside information, heroes and villains. There are honest companies and those willing to say just about anything to close a sale.

This is Consumer Guide on Merchant Services to help you choose your merchant service provider wisely.

Don't Be Fooled By Marketing Tricks.
In the field of merchant services, there are many price variables that can be manipulated to fool a customer into believing they are paying the lowest price, but in fact they are not.
The merchant services industry is advertising a low discount rate. The discount rate can be temporarily manipulated through "introductory" offers which quickly expire. This is the rate that a merchant pays for a swiped card transaction, usually between 1.69% and 2.69% depending on credit, volume, product type and risk factors.
Below are some marketing techniques and issues to be educated on.

1) "Merchant Accounts 1.09% 1.39% 1.59% and 1.64%!" When you see such an ad, click through and try to find the rate guaranteed and watch out when you see (guaranteed**) anywhere on the merchant services website. See if you can even find it ever mentioned again! Some advertising might grand-stand lower rates that are only given to extremely high volume customers. Once you have invested time into the application process, a savvy high pressure closer will explain with great charm and detail why your final rate wasn't as good as the one given to say, "A world wide fast food chain" but was still a great deal considering your risk factors.

2) "Free Merchant Account?" What does this mean!? The merchant account provider must charge a discount rate and per item transaction fee. Does that sound free? A free set-up fee can easily be exchanged with an "annual fee" or some other kind of hidden charge.

3) Hidden Charges: Another "switch" is simply substituting hidden charges that you won't discover until after you get your first bill.

1-Customer Service... Ask your sales agent what you can expect when you call their office for support. Who will answer the phone? Do they have one of those annoying automated system that takes you into a black hole, or do they have a live human answering the phone? What are the hours of operation? If you speak another language, do they have a translation service? If you have an emergency, is there a 24 hour telephone number?

2- Rate...You should not base your decision solely on price. Be weary of those that are offering extremely low rates. They may be padding the back end with additional fees. Qualified and non-qualified rates are determined by Visa/MasterCard. Look at their websites to determine what these credit card companies are charging your processor to run Visa/MasterCard transactions. If the rate is lower than this "set" rate, be cautious. Remember that your processor is a business, with expenses and employees to pay.

3 -Funding...How long will it take for your e-funds (funds from credit, debit, and e-checks) to be deposited into your bank account? The deposit or funding time is different with each processor. If your business needs daily cash flow to pay employees funding time could be very important to you. Processors fund anywhere from 24 hours to several days to even weeks.

4-Experience...How many years has the processor been in business? This can prove to be very important when a problem arises with your account or your equipment. Ensure they have the know-how to get things resolved, and fast!

5- Equipment...Long gone are the days of having to purchase costly equipment, or get stuck in a long lease. Leading processors are offering free equipment with new, approved merchant accounts. Understand that this is a free terminal placement while you are a current client of the processor. If you terminate the agreement, for any reason, you must return the equipment. Be cautious about processors who push new, costly, equipment. Unless you current equipment is not PCI compliant or network compliant, you should not have to upgrade.
Do not sign a terminal lease if it's more than $30 a month
If you have a lease and it's the end of the lease TERM make sure you call the lease company to cancel your lease, because IF YOU DON'T CALL THEM they will continue charging you.

6- Contract Term... Know if there is a contract term. If there is a contract term and you want to cancel the contract in the future what is the fee. Are there certain exceptions to this early-cancellation fee?

Be honest with your processor about your business type,
How much you process and the average ticket amount. Don't claim a $20.00 average ticket amount when your average ticket is around $200.00. This may see like a good idea to qualify for a "lower" rate but what will undoubtly happen is. After you run a few "abnormal" transactions, a red flag will go up at the risk department. They are looking for fraud. If your account has abnormal activity that might be fraudulent, they will freeze your account to minimize their exposure. Your account will be held until an investigation is completed. This can take months. Be honest and up front with your credit card processor to eliminate this hassle all together.

Ask Questions. Be studious. Look at all contracts, really all the lines. Your processor can't realistically go over everything. It is your job to look the contract over and ask any questions you might have. Be weary of processors who are quick to get your signed without addressing all of your concerns.

TO www.ripoffreport.com

If you have any Question please feel free to email me. @ MY PERSONAL EMAIL (((ROR redacted)))

CLICK here to see why Rip-off Report, as a matter of policy, deleted either a phone number, link or e-mail address from this Report.
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#3 UPDATE EX-employee responds

What is the Wells Fargo Connection...

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

to your complaint?
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#4 Author of original report


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

Cindy Schwerdtfeger the Complaint Resolution Specialist @ 877-538-3377 did some work for me. She supposedly worked with the president to get a better rate plan for me than even what John previously did. This structure was 2.09 Qual, 2.69 Mid 3.69 Non-Qual. So yes my mid qualify was slightly higher, but with ths plan, it saved me over 100 bucks compared to the old one. And if I switched, they were willing to credit back the overage to my account. That money is not there yet, and I am going to keep on the look out for it, but per Cindy I should be seeing it sometime between now and the end of the month.

As for charging me for more transactions than I had, she said it was batch fees, however I was sold a plan without batch fees and she appologized and said that she doesnt think she was given the correct information, so she is still going to look into it and get back to me tomorrow.

Long story short, I am not thrilled with what Leaders has done. I still feel shorted in that when sold the original plan I was made to believe that the non-qualified rate would almost never come up, and I would pay the same rate for both qualified and mid-qualified cards. James Perez still led me astray and I would not recommend him. Has there "customer resolution specialist" done their job? Well, I am getting money back supposedly so that helps. Also, still dont know why I was charged more per-transaction fees than what I actually had. We'll see how the resolve that.

I just hope that this thread will help another business owner who is trying to compare merchant account companies, to make sure they are truly getting the best deal possible for thier business. I know I will pay a higher rate due to the fact I do not swipe cards, however I also don't deserve the short end of the stick as I am just trying to run an honest business.
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#5 Consumer Comment


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

So Now I have talked to a couple of people at Leaders Merchant Solutions, including John in the resolution department. He told me that at my time of submittal I was not lied to, however the truth was omitted to me. There are three different tiers to their program Qualified, Mid Qualified, and Non Qualified transactions. I was explained by the sales rep, James (Jim) Perez, that the way this broke out was normal consumer credit cards, rewards cards, and then business and government cards, assumming I entered all possible information into the credit card machine, which I did.

However, what was ommitted, was that there are two different levels of rewards cards, and that yes, rewards cards level 1 are mid-qualified, but level 2 rewards cards are Non-Qualified with my current program. This was not explained to me. Rather James said that I would almost never run across a non-qualified card, as my business type would almost never run across a business card, or a government card. That may be true (although 1 of my first 14 transactions was a biz card) what he left out of that is that reward card level 2 was going to be in this category and I would receive these apparently often. I understand that there was no way for him to predict this, however he didn't even give me all necessary information so that I could make an informed decision!

So what John did was lower my non-qualified rate to 3.99, and actually increased my mid-qalified rate to 3.35% from 2.09% so that these level 2 rewards cards would be kept in that category thereby saving me money. And he also lowered my monthly bill fee to 5 dollars from 10 dollars. He also said he would see about getting a credit for me for the previous month, but he said it was not likely that I would receive it.

He also said he would put in notes about the unsatisfactory job that James Perez did explaining the products and carefully ommitting the truth resulting in a VERY dissatisfied customer!!!!! They had a referal sheet at the time of submitting with other business owners info so that both of us would get a credit on our next bill. I had 6 people interested from what I discussed with them. However thankfully I did not send this in. Rather I waited till my first bill came. And instead I am going to tell everyone I know NOT TO USE LEADERS MERCHANT SERVICES. THEY WILL TELL YOU EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR TO GET YOU TO SIGN UP. And my business is growing. I am going to get investors, and will be trippling the number of credit card transactions I run.

I am going to look at next bill and see how many "rewards level 2" cards I receive. Based on that I may leave Merchants, pay the early termination fee and go to a company that wants to be truthful to their customers and not ommit the truth so that they get a sale. THAT is more important to me as a small business owner than rate. I will pay a higher rate so that the truth is not ommitted from me.

I am in sales, and I am embarrassed that these people share the same title. They drag what should be a beautiful industry of helping individuals and businesses find items that they need, into the into the mud due to the lies and deceipt. Not every customer is right for every salesperson, and a true salesperson recognizes that and helps the customer make the best decsion possible. Thanks Leaders, thanks James Perez, I hope that this will keep future business from heading your way, as it ought to.
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#6 UPDATE Employee

LEADERS would like to help this merchant but we need more information

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

Leaders Merchant Services would like the opportunity to help this merchant, but unfortunately his complaint does not provide us enough information to locate his merchant account. We invite this merchant to contact Cindy Schwerdtfeger our Complaint Resolution Specialist @ 877-538-3377 to help him resolve this situation in an appropriate and expedient manner.
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