Report: #1458291

Complaint Review: First Data Merchant Services - Coral Springs FL

  • Submitted:
  • Updated:
  • Reported By: CoinCat Inc. — Dallas TX United States
  • First Data Merchant Services

    Coral Springs, FL
    United States

First Data Merchant Services Convinced me to get an account with them, made me feel like everything was fine for a month, then kept three deposits totalling $8000, lied to me, stonewalled me, labeled me a "fraud," and left me penniless. Coral Springs FL

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My business had been doing pretty well for a few months. I finally found a local bank that I liked and that didn’t seem to think I was all that bad either. I was working very hard, but I was making more money than I've ever made in my life, and enjoying it. My business, CoinCat Inc, had been doing some heavy Bitcoin trading on the peer to peer market for several months. We had to stop accepting cash payments because we were getting so many cash deposits per day that big banks like Wells Fargo and Chase thought we were laundering money. I was also banned from picking up money through Western Union and Moneygram. We were accepting payments through Zelle and Google Pay, and for a while Bluebird and Serve, and although it wasn't perfect, I was still making over $5,000 a month in profit, and it seemed to be scaling up a bit. About two months ago, I received a call one day from a salesman from First Data.

I wasn't convinced by this guy's pitch, because he just kept saying things like "oh no you don't want to keep using Zelle,” and “you don't want to keep using Google pay.” He said, “you need to have CONTROL over your payment processing. You don't want to have to do what Zelle tells you as far as sending and receiving limits, or have to worry about Google pay not letting a payment come through for some unknown reason." It was one of those situations where I obviously wasn't interested, but he kept pushing his sale so hard about how he was going to call me back next month, I agreed to take a call from him at the beginning of July. As I was dealing with the day-to-day operations of my business I did start thinking about what having my own Payment Processing would mean. If I did have more control over customer payments it would increase my revenue a lot and would be a lot easier on my customers.

Although I  had some bad luck with financial institutions thus far, I thought if I did it right and got the right company to back me, as long as I was making money I'm sure the financial institution would learn to like me. I got another call from a way better salesman about two weeks later. His name is Blake. The fact that he was a bit better with his sales pitch, less pushy, and the fact that I was starting to consider his product anyway made the interaction a lot more comfortable. I ended up calling Blake back and asking him to get ahold of me about letting me apply for an account with First Data. After I explained the nature of my business and asked Blake some questions he sent the form over. I jokingly told him that it was the longest agreement that I've ever seen and that I need a team of lawyers to handle it.

Now I look back on that and realize that's always a big red flag. I ended up having to read that entire user agreement more than once to just to figure out if I had any remedy when First Data started screwing me over and robbing me. Although I told Blake that I thought the two and a half to 2.5% to 2.8% seems a little high I thought the efficiencies of having my own payment processor that I could control would make up for the cost of use. Within a couple days I was approved for a merchant services account. Within a couple more days I had it set up and accepted my first payment. Took a little while for my customers to get used to the idea of giving me their information so I can run their card but after they realize how easy it was money started rolling in big time. I did about 40 thousand and sales the first month.

That was $40,000 on top of the same amount as I usually get in Zelle and Google Pay. I did have a couple customers rip me off through the First Data thing because they were apparently aware of some of the weaknesses that I wasn’t, but it was still good profit at the end of the month and I had learned a thing or two. Blake called me after the first month congratulating me on the amount of sales I did and we went over some of the numbers. I couldn't have been more encouraged as to what was going on. Now that my customers were already aware of it they began using Zelle and then charging their debit or credit cards through the payment gateway once they reach their limits on Zelle. It was great. Fast, easy, convenient. The second month I had 160 plus payment through my Payeezy gateway. The average payment was around $600.

I had already surpassed my first month’s sales two weeks into the second month. Nobody for First Data ever gave me any indication that there would be a problem regarding that many sales. I figured everything should be fine because they knew what I was earning before, the merchant services agreement allow them to look into my bank account to get a snapshot of it so they can verify that I had funds and they knew how much money I had, which was between 8 and $10,000.

Out of a hundred sixty payments, I accidentally accepted a payment from someone who was using stolen credit card numbers. I got my first charge back for $650. I wasn't happy with it, but I was willing to settle it just to make sure nothing bad happen to the account so I clicked refunds to run refund the customer without any hesitation.

The next day I only got half of the $5,500 deposit I was supposed to get from the previous day’s sales. This happened once or twice before where my deposit got delayed and I would just get it the next day. Nobody from customer service indicated that there was a problem, so I went on using the service and made a few more charges that day. The next day I got no deposit at all, so not only did I not get the $3350 I had coming from the day before, I didn't get the $1800 from the previous day. The next day was Friday which was a critical day for me to get a deposit or else I wouldn’t be able to send the money wire in time and I couldn't do anything over the weekend. The amount they were holding was suspiciously roughly equal to all my working capital. I had about $500 in my personal bank account. I began calling customer service. Nobody knew s**t. They didn't know their a*s from a hole in the ground.

Their plan of action is seriously to act so incompetent that it makes you want to hang up and stop talking to them. It was very frustrating. I was advised just to wait till Monday and I will get all the deposits that day. It’s not fun worrying about money all weekend but somehow I made it through. Monday rolls around and not only did I not get my deposits my account was now locked. There had been one other chargeback, but this was two charge backs out of over 300 payments made. It wasn't a significant percentage of the number of payment, but apparently from a risk model standpoint, if I were to lose every chargeback that was made and if every customer filed a chargeback I would owe more back then I had made in profit. But this was an absurd notion because my customers we're all loyal from months before, and I had no reason to think I would lose the chargeback. However, it seems like the Risk department assumes that you will lose every chargeback (probably because most merchants don’t fight them), so if one long time customer that’s bought $20,000 worth of goods files a chargeback stating that they didn’t receive what they ordered from a month ago, risk assumes that they will obviously file chargebacks on the whole $20,000, and that you will lose the chargeback.

The person that made the chargeback was filing a $1,000 charge back from his AMEX card but the guy had made multiple purchases with Visa and Mastercards before and after the date that he filed the chargeback. It simply didn't make any sense. I began getting my paperwork ready to prove that his chargeback was bogus. He filed for non receipt of goods which was preposterous because when you buy Bitcoins on the peer to peer market, the escrow system is utilized, and you received them immediately after the seller confirms payment. There's no question that he received them.

I now embarked on the most frustrating experience of my entire life. These customer service agents are absolute buffoons. They don't have to do anything all day, so they get used to it so when someone calls with some actual questions they get annoyed and the want to transfer you. I was told that I needed to talk to the risk department or the security department. I left message after message after message and no one called me for days.

I mean we're talking 5 Days into this episode with $8,000 being held with no indication as to when it might be released, if ever. Risk Management actually was giving off this vibe as if it’s their money and they can keep whatever they want out of it simply because some idiot decided that there was some speculative risk. Since they were holding all my money not only could I not use their service but I couldn't make money through Zelle or Google pay either because I have no money to buy anything to sell. In between messages to the security department I would call customer service and call the people in the chargeback department to get an idea of what was going on. Most of these people even know their own jobs. Plus they just outright lie to you to your face. Now I'm not saying that I didn't get mad a few times during these calls… I definitely did. But there were some times where I wasn't being unreasonable at all and the Agents would just bait me with ridiculous answers, nonsense questions and irrelevant statements that would get me enraged. Here's an example of how it was frustrating.

Remember I'm worried about my $8,000 here... but in the meantime I'm going to call and ask them about handling the chargeback because I've never had one before and I needed guidance. I asked them what form of proof do they want? The agent stated that they wanted the customer signature on something proving that whatever they bought got delivered. I asked them if I had evidence that this customer made lots of buys with lots of different payment methods over a month and a half to two months of time, would that be relevant? The agent told me no that wouldn't be relevant. I said you got to be kidding me of course it's relevant. If somebody bought something for $1,000 they wouldn’t continue to make purchases from the same company if you didn't get what you bought in the first place, unless you are a grown retard, so we’ll give you one or two more charges (although wouldn’t you dispute those charges too?)

That's the problem. I thought that I was dealing with reasonable people. I would ask them logical questions and expect them to act the same way. I also expected them to know their own jobs and these people are just complete retards and happy to be retards. I mean they are seriously more content saying I don't know the answer to that question then they are trying to research it for 5 minutes or do a math problem or use their f**kin brains.

When I finally got the instructions on filing the chargeback on the form it's listed plain as day that I could submit evidence of "legitimate spend across multiple payment types for same merchandise." I mean it's clearly listed on the form that she faxed to me. I felt vindicated, but I also felt worried, because these were the people that I had to trust we're going to act in my best interest against American Express and Visa in these chargebacks.

Now I mentioned that I refunded the $650, but the card holder had cancelled their credit card because their card got stolen, so that didn't go through. However since I didn't get a deposit, First Data decided to withdraw $650 to cover this refund because they were holding all my other funds. I also learned something very disturbing about this chargeback. The name that the person who was using the stolen credit card gave me was Jason Wildman. When I got the paperwork from First Data the customer's name wasn't anything close to that. I figured the customer knew who they stole the credit card from and made a fake ID with the same name, but the charged had gone through even though the name wasn't correct. I started asking how could that happen?

If somebody tries to run a credit card over the phone to somebody and gives them the completely wrong name, either the payment processor or the credit card company needs to reject the payment because it's obviously fraud. Well I'm asking a bunch of retards a very very good question about something they probably know the answer to anyway. So all I get is I don't know I don't know I don't know. It turns out that Visa currently has a new protection device call Verified by Visa that uses the customer's location and distance from their phone or distance from their home or other pieces of   like the time that they're making a purchase and what the purchase is for 2 prevent people from using stolen cards. The problem is that nobody from First Data told me this was an option.

In case you missed what I just said, Visa offers a new level of protection called verified by Visa that uses proprietary information and analyzes data about customers to prevent fraudulent charges from recurring, and First Data the merchant services company does not automatically offer it to their card-not-present customer. So anybody can just take your credit card numbers and your expiration date and even if they didn't know your name they can make a purchase through any company that uses for First Data as a payment processor and the charge will work. Nobody will know anything until the card holder seize the charge on their statement. Anyway I'm fighting both of chargebacks because Visa or First Data should pay for the first one because it's neither me or the card holders fault,and the second one is bogus because the guy is claiming to not have received Bitcoins that were released to him out of escrow instantly once he made the payment not to mention the fact that he made about a dozen payments through Zelle and Google Pay and other credit cards before and after the charge that he claimed not to receive the merchandise which was incidentally 3 weeks before. I don't know if I'm going to win these chargebacks I just got to hope for the best. If I lose, I'll lose $1,650. But I might have lost it all because I have no idea when if ever I'm going to get my $8,000. It's been two weeks and nobody can tell me anything. We know my account's been closed, and there was just and there was one screen that I saw that stated that it had been closed due to "fraud," but none of the customer service agents will comment on that.

This is probably why they're acting so weird, because their lame brains probably believe whatever First Data tells them because they're from the security department... I can assure you I have not committed fraud. Not even close. If anything, my desire was not to ruin the reputation of my business has led me to refund and walk away from certain transactions taking a loss rather than risk a cardholder being charged without authorization. But what has happened is that I realize that I'm still naive and I still fall for the same type of tricks that get me ripped off by hustlers. I let them make me feel like they wanted my business because it was a good business not because they just wanted the fees. When things went well and Blake called me and congratulated me I felt appreciated and admired. But Blake and the people from the risk Department knew or should have known that just one or two chargebacks would get my account frozen for weeks and get my business labeled a fraud, and that it was likely that someone who made as many transactions as I did that I would eventually have one or two chargebacks occur because First Data doesn't like to offer VISA's protection system. I asked customer service if First Data enrolls in Mastercard Secure Code or Amex Safe Key, or Discover Protect Buy, and I might as well been speaking Swahili. The answer probably is that first data does not subscribe 2 these services for the card companies because they don't care. It's in their best interest if a customer does get chargebacks because then they can keep the money and hold on to it indefinitely.

And they can easily tarnish the reputation of the business by just labeling it a fraud and having incompetent customer service agents do absolutely nothing. t's right there in the user agreement. It states that First Data can shut an account down and not tell the customer anything for a number of "default" reasons, which include erratic charges or changes in the number of charges... The reasons are so vague that the compliance officer just has to see one or two charge backs, and they can shut you down because if you had zero chargebacks last month and you had to charge back to this one's that's already 200% more chargebacks...lol. brilliant. Every business that is successful and has lots of customers will have the possibility of all the potential chargebacks exceeding their available assets…because the credit card companies allow someone to file chargebacks up to six months from the purchase date.

In any event, whether it's one or two charge backs or somebody that purchased $10, 000 worth of goods or services from your business charging back all of it a month later for some bogus reason, First Data isn't going to take your side, because they're under no obligation to help you show that you didn't commit fraud or that the customer is the one committing fraud by buying something and not paying for it, and they want to hold your money, so they definitely don't want to do any investigating on their own to find out that the buyer is screwing you not the other way around. So now it's Monday, and my $8, 000 has been on hold for 2 weeks. I haven't been able to operate my business because I have no money.

I'll probably lose a $650 charge bag and I might lose $1, 650 and this is because First Data is a shill to the card companies and will do everything that they say. if they piss off the card companies and they lose their contract with them. I'm not even sure if I win the chargebacks if that will matter, because of the security department already labeled my business fraudulent without even speaking with me. I spoke with the security department one time for about 13 minutes. The guy told me multiple lies in the same breath, which word that my account has not been closed yet that he hasn't made that decision and that he will finish up his investigation and call me back in 2 hours. he didn't call me back in 2 hours he didn't call me back in 2 days he didn't call me back in 5 days. If First Data decides to keep the money, I'm done.

It took me about six months to save that money. I was putting everything back into the business to keep it going but now I came to a screeching halt and it will take a lot to get it moving again. First Data was the worst decision I've ever made in my life. I should have just kept using Zelle and Google Pay and not messed with these lying hustler's. They don't care about the business that they're signing up. They only care about the credit card companies. They're going to sign up plenty of small businesses just like mine after I'm gone and they already got my $1, 500 worth of fees from last month and probably a bunch of extra fees that they're going to tack on when I decide to leave. today if I can't get a straight answer about when I'm going to get my money back I'm going to stop calling customer service altogether because I can't take the frustration anymore.

I'm going to go back to being a delivery driver. It was humble, but at least it was honest. To anyone who's considering signing up for a payment processor or a merchant services account, I'm warning you, you are making a big mistake unless you were Target or Walmart or Burger King or McDonald's. Although places like PayPal and square get bad mouthed because of all their strict rules, trust me you would rather have a company have some strict rules and ban you or suspend you after a couple weeks, then a company that's going to lie to you and take $8, 000 from you and never tell you when they're going to give it back. PayPal and these other payment processing companies have so many rules because there are actually protecting their Merchants to some extent. First Data isn't doing any of that. First Data is setting up their customers to get robbed.

It's like you go on vacation to the beach and you don't know anybody there but there's a group of people who are out playing having fun laughing and barbecuing, and they come over to you and they say "hey man how's it going? You look like a pretty cool guy and we were going to go out to this nice beachfront property and have some drinks and barbecue and have a real good time and we wanted to know if you wanted to come along with us?" They seem like really nice people, so you agree to go, and when you show up at the property, all of the people that invited you beat you up and rob you blind and leave you for dead. The final total: about a month and a half, 160 transactions for $69,843.06, with 2 pending chargebacks totalling $1650. That's 2.3% of the totally dollar amount in chargebacks or 1.3% of the number of transactions... But there's no way I should lose both the charge backs... One I definitely shouldn't lose but I guess we'll have to see.

Update: there is hope. The chargeback was disposed of as “Reversed” meaning sent back to me, because the evidence that I presented created a rebuttable presumption that the buyer was not able to satisfy. So, the actual chargeback process itself is not a farce, to my great relief. It turns out that although the customer service agents may not have brains, the ones actually making the decision regarding the chargeback look at all the evidence presented, and they don’t make their decisions on some arbitrary set of rules, such as “did you have a comprehensive return policy listed on the receipt, and was your customer service phone number provided in a visible area…wait, it’s the other way around, sorry. My point is that those rules are not relevant to an online, card not present bitcoin purchase. What is relevant is the customer’s behavior, both before and after the charge in question.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I get to be a customer of First Data anymore. I wouldn’t go back if they begged me. They have put me through hell and treated me like garbage. I still don’t have my money, but I feel vindicated, and that is enough for now. The Risk Management specialist said that it could be 6 months before I see my money, but that he’d take a look after three months to see how it was going. I hope this little victory of mine shows him that my top 5 or 6 customers, who make up 75% of my revenue, wouldn’t automatically be victorious if they decided to charge back their purchases, so at least we can take some degree of projected risk off the table. I’m not going to get my hopes up, but at least the credit card companies are a bit more enlightened than the payment processors…analogous to the King and Queen being more diplomatic than the guard that protects the castle from bandits.

 

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/26/2018 10:35 PM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/first-data-merchant-services/coral-springs-fl-33075/first-data-merchant-services-convinced-me-to-get-an-account-with-them-made-me-feel-like-1458291. 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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