About the author

Phillip Parker

Phillip Parker is a former merchant services agent turned small business advocate and the author of "Fee Sweep," which teaches merchants how to dramatically lower their processing rates, eliminate junk fees, and avoid fine-print scams. He founded CardPaymentOptions.com to help merchants enact positive change in the credit card processing industry.


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  1. Dawn McWherter

    I have been being charged almost anywhere from 50- 60 dollars a month for FDMS in addition to the 24.00 a month for the leased machine. The machine stopped working and would not batch out, I had to make calls to get the amounts that were swiped put into my account. They wanted to charge me 50.00 to overnight a new machine, I told them I would not pay that. I have not hooked up the machine since I got it which was over a month ago, but I a still charged the 60.00 for fees. When I have tried to do the pci compliance, the website told me they would email me a new password, which never happened. As of today I tried to log on and fill out my compliance and they want me to accept a new user agreement, which says, Package Offering, Subscription fees-handled through your relationship with Santander Merchant Services- I have never heard of them, so how do I have a relationship with them. I will not sign any agreement with anything to do with First Data or Merchant Services, I have never experienced such a scam, the undisclosed fees are ridiculous. I dont use the machine anymore, they never email me a statement showing my charges unless I spend 30 minutes on the phone with them asking for one. The stress these companies are putting on small business owners is crazy, and nothing is being done about it. I wont agree to anything with these scammers, I cannot believe big banks actually are endorsing these people. I would not have ever used them if it was not for my bank recommending them. Chemical Bank has actually told me the only way for them to stop accessing my account, two times a month, taking fees as much as they want is to close my business account. This needs to be stopped. There needs to be something done about this.

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    1 / 1 found this review helpful.
  2. Tony Loft

    Here we go again. I thought I was done with this crap. It started when I was working on launching a website through GoDaddy. There was a link to First Data as an option for my shopping cart. I am extremely new to all of this, I did not realize that I didn’t even need them, because I already had Paypal setup. So I fill out the application to get their services. When I was finished it said it would send me an email if I was accepted. A month later I get a charge on my bank account for $10, then $50. I never got any sort of email confirming whether or not they accepted my application. Also, in my statement they use GoDaddy’s name as to who was taking the money out. Godaddy says they have nothing to do with it. Which is complete B.S. because I would have never even went to the link if it weren’t for GoDaddy having it as an option. They really should realize they are sending their customers to the wolves, and for them not be somewhat responsible is just foolish. Anyway, back to First Data. After harassing them for two weeks about a refund. They finally issued me $50 back, but kept the $10. The initial transaction was on 8/15/2014. The refund was on 8/27/2014. Now I just got an $85 charge from them on 10/3/2014. I am certain this is there early termination fee, which I was told would be taken off. EARLY TERMINATION FEE, for what? I never even used their services. What a complete scam. I am so sick of dealing with companies like this. Even when they get caught stealing, nothing happens. Because that is what this is, Stealing. I am so fed up, I am eliminating anything to do with GoDaddy as well. For them to just put their hands up and act like they don’t know what’s going on, is a complete joke. Sorry for the rant, I am just a single Dad, completely struggling. I am working 20 hour days, trying to get my own online store going. Every penny counts at this point. I don’t have the money or time to deal with things like this. I just didn’t want this to happen without telling someone. Hopefully someone reads this and it can help them before they get into the issues I am having. Thanks for hearing me out.
    Tony

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    1 / 1 found this review helpful.
  3. Lacey

    We changed merchant services in June. We went with a local company, they told us they could save us money. Also told us that we did not have to lease the credit card machine, used those exact words! Come to find out we were being billed monthly $160.00 for the credit card machine. Called the salesman, who is no longer with the company, talked to his supervisor and got no where. The lease is for 48 months, it also says it is non-cancelable. If we stick with this lease we will end up paying $7680.00, which is ridiculous!! With our old merchant service the machine was leased but it was about $30 a month. We really felt taken advantage of! Any advice on how to get out of the lease? We would like to switch back to our old service. At the end of the day it is all expensive no matter what company you go with but I had much rather to business with someone honest.

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    1. Kathy

      Hi Lacey,
      I hope I can help you by telling you what I did. First read all the complaints and replies on this board. There are people on here that are having problems and many of the replies are helpful to all of us. Now, I called my State Department of Consumer Protection and told them of how I was being scammed by FirstData, they helped me from there with filing reports and complaints, etc. I also filled complaints with the BBB, the Feds were on strike back then but because they use phone lines, I was going to file with the FCC, and any office I could find that related to financial and business…I did talk to a lawyer but they were not very helpful…wanting an incredible amount of money per hour. The State helped me he most and my contract was rescinded. I hope you can get this kind of help from your State and be done with these people as I am. good luck! Kathy

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  4. Richard

    I am currently within days of my contract expiring with First Data (via Sam’s Club). Weeks ago, I took the prudent precaution of removing almost all funds from the business bank account of mine that First Data has access to. I retained a very small balance just to keep the account active.

    I have my suspicions that an unethical company such as First Data will attempt to extract funds from my soon to expire merchant services account without cause or notice. The best indication of First Data’s future behavior is their previous behavior.

    Since I did not plan to process any credit card transactions through First Data by way of my Sam’s Club merchant processing account from over 30 days out until the end of my contract, I will prepare to restrict First Data from gaining access to my account now or anytime in the future.

    According to my bank’s representative, the best and most secure way to accomplish this is by having my bank assign me a new account with a new account number. This will stop any unauthorized withdrawals from occurring.

    It just so happens that my merchant account contract is due to expire in the middle of a billing cycle and I will not need to process any further transactions through First Data. Therefore, I expect there should be no activity (withdrawals or deposits) generated by First Data.

    If one of my clients prefers to use a credit card as payment I am already signed up with another merchant processor. Accordingly, I have absolutely no necessity to utilize Sam’s Club and First Data between today and the remainder of my contract.

    A few weeks ago, I contacted First Data to confirm the date of my contact’s expiration. The First Data representative told me that once my contract expires I have a four-day grace period to decide if I want to enter into another contract. If I do nothing, my merchant services account begins on a month-to month basis. The representative specifically instructed me to wait until the day after my contract expires so there would be no chance of being hit with an early termination fee. According the representative from First Data, I am not permitted to make a decision on ending my relationship with First Data in advance. In other words, I cannot simply tell First Data days or weeks ahead of time, “At the stroke of midnight, at the precise moment my contract expires please go ahead and cancel my account.” Even though I am not able to instruct First Data not to renew my contract until the day after the end of my contract, consumers should be aware that First Data may withdrawal funds to cover service fees for the next subsequent month of service. At that point, the burden will rest with the merchant to expend time and effort in order to obtain a refund.

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    2 / 2 found this review helpful.
    1. matt

      Richard,

      these are all good precautions to take. The only down fall to this is that your old account is never really closed and if it is a business account the funds will be reversed and debited to your old account if First data decides they want your money. Your bank will not tell you this and First data will claim that it is a business to business transaction and you have 24 hrs to report it. I hope this does not happen to you but they have done this to me. (BEWARE)

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      1. Richard

        Matt,

        Thank you for your reply. Your comment requires a bit more of an explanation. Once my old bank account is closed and my Merchant Services contract has expired how can First Data seek to obtain funds from an account that no longer exists and from a contractual agreement that is no longer valid?

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        2 / 2 found this review helpful.
    2. Kathy

      Richard,
      Personally, I would not trust the FirstData rep and what they said…been there and I even spoke with upper levels. I would read the contract and make sure to comply with what the contract states, then I would hope my doing what the contract says to do would end the FirstData connection. Also, did your banker tell you to check your credit records after you close your account-to keep FirstData from making withdrawals? If you read back in the histOry of comments of dealing with FirstData, you will read the stories about how they damage credit records of clients that close their bank accounts. When I worked with our State to stop FirstData’s scam with my business…the FirstData lawyer informed me to check my credit record and if something came up, he would take care of it. Good luck to you! I truly hope everything goes your way. Kathy

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      1. Richard

        You bring up a valid point about the damage First Data may be able to do by damaging a vendor’s credit score but it is my understanding that specific guidelines must be adhered to before any company places a negative mark on a merchants credit history. First Data must provide ample notification of any balance due. The merchant has the right to dispute the debt and to make use of the appeal process if necessary. There are further stipulations within the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

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  5. Mike

    This company promised that my rates would be lower with them if I switched over to them. My rates have been higher ever since. If you call to ask about why charges are not disclosed, they start reading off a script and give you the run around by switching you to different departments. With the time it takes to answer all their security questions at each new department they send you, I think they hope you will finally just hang up. They told me in the beginning there were no contracts so I cancelled with them after two months. Then they still took money out of my checking account for the next two months. I called them back and they blamed an interchange charge for credit cards I processed when I was with them. This came out to be 10.49%! I think they found a way to hide a cancellation fee in there but they won’t admit it. I am so glad I am done with them, I hope.

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    2 / 2 found this review helpful.
  6. ENDU

    First Data is the worst SCUM merchant I have ever dealt with. DO NOT go with this company. The rates look good but the service is ridiculous! They will take your money and cancel your account. I am so sorry that I ever looked them up anymore. I am paying the cancelation fee right now for 0 transactions service I give them F-
    NO RECOMMEND this merchant for NO ONE.

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    6 / 6 found this review helpful.
    1. Kathy

      Send a letter to the department of consumer protection in your state, or call them and ask them to help you with this. FirstData does this all the time, they are big banks and they steal from us constantly…until we all scream to our state about these crooks, it will keep happening because they have the money and that gives them more power to continue their scam. Also read the comment Matt wrote below. Thanks and I really hope this helps you get your money back!

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      7 / 7 found this review helpful.
  7. Ed

    I signed up with First Data a few months ago to process online credit card transactions on their website. When I signed up, I was under the impression that the only fee I would be charged was a percentage of the transaction as I had no equipment to lease. I later found out that I was being billed monthly fees, regardless of whether I had any credit card transactions. I called and cancelled their service. Three weeks later, they took $500 out of my checking account. This withdrawal was not reflected in the monthly statement that they sent me. When I called to see why they had taken my money, I was told that even though it was not specifically stated in my contract, one of the small print statements in the computer program guide indicated that if I cancelled the service within three years that they would take a $500 early cancellation fee. This fee was not disclosed to me when I cancelled. They just took it. It was a shock. I will never use this company or its services again.

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    4 / 4 found this review helpful.
    1. Matt

      Please send a letter based on the information and facts to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. If you do not receive any type of resolution or refund further action is needed. This a serious problem that needs to be addressed to the proper people.

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      4 / 4 found this review helpful.
  8. John

    Going with First Data was the biggest business mistake that I have made. I joined specifically because there would be no cancellation fee. I have been with them for 18 months and have found a better processor through Flagship Merchant Services. Now First Data says that there is a 500$ fee to cancel service. My bank, Suntrust, solicited me to go with them. Since I already had a home equity line and business and personal checking with them I agreed. I will pull all my business from Suntrust due to the extortionist tactics of “Suntrust Merchant Services” aka First Data.

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    4 / 4 found this review helpful.
    1. John

      *UPDATE* I just got word from First Data that the 500$ cancellation fee has been waived. I had to call people higher up but Thank you First Data!

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      1 / 1 found this review helpful.
      1. WT

        Do you have phone numbers of the higher ups? I have been on the run around for the pass two months!

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        2 / 2 found this review helpful.
        1. Matt

          PH# 301-745-7000.

          The only contact that will talk on behalf of the president is Stacie Webb. She will give you the run around and will use all honest information you provide to her against you (beware). I highly recommend that if they owe you money take them to small claims court. Prior to doing so look up their business entity information based on the state that you are conducting business to make sure you send the court info to the correct location.This is a pain to do but is the only way to recover lost funds. Also I recommend sending a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to investigate this. The BBB will not do this and has already been flooded with negative reviews.

          Hope this helps

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          1 / 1 found this review helpful.
        2. John

          *Second Update* When I call the 800 number to cancel, they still give me the run around and threaten a 500 dollar cancellation fee. I have opened a new business account with a different bank and will just close the old business account. When First Data calls me, I will simply say “Sue me!” and give them the phone number of my (excellent) attorney.

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          1 / 1 found this review helpful.
  9. marie

    First Data is a rip off from the start. They can apparantly change the contract on their end at anytime but when they do you are not allowed to cancell them. I do not like dealing with them when their is a problem because they act like it is no big deal that you are not happy with them because it is their right to change what theyj want when they want. Worst choice I ever made.

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    2 / 2 found this review helpful.
    1. Kathy

      Marie,
      Please call your State Department of Consumer Protection, Department of Commerce, or who will ever listen to you to file a complaint. Call the FCC if you have to as FirstData uses phone lines for transactions. File complaints to leave a solid paper trail for notes in case you need to reference them in the future. Call the police if they are removing funds from your bank account without proper notification and or your permission. It’s all time consuming but it will help you get your message out there, and possibly get FirstData to dissolve your contract. I screamed until they finally stopped and listened and I got rid of FirstData and will never go back to them for anything. In fact, the bank that I had been with for 30 years had recommended FirstData to me, they are not my bank anymore. Take care and good luck to you! Kathy

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      2 / 2 found this review helpful.
  10. Richard

    When First Data makes a mistake it is the merchant who pays the price.

    First Data customers may be familiar with the term: Courtesy Processing. For those who aren’t, a courtesy processing is a credit card transaction that is handled over the telephone manually, with the assistance of a First Data customer service representative. There are several reasons why a courtesy processing may be needed. If a merchant’s credit card terminal is not performing properly, if a merchant is having problems with the telephone line connected to their terminal or they are in an area where a connection is not possible, the merchant may need to process the charge over the phone.

    With that as a preface, let me advise all merchants who use First Data as their credit card processor to carefully inspect each and every charge, either via their online merchant account or on their printed statement. If a merchant detects a charge that they do not understand or they suspect is in error, question the charge’s authenticity with First Data as soon as possible. Merchants may need to devote an inordinate amount of time to get answers to their questions or to resolve the issue but it will more than likely result in a lesson well learned.

    A few days following a courtesy processing, I noticed a strange debit to my bank account. When I contacted someone from First Data about the charge they indicated it was a result of something that had to do with my terminal. I knew this was in error because my terminal wasn’t used to process this particular charge. A First Data employee handled the full amount of the sale, entirely over the phone. As soon as I explained to the First Data representative that my terminal was never utilized and that the transaction was performed through a courtesy processing, she opened up a case and sent the matter was turned over to one of First Data’s account specialists. Eight days later I received a call from a representative at First Data. This person said the charge was generated by American Express and suggested I call AmEx. I suspected it was an attempt by First Data to pass the buck. First Data does shirk their responsibilities routinely. Each time I called American Express and they looked up my merchant account, AmEx told me that because my contract was with First Data and my account was categorized as a “one-point processor” American Express could not look into my account. Therefore, they could not provide any information. I expended time and effort to ask American Express some general questions and each answer I received pinned the blame onto First Data.

    As a researched the matter further, it was disclosed to me that First Data’s account specialist should have taken the time to initiate a conference call between First Data, American Express and myself. That is the only way American Express can peer into a one-point account to see the charges and debits. Later, through the helpfulness of an American Express merchant service representative, I found out there is another way. It does not involve wasting time and further frustration having to deal with complacent First Data employees. More on this process a bit later.

    I called First Data, went through the usual hoop jumping and dozen or so keypad selections in order to be connected to a live (and I use the term loosely) customer service representative. I asked to speak with a supervisor and got connected to one after a considerable time on-hold. I explained the situation to the supervisor. Initially, he operated under the assumption that I was the one who would initiate the conference call with American Express. I responded by telling him it was my understanding that First Data should handle the communication. After many more minutes on hold I was finally told that American Express was on the line. Unfortunately, the supervisor from First Data wasn’t. He either dropped out of the conversation through error or deliberately. Regardless, there was never any attempt by this First Data supervisor to call me back. I proceeded with my conversation, one-on-one with the representative from American Express. I received a wealth of information.

    American Express told me the surcharge was generated because of two, non-compliance error codes. Without going into technical detail about the actual codes, after explaining to the representative from AmEx the method by which First Data handles over-the-phone processing, he said all the signs pointed back to errors (either human or computer) by First Data. This directly resulted in the charge to my account. Since my terminal was never a part of the transaction process, First Data was solely responsible for any approval codes or transaction identifiers generated during the courtesy processing sequence.

    The American Express representative confirmed that if First Data had bothered to contact American Express, they would have been told about the errors that in all likelihood caused the problem. The American Express representative tracked the problem to a First Data employee or a computer fault. First Data could not have been bothered to investigate their own oversights. As a First Data customer for many years, I can attest that First Data’s unwillingness to acknowledge their mistakes is systemic, not isolated.

    After hearing the circumstances that resulted in the surcharge to my account, the American Express representative took the necessary steps to begin the refund process. This responsibility initially belonged to First Data, who chose to avoid their obligation. The American Express representative instructed me to contact First Data, provide them with the error codes and inform them that a mistake was made.

    Now I will share with merchants who accept American Express the little known way for AmEx to look into your merchant transactions and fees without having to go through First Data. When a merchant contacts American Express merchant services, provide the AmEx phone representative with what is known as your “entitlement number”. Then, wait to see if AmEx can see the transactions within your one-point processor account. If AmEx tells you they cannot access your account tell the representative that a specialty group at American Express known as the ESSU department needs to be contacted. This department can look at a merchant’s American Express transaction history without having to involve the less than customer service oriented staff at First Data.

    If First Data owes you money because of an error on their part, don’t give up the fight. Go up the chain of command until you reach a First Data employee who will take ownership of your issue and resolve the problem. Keep stirring the pot until you get the matter is remedied to your satisfaction.

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    5 / 6 found this review helpful.
  11. Jen

    DO NOT DEAL WITH THIS COMPANY. We have experienced nothing but problems with First Payment, and their sub company VLS who are now hounding us for money that we simply do not owe. Do not get pulled in by promises of amazing service, reliability and rates as this simply will not happen. I just wish we had found this thread before the rep who promised all those amazing things walked in the door………….

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    1 / 1 found this review helpful.
  12. asher

    I am furious

    I have just found out that they are keep charging me for an open account.
    before I cancelled they services, months before, I only asked to change the pricing schedule
    the account manager sent me papers to sign on
    now i see that it was to open a new account where they could charge me a monthly fee of $37.5

    what is going on?

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    2 / 2 found this review helpful.
  13. Mike

    Do Not Use First Data! They quote you one price to sign you up (this is even after they review your income information) then what they charge is nothing like what they had said. I tried to call my sales rep that signed me up and he will not return any phone calls or emails. When you speak to customer service, they are rude and keep sending you over to someone else. Every time you are sent somewhere else, they ask for your verification information even though you just supplied them with the info. My guess is they try to get you to hang up and quit asking questions.

    THIS IS A HORRIBLE COMPANY TO WORK WITH!
    It was such a stress relief when I closed my account with them. Stay Away from them.

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    4 / 4 found this review helpful.
  14. Lisa

    This company needs to be stopped. How can a company be permitted to rob a small business bank
    account simply because they have your bank account number in order to allow cc transactions to come in?
    Does a business sign up with them to be robbed?

    Why doesn’t the state do anything to stop them?

    First Data has repeatedly tried to debit large amounts of money from our new business bank account,
    for non-working equipment that they claim they never received, which we had sent to them FedEx.
    The first time the debit was $1,300. They tried again 3 more times, with one of those times being over
    $1,000 as well. Each time, this put our new business account into overdraft.

    It took hours and hours that we didn’t have to spare, to get them to acknowledge anything at all… actually
    hours each time… 4-5 hours at a time on the phone… not to mention the stress while trying to work on
    our new business.

    First Data acknowledged that they received the returned equipment but claimed that the account was sent
    to Collections by mistake and that’s where the problem supposedly was. After the 3rd time they tried to rob
    us, they assured us that it would never happen again. Then it happened again for one of the largest sums.

    Needless to say, being a new small and struggling business, this could have put us under each time had
    we not been able to stop it with the bank. Our bank’s attitude is nonchalant or neutral, even though it seems
    to clearly be theft. How can these companies get away with stealing money right from your account?

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    4 / 4 found this review helpful.
    1. Matt

      Lisa,

      File a complaint with the Attorney generals office within the state that you live in and the state that the other business is located in. Also copy your letter and file it with the BBB. This is a very brief summary of our experience.

      As of today 8/13/2014 we have a negative balance of about $5,000.00 in our business checking account.

      Matt

      Complaint Details
      On May 15th 2014 we discovered that our business checking account was overdrawn by about $700.00. After further investigation with the help of our local bank manager we found that First Data Merchant services was labeling ACH debits as GODADDYPS DEPOSITS and had been stealing money from our business account. We contacted Fist data merchant services by phone on 5/16/2014 and spoke with Amber. She stated that the debits are charge backs related to fraud and that we should have known better when processing any of the transactions. On 5/28/2014 the debited amount had risen to $4,738.45. We then received a phone call that same day from Joe at First data merchant services stating that our account had been terminated due to being a high risk account and that they would have to absorb the amount of money lost. Joe then stated that we would receive a letter of account termination in the mail within a few days which never showed up. On 6/22/2014 we received a threatening letter stating that we need to send a check in the amount of $2,276.08 or we would receive a negative impact on our personal credit score. Since then we have contacted the local Police department and FBI/IC3.

      Bottom line.

      We were never notified of any charge backs.

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      1 / 1 found this review helpful.
      1. Kathy

        Good to hear you are going after them. Keep us posted, I really would like to know how this works out for you as FirstData stole from me, too. Unfortunately, my bank was the one that recommended them to me and like a fool, I trusted them because I’d been with them for almost 30 years. FirstData stole from me and I’ve lost more than just money. It’s been over a year now since my contract was dissolved with FirstData and my customers still ask if my card reader is working. They should be stopped but seems no one with that kind of power is willing to help us little people out here. I hope you and the FBI take them down once and for all.

        Warning to many people out there, FirstData is using other names to operate their scam, make sure you research who owns the merchant service you are thinking of using. Take Care, Kathy

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        2 / 3 found this review helpful.
      2. Tony

        GoDaddy had no record of these charges.

        REMOVE FUNDS
        GODADDYPS FINCL ADJ
        ACH-FED
        Complete
        -$ 50.00
        $ 122.67
        01:46:19
        6022
        REMOVE FUNDS
        GODADDYPS FINCL ADJ
        ACH-FED
        Complete
        -$ 10.00
        $ 172.67

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  15. Brian Felton

    I signed up with The Merchant Services in Northport, AL. and cancelled quickly when I never received the C.C. machines. I was told everything would be null and void. I recently have been receiving calls and mail from First Data that I owe them $2500 on machines I’ve never used or had possession. The Merchant Services Co. tell me there is nothing they can do either nor can they provide me with a signed slip that I ever received those machines. Not sure what to do next!

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    1 / 2 found this review helpful.
    1. Kathy

      Please call your State Department of Consumer Protection and explain what has happened, they can direct you as to where to call for help, or help you. Also file complaints with the BBB, your local Police Dept., any office in D.C. That will take your complaint.
      Whenever you talk to FirstData, tell them you are recording them and please do record them as this helps you to keep your notes of what was said, etc. Good luck to you, don’t give up! Kathy

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      2 / 2 found this review helpful.
  16. Craig P

    We have been trying to cancel with them for 8 months ! Their debit processing stopped working for 8 weeks so we finally had to tell them we had to cancel. I have talked to over a dozen people with various hold times ranging from 45min to 2 hours. Each time I am told that I am important and that everything is taken care of. We keep getting bills. We sent the cancel form 3 times now. And now after nearly a year, they want to send me a bill for 500 for early cancellation. What a joke !

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    3 / 3 found this review helpful.
  17. Pamela

    I too have been a victim of First Data. I was going to lease the new Clover system. The lease fell through, but they had taken a first & last months lease payment, I was given all kinds of excuses. I am still trying to get my money back. The best thing I can tell you is this, if you are a small business or micro business as I am get the Square register. I did and I love it. No salesman, no hassle, no contracts, no hidden fees. They have done a lot, and they are still improving. Best of all everything is straightforward.

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    1 / 1 found this review helpful.
  18. Anwar

    First Data THE MOST DISGUSTING COMPANY on this planet with rude/unprofessional employees. BIG scam- their agents/resellers like Bank of America get you into a contract stating there is absolutely no commitment and later you will find out that you are on HOOK for 5 years. I have there JUNK CC machine that I used only few months of my business and when I called them to close this account I was surprised that you can close the account but you cannot get red-off the equipment lease and I will have to pay the lease for 5 years. I do not have that business and I am not processing anything on that machine BUT I have been paying for that piece of junk First Data equipment for last 3 years. They take money from my account without letting me for other craps like fee/tax which I never heard. PLEASE if you hear the word FIRST DATA run as fast as you can and NEVER do any business with them or their resellers. You will be doing yourself a huge favor. First Data Go to HELL you will be bank corrupt one day.

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    11 / 11 found this review helpful.
  19. Addie Myers

    I had requested my service be terminated and buy out my contract in Jan 2014,. The company said they would mail me information on how to return the machine. I called on other numerous occasions also and still never recieved anything to sent the machine back so they continue to bill me each month. I called on 7/8 to recancel again they rep said they would email me the information with in 24 hours, so on 7/11 i called back and still did not sent my lease agreement or information to cancel the rep said they had no record of it. yeah right, they are a scam

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    3 / 3 found this review helpful.
  20. Dawn

    First Data and EMPS work together to scam people and small businesses that can barely make it. I am a victim of that scam and continue to be charged outrageous fees every month, they enrolled me in Platinum Service Programs without my knowledge which they charge even more for then their undisclosed fees that are already too high. They do not send monthly statements until I have to go through a 20 minute phone call, they have not separated credit and debits on my bank account. The list goes on and on.

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    16 / 16 found this review helpful.
  21. Richard

    A new policy on annual PCI compliance fees leads to further mischief and mayhem by First Data.

    I was debited $39.95 for an annual compliance fee about three months before my current, annual PCI compliance certificate expires. These funds were taken from my bank account without my knowledge or consent. I do not utilize First Data for my annual PCI compliance but rather, choose the services of a third party PCI compliance institution. This company is more professional to work with and their fees are lower than First Data.

    Last year, First Data debited my account for annual compliance fees after I had paid a third party to certify a favorable PCI compliance standing. After a considerable amount of time and trouble on my part and following quite a bit of resistance from First Data, I was finally credited the fees they had erroneously extracted from my bank account.

    After absconding with my money this year, First Data told me that regardless of what company certifies my business as PCI compliant, an annual compliance fee of $39.95 will be accessed from First Data.

    I spoke with the company who currently certifies my PCI compliance and they indicated that there is no need for a merchant to be paying double and unnecessary compliance fees. This representative also said that once a business is PCI compliant, this certification should carry over to all credit card companies within their contract, as long as the processing is for the same business entity.

    Merchants processing through First Data received a spring bulletin indicating that merchants will no longer receive complimentary Sam’s Club memberships. Instead, First Data will absorb their annual PCI compliance fees. There is a catch, however. In order to be eligible for complimentary annual compliance certification a merchant must purchase a Sam’s Club Plus membership. The cost for this membership is usually $100.00 per year. Coercing merchants to pay Sam’s Club for an annual membership so they will not incur an annual PCI compliance fee is not only bad business deal or merchants but smacks of collusion (whether deliberate or unintentional) between Sam’s Club and First Data.

    I spoke to a representative from Sam’s Club about this and she said she has been made aware that many merchants are angry about First Data’s new policy on PCI compliance fees.

    As bad as this alleged scheme between First Data and Sam’s Club appears to be, there may be something far more nefarious going on, according to a independent firm that certifies the PCI compliance of merchants. The representative I spoke with said he thinks he knows what First Data is up to as far as PCI compliance fees are concerned. When First Data forces merchants to pay PCI compliance fees, even though these merchants are already certified through an outside, independent company, this provides First Data with an advantage when it comes time for merchants to renew their certification with a PCI compliance authority. Business owners who would otherwise sign up with a third-party company for their PCI certification will either reluctantly award the role to First Data or lose money. After all, if merchants must put up with First Data extracting money from their account with no hope of retribution or refund, why not just surrender to First Data each year when it comes time to for PCI certification renewals? Better to pay once for annual PCI certification rather than twice, even if First Data’s price is higher than the competition’s. First Data must be aware of this and their policy assures First Data will make their money on compliance fee regardless of what entity is chosen by the merchant to oversee their certification. It’s a win-win for First Data and a lose-lose for merchants who fall victim to First Data’s hijinks.

    This incident, as well as the other experiences illustrated on this forum should be a forewarning to anyone having to do business with an unethical, inept and unremorseful company such as First Data.

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    18 / 18 found this review helpful.
  22. Lisa

    First Data is nothing but a scam with the Merchant Processors. Their customer service is TERRIBLE!!!!! 20 minute hold times?! Are you kidding me! There processors are out dated and often do not process cards in the proper category thus resulting in higher fees (premium, debit, reward cards etc…) They are fraudulent and do not disclose all fees. I was thinking about passing on the lease to the buyer of my business but I would still be held accountable for the remaining 2 years of the contract. To buy the contract out is over $2000. They have Wee Small Business by the balls. I am going to cancel and start filing complaints like Kathy Channing stated in this thread. First Data and other like them need to be stopped.

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    20 / 21 found this review helpful.
  23. Asher

    I intend to do whatever necessary to terminate them.
    Service –bad and transparency bad
    We were paying for years rates not applicable to us

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    13 / 15 found this review helpful.
  24. Barbara

    I too have fallen victim to First Data and their shady business practices. I was never able to process even 1 credit card through there system and they continue to charge me every month for what they say is a fee for the debt they incurred, I have gained nothing and I don’t understand what this debt they incurred is. I called their customer service and I got a lecture about if I bought a car it would be the same as my debt with them. Where is the car, the asset I would have to offset the loan. What are they even talking about they are the worst at customer service. This month they sent me a property tax charge even thought I don’t have their equipment any more and only had it for a month. I too will close my account and let this go to collections I have no other choice other then giving them money every month for no reason what so ever.

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    10 / 11 found this review helpful.
  25. Gillian Cordery

    Do not use First Data. It has taken me over a year to cancel my account with them. I have faxed and mailed and called repeatedly and they still debited my bank account with monthly fee and a $151.75 membership fee. In total they took over $500 from me. They threatened to sue me if I cancelled my bank account to stop them from being able to access my money. They will put you on hold pass you around and give you other numbers to call. You cannot get a name to reference back to when speaking to the 100th person so you start from scratch each and every time you call to try to cancel. Do not use them.

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    15 / 16 found this review helpful.
  26. Richard

    Here’s the latest from “Foist Data”: Security Metrics and First Data had quite a falling out about a year ago. This meant that Security Metrics wasn’t First Data’s contracted vendor to administer PCI compliance certifications to First Data’s merchants. This did not stop Security Metrics from soliciting First Data’s client base in order to extract annual PCI compliance fees from them. No matter however, since Security Metrics is more professional and easier to deal with than First Data. Security Metrics doesn’t arbitrarily yank fees out of your bank account without notice and as a further bonus, Security Metrics will permit a merchant to renew their PCI compliance for as little as $29.95. That’s noticeably less than what First Data charges.

    Since, in all likelihood I will not be renewing my contract with Sam’s Club Merchant Processing later this year, I did not want to waste good money on another year of PCI compliance fees with First Data. Besides, I am already PCI complaint with another credit card processing company that offered me a much better deal than Sam’s Club. When I spoke with a customer retention specialist with First Data last year, she assured me that if I did not intend to process any card charges after February of 2014 through the end of my contract in September, I would not have to pay for a year’s worth of PCI compliance fees.

    The problem with the pledge one First Data employee makes is the failure in finding another employee with First Data who will honor the initial promise. While having it out with yet another inept, attitude latent First Data employee, I was initially told I was PCI compliant. Suddenly, in the middle of our dispute I became noncompliant. I thought this strange, specially since First Data had to issue me a credit for attempting to force me to pay twice for PCI compliance fees on the same account. Why would First Data approve a credit for PCI compliance fees if I wasn’t PCI compliant to begin with?

    Sure enough, I obtained my PCI compliance certificate from Security Metrics and I am indisputably complient through July of 2014. I had to email my certificate of compliance to First Data twice before someone in their PCI compliance department with affirm the received information.

    In a recent bulletin, the muckety-mucks who reside within the protective ivory towers at First Data have decided to bait their merchants with “free” PCI compliance while they take away the incentive of the annual, complementary Sam’s Club membership. This is known as a zero-sum game.

    I am looking forward to giving Sam’s Club and First Data the heave-ho at the end of my contract.

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    10 / 10 found this review helpful.
    1. Richard

      I thought First Data’s malicious mayhem and gross negligence had subsided, at least for the time being. Reading my most recent merchant statement however, I see that the systematic incompetence and lack of adherence to customer care continues.

      After contacting First Data about an separate issue and unexpectedly finding out they never updated my PCI compliance information, their top notch staff working in conjunction with their stellar computer records system erroniously debited my account for noncompliance fees. Coincidentally, this debit occurred on the very same day I made First Data aware of their mistake and sent them a copy of my PCI compliance certificate. Adding duplicity to ineptness, a First Data employee from their PCI Compliance Department assured me I would not be penalized for First Data’s error. First Data then proceeded to extract fees from my bank account later that same day.

      After a good 20 minutes on the phone with a “Customer Loyalty” representative and a PCI Compliance Department employee recently, I am still uncertain when my money will be properly returned to me.

      As unbelievable as it seems, the person from First Data’s PCI Compliance Department actually instructed me to forward an email I received from his own department back to the same department that originally sent it to me. This email confirmed First Data’s receipt of my PCI certificate as well as confirming my current status as complient.

      With such a blatent disregard for ethical business practices as well as the demeaning and disrespectful way First Data treats their customers, I can’t help but wonder why a major class action lawsuit against First Data has not been announced.

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      8 / 8 found this review helpful.
  27. Robin Barrows

    We were saddled with First Data by our local bank when we opened out guest house in 2006. Since we are absentee owners credit cards are the only form of payment that work for us. We have been battling first data ever since over their numerous fees and security charges making the cost of using credit cards well over 6% and some months well over 10%. Their statements are horrifically confusing. The happiest day of our business lives was when we switched to another credit card servicer. It was not that hard to do and we wished we had done it years ago!!!!!!

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    4 / 5 found this review helpful.
  28. Sally

    I have been quite happy with First Data in my many years with them so I don’t really understand why all of you are so angry. My friend showed me this site because they were thinking of using First Data like me but had 2nd thoughts after reading all the negative comments. I don’t know about all of you but I thoroughly read through contracts I’m signing and when I signed with First Data I had many questions about the credit card machine lease term as well as other fees on it. My sales person provided straight answers. Their rates are competitive with other companies but occasionally they’ve increased. I’ve heard from other business owners they all do but I just call First Data for a rate review and they lower them. This is the same as I go through for many other services I receive like phone and cable, it’s sort of annoying but really all service providers, airlines, car rental, hotels are feeing us all to death. Initially I optioned not to lease after confirming with the sales rep the part of the contract that states the lease is non-cancelable because my business was new and I didn’t feel confident I would be still be in business for 3 or 4 years. They explained to me how leases work, all leases, car, apartment, copy machines, etc. that all of those leases are non-cancelable as well, this is not a cancelable rental but a non-cancelable lease. This made sense to me! I’ve since been very successful in my business and decided to lease a point of sale system from them to help me better manage my business which I love and learned all their leases include replacement warranty!

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    4 / 10 found this review helpful.
    1. Phillip

      Hi Sally,

      In order to authenticate your testimonial, please reply to this comment with your business name and location.

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      5 / 5 found this review helpful.
    2. Lisa

      I find this hard to believe. I too would call monthly to check qualifying and competitive rates with First Data. Nothing – their so called “Customer Loyalty/Retention Department” was a joke. They would return my call at 2 AM. Really? And they knew exactly my type of business and the hours of operation. After all, it is stated on the contract.

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      4 / 4 found this review helpful.
  29. ZoiaEducator

    I am being scammed by First Data Global Leasing right now. I had a bad service from them for 6 months JUN13-JAN14 and I returned to them their credit card machine. But they are flooding me with threats to report to collection, trying to extort money for their fake electronic leas of 48 months. No small business owner would ever sigh such a lease.
    Please contact me at consign at zoiasfashions dot com. United people could reach better results against this parasites who live milking small business owners’ accounts. Please let me know if anybody here has found class action against FDGL. I see complaints from 2006 all over the Internet on them. But the fat multi-headed corporation is prospering on other people’s headaches. This is very wrong that a Consumer does not know how to fight this monster that has at least 8 addresses all over the USA. My UTube is zoiacalifornia. Please see my posts against First Data. Please join me! Thank you.

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    9 / 9 found this review helpful.
  30. William

    Has anyone been charged cancellation fees or anything else to their Sam’s Credit Card from First Data for terminating their contract? I’ve just closed my account so they can’t get anymore money from my bank account but I’m concerned they may hit my Sam’s card now. I intend to terminate by business account with Sam’s Club for pushing this company on their members. I will boycott any banks or other businesses who promote them. I have also filed complaints with two online sites gathering complaints for a class action suit against First Data, just do an internet search for class action first data.

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    7 / 7 found this review helpful.
    1. Kathy Channing

      William,
      I do not know what Sams Club will do or if First Data can charge your card but from what I’ve read and have been told by the Senior Legal Analyst at First Data Global Leasing, you will need to check your credit records. I am assuming they will damage your credit records via not being able to collect? Please contact your State agencies, Department of Trade and Consumer Protection under unfair business practices.
      Good luck to you, I battled with First Data Global Leasing for over a year and my bank is who recommended them to me. I also had to repeatedly go to my bank after First Data Global Leasing had agreed to terminate my contract and tell my bank to stop them from removing funds. I had to literately scream at the bank manager and tell him if he continued to allow them to remove funds from my account, that I would call the police and tell them I am being robbed and that he was in on it. Again, good luck to you. Kathy

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      4 / 4 found this review helpful.
      1. William

        Thanks for the reply Kathy and thank goodness for this website. Thank you Phillip! I’m going to let all my business aquaintances know about your site and advise them to go here before signing up with any merchant card processors.

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        3 / 3 found this review helpful.
  31. Bob Segal

    First customer service is the worst. I was consistently told to leave messages for any questions and never got a return call. After 3 years, I cancelled my account due to excessive fees and was told I would receive an email form to complete. It never arrived and when I asked what email they sent it to the customer service rep repeated an incorrect address. After a month of no activity I received a statement showing nearly $100 in fees deducted from my bank. When I call, I was told the account was still open and would not be closed until the form was completed. They claimed the fees were valid and I would not be reimbursed. The customer service rep belligerent, interrupting, and made threatening remarks. There is no reason to deal with a company like this when there are many good companies out there.

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    4 / 4 found this review helpful.
  32. Kathy Channing

    I thought I was done with First Data Global Leasing? I’d recently wrote and told you all of how you can report First Data to your State Department (commerce, Attorney General, etc., where ever you can get your complaint heard and get some assistance), anyway, I thought I was done with them. I gave my bank copies of the letter stating that my contract had been rescinded and it is signed by FDGL senior legal analyst. I’d also told my bank that this company was not to remove funds from my account.
    The other day when looking thru my account, I see First Data removed funds and the bank allowed it!!! Might be time to go above the State and see who else is going to listen.
    Can you imagine what would happen to any one of us, if we removed funds from another account? I am sick to my stomach with this bank and FDGL. There is no doubt they both stand to gain on my losses!
    Stay away from First Data and tell your friends to stay away from them too!

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    4 / 4 found this review helpful.
  33. Kathy Channing

    To all the victims of First Data Global Leasing Merchant Services ,
    I was able to get the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection in my State to help stop First Data Global Leasing from destroying my small business and my credit score of 8+. I called their office and was asked to file a complaint on line. A week or so later, I’d received a call from one of the officials in the State working for the Department of Agriculture under Fair trade practices, and he asked me several questions. He said he would do the best he could to help me and added that it could take months to years to resolve. I told him First Data was sued by the State of New York for 60 million under RICO laws and that nothing has changed, the pattern is still the same and that they could easily be sued using RICO law today. I added that I didn’t care about the money First Data caused me to loose, I just wanted the contract they made up dissolved and First Data to leave me alone for the rest of my life.
    About one month later, I’d received a letter from the Senior Legal Analyst at First Data Global Leasing stating the lease agreement with First Data would be terminated, and a letter from the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection stating that First Data Global Leasing would be put on their watch list for the next 3 years! Do not give up. file complaints with every single office you can find that will listen to you. I hope this is the end of my dealings with First Data Global Leasing and I hope this information will help some of you out there struggling with this company. Good luck to you! Kathy

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    7 / 7 found this review helpful.
    1. holiday

      My husband’s small business did not survive it’s first two years. It’s been closed since January and daily we get a nasty-gram at home and to the business location from these people stating he signed a NON-CANCELABLE lease. They won’t produce a signed copy of this NON-CANCELABLE lease but they sure are adding up the PAST DUE fees.. They want over $1000 to buy out of contract. The business is closed and done with. How do we get them off our backs? Please advise.
      Holiday

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      1. Kathy Channing

        They removed funds from our bank account before our business was open. I am wondering if the FCC could help any of us due to their need of using a phone line? Anyone know?

        Did you find this review helpful? Yes   No

  34. Michael Long

    First Data is the worst credit card processing company in the world!! They don’t disclose anything!! Their fraud protection is a joke and non existent!! They cripple small business owners!! Please DON’T USE FIRST DATA!!

    Did you find this review helpful? Yes   No

    1. Kenneth Harris

      I was not with them long enough and encounter similar problems. First Data/ First Bank Merchant Services stole funds from my bank account and then closed my account with them. I will not rest until something is done.

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      5 / 5 found this review helpful.
  35. David

    First Data is a big mess. Their customer service is abhorrent, their systems are in chaos, and I strongly recommend not doing business with them if you can help it. I fault the various managers and leaders of the company; they have their heads up their rear ends.

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    3 / 3 found this review helpful.

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