August 2019 Complaint Roundup: Is Your Sales Agent a Criminal?

What Are Other Merchants Saying?

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© Depositphotos – James Steidl
Here at CPO, we review every comment that we receive from our readers, and sometimes we see merchants mention a topic that isn't covered in our reviews. To help you stay on top of the trends and issues in the credit card processing industry, we've gathered the following merchant complaints posted to CPO during July and August. If you would like to respond or add your thoughts to any of these comments, please follow the links to the original comments and reply to them directly, or leave a comment of your own below the appropriate company's review.

CPAY Criminal Agent Allegations

Deb's August 2 comment on our Central Payment Corporation review states the following:

The contracted agent of CPay told me my application was denied. My credit score was close to 700 and CPay clearly accessed my credit because the agent quoted details of my report. I initially saw the inquiry when I checked Credit Wise. A few months later it was clear my identity was stolen as someone was applying for credit and creating checks in my (misspelled) name at numerous stores. I started getting letters from collection agencies for the bad checks. The only place I had shared my personal history was CPay and their agent Darrin Kelley Henderson. This gentleman was also a business partner of mine and a 3rd partner until we were forced to hire a lawyer to “fire” him from the LLC. The Identity theft became evident around this time. I also received a vile and badly written letter threatening my well-being and that of my family. This handwritten letter matched the handwriting of the CPay outside agent/my former partner.

Suspecting this person I called CPay and they showed no evidence in their system that I ever applied. I no longer saw the inquiry on Credit Wise. I was assured that there would be a record even if I had been refused but they had no record. It all had disappeared. No one at CPay seemed to believe me.

CPay claims they would never hire a convicted criminal, yet they did. Darrin Henderson was in prison for almost 8 years in Oregon but not the state he lived in at that time, California. I informed them of this and he was allowed to continue working there. The felonies alone should have been enough to end his contract. His crimes include kidnapping, attempted murder, fraud, possession of methamphetimine, harassment, bad checks etc. I sent proof of this and how they could access the info for themselves. No one reacted.

I have no doubt that Darrin Kelley Henderson never intended for me (or at that time (OUR business) to become clients of CPay. He saw me as a mark and either shared my personal information with someone he knew or sold it to the highest bidder.

I am trying to find out if there are others that have had a similar issue with this company. This incident has taken far too many hours of my life away from what I should be doing. My credit has been impacted negatively which is hurting my business. I found that Darrin K. Henderson died in a motorcycle accident in the Hemet CA area on 4-26-19. I am trying to make CPay/Tsys take responsibility for all the aggravation and damages that I, my current business associate and our business have suffered because of their failure to thoroughly investigate their agents that handle VERY personal and delicate information. They hired a criminal that has wreaked havoc on many levels for us and our business.

Just today while applying for a business loan I realized just how much this fraud has effected me and my business. I also ran across the original inquiry on only 1 of the 3 reporting agencies. Once again I called CPay and they seemed unconcerned and defended their company. EVEN AFTER presenting all the facts! I want to know who else has had a similar experience. I am quite sure mine is not the only instance of this nor is Darrin Henderson the only con artist contracted by CPay.

We cannot verify any details of this specific account, but it illustrates a common concern within the industry. Given that opening a merchant account requires you to submit a large amount of sensitive personal information to the bank, why do so many processors allow poorly vetted independent contractors to handle this process? It's a constant risk for merchants who deal with independent sales agents they do not know. For this reason, we advise merchants to either avoid working with independent sales agents or to work with CPO-accredited sales agents.

More Problems at WorldPay

Galen Niehues's July 14 comment on our WorldPay review states the following:

WorldPay decided to update their ebt, ewic, and gift card processing software on July 10th, 2019, right in the middle of people getting their ebt. The update caused a small percentage of stores, including mine, to be rendered unable to process ebt. It is still down as I write this on July 14th. This has cost my store thousands of dollars in business and untold future business. Every other store in my immediate area was still able to process ebt, so many of my loyal customers believe I was lying or discriminating.

Katherine Yates added an account of her struggles a few days later:

Worldpay has been applying charges to every statement I have received since October 2018 which are complete theft of my money. Such as a monthly statement fee of $4.99 every month although I opted out of receiving statements and do not receive statements. Another fee we are charged every month is Chargeback Service Fee T1. This fee is reportedly a monthly charge in case anyone requests a chargeback that month. That has never happened with us and we have opted out of this service in favor of paying a per-chargeback fee should one occur. Although we opted out of that program, we are still charged $7.50 every month. On the last page of my statement dated May 6, 2019, in a section marked “This Month’s News”, I read:

You have been enrolled in a free trial of Worldpay Bizshield, a third party data intelligence tool designed to protect your online reputation and grow your business. Worldpay Bizshield’s 24/7 monitoring software helps protect your business from critical activity like negative online reviews and incorrect business listings, and delivers real-time alerts directly into your email inbox. Your free trial is effective 5/1/2019 to 6/30/2019. If you don’t opt out before 6/30/2019, you will be charged $19.99 for July, and you will be charged for each subsequent month until you opt out. You may opt out of this product and service at any time by calling 800.846.4472.I contacted them 6/12/19 and opted out of this service. On my bill dated 7/6/2019, I was charged $19.99 for Bizshield. I called Worldpay and they did admit that I had opted out. They opened a case to have the charge returned. This is probably the 15th call I have made to them to correct various charges. They have 6-12 cases open for my account but not one of them has corrected any of the issues or been closed. That being said, I have two accounts with them and another whole set of problems with them and cases opened on the other account too. Complete theft. I will get out of this asap.

It seems as though we do not go for more than a few months at a time without learning about a newly applied fee or service disruption from WorldPay. We can no longer blame this on the Vantiv merger, as it has been more than 18 months since Vantiv and WorldPay combined to form one of the largest payment processors in the world. Merchants who are currently with WorldPay are urged to review their monthly statements for any hidden fees.

Gravity Payments Intentionally Miscoding?

Ryan Matthews' July 11 comment on our Gravity Payments review states the following:

I set up my account with Gravity Payment in July 2018, explaining all the different profit centers that we do. Emery Wagner, Gravity Payment Business Development, who I have known for over 4 years understood my business as he has been a client of my business since 2013. Outside of a lack of knowledge about the hardware they sell and how to actually set it up, everything when smoothly (after the 2 weeks it took them to set up my POS hardware with me basically telling them how) until Feb. 2019, when I stated invoicing clients for services that we have provided. Gravity Payment blocked and held thousands of dollars. Come to find out Gravity Payment miscoded my business, something that I researched and found out Gravity Payment has had a history of doing in the which gives them an unfair competitive advantage over other merchant service providers which should be a violation of Antitrust laws. Note: a merchant can be held liable by credit card companies for being miscoded. Emery Wagner gave 3 different excuses for the blocked charges yet would not provide any documentation supporting this. In the process of trying to work with Gravity over a 2 month period, most of my clients and my independent contractor company started to get restless over the charges and invoicing problems. I lost most of my clients and my independent contractor company which caused me to have to close my business since I couldn’t run both operations by myself. A lost of tens of thousands of dollars. Not knowing what charges were rejected, was accepted, and what was being held by them, I requested documentation of the status of every charge. Gravity Payment, in retaliation, refunded over $12,000.00 to my clients, Emery Wagner being one of them, without authorization. I noticed this right away and contacted Gravity who said it was a communication mistake however they wouldn’t do anything about it. I had my attorney represent me at this point. Gravity refused to provide any documentation or work we us, and Gravity continued to contact me even after being notified that I was represented by an attorney. I block them from my bank account & they held my funds until they got their unauthorized money back . As of June, they again started holding my money for May fees however May was paid in full. Then they changed stories & stated it was for June when June wasn’t over yet. They refuse to work will me on getting their fees to them without allowing them to have accept to my bank account. Unfortunately, I will never allow them access to my bank account, so reporting them to the AGO and FTC, as well as requesting legal action from my attorney will be the course we go. I have owned over 40 different businesses and many many merchant service providers and have never had a problem. I highly recommend others to go with a different merchant service provider.

Miscoding is a tactic that is currently most common in high risk sectors like CBD, marijuana, and nutraceuticals. Providers intentionally miscode their merchants in order to skirt government or banking regulations that prevent those merchant from conducting business. This can result in negative outcomes for the merchant, especially in the form of reversed transactions or fund holds. If you are operating in an industry that banks are hesitant to work with, we recommend signing up with a high risk merchant account specialist.

Checking In On Payza

Doug's July 11 complaint on our Payza review states the following:

I’m a US citizen, so all of my Payza funds got frozen by the USDOJ in November of 2013. Yep, they are STILL frozen today, almost 6 years later. No word from the USDOJ. Forget leaving them any voice messages at their number. In the recording, they say they will reply to you in a few business days, but the last time they did was about 4 years ago, at least for me (which was a couple of months after I left them a voice message). They had nothing to tell me either.

It sure looks like Payza is dead, and there might not even be a final legal resolution to this whole ordeal. Justice Department officials have urged legitimate Payza users who have lost their money to contact law enforcement.

Have you had an experience that you would like to share with these commenters? Reply to their comments and you may be featured in next month's complaint roundup!

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