July 2019 Complaint Roundup: Make The Sales Calls Stop

What Are Other Merchants Saying?

Negotiation image
© 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 June and July. 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.

Just Say The Magic Words

AM's July 7 comment on our North American Bancard review states the following:

I worked for one of NAB’s independent sales/marketing contractors – Sekure, aka First Choice – for a month. It’s a telemarketing hiring mill. They never told us we were contractors for NAB, they gave us a script and info that was riddled with lies and misleading statements. Company policy was that the only way we stopped calling businesses permanently was if you became abusive on the phone or threatened legal action. The only other way to stop our calls was to claim that the number was residential only, with no business.

The basics of our script were this:
1) We only spoke to the “decision-maker” (typical of telemarketing sales) and if we discerned that the person that answered the phone was not letting that happen, we said goodbye and called back in a week.
2) We claimed to be independent, third-party analysts with no ties to any processor. We offered to analyse merchant statements, let multiple processors bid to do better, and come back to the merchant with the best possible deal. That was what we were told to say, and I assumed it was accurate until a higher-up at the company informed me otherwise while out for drinks. None of it was true. We sold for NAB only. No analysis was done. NAB always offered the same rate. We always claimed there was no cancellation fee. There was. The quoted rate was usually raised within months of agreeing to the contract, too (usually from 2-3% to 3-5%).

So why did I work for this obviously despicable company? Because they hid all of this. The company name changes every couple years, and it’s registered in French (it’s based in Montreal) so it’s very difficult to find online. Once I discovered the truth, I quit without notice.

Don’t work with this company. Tell the telemarketer the number they called is a residence. If you’ve already given them your business, may God have mercy on your soul.

This report of a deceptive, high-pressure sales environment is typical of Sekure. However, it does offer a new insight into how to make North American Bancard, Sekure, and First Choice telemarketers leave you alone. You simply have to state that your number is a residential location or aggressively threaten legal action.

We recommend insisting that your number is residential and sticking to that lie as convincingly as you can. Sekure is one of the industry's most frequently cited offenders when it comes to aggressive telemarketing, and its sales team will continue calling if they think there's any chance of a sale. If you have already signed a contract with North American Bancard or Sekure, we recommend seeking a third-party rate reduction service to eliminate hidden fees from your contract.

More Riverside Allegations

Ron posted this June 21 comment on our Riverside Payments review in response to a testimonial from “Maggie's Buns” in Forest Grove, Oregon:

Maggies is closed Riverside often finds closed businesses and try to make it sound like they have given positive reviews. https://pamplinmedia.com/fgnt/36-news/419771-323768-maggies-buns-to-close-after-22-years-in-business-

Riverside Payments has previously been caught faking testimonials, so Ron's report does not come as a huge surprise. The threat of false positive reviews is a major reason why we verify testimonials. This new tactic, however, is much harder to detect without conducting extra research about every single business that posts a positive comment about Riverside Payments.

In general, merchants are advised not to trust any unverified testimonials. When it comes to Riverside, you should regard any positive remarks with extreme skepticism whether they are verified or not.

Beware Multiple Currency Conversions

Andy Nguyen's July 1 comment on our Skrill review states the following:

Hi guys.

I had roughly $271 USD in my Skrill account. After verifying my bank information and all of that, I made a full withdrawal. A couple days a later, I check my balance… I only received $289 CAD in my bank. I was also charged a $15 CAD wire transfer fee.

I thought this was a mistake or something, so I tried contacting them. I also asked for their support number. Every time they reply back, they give me a link to their support page with numbers THAT DO NOT WORK.

They also also said this is the reason I only got $289 CAD is that their bank transfers money to 3 other banks which can then transfer money into my account. Each bank takes a commission, and this is why I lost nearly $60.

This practice of chaining conversions and offering a commission to each bank seems very suspicious. As an international payment processor, Skrill should be able to simply convert USD to CAD with a single conversion fee at most. Due to this and other user reports, we do not advise accepting payments through Skrill at all at this time. Instead, we recommend using a proven multi-currency specialist when processing international payments.

Ironwood Makes Good

Michael Hagan's July 9 complaint on our Ironwood Payments review states the following:

Our first run in with Ironwood was horrible, the salesman lied to us about the service we were to receive, it was suppose to be a buy in pool for better rate and wound up being a 4 year $4000+ lease with Northern leasing! Hey we’re automotive mechanics not lawyers so we took the salesman at his word, boy we were dead wrong! We were paying more than the previous processor! we were stuck in this lease but not with the processing so we dumped Northern Leasing and went with HMS, great company. After about 6 months with HMS good ol Ironwood called us and told us of their prior problems with the company and what they are doing to correct the issues, then proceeded to ask us what it would take to get their business again, so we told them to match the current rates we have and pay the lease payment. Not only did Ironwood match it but they beat it and they are also paying the lease payment for us! Ironwood has done a complete 180 degree turn around, Fired all their local sales staff and are genuinely improving their company practices. Thank you Ironwood for stepping up to the plate and not only admitting your mistakes but also doing something about them!

Ironwood does indeed have a checkered past, but the company has made an honest effort in the past few years to right the wrongs perpetrated under previous ownership. At CPO, we will always monitor poorly rated processors with extreme vigilance, but we also give credit to processors that sincerely work to improve the industry. In Ironwood's case, it's encouraging to see that the company has reinvented itself as a true advocate for merchants. We continue to demand that other poorly rated providers follow its example.

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!

Reader Comments

Tell Us What You Think

1 User Reviews

  • Barbara Matthews

    AppStar. First they tell you certain rate. Then charge for each time you Settle. Which makes rate go way up during peak season. We settle after each deposit ran and then at the end of day after people check in to their room. We are a very small motel. They also had said there was NO termination fee, which they did sneak in. I told them July 2019 we switched providers. Figured they would take fee for a month or two. NOPE, they took $70-78/month for July, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, and Dec of 2019 and Jan/Feb 2020. I informed them in November 2019 was leasing business out come 1Jan2020. Plenty of notice for $495 termination fee to not be charged. Charged that in Feb 2020. Account rep said in July he had to tell what steps to take to close account. Then no response to phone or email after July. I finally wrote First American Payment Systems and explained all of this. What did I get? Still charged monthly fee in Feb and the termination fee in Feb 2020. All of a sudden account rep could call to tell me this was going to happen though. What a bunch of crooks! I have now reached out to customer service of First American Payment Systems. Will see what happens.

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