November 2018 Complaint Roundup: WorldPay May Be Hiking Its Fees

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 October and November. 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.

Fee Hikes From WorldPay

Ted C's November 8 comment on our WorldPay review states the following:

This from a WP October 2018 Statement:- Rough Waters Ahead

Due to the complexities of the payments industry and systems that support your processing, we must periodically review our pricing structure. Effective December 1, 2018, you may be assessed an annual fee of up to $199 each year in December.

We have recently undertaken a review of your processing account including current discount rates applied to your Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express transactions. As part of this review we manage both actual and anticipated increases in the pricing structures of these networks as well as our own costs to support more effective and efficient processing. Consequently, after careful analysis, your discount rate for Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express transactions may increase by up to 0.60% and your transaction fee may increase by up to $0.35 effective December 1, 2018,

Due to the complexities of the payments industry and risks absorbed by us as your processor, we periodically must review our pricing structure. As such, effective December 1, 2018, you may begin to be assessed a Non-Qualified Surcharge Fee. The Non-Qualified Surcharge Fee base rate on non-qualifying transactions may be assessed at up to 0.95% and the Non-Qualified Surcharge Fee on downgraded transactions may be assessed at up to an additional 1.00% above the base rate. If your statement reflects transaction downgrades or if you have any questions regarding this information, please call the number located at the top of your statement. Please take time to review your reports and billing statements. Many interchange downgrades are avoidable and can be reduced through system and operator improvements at the point of sale.

In addition to introducing a hefty $199 annual fee, WorldPay appears poised to jack Ted's transaction rates and fees by a huge percentage starting in December. The company's claim that the rate hikes stem from “actual and anticipated increases in the pricing structures of these networks” doesn't check out because the October 2018 interchange rate update enacted only minimal changes. It is more likely that WorldPay has reviewed Ted's account and determined that it is not earning a sufficient margin on his current pricing.

If you are a WorldPay customer, we recommend checking your most recent monthly statement immediately for an announcement like the one in Ted's. If WorldPay begins applying these new rates to your contract, we suggest that you seek a third-party statement audit to eliminate fees without switching.

Advice for Lease Finance Group Victims

Minh Nguyen's November 11 complaint on our Lease Finance Group review states the following:

Thao Nguyen, sorry about your loss. I went thru the same thing with Lease Finance Group. This is what I was told; LFG has their attorney in New York and this is where they depend on for back up with their scams. Unless your contract with them was signed in NY or your business located in NY or your business practices or sells products in NY, they cannot sue you thru NY court. They have to come down to your local court, which will never happen. Unless you receive actually document which was sent to you from NY court with government seals, this usually bring to your home or business by your local police officers. LFG only send you demands letters from their attorney to threaten you and your business. Talk to your local attorney (be sure you know the attorney well or he/she might scam you next).

We receive a huge volume of complaints from merchants who have no idea how to fight the long-term equipment leases forced on them by Northern Leasing, Lease Finance Group, and MBF Leasing resellers. These leasing providers are known to have very aggressive legal departments that harass merchants with constant letters if they default on their lease agreements. While we do not claim to offer legal advice, it appears that Minh Nguyen has received counsel suggesting that these letters are nothing more than empty threats. In fact, Lease Finance Group may not have any legal authority to file its lawsuits against out-of-state merchants in the state of New York. Be sure to contact an attorney before relying on this information, but if it's accurate, you may be free to blow off these “D” and “F” rated companies at last.

Don't Accept Free Terminals You Didn't Ask For

Norman's November 8 comment on our Red Payments review states the following:

These People are Vicious. Stay far away. Their sales people sucker you in and then they shaft you. I told them that I did not need or want a terminal, since we did all transactions on line. They sent it free with the comment that I could sell it. It came with the package. Well it is $57.94 a month for 48 months ($2781.00) not bad for a $300.00 terminal. They suck with service.
Stay AWAT, FAR AWAY. They got me.

This is a new way to stick merchants with long-term equipment leases that appears to rely on “program” or “package”-style pricing. In this arrangement, a processor quotes extremely low per-transaction rates as part of a pricing package that also includes a long-term equipment lease. The processor is counting on the high margins on the lease generating a profit despite the low per-transaction rates. We don't have all the details, but in Norman's case, it is likely that a Red Payments representative sold him on a pricing program that included an equipment lease, which gave the representative legal cover to refer to the lease as “free” or “included” equipment. Whether you consider that a technicality or a flat-out lie, it is a clear lesson not to accept any products from a new processor that you did not request. And always go with a top-rated provider!

Your Account Can Be Raided Even After Cancellation

Daniel J Bishop's November 9 complaint on our First American Payment Systems review states the following:

Worst company on earth!!! don’t ever sign a lease for their equipment even if the merchant processor tells you it is a month to month agreement that can be canceled at anytime. The merchant processor gave me all sorts of promises in writing and it didn’t do a bit of good when they failed to uphold their side of the deal. They charged more than they said they would and when I canceled I thought everything was taken care of but no. I kept getting charged $60-$70 per month for a couple of years. I finally had enough seeing as I had already over the time paid $2694.71 for a card reader that cost less than $250 to buy. I had my bank put a stop payment on them and the next thing I know they changed the debit name slightly so it would go through and stole $2057.54 on top of what I had already paid without my approval or any warning. It seriously impacted my business as I had not budgeted for that type of a hit. When I did a search on the internet I found they had done the same thing to 100’s of other people. If anyone wants to start or join a class action law suit against them let me know.

Although Daniel did the smart thing and blocked First American Payment Systems from his bank account, he got burned by a classic payment processor trick. Credit card processors can usually initiate debits from your account from a number of different names in order to collect funds they feel they are owed, so a mere stop payment will not deter them. If you are planning to cancel your merchant account without paying a fee, we recommend closing the compromised bank account and opening a new one with no connection to the processor.

Riverside Trading Buyouts for Testimonials?

Charles's October 25 comment on our Riverside Payments review states the following:

All of the good reviews are only for buyouts! Riverside! Worst company ever!!!!! hidden fees are putting my career and my income in jeopardy! I thought I would be safe with these guys after a buyout but they turned out to be even worse than the last company. Just save yourself some time, stress and loss of money by getting the SQUARE like I should have kept

To be clear, we are not making an allegation here. However, Charles's accusation is a curious one considering the huge number of similar-sounding positive testimonials that have flooded our Riverside Payments review over the past year. The company's contract terms score a “D” under our criteria, and it has received its fair share of complaints in the past. The constant influx of Riverside testimonials (which is far greater than any other company on our site has received) accordingly strikes us as odd, if not downright suspicious. If you have any knowledge of a review-for-buyout system in place at Riverside, please contact us.

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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