September 2019 Complaint Roundup: Yapstone’s Unpopular New Policy

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 August and September. 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.

Yapstone's New Fund Hold Policy

We've received a flood of Yapstone complaints over the past month, nearly all of which were related to a major change in the company's payment schedule:

They just changed their payment policy without any notice. They just announced they will payments until check-in instead of paying the host when the guests pay.

Yapstone w/o notice (effective immediately) has changed its policy to immediately transfer the first part of monies received on confirmed reservations to property owners using VRBO in favor of making this payment at guest check-in. This first payment now can be received immediately with a 3% fee or Yapstone has generously and unilaterally (though possibly VRBO-Expedia have agreed and benefit) decided to keep these reservation monies up until the actual stay as what is essentially an interest free loan.

I am disgusted to hear about this companies recent changes as they relate to their partnership with VRBO/ Homeaway. They have immediately stopped instant payments to homeowners when someone rents are house. So they charge me a fee for the transaction (about 12%) then they want to hold onto the money till one day after the guest checks in. I could essentially have thousands of dollars tied up by them for months with no guarantee that I will actually get paid. This is my house not yours, I am so sick of this strong armed treatment.

YapStone is now withholding Renter’s funds from the VRBO website for an 30 day period until after renter’s arrival. To receive your funds as before they are charging an additional 3% of the transaction fee. The greed of Yapstone and their partner affiliate VRBO is never ending. This needs to end!

Vacation rentals are a uniquely challenging industry for payment processors. Each transaction averages hundreds or thousands of dollars, but the buyer (the renter) doesn't receive the product (their rental stay) until well after the payment is processed. This is a classic recipe for high-dollar chargebacks and fraud, and Yapstone appears to have instated this policy precisely to protect itself from renter-initiated chargebacks.

However, this policy could deny property owners access to their rental revenues for months, which makes earnings totally unpredictable. Moreover, the fact that Yapstone is willing to provide the money earlier for an additional 3% fee seems to have come across as more of a slap in the face than a friendly convenience. VRBO users may be stuck with Yapstone for the time being, but we encourage merchants to get in touch with independent vacation rental payment processors to see if they can find a better solution.

Square's Tax Reporting Issues

Three different complaints on our Square review mention ongoing difficulties with the company's tax reporting:

Well, I think this review going to go in line with a lot that are already posted. This one pertains to taxes and a levy. If you have a levy against your funds, you have 21 days to resolve the levy in order to have your funds returned or paid to the IRS. Square conveniently, makes it impossible to resolve this. They don’t have a phone number for the tax specialists, they only email brief sentences, and want nothing to do with actually helping you. This kind of response to a tax issue should have civil consequences at a minimum. The regular cs reps do not know anything, and after one or two times, supervisors will ignore your requests. It is a very frustrating situation and is unacceptable. So, this review is warning of sorts for people that might have a tax issue, erroneous or not, Square will do everything in it’s power to not speak with you or the IRS about it. I had to demand for almost 6 days a copy of the levy. My levy is erroneous, but I have funds that are being held because of it and the IRS cannot even speak with them. Think about that for a second. Hope no one has to deal with what I have had to deal with.

In July I discovered that Square submitted 5 years of 1099’s totaling over 100k of income that was not mine leaving me liable for IRS taxes and putting a hault on my healthcare. I contacted them to let them know and to correct immediately. I discovered that an organization I used to work for used my social for their square ticket sales.

Square said there was nothing they can do until the org corrected this. I contacted the organization and notified them and they immediately corrected the situation providing square with bank records to prove the account was not mine. Square said once they had this they would immediately report to the IRS

As of yesterday, the IRS is still reporting that square has not corrected this information.
My Marketplace healthcare can not be reinstated until this is corrected!!!! This is really serious as I need my healthcare.

The way this has been handled is shameful and has the potential to cost me thousands of dollars in legal fees.
I have spent hours trying to rectify a mistake They have caused.

I contacted them again and they keep sending me form reponses with instructions that I already completed.
NO way to get anyone on a phone to give me info because the account is not mine and I don’t have access to it.
When a person does contact me via email there is no follow up and they keep repeating things that were already done. I am so frustrated.

I received a letter from the IRS in July 2019, stating that I had an additional $44k in unreported income for the 2017 tax year through a Square account that I never even heard of. The IRS was able to show that I received all these deposits from Square over the course of that year.

As Square’s phone number is useless, I’ve resorted to Twitter DMs and Emails to get responses. The ultimate run around! They continue to bounce around providing any sort of supporting documents to let the IRS know this was not me. After 2 months, Square said I needed to file a FTC report and police report just for them to continue on with my case!

I’ve filed Identity Theft w/ the IRS, and they’re case came back inconclusive.

Square is useless! All I need is for them to show proof of these accounts and deposits, but they refuse to share it!

It's certainly a strange coincidence that these three complaints, which are not typical complaints for Square, have been posted in the past month. It's possible that the company has recently changed its tax reporting procedures, or that the IRS is specifically looking for unreported income through Square at this time. In any case, it does not seem like Square's customer service team has proven especially helpful for merchants who have tax issues. At this time, we recommend that all Square merchants contact Square in order to confirm that there is no unreported income under their name.

Another Name for Tier 1?

Tamra Calhoun's August 28 complaint on our Tier 1 Processing review states the following:

Today I randomly received a phone call from a lady named Jennifer stating that she was calling me concerning a refund that my company was owed due to being charged for PCI compliance for the last three months… all I would need to do is fax or email my last three statements to receive the credit. When I asked what company she worked for she responded “corrective compliance division with merchant services”; I replied I understood she worked in merchant services but for what company which she stated her division worked for thousands of companies. Hearing the run around I consented agreement to “do my best” to get that over via email and jotted down her info…

Jennifer @ 1-888-315-9629 x 1417
To send my bank statements to…
[email protected]

When I look up “Top Tier Payment Solutions” the website is under maintenance and of course no BBB listing. I feel this business flat out lies to con small business owners (like myself) to gain clientele for a disreputable company. This should be illegal.

It appears likely that Tier 1 Processing may be selling under the DBA “Top Tier Payment Solutions”. While we have not yet published a full review of Top Tier Payment Solutions, merchants can find comprehensive coverage of the company in our Tier 1 Processing review. Tier 1 Processing is currently one of the worst-rated merchant accounts on CPO, and Top Tier Payment Solutions will join it on that list if it is indeed another DBA of Tier 1.

A First Data Whistleblower

DEL's August 14 complaint on our First Data review states the following:

I was employed by FDMS some years ago. I worked in HR in the Hagerstown office. I witnessed some of the most unethical, immoral, and illegal practices that I have ever seen. Although I refused to perform any of these ridiculous acts, I was asked not only to shred (“negative feedback”) employee surveys, but also to fill out a bunch of “positive feedback” surveys. I witnessed employee layoffs based on reasons other than performance and/or department needs. I witnessed layoffs based on race, popularity, and other personal reasons. I witnessed managers who wrote discriminatory remarks directly onto resumes of people interviewed. For example, notes were written on resumes that supposedly helped management remember which candidate was which. Notes included references to race, weight, height, foreign accents, and other notable attributes. I witnessed firing of employees with reasons noted in the employees file that weren’t true. For example, 1 employee was fired for insubordination – which was a complete lie. I could go on and on about how horrible this company was while I was there – and I was there for less than 9 months. Remember, I refused to perform the illegal, immoral, and unethical practices that I was asked to perform however some colleagues did not refuse.

These allegations do not reflect positively on First Data's Hagerstown office, and they are of interest both to merchants and to sales agents. Sales agents who are considering working with First Data should conduct due diligence on this office's reputation, and merchants should be aware that the sales agents and internal workers they encounter may be subject to these working conditions. If you witness criminal conduct from any payment processor, we recommend that you report bad credit card processors.

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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