1st American Card Service / Very shady - stay away
On May 7, 2009, I called First American Card Services for information on a credit/debit card terminal for my business. I told them that I wanted to accept both debit and credit cards, all major credit cards, and that I would like to put two merchant accounts in one machine. I wanted it to be wireless since I sell at points away from home. The salesman, Brian, told me that I could do all of these things-no problem. So he sent me the paperwork, I filled it out and returned it.
On May 8, I was approved, as was my son who was the second merchant on the machine. I was told that the machine would be sent yet that day and I should have it on Monday, May 11. I did not get the machine until Wednesday, May 13. I called to have the machine programmed and then found out that my son's information was not in the programming system. I was told to call Brian in sales. He referred me to Laura who told me that there should be no problem--that everything was in order. I called programming and after they checked, they reprogrammed the machine. When it came time to test, I asked if I should use a debit or credit card for the test. They told me I wasn't set up for accepting debit cards. They told me to call sales. So once again, I called Brian and asked if I was set up for debit cards. He said that he had corrected it in the paperwork that a.m. and everything was fine. I would be able to accept debit cards. I called programming and they told me that I was not set up for debit cards and that the terminal I had was not encrypted for taking debit cards. I found out then that I needed a chip of some kind to put in the machine to give it the wireless capability but I didn't have that either.
Here goes another call to Brian. He transferred me to Laura. Laura told me that I was not approved for debit cards and that I would have to fill out paperwork and return. She would send me another machine that was set up for debit cards and she would program it for me. I asked about the wireless chip and she told me that I should have a little orange plastic card that came with my machine. I told her I didn't have it. She said, "They must not have sent you one." My son wanted to use the machine for a customer the next day and Laura told me that we could still get the terminal programmed and he would be able to use it as long as he used the telephone hookup. She told me she would send the orange chip that day and I would receive it the next day.
Thursday, May 14, the orange chip did not show up. I called Brian who transferred me to Laura. She told me that it had been shipped Wed by USPS Express Mail. When she looked it up, she found out that it would not arrive until Friday, May 15.
We tested the terminal to see if it would work for the second merchant account and it would not. So I called programming and they had to do some more adjusting on the terminal to make it work. My son's customer used the terminal to make his payment on a Discover card, it was approved, and we were given an authorization number. I called tech support and asked if I had to do a batch close on the terminal and they told me no. They said it would be done automatically at the end of the day.
On May 18, I sent Laura 2 emails asking about debit card approval. She didn't respond until May 19 when she said it had been approved and the new machine was shipped that day. I did not receive on May 20 so emailed her again. She did not respond until May 21 saying that the new terminal would not program so they had to get another machine. It was shipped on May 21 and I should receive May 22. I did get the terminal but through her oversight, it was only programmed for one merchant account.
My son's credit card charge was made on May 14. This charge amounted to $6171.11. On May 20, after several calls to his bank to see if it had been deposited into his account, he called Laura. She talked to the accounting department and they told her there was no record of the charge. My son called accounting and they told him they had no record of the transaction and that neither one of our merchant accounts were programmed into their system. My son called Laura and she was going to check on it. She called back and asked if we had done a batch close. She said it had not been done and they would have to force a batch close if it wasn't already too late. Bear in mind that I had called right after getting the machine programmed and was told it was done automatically. I used my terminal to print out a batch close which had an authorization number.
Laura called back and said that we WERE programmed into the system, the batch DID close and the transaction DID go through but the money was being held up in the risk department. She gave Ryan a number to call and it was to Susan in the I Payment risk department. She also told him that if it had been a Mastercard or Visa, there would have been no problem with this transaction but because it was a Discover card...
Thursday, May 21, Ryan called Susan and she did not know why he was calling because she had already explained everything to Laura and Laura was to tell him what the problem was. According to Susan, the transaction did go through but was deposited into my merchant account and my checking account. I called my bank and the money was not deposited into either of our accounts. Susan wanted a copy of the customer invoice and three of my son's bank statements. He had to fax them to her. The following day, he called Susan and she told him that the money was being held at high risk because the average ticket limit he had set wasn't high enough even though the monthly limit was $15, 000. She told him that the transaction had been proessed for my checking account. She told him the only way to fix this was for him to credit his customer back and run a new charge.
Friday, May 22, I made a phone call to Brian in sales. He explained that since my son did not have enough in his checking account to cover the large charge of $6171.11, he was considered high risk. This should have nothing to do with depositing my son's money into his account. My son took the phone and Brian talked to him and asked more questions about his business. He told my son that he was going to talk to IPayment and see if he couldn't help get this resolved and get the money deposited into my son's bank account.. He also told my son to call Susan at IPayment and get a letter explaining why funds were being held so that he wouldn't get into trouble when he went over to talk to them. He was to call my son back in an hour or so but he never did. I called Brian several hours later and he said that he was actually in a meeting with them then and would call back in 15 minutes or so. The phone call never came. When my son tried to call him back, the person who answered said Brian was in a meeting and would call back. He never did. The next call made reached an answering machine. The next call Brian answered and when he found out it was my son, he hung up. The next call received an answering machine. We never did get a call back.
So, Friday, May 22, I sent an email to the sales department terminating both merchant accounts. Today, June 1, 2009, we have not heard one word from anyone at 1st American Card Service s. The money is apparently sitting in limbo. It has not been deposited into either of our accounts and it has not been given back to my son's customer. Total number of phone calls and emails is estimated at 50 to 75 times with no resolution to this problem. From beginning to end, we were given incorrect information. Phone calls and emails were not returned promptly and sometimes not at all.
Brian, the sales rep with over 20 years experience was fast talking--ready to sell anything but was in no way ready--or able--to help us get set up. Laura, the other sales rep was not knowledgeable on what we had signed up for and lied continuously about the first terminal and shipping and arrival dates of orange card and replacement terminal. She was slow to answer emails.
The sales department and technical department did not have enough communication to know what we needed to have or needed to do to get set up and running. I made many phone calls to both departments to try to get satisfaction--poor, poor service from beginning to end.
The accounting department also gave us the runaround and this charge of $6171.11 is STILL floating around without a home. After two weeks of total frustration, we ended up giving up!
This company is holding my son's customer's money to this date. It needs to be refunded to him. It is just sitting in limbo at this point with no place to go but back to the customer!
I have read of other complaints on various websites about this company. Check out [redacted]s.com, measuredup.com, merchantseek.com. to name a few. This company is totally unethical and incompetent.
I plan to add my complaint to every possible website I can find so that other people will not be blindsided by this horrible excuse for a merchant services provider! I am also going to contact the banking commission in their state as well as federal legislators in my state and theirs. I will contact Better Business Bureaus, and the attorney generals in both states to report this mess of a company.
This money is not 1st American Card Services money to keep. They MUST return it to the customer who made the $6171.11 charge on his Discover card!!!
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