1st American Card Service / INCOMPETENT company
Before doing business w/ 1st American Card Service, I had NO EXPERIENCE w/ the credit card processing industry. I thought I had made this point very clear when initially speaking to a rep and asking what my estimated monthly fees would look like. Not ONCE was the “gateway fee” mentioned, nor was it put on my application (the company fills in some information for you). 1st American states that this fee was listed on the Purchase Agreement, so basically it’s my fault that I missed it. Again, being new to this whole thing, AND specifically asking what my monthly fees would be, AND being that this company has the BBB rating that it does, I just trusted that what was being told to me was true. Why wasn’t it explained to me in the first place that there would be a “gateway fee” and that this fee is listed in the Purchase Agreement? With the million pages of documentation, yes, I’m sorry—I made a mistake and misunderstood this ONE SENTENCE to be something else. When I found out about the fee was after I was approved and logging into the website for the first time. It asked that I click on a link to “agree” to the terms stated—I did NOT click on the link and e-mailed the company right away.
1st American states it “guarantees” the lowest price and that they’ll match competitors, however already having experienced issues during a “simple” application process, I felt I would rather do business with a company that was clear in their communication right from the get-go, and therefore requested that my agreement with 1st American be terminated vs. attempting to resolve the issue and continue doing business with them.
I received NOTHING via e-mail or phone calls to confirm my request for termination. I sent multiple requests for them to confirm yet got nothing. 2 weeks later, my bank account was debited $49.95 for the initial set-up fee. I was definitely surprised to see this, as I requested that my contract be terminated (per 1st American’s marketing, one should be able to terminate with no problem), AND I never clicked on the link that meant I agreed to the terms given.
Another 2 weeks later, more charges debited from my bank account in the amount of $15.00 and $0.30. 3 days later, $8.00. It was then that I sent certified mail complaining to 1st American, as well as filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Through that process, 1st American stated it would refund my money and terminate my account with them.
It’s 1 month later—still NO REFUND. Yesterday, I received an e-mail from eProcessing Network (affiliated w/ 1st American) stating they attempted to pull the 2nd month’s fee and inquiring why my bank has blocked them. Wow, I thought my contract would be terminated for sure since I dealt w/ the Better Business Bureau…I guess not. I attempted to file a 2nd complaint w/ the BBB, but they state they can no longer help me and to take my problem to the State Attorney General’s Office or the Federal Trade Commission. I've looked at various websites--CA Dept of Consumer Affairs, Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Attorney General, LA County Dept of Consumer Affairs. To say the least, I'm livid and disheartened. It appears I can't really do much except take them to small claims court. In the end, I feel 1st American Card Service knew of the loopholes in the BBB complaint process, as well as knew how time consuming it would be to fight them, and that I probably wouldn’t. Worth the $73 to fight? I work full-time and have 4 children…no, not worth the $73. But the company has pissed me off enough to write this review. Don't like thinking of others negatively, but after everything, I can't help it.
A little more entertainment for y’all: 1st American stated they spoke w/ me on April 2, 2010 and described in detail the “conversation” we had. They also had the nerve to say they would supply the BBB w/ “caller ID logs, certified by AT&T and notes from the conversation.” UNBELIEVABLE. Excuse my French, but BS!!! The last over-the-phone contact I had w/ them was on January 22, 2010. No I’m not sophisticated enough to have certified caller ID logs, but I am Type-A and have saved ALL my correspondence w/ them. 1st American is SUPER SHADY.
I’m not crazy—everything I have described above is TRUE. I’m glad others have had a completely different experience—maybe I just dealt with a different group of people in the company that’s incompetent. To date, I have not gotten my money back, it appears my contract still has not been terminated, and attempts at debiting my bank account are still occurring. I am definitely disappointed with the lack of professionalism, inconvenience, time wasted, and the outcome of all this, as I was expecting much more given 1st American has the rating it has with the Better Business Bureau.
Please check out merchantmaverick.com. It is through this website that I have also vented, as well as have finally found a TRUE A+ company.
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