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Leaders Merchant Services / Unauthorized Charges & Fees

1 Tucson, AZ, United States Review updated:

Our very first charges with Leader's Merchant Services declined 2 charges for $9752.00 yet managed to remove this amount for over 14 days from my clients account - this was a debit account. They denied they had the money and said the system voided the transaction but the money was gone! When questioned about this issue they actually hung up on me and said it was nothing they had done! This was a client that trusted me and happened to have this kind of funds available. Not too many people are blessed enough to have this kind of understanding client. I know i couldn't be without close to $10, 000 for over 14 days. They were rude and unhelpful. I closed the account immediately after the funds found there way back into my clients account. Then they had the nerve to charge me for this and other unknown and unspecified charges. I happily went back to Elavon without issue!! Stay away from this company.

Li
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  • Tr
      10th of Feb, 2011
    0 Votes

    From personal experience would advise staying away from this company. Too much of a headache and yes they "stole" money in excess of $99 to $350 out of my account recently.

    Back in late August of 2010 I signed with Leaders after the new merchants account CSR, Brody contacted my company about providing credit card processing services. After hashing out details Brody presented me with a reasonable contract. The contract stated as follows: 1.69% transaction fee on Master Card and Visa transactions, no batch or header fee, no monthly charge fee, no annual fee, free terminal setup, and no cancellation fee. I had my own terminal so no need to rent or buy another one. There was a dormant fee of $7.85 I would have to pay if account was inactive of course. I asked the CSR if there were going to be anymore fees related to this account the rep said no. I read the fine print and sent it over to my attorney for review. I thought this would be a good company to work with for credit card transaction. Well I thought wrong. That From day one I have had problems with Leaders. 1. Lost revenue in tip money transactions. 2. Every time I called in with a problem about my terminal the CSR told me my terminal was not PCI compliant that I would need to buy a new one. My machine at the time was less than two years old. If I needed a new machine the rep that I signed up with would had told me. If the machine was not PCI compliant I would not have joined Leaders nor could they be able to program the terminal. 3. Ridiculous $149 "PCI" compliance fee. If you refused to pay the fee Leaders would bill you $30 for not being compliant. My last transaction company only charged $29 annual PCI fee due tot he fact that I was a small business. Also the huge compliance fee and their so called standards were left out of the contract. The PCI fee is for those that have credit card information on file and my business does not keep that information on file. 4. Poor customer service. Representatives were not knowledgeable about transactions problems (either reading from a manual or being transferred to another CSR for assistance) and/or tried to get me to buy another terminal. 5. 11-15-10 After a month of being dormant and realizing the service was not for me I decided to cancel. I also found out the PCI fee was $149 and would start to be taken out in three easy installments in November 2010. If not, I would be charged an additional $30 for being non compliant. I did not agree to these fees. Upon the information I received and decided to cancel. I was transferred to Leaders cancellation department and spoke to Edwin a "supervisor". See, most companies try to keep your business when you threaten to close your account, this one doesn't. Total red flag. Edwin was extremely rude over the phone when I tried to cancel my account. He stated he would go ahead and send me a cancellation form by fax and he needed it by the close of the business day. He also told me there would be additional fees and penalties for closing my account. I told him that he needed to review my contract because the contract stated no additional fees would be charged apart from transactions fees that were processed for that month. He said that I would be charged additional fees upon the review of my contract. That those fees were unpreventable. I asked to speak to his supervisor and he refused to allow me to speak to someone higher up to resolve being charged "additional fees". I told him I needed to speak to his manager. Edwin, said he was the highest that I could go and I would have to deal with him. I told him he was not and he said yes he was and that he was correcting me. After getting no where with Edwin I hung up and called Leaders again to lodge a formal complaint against Edwin. The second CSR was rude as well so to no avail I gave up. I contacted Brody my original merchant representative. Brody said Edwin misinformed me and that he would have the manager of the cancellation department contact me. Brody pulled my contract stating that there should be no additional fees taken out period. I canceled my account on 11-15-10. December 1, 2010 a transaction fee of $99 "other fees" hit my bank account. I contacted my bank stating that the fee was fraudulent and my bank did a stop pay on the fee. For six months the stop pay would be effective. A representative from my bank told me that if a debit came through leaders it would not go through my bank for that period of time.
    On 12-1-10 I called Brody from leaders asking him what the deal was with the "other fee". He assured me that it was a error and that the fee would be removed. Two weeks later I received a threatening letter from Leaders informing me if I did not pay the $99 other fee charge they would turn me into a collection agency. I called Brody again asking him if he rectified the $99 and I asked him again to have it removed. I received another statement/letter in the mail the first of January 2011 demanding the fee. On 1-10-11 I called Brody again to make sure he was working on getting the fee cleared up and he said that it was.
    February 2, 2011 Leaders charged my bank account with a $350 cancellation fee. I called my bank yet again to do a stop pay. Since it was after 2 PM I would have to dispute the fee. My bank was generous enough to credit the $350 fee and the over draft fee until I could get this resolved with Leaders. I asked my bank why did this transaction fee go through and the rep stated that Leaders used a different name for the fee. (Right there that is fraudulent. They used another name to attempt to obtain more funds.) That day I called Brody at Leaders again informing him what happened.
    Feb 3, 2011 Brody called back stating again he pulled my contract. He wanted to make sure that I was not suppose to be charged the $350. He assured me that this is was a computer error. The question is if my account was closed they should had removed my account information from their system. Brody stated he would put in a request to have the fee refunded back to my bank. If it was not credited back to my bank by 2-8-11 call him back immediately .
    2-9-11 I called my bank to verify if funds were return, they were not.
    2-9-11 called Brody to inform him funds were not returned. I told him to please contact accounting to get a ETA of when funds would be returned to my account. From there on I asked him to for now on contact me my EMAIL so that I would have it in writing.
    2-9-11 Brody wrote in a email "According to accounting, your refund will be issued this Friday and you should see it about this time next week."

    I will write back to give all an update if this gets resolved or not. Hopefully in a week it will and I can start the process of closing out my bank account. A total pain in the neck but no telling what they will charge the next time.

    Here's some words of advice:

    1. If you do business with Leaders and decide to cancel your account with them: Close out your bank account and have your banks reissue a new account. Tell your bank that you might be dealing with a fraudulent company and fees might be taken out. Most banks will understand. Any legitimate fees you owe them can be hashed out and paid with a cashiers check. This will save you the hassle of being charged fraudulent fees. If necessary get your attorney involved in the matter.
    2. File a report with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) if they are taking out fees without your permission or what was not agreed in the contract. Enough people complain about their fraudulent practices the government will step in.
    3. Get everything that you do with this company in writing. Keep a detailed record of whom you spoke with, etc. This covers your butt.
    4. If funds have been taken out of your account demand your banks do a stop pay or a dispute. For the dispute: Gather your documents for the bank. Also kindly ask the bank to credit the funds until you can get the issue resolved. You will have to get in touch with a supervisor to do this. I am very fortunate to bank with Frost Bank in Texas. I have always found my bank to be very accommodating.

    You wait for Leaders to refund the money it might takes weeks or they might not refund your money at all.

    Frankly, if I went on line to research this company I would have never been in this mess. Hopefully this might help someone out there to keep them from making the same mistake likes myself and others made.

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