Priority Payment Systems is merchant account provider that accommodates smaller sales companies who direct potential new merchants to their business through low merchant rates. Champion Payments operated by a **** ******, was one of those sales affiliates for Priority Payment Systems. The complaint I have as a merchant is that the low rates that were initially offered to me by **** ******, Champion Payments via Priority Payment Systems were initially lower than other merchant providers to generate new sign-ups, but were only maintained for 6 months and then those rates increased drastically. My rates doubled after exactly 6 months. They were higher than my previous merchant account provider that I had switched from. All of my complaints to Priority Payment Systems were addresses by referring me to Champion Payments, their so-called " sales agent". The "company", Champion Payments used a voice mail machine that sounded like an old home phone message system, no person ever answered the phone and it only went to voice mail. I left numerous messages to return my calls and never received any calls. Still, Priority Payment Systems insisted that I had to speak with Champion Payments. Without ever returning my calls, I emailed the only email address on file for Champion Payments and also, received no responses. Finally, I received an email that contained no person identification, just an "Account closure form". I completed the form and returned it. A couple of months later however, I received a statement from Priority Payment Systems that $295.00 had been deducted from my account due to early account closure. When I called about the penalty, I was told that it would be submitted for review for reversal. I never heard anything back so after another few weeks I called Priority Payment Systems again and the representative (the same one I had spoken to previously) told me that I needed to address my concerns with Champion Payments. Priority Payment Systems rep. said there was nothing she could do.
Product_Or_Service: merchant account provider
Reversal of early termination fee based on rate increases that were in contrast to sales pitch of lower merchant rates.
Mr **** was notified of any change in pricing and given opportunity to discontinue processing so as not to be part of any increase. Due to changes within the Credit Card industry is is sometimes necessary to change pricing to accommodate these changes from the Card Associations. I am attaching the 2014 notice Mr **** received. These changes in total made an increase in fee's of appox. $98.35 since 12/2013. The early termination fee was a contractual item Mr **** agreed to at signing.
As we went the step of adjusting Mr ****'s pricing in April when he made us aware of his concerns and due to our concerns I am willing to refund Mr **** the $98 in fee's over this period and an additional $50. courtesy to show good faith. Please advise if this is acceptable and I will contact Mr. **** directly to arrange for the refund.
CARD ASSOCIATIONS PERIODICALLY REVIEW THEIRINTERCHANGE RATE PROGRAMS,
MODIFYING THEM AS THEY DEEM APPROPRIATE. THIS IS TO ADVISE YOU THAT THE
PAYMENT CARD BRANDS HAVE RECENTLY ANNOUNCED MODIFICATIONS TO MANY OF THEIR
INTERCHANGE RATES. RATES AND QUALIFICATION CRITERIA FOR CERTAIN CATEGORIES
OF VISA, MASTERCARD AND/OR DISCOVER INTERCHANGE ARE BEING CHANGED,
INCLUDING CERTAIN CATEGORIES OF DOWNGRADED TRANSACTIONS. EFFECTIVE WITH
YOUR OCTOBER 2014 STATEMENT, YOU MAY NOTICE CHANGES IN YOUR RATES AND IN
YOUR RELATIVE QUALIFICATION PERCENTAGES AS WE IMPLEMENT THESE CHANGES.
EFFECTIVE WITH YOUR OCTOBER 2014 STATEMENT, QUALIFIED DISCOUNT RATES FOR
MASTERCARD, VISA, AND DISCOVER FULL ACQUIRING TRANSACTIONS, AS APPLICABLE,
FOR CREDIT AND NON-PIN(SIGNATURE) DEBIT CARD TRANSACTIONS, WILL BE
INCREASED BY 0.03%. IF YOUR ACCOUNT IS SET WITH TIERED PRICING, DISCOUNT
RATES WILL BE INCREASED BY: QUALIFIED DISCOUNT 0.03%
MID QUALIFIED DISCOUNT 0.05% NON QUALIFIED DISCOUNT 0.15% AN INCREASE OF
0.03% REPRESENTS A FEE INCREASE OF 3 CENTS PER $100 IN SALES.
WHEN YOU SUBMITTED YOUR MERCHANT PROCESSING APPLICATION FOR OUR SERVICES, WE
REQUESTED YOUR TAXPAYER IDENTIFICATION NUMBER (TIN). IF YOU HAVE NOT
PROVIDED YOUR CORRECT TIN TO US (WHEN MATCHED WITH YOUR BUSINESS NAME),
EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 20TH, 2014, YOU WILL BE CHARGED A TIN/TFN BLANK OR
INVALID FEE IN THE AMOUNT OF $49.00 PER MONTH, AS APPLICABLE. THIS FEE WILL
BE CHARGED EVERY MONTH UNTIL WE RECEIVE YOUR VALID TIN-TFN (TAX FILING
NAME) FOR YOUR MERCHANT ACCOUNT WITH US.
AS A VALUED CUSTOMER AND A MERCHANT ACCEPTING CREDIT/DEBIT CARDS FOR
PAYMENT, YOU ARE REQUIRED TO BE COMPLIANT WITH THE PAYMENT CARD INDUSTRY
DATA SECURITY STANDARDS (PCI DSS). YOUR BUSINESS MUST ABIDE BY THE
STANDARDS SET FORTH BY THE PCI SECURITY STANDARDS COUNCIL TO ENSURE THAT
YOU ARE FOLLOWING BEST PRACTICES IN ORDER TO REDUCE CREDIT CARD FRAUD AND
SECURITY BREACHES. EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 20TH, 2014, THE PCI NON COMPLIANCE
MONTHLY FEE WILL BE INCREASED TO $19.95 IF YOU HAVE NOT COMPLETED THE PCI
DSS SAQ OR YOUR ANNUAL SAQ HAS EXPIRED. WHILE COMPLIANCE HELPS MITIGATE THE
RISK OF A SECURITY BREACH OR DATA COMPROMISE, PARTICIPATION DOES NOT
GUARANTEE OR PREVENT A SECURITY BREACH OR COMPROMISE. FOR MORE INFORMATION
ABOUT YOUR PCI COMPLIANCE STATUS OR TO COMPLETE YOUR ANNUAL SAQ, PLEASE
IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY BILLED AN INDUSTRY COMPLIANCE FEE, THERE WILL BE AN
INCREASE OF $2.00 EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 1, 2014. THIS FEE WILL ALLOW US TO
CONTINUE PROVIDING YOU HIGH LEVEL SUPPORT TO HELP RESPOND TO THE MANY CARD
COMPANY, ASSOCIATION (SUCH AS PCI DSS) AND GOVERNMENT ENTITY (SUCH AS TIN
VALIDATION) CHANGES. THIS FEE DOES NOT AFFECT YOUR COMPLIANCE
RESPONSIBILITIES ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR ACCOUNT.
CONTINUING YOUR MERCHANT ACCOUNT WITH US OR USE OF YOUR MERCHANT
ACCOUNT AFTER 30 DAYS WILL REPRESENT YOUR ACCEPTANCE TO THESE TERMS.
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
Priority Payment Systems refers to a contractual signing of agreement pertaining to the $295 that was deducted from my bank account by Priority Payment Systems without approval. However, Priority Payment Systems never provided me with any signed agreement until this issue came up following my request to stop service. When the $295 because a disputed matter, Priority Payment Systems kept referring to the signed agreement and so I asked for that agreement to be mailed to me. I just received it about 2-3 weeks ago and it was not signed by me. The agreement that they mailed to me included a signature "**** ****" but it was not my signature. So I take exception to the statement:
"The early termination fee was a contractual item Mr **** agreed to at signing." because I had not been provided with any agreement until after the termination of services had been finalized and also, because the agreement contains a signature that is not mine. My business is a sole proprietorship and that signature was not mine or any other person at my company. In addition, regarding the rate increases, Priority Payment Systems has stated the following: "Mr **** was notified of any change in pricing and given opportunity to discontinue processing so as not to be part of any increase." That statement is incorrect. When I contacted Priority Payment Systems regarding what were essentially doubled rates after 6 months, they advised that I would have to address that concern with the sales agent company, Champion Payments (**** ******). But Champion Payments would not answer phone calls, return my calls when I left messages or respond to emails. That aggravation went on for some time until I received an email from Champion Payments that included a "CLOSURE REQUEST FORM" that was very simple in that it had fields for Date, Business Name, Merchant ID and "Reason for Closure". The early termination fee was then taken out of my bank account by Priority Payment Systems.
The early termination fee of $295 is disputed.
Final Business Response
Due to the lack of communications with Champion Payments and there lack of response to Mr. **** Priority will process a refund of $295.00
Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she ACCEPTED the response from the business.)
The refund of $295 from Priority Payment Systems is accepted. I appreciate the consideration in this matter.