SignaPay continually say they 'cannot' honor the contract we have when it is clear they mean they are choosing not to honor our contract.
In Jan 2013 I opened an account with Authorize.net to process credit card payments from my clients. Authorize.net passed me onto Smart Merchant Services (powered by SignaPay) for part of the process. Automated payments of credit cards is all new to me so I had many questions. I dealt with Holly Franklin, Account Executive, at SMART/SignaPay and the really important element was my question and Holly's answer via email (dated Jan 22nd):
"When is a payment "Non-Qualified"? For obvious cost reasons I want to avoid this.
* Good question; a card is non-qualified if it's key entered without address verification, if you do not batch out within 48 business hours (auth.net typically sets you up to auto batch every night,) and some corporate cards are considered non-qualified. As long as you enter the AVS information and you're set-up to batch every night most of your cards should qualify for the 2.19%."
It was this specific answer that led me to sign a contract with SignaPay.
On March 12 I contact SignaPay by phone to find out if I am doing something wrong as it is clear that all my credit card payments are being processed at the much higher Non-Qualified rate of 3.64%. Randy Jones tells me that Holly is no longer with the company and that she quoted me the wrong prices on my contract.
An email (13 March) from Rhoda Steward, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, confirmed this:
"Randy passed along your email to me and explained the situation as well. I did take a look at your merchant application and Holly did fill the rates out incorrectly. I truly apologize for that. Your rates should be:
Rewards Qualified: 3.64%
Mid Qualified: 3.64%
Non Qualified: 3.64%
Other - Comm Card: 3.64%
Again, we feel terrible for the mistake. I will submit a request today to lower your Rewards, Mid, Non, and Other rate to 3.35%. We will also lower your monthly account maintenance fee to $7.00 a month."
Here is my reply:
"Sorry but this is completely unacceptable. I asked Holly about the rates specifically. I asked her when I would be paying higher then the 2.19% Qualified Rate as I wanted to avoid doing that as much as possible. She was very clear, and I quote:
As long as you enter the AVS information and you're set-up to batch every night most of your cards should qualify for the 2.19%.
The fact that your staff member misled me is your problem and not mine. I expect you to honour the contract that I signed in good faith."
Rhoda's reply was:
"I am very sorry Philip, but I cannot do that. I do apologize that Holly misquoted you, but I can't honor those rates. It is below our cost with Visa, MasterCard and Discover."
We then escalated my complaint to the then president, Kevin Jones, who offered similar reduced rates, but has now left the company, so it's back to Rhoda.
Rhoda then said she needed to do some research. I was hoping she was researching how Signapay could honor our contract, but instead I get an email (dated March 26) where she tells me:
"You were assessed the correct fee for your transactions. All of your transactions fell into the Non-Qualified rate bucket." and further adds:
"The miscommunication came when Holly informed you that as long as you input the AVS that most of your cards would qualify at the 2.19%. That is not true in Canada. So, it is absolutely our mistake in misinforming you on how your transactions would qualify, but pricing is correct and you were charged the correct rate."
I like the fact that Rhoda accepts that this is absolutely their mistake, but she still only offers me a deal where I will pay 50% more than I signed up for. I don't get it. When I make a mistake I do not expect my customer to pay for it, but it seems that SignaPay do.
I was told explicitly that I could expect to pay 2.19% for most of my transactions. I cancelled another contract & signed up on this basis. Now they say they 'cannot' honor our agreement, when the truth is that they choose not to.
I want SignaPay to set up my account so that when I collect AVS information and batch out within 48 hours, I am charged the 2.19% I reasonably expected to be charged. I also want SignaPay to refund me the difference on all previous transactions that would have gone through at this rate, but were actually charged at a higher rate.
I know they will say that they 'cannot' do this, as they will lose money on my transactions, but with the greatest respect that is not my problem or my fault. I have already wasted stacks of time trying to get this sorted out, so they have already cost me a great deal when 0% of this problem was caused by me and 100% of this problem was caused by them.
Once they have done the right thing and honored our agreement, then it is up to them how they go about reclaiming any losses incurred. If Holly knowingly gave me wrong information, then they can take it up with her. If she wasn't properly trained or supervised, then they can take it up with whoever should have overseen this. Ultimately, this is up to them. It isn't my problem and I shouldn't be expected to carry any of the cost of it.
Business' Initial Response
An error was made. We take full responsibility for that. A new employee quoted a price far below our cost. We cannot honor that commitment. We have spent hours on the phone with this client trying to find a satisfactory middle ground. Below is an email sent to him by our Vice President. We have the legal right to cancel our contracts any time and for any reason, and are exercising that right.
Again, we apologize for the miscommunication and the complete hassle this has been for you. We appreciate and want your business. I hate the fact that Holly did give you wrong information. I want to clear that up now. The truth is that all of your keyed transactions will qualify at the non-qualified rate. This is how the Canadian interchange for Visa, MasterCard, and Discover works. It is a bit different in the US and unfortunately, Holly assumed it would be the same. We take accountability for that. We cannot honor the 2.19% that is on your contract. Again, I apologize for that. This is what we can do:
We can lower your non-qualified rate of 3.64% to 3.30% and lower your monthly account maintenance fee from $9.95 to $6.50. If these terms are not agreeable to you, we completely understand and we can close your account for you. We do not want to continue to be a burden to you.
Please let us know how you would like to proceed.
Vice President, Strategic Partnerships
105 Decker Ct., Suite 650
Irving, TX 75062
Consumer's Final Response
Hello! Anyone there? I am resending this email I sent 2 days ago because no one has replied.
Okay. I give in. You win. I can't afford the time to continue to fight you on this anymore.
I accept you offer to reduce my fees to 3.3% and my monthly account maintenance fee to $6.50.
Please confirm this so I know you won't be terminating my account. And please don't assume that I'm happy with this resolution.
Better Business Bureau Details
Complaint ID#: XXXXXXXX
Business Name: SignaPay