Consumer reviews and reports on scam companies, bad products and services
Leaders Merchant Services
Leaders Merchant Services Unauthorized deductions from my bank account; deceptive business practices Camarrillo, California
23rd of Mar, 2011 by User650223
Toward the end of 2010, I thought I had found a credible and money-saving partner in Leaders Merchant Services. After several weeks of conversations and contouring my contract details with Leaders account rep, Zack Nawabi, I finally thought I had a winner. You see, I am a very small business, less than $25,000 per year. High credit/debit card rates seriously impact my business. I insisted that he, Zack, resend the streamlined contract, with all details in writing, one last time before I signed it and faxed it back to him. He told me thoughout all our conversations that Leaders handled everything and that I would not have to lift a finger to change from my current cc/debit card processor to Leaders Merchant Services. "We'll handle it all. Your transition will be very smooth." The next thing I know, I get an email from Zack telling me that I need to contact Authorize.net to set up an account, of course, with an additional cost attached. When I did, and I learned how much they wanted to charge me, I called Leaders and cancelled our contract, verbally and insisted they return the $25 they had charged me for the first month of "no usage." They did not return the money. In fact, they deducted a second $25, before they finally gave me one of the $25 back, after I had my bank call them on my behalf, because I had disputed that charge. I never have got the other $25 back. But that's not the worst of it. This was December when I cancelled. I thought this was over. And luckily I had not cancelled my other processor's services. But in February, just before my shop's rent was due, Leaders deducted $350 for a early cancellation fee. Luck was on my side one more time. I had insisted that my acct rep include a no early cancellation fee, in writing, on my contract, before I would sign it. I called Leaders the same day the $350 was deducted from my account. I was told that it was just a mixup, that everyone pays an early termination fee and they would have my money back to me in a few days. I explained that my contract specifically stated that I not pay an early termination fee. I was again insured that my money would be returned right away. Leaders insisted that I go to my bank and have the bank fax or send them a letter stating that the funds had in fact it while I was there. My bank failed to file a dispute form for the money though, because Leaders assured my bank they would return my money, verbally. A couple of weeks went by and still no money was returned. So I called again. This time the young lady insisted that I show her where in my contract it stated that I would not pay an early termination fee. She told me she just didn't see it in my contract. I had her hold on until I found the final draft of the contract I had insisted that Zack send me, with all the details. I know that she thought I had probably deleted the message. After all, it had been 2 months. Well, I found it, and after I did, she said, "oh yes, there it is...." I was told that she would put a "rush" on getting my money returned. Two more weeks passed and still no money. I went to see an attorney. He said he would gladly help me and that I was one of many having the same problem with cc/debit card companies. That same night I decided to try one more thing. I sat down and wrote, by hand, a letter detailing names, dates, and promises that had been made to me by Leaders. I also made it clear that I'd rather not involve an attorney, but I would. And, that I'd make sure Leaders paid all attorney fees, as well, IF I had to hire one to get my money back. My money was back in my account the next morning. I changed my bank account number. And I'd recommend that anyone who has done business with Leaders, do the same... just in case. In the fine print of their contract it states that you have to contact them, in writing, within 30 days of a disputed charge or problem, in order for it to be resolved. I don't really know if it was my threat that moved them to return my money or if the 30 days was about to expire. Either way, I was very fortunate. This company leaves a lot to be desired: hidden fees, deceptive sales talk, unauthorized deductions, and just plain lies. But they get by with it, because most folks aren't willing to sue them. I was. With that said, this really needs to turn into a class action suit for all those who have been cheated out of their money with all their lies and misdirections. Bottom line, read the fine print, and insist that EVERY promise be put into writing into the contract before you sign with any cc/debit card processor.

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