Many of us that sell on eBay or other online platforms also have brick and mortar store, or will have one day.
All of us like to think we are too smart to get scammed. When a company sets out to scam and defraud Veteran and Minority business owners and uses attorneys and the legal system to do it, there is not much we can do.
I want to warn all small business owners to always do a lot of research before signing any kind of lease. Even if you think you are smart enough to understand the lease, you will still lose.
My store is Veteran Owned. One day a guy shows up with a new and better credit card processing deal. We get these call every day and ignore them. This guy though had his story down pat.
When I asked him how he could charge us such low prices on credit card processing fees he told they were trying to Honor all Veteran owned stores and we would get the same processing fees as the big box stores like Target and Sears.
To make the deal even sweeter he said they would provide us brand new state of the art credit card processing machines capable of taking chip cards and pin pads for debit cards. Then he said all the thermal paper would be free. Wow - sound too good to be true? It was.
He told me my credit card processing fees would be slashed by 30%. He produced a lease for three credit card machines and said it was a 0 dollar lease but they had to account for the machines and the lease would show I had three of them. That sounded reasonable.
He made a production out of writing a 0 in the lease amount and said he would have to have his boss approve and verify we were veteran owned. Again, that sounded plausible.
The credit card machines arrived, and he installed them and left. Right away we found out they did not accept chip cards and no pin pads. Called the salesmen who assured me it was just a software issue and he would be back to get that fixed.
When my first processing statement arrived instead of my costs going down 30% they went up 40%! Then they started taking out $240 a month for the lease of the credit card machines. The salesmen had taken the lease I signed and changed it to $209.99 a month. But they took out $240 a month. The extra they said was for taxes which they never paid to anyone.
By now the salesman was long gone and did not return any calls. I cancelled the deal for processing the credit cards after the Missouri Attorney General got involved.
The bigger issue was the lease on the machines. It is written in the lease that any dispute had to settled in a New York Court. I tried to stop them from taking money from account and after 8 months had to shut down the bank account. Then the calls and mail started. Nonstop harassing and threats.
Now I am in litigation with them after they filed a lawsuit against me in New York Court. I have learned that this company has scammed thousands of Minority and Veteran Owned Businesses since 1991 for hundreds of millions of dollars. Most people cannot afford to go to New York or hire a New York attorney and spend $10,000 to fight a $4,000 claim.
The New York Attorney General has a suit against them to try and stop them. It is the 2nd time they have filed suit. The company has an army of attorneys to delay court filings and any lawsuit against them will take 5 years or more to come to an end. No one small business could ever pay what it would cost to defeat them.
Class Action? Nope these guys are professional crooks. They change the contract or lease constantly so there can never be a group that can get class action status against them. It has been tried numerous times.
The credit card machines they sent me were obsolete and could be bought on eBay for $39.00
I am fighting them on my own in the New York Courts.
Everyone should always check out the BBB and other sites before ever signing any kind of lease. The government has been paid off and will not protect you. You must take charge and check out every company that you deal with.