The Persistent Entrepreneur

First Data Scam

If you are looking into getting set up to accept credit cards, I highly recommend you avoid First Data.

When I set up my checking account at my bank they asked if they could have their merchant services guy call me to give me a quote. I was already looking into another provider (Payment Alliance) but thought what the heck. The First Data sales guy, Charles DeFelice called me later that day. Since they offered a portable machine and slightly better rates I signed up. I was in a hurry as I had my first show in three weeks and wanted to be setup to take credit cards by then. He sent me the forms to sign, which I did and sent back. I skimmed through them because I am no fool, I’m not going to sign something without reading it. The only thing that seemed strange was the check box that said I had read the “Complete Program Guide” which is a 46 page book. I checked it anyway but when I sent it back to the sales guy I told him I’m doing this because I’m in a hurry but I wanted a copy of it to review. He assured me I would receive it in the mail.

At the time I thought I was setting up my merchant services account, and the lease for the machine would come after that. I still had not seen any terms for the lease. It turns out that was lease for the machine. I didn’t notice the small “Page 7 of 7″ at the top of the page.

The sales guy had told me it would cost $40/month for the machine. I had searched for the machine online and saw it available for about $600 – $700. Turns out the lease was actually $44.95 per month… for 4 years! He also told me at the end of the lease I own the machine. Wrong again, I either have to return it or “Rent” it for the same monthly payment.

I tried to cancel the lease but was told it was not cancellable. I had my lawyers right them a letter and they still denied it. In fact they enclosed the complete lease agreement that I signed. All pages. The other pages that I never saw, the ones with the terms had my initials typed in to indicate I read and agreed.

I talked to another lawyer and he basically said I have a case but the expense to get out of the lease won’t be worth it.

I’ve had this machine for 9 months now and have never used it. I think I will just need to accept that I’m screwed and warn everyone else.

Come to find out these tactics are standard procedure for First Data. I found this page with many other victims sharing their experience.



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