Sometimes when dealing with processing companies you have to wonder if it’s really worth accepting credit cards. Saeler Enterprises has been putting off changing from Pipeline to anyone else for some time, mainly because I didn’t want to spend the time jumping through hoops, providing financial data, writing and proofing return policies. Unfortunately it looks like it can’t be put off any more. We actually signed up for credit card processing with Merchant Express in 2003.
It turns out they weren’t actually the credit card processor, but a company that resells processing capabilities or something to that effect. To further confuse the issue CTS Holdings (another credit card processing company) get’s in the picture apparently contracted by Pipeline to handle overflow and off hour service. So anytime we have a problem I get bounced around the phone tree between two companies. The problem this time is that yet again Pipeline has inappropriately charged our bank account; this is about the 5th time in 8 years.
It’s just a couple hundred, but at which point do you stop accepting the programming error arguments? Should I really believe that a credit card processing company their size can’t hire decent programmers? Or is it more likely a way to get some extra funds in a cash strapped economy? Each time they do one of these “mistaken” charges it’s posted late night on Friday and you can’t talk to anyone about it until Monday and they always blame a programming error. In the first two years of service with Pipeline there weren’t any problems. But by the fourth year, Pipeline started charging an annual fee, which they weren’t allowed to do because our contract with Merchant Express clearly stated there was no annual fee.
Pipeline did this several years in a row – in fact we were so convinced they would, we actually accounted for it in our bookkeeping. Eventually the annual fee disappeared, coincidentally around the time Pipeline started charging a PCI Compliance fee. And if PCI Compliance isn’t a scam for the banks to make money off of Merchants I don’t know what is. You’d think Pipeline would have their act together by this time, but they don’t; we just received our second “Annual” PCI Compliance Fee within 6 months. Since the fee was posted late last night and they don’t work on Saturday (seriously what’s with that?), we won’t be able to get this billing mistake corrected until Monday.
Our suggestion, if you are considering using Pipeline/charge.com or ACH Holdings – think again, you’ll be happy you did. If you are currently using Pipeline and have enough,be prepared to change your checking account and write your state’s Attorney General. According to Ripoffreport.com postings Pipeline will charge a $300 cancellation fee and based on their inability to apply fees based on your contract it wouldn’t be surprising if an unauthorized transaction were to appear.