In a previous article I commented on how Pipeline charged an annual PCI compliance fee twice in 6 months. Today I have an update on how we were able to get an adjustment to our account. The journey starts with a phone call then two more ending with a transfer to a special department that issued a credit (won’t be processed until the 30th of the month) and provided a ticket number as well as an alternative PCI Compliance Company.
The first call took about 10 minutes to connect with a human being. I explained the problem and then was told that the billing period had changed to June because customers were complaining about the compliance fee being charged in December. My response was something to the effect of O.K. but you charged me twice in 6 months. That’s an annual rate of $370 not $185 you owe me $92.50. The response was that the PCI compliance fee was non-refundable. I then explained that I was charged more than the annual fee would equate to, so it wasn’t a refund and that her company had stolen 6 months of service from me. At this point the response was more or less oh well nothing I can do – so I asked to speak to a customer service supervisor.
Bet you can guess what happened next… After about 10 minutes of dead air I was dropped into a voice mail system. So I called back. This call didn’t go nearly so well. After going through the phone tree and waiting another 20 minutes someone named Victoria answered. My first question was what is your employee number? She answered immediately “5800”.
I explained the situation again and was told I couldn’t get a refund. Again I highlighted the fact that I had been improperly billed. I was then asked if I wanted to be billed in December; my answer was yes. I think the intent was to be a threat because she sounded shocked when telling me that the billing couldn’t be put back to December. Again I explained the six month issue. This time the response was that the bill in December was for 2010 and that I had been given 6 months free service. My response was something to the effect of I don’t think so, I have the paper work for the last three years. She then proceeded to start talking over me and continue to try and convince me that the bill for 2009 was billed in December and the same with 2010 and this new one was for 2011 with 6 free months of service.
At this point I blew it, because I allowed my self to get angry at the obviously obtuse company talking point responses. She got louder, I got louder. So at this point I started to read the first PCI Compliance document that Pipeline sent to her in order to prove that the charge started in December of 2009. Victoria stated they were all the same and that I was wrong. Now I blew it, covering the mic I swore – she hung up. I forgot to use the mute switch – argh..
Third call and another 20 minutes and a very helpful lady answered (purposely not posting her name – she deserves a raise, but Pipeline would probably write her up for providing quality service) and again I explained everything. Including the fact that I had lost it and cursed but forgotten to mute the mic and was hung up on. I asked for an employee ID number and was told they didn’t have one (of course they do, but it may not be used on the floor).
So I asked if Victoria had lied and it turned out that 5800 was the department’s extension number. Again I started running in circles explaining the concept of 6 months, 12 months and annual. At some point during this third call I did mention that I wanted to get the companies contact information so that a certified letter demanding the adjustment could be sent and I’d have evidence for the State Attorney General. That didn’t seem to be getting anywhere any faster.
Then I came up with an idea, ask for proof of the free 6 months of service in writing. So I explained that if I was billed at the end of the year then there should be no reason they couldn’t provide that information to me in writing. Now comes the hold time and after about 15 minutes I was told that I would be transfered to another department. The entire third call was done with no interruptions or raised voices on either side. Additionally the service rep stayed on the line, took my number and guaranteed to get me to a person and not a voice mail system. The last person I spoke to was also quite helpful. I again explained the problem, pointed out the contrary answers from the first two calls and stated either it’s a mistake or your company can provide the details about the free six months in writing then threw in a line to the effect of “You’d have to be pretty stupid to think a financial services company is going to give you a free six months of service”.
The response was you’re right that information was incorrect. I was placed on hold again; incidentally the message provided information about Synergy Systems. After another 10 minutes the rep was back and offered a credit to my account of 92.5. I responded “that was all I wanted”. A few minutes later and I had the estimated date of the 30th for when the adjustment would be posted.
Even thought the issue is resolved, I just can’t stick withe Pipeline. So even though it’s a pain to setup/change processors and will result in even more lost time; I can’t justify continuing to use their services any longer for the following reasons:
- Customer service reps lying about the reason for charges (most likely a company talking point), their identities and transferring the call to voicemail without notice.
- Years of calling to get adjustments for “mistaken charges”
- Hours of unbillable time resolving the “mistaken charges”
- Way to many companies or divisions: Pipeline Data, ACH Holdings, Concord and Synergy Systems – unless I missed some.
Long story short. If they say you were given 6 months free or they bill in the middle of the subscription – ask for it in writing. Then after you get your adjustment find another processor.