Tolkien, artist

Tilting at Windmills

 Sometimes I feel as if I am Don Quixote, tilting against the windmills of beaurocracy time and time again. On my current agenda has been monthly charges assessed to my company bank account since 2006 (yes, that's not a typo, 2006) from a firm that we never really accepted doing business with in the first place.

 

Over the years we have used several different credit card processing firms. Back in the early 2000's we were using US Bank as our processor. Apparently they subcontracted out to this firm called Elavon . When we ceased using US Bank for our processing in mid-2006, we thought we had submitted all of the appropriate paperwork necessary to close their processing and start our next one. Apparently Elavon wasn't notified. BUT the account was inactive - not used from that point only.





Unknown to us, they were assessing us a $5/month charge to our account for year, after year, after year. Then they increased their amount to $30 per month in mid 2009. At that time I tried, along with the bank, to find out what was causing this monthly charge on our account. I got nowhere. But then, in June this year, that fee increased to $85/month. The proverbial S__T hit the fan.

I started calling people - many people. I called everyone I could think of. Finally I found out that it was Elavon putting this charge on our account and that, unknown to us, the original contract with them stated that they could charge our account forever until we formally notified them that they could no longer do so.

I mean - shouldn't this be illegal? To charge on an inactive account for five F___King years????

The day I found out who was charging us I had them fax me the appropriate paperwork which I filled out, signed, faxed back to them that day, and waited for their confirmation response by fax which I was supposed to receive between five and seven days. After giving them eight days, I still hadn't heard from them, so after phoning them yesterday and talking to a supervisor because I was getting nowhere with standard customer service, I finally got my fax confirmation from them that the account is officially closed. Now I'll meet with my bank this morning to inform them that additional charges from that number is not permitted and maybe I'll be through paying money through a hole in the floor. What a PAIN! There should be a law......

Is there a website where I can post this crap?  To let other people know that these are BAD people who take advantage of their customers?  I'm more than ticked off that we lost hundreds of dollars to these crooks and that we have no recourse to recover any of it.   
 
Well, they stopped assessing charges as of July 29th, but I am still crossing my fingers about it until I have a few months of bank statements come through without that odd charge appearing on them.

- Erulisse (one L)
Oh crap! I'm sorry to hear that. Is there really nothing you can do to get the money back?
Unfortunately, the original contract clearly stated that they could assess charges until they were notified in writing, and I can't find my paperwork from 2006 to prove that they had been. So at this time, no, the money is lost to us at a time when we really need it.

- Erulisse (one L)

Edited at 2011-08-10 06:16 pm (UTC)
If you did not know your account was contracted out to Elavon then surely your money should be refunded by US bank? We have similar things going on here where people were charged after not being given full information - the relevant financial companies are being made to pay everyone back.

I certainly would have thought so, but apparently that is not the case *sigh*. I'm grateful that it is finally over, but not very happy about the entire situation.

- Erulisse (one L)

Edited at 2011-08-10 06:17 pm (UTC)
I would definitely do a little research if I were you (online?). If this happened to you, it had to have happened to others. That is tidy little sum they owe you.
I will try to research it, and you're right, it's a nice amount of money that we could most definitely use right now. It's so frustrating, and I'm just so happy to have it over and done with that I'm not sure I have the energy left, do you understand? I'd rather do things that calm me and make me happy than those things that upset me and cause my blood pressure to increase :-)

- Erulisse (one L)

Edited at 2011-08-10 06:17 pm (UTC)
With all of the recent changes in the credit card laws, I would definitely look into it, and maybe some legal action as well.

You might want to post over about this at poor_skills as it (i.e., credit cards and related issues) is a frequent topic there.

Good luck!
I'll check out your link, for sure! It's such a scam. Thanks for letting me vent :-)

- Erulisse (one L)

Edited at 2011-08-10 06:17 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, since it was in the original contract which we must have signed because they would not have been able to do our processing without a signed contract, what they did was completely legal and according to the terms of the contract. If I can find the original "cease" letter/fax that I sent to them when we switched CC processors in mid-2006, then I might have a leg, maybe even two legs, to stand on.

- Erulisse (one L)

Edited at 2011-08-10 06:17 pm (UTC)
CAn they provide YOU with a copy of your signed contract? If not, then they don't have the proof either. Just something you might want to look into. Don't take their word for it over the phone. Request the document.

I'm so sorry you've been dealing with this for so long! It's such a pain when things like this happen. *hugs*
They can't, but without corresponding paper on my part I think that any court would throw it out for lack of evidence. I think it is usurious and I will look into trying to get some of the money back. Part of it is my DH's fault though. He didn't ring any chimes of alarm for more than three years - not until the fee increased to $30 two years ago. It's highly frustrating. He's my financial manager and he really fell down on the job here. But he's massively stressed out about other things right now, so I'm walking very carefully around him.

- Erulisse (one L)
*more hugs* Well, at least it's taken care of NOW and no more money is going down the drain. I really feel your frustration though. I had that happen once where I was being charged for something I never agreed to and they never would refund it either. All I could do was stop future charges. There really should be stricter laws about what can be charged to your account. Your case is simply ridiculous since it was an inactive account! They should have notified you or something. :(
Well in that case...



You could of course borrow Legolas. I'm sure he could handle the credit people just fine... =D

Love it! Thanks for both of them, Legolas looks really mean - LOL.

- Erulisse (one L)
and thank you for your kind review of Horse and Boy. So sweet of you!
I'm afraid this is typical and becoming more common. We have something going on right now where about six months ago my husband was contacted by a collection agency claiming we owed $900 to some company. My husband had never heard of the company and hadn't purchased anything from them, but no amount of arguing with them worked. He demanded they prove that we owed it and they couldn't produce any paperwork. He called the company we supposedly owed and they had no paperwork saying we owed anything. Yet that didn't stop the increasingly threatening phone calls. Hubby finally sent a cease and desist order to the company and we thought that was the end of it. But just today we got an ominous message on our machine from someone saying that we needed to contact him to deal with an urgent situation that we "didn't want to have escalate out of control." But he didn't leave his name. It was like getting contacted by Guido. My husband called the number on our caller ID and we could not get hold of the guy who called. I feel like we're all being shaken down big time in this country.
Yours sounds more like a Russian shakedown. My issue is that I did use this firm, for several years, to process my credit card sales for the shop. The contract is the issue and, unfortunately, without proof to the contrary, we are just out a lot of money *sigh*. If your situation continues, I'd get the police involved. What you are experiencing is fraud.

{{{{{ hugs to you and your DH }}}}}

- Erulisse (one L)