Friday, November 4, 2011

Who's Got Your Back?

A company that is constantly sneaking around behind your back, doesn't have your back.

I have had a relationship with Transfirst ePay for the last decade, and I finally terminated it this morning.  Why?  Because I don't trust them, and I don't feel they are working in my best interests.

For many years, they charged me $20 a month to have a merchant account.  This was a pretty reasonable price, and may clients, particularly government clients, preferred paying by credit card.  But $20 a month is $240 a year, and that is a lot of money.

And of course, for each credit card transaction, they nicked me for anywhere from 2-5% of the value of the transaction, which was often my profit margin in the deal.

Then, disturbingly, the monthly amount started to go up to $25, then $30.   I called and asked why and said that the fees were too high.  No problem, they said, they could lower the fees back to where they were.

Then they started tacking on nonsense fees - a "PCI Compliance Fee" or some sort of "insurance" for transactions that I did not want.  I called, and again, they are so sorry, and will fix it up, right away.

So the fee goes down to $20 again.  For a while.  Then it creeps back up again.

Today, they tack on a "quarterly PCI fee" of $39.98, which is an odd number and, if I had not checked my Statement, I might have assumed was a percentage charge for a credit card swipe purchase.

So, once again I call them, and once again, they offer to reduce or eliminate the fee.  But this time, I decide to close the account.  Why?

Because these people don't have my back but rather are working behind my back, against my own best interests.  I have to watch them like a hawk - or the way you watch a small child in a candy store.

Why?  Because they keep swiping stuff when you aren't looking.  And what they are swiping is my money.

Yea, you can call them and call them out on it, and they might budge a bit.  But it is akin to asking a kid with his hand in the candy jar to put the candy back.  Of course they'll do it - you caught them red-handed.  But if you aren't looking, they steal.

The only way to deal with such folks is to get rid of them - entirely.

And this got me to thinking about Bank of America.  Yes, I was a big fan.  But lately, they've been bad boys - proposing fees for using my ATM card.  I have to watch them now, like a hawk.  Because they don't have my back, and I can't trust them anymore.

And when it comes down to it, why should you ever, ever do business with any business entity that cannot be trusted to do the right thing when your back is turned?

And yet many people do - because they perceive they are getting a "good deal" on price and so long as they watch that company like a hawk, they might come out a few dollars ahead.

I am not so sure this is sound financial planning.  The people you do business with - in any context - should be trustworthy.  You should verify this, on occasion, of course.  But if they are continually getting caught with their hand in the cookie jar, and their only response is "Whoops!  My Bad!" then it is time to move on.