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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 116756
Experience:  Attorney experienced in commercial litigation.
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In late April 2015 I had a visit from a Charlotte NC based

Customer Question

In late April 2015 I had a visit from a Charlotte NC based merchant services salesperson to my business. This company approached me about their services. I filled out what I was told be be an application form for their services. Salesperson did comparisons with my existing service provider and went onto say how much I would save by signing up with them. Also, he stated that my average monthly bill would be approx. $ 35, service would be month-to-month and equipment would be included at no extra charge. The application included 2 signatures and initials. I did not get a copy and did not ask for one as this only an application. A week later the terminal/pin pad arrived, the company called and I was approved and then processing with them. Six weeks later I receive in the mail a 6-page document from a NYC based leasing firm detailing a " non-cancellable lease agreement " for 48 month duration at $ 42/month for the terminal and pin pad ( cost somewhere around $ 250 to 300 for both ).
I immediately called the leasing firm to query and to state that I had not only never signed any such paperwork with their company and in addition the filled in boxes of information ( by hand ) showed at least 2 different handwritings proving that this was not the original paperwork. In addition some of the filled in boxes contained information contrary to what I volunteered to the salesperson.
This document forms the core basis of my contention - that it's basis is in FRAUD and DECEPTION, or bait and switch. I explained to the person on the phone that if an original document is rewritten I must see the rewrite and either approve or disapprove it , meaning it needs to be re- signed ( or not ) by me in order to be valid. I don't know what they're writing into the rewrite and one cannot lawfully just cut and paste my former signature into the unauthorized new document. They maintained that my signature appears on the form, that is all they're concerned with.
I also called the merchant service company in Charlotte to query and point out the obvious rewrite and the sales agent adnitted to it ! And went onto say that they did not change anything critical !?? or something to that effect. I then proceeded to close my business bank account as by then the leasing company had drafted 2 unauthorized " lease " payments and in addition the merchnat service company was charging a transaction fee/percantage much higher than that promised. I've since reported the
the leasing company's actions to the ATTORNEY GENERAL's offices of NC and NY to no avail. On the response to AG's office of NY the leasing company they brought forth another new document yet with one more signature - the merchant service co. stated in their response that all initial paperwork requires 2 signatures and 5 initials, so where did they get this 3rd signature from ? I should also point out that the state of NY won a case against this leasing company in 2011 the basis being illegal drafting of money by the leasing company from multiple small business owners bank accounts. Furthermore, there are hundreds of personal accounts on the internet detailing the same predicament as mine from other victims.
In the past few weeks the leasing company has mailed two letters demanding full payment of the lease ( approx. $ 2,300 ) or they will take me to court. I've consulted with several attorneys and their recommendation is for them to contact the leasing company';s attorney and offer to settle the situation with a figure below that given above.
Another option I've entertained is based on account of what some individuals did in the same predicament with that leasing company - when they serve you write your own " countersuit ", have it notarized, send it to the NYC court, a copy to the leasing company, and you keep one. You must specify all hearings to be held by phone. When the trial ( phone trial ) begins the judge will ask you " what you want to do " and you say " I want this case dismissed ". This is followed up with a written motion for dismissal along with a motion to contest their motion for judgement. If this is all done properly, the case will be dismissed without prejudice on your next phone call/trial.
So my question is what would be your recommendation for me to do at this point ?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
You have three options. First, if you can file suit against the company directly, you do not have to wait for them to sue you and then countersue. It is always best to be on the offensive and with the prior findings from the NY AG, you have a strong case for unfair and deceptive practices and breach of contract (fraud/misrepresentation). Second, you wait and let them sue, then countersue, which puts you really on the defensive. The option the attorney suggested to you is a good suggestion as well, to offer them $1000 or less and if you can get out of this without running back and forth to court and it is an economical decision you can make regarding settling the case.

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