The check's in the mail (really)

If you’re one of the businesses nationwide deceived by Oregon-based outfits that peddled questionable debit and credit card processing services, a refund check could be in the mail ranging from $100 to as much as $25,000 — depending on what you paid.

According to the FTC, Aaron Rian, Karely McCarthy, Merchant Processing Inc., Direct Merchant Processing Inc., Vequity Financial Group, and PPI Services falsely claimed they’d save small businesses big bucks in processing fees by offering lower rates than their current credit card processing service. The FTC also said the defendants falsely promised to buy out merchants’ equipment leases if they switched over to them, failed to disclose fees, and buried important info in pages of fine print disclosed only after businesses had signed contracts.

The 2008 order won money back for customers, banned the individual defendants for life from marketing card processing services, and put tough injunctive provisions in place to protect people — and small businesses — in the future.

The ban was particularly important because after their original companies were put under the authority of a court-appointed receiver, the defendants opened a new business allegedly running the same racket.

If you get a check from the FTC’s refund administrator, cash it within 60 days to keep the books clear. And remember: The FTC never asks people to pay anything to get money back from a settlement. If someone claims they can help you get a refund but insists on cash upfront, you could be in the crosshairs of a reloading scammer.

Looking for more about protecting your company’s bottom line? Check out the free resources available in the BCP Business Center:

  • Show your staff this video to help them spot the signs of a B2B fraud.

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