Consumer Complaints and Reviews
I own a bar/restaurant in Oregon. Alpine Payment Systems processes my credit cards. The credit card machine (vx520) is leased through Northern Leasing which Alpine set up. The payment is 59.00 per month on the lease. On June 1 we were required to read the chip on the credit card, the credit card machine does handle reading the chip but the software from Alpine on the machine did not support the reader in the machine. They informed me they had an upgrade to use the chip reader.
I installed the EMV upgrade with their help on the phone and quickly found out they don't have a restaurant/bar application that handles tip adjustment after sale. We actually had to ask the customer how much of a tip they were leaving the waitress and enter it into the credit card machine at the time we were entering the sale. Tips dropped for the waitresses, you had to explain to the customers why you had to ask what the tip is, very embarrassing for the waitresses. The reply from Alpine Payment Systems was "we don't have a restaurant/bar application yet that works on that particular credit card machine and we don't know when it will be ready. You have to buy a new machine for 200.00 that we have the application working." "Why don't you loan me a machine until you get the application working." "No, you have to buy the new machine, but we'll drop it to 100.00."
They want me to pay 60.00 on a lease that they set up, and buy a new credit card machine, because they don't have the restaurant/bar application that will handle tip adjustment reading the chip. After corresponding with other processors, they all had restaurant/bar applications that support tip adjustment after sale on my particular credit card machine. I got a couple of offers from the other processors and sent it certified mail to Alpine. I have a contract with Alpine Systems, and in the contract it states; "If Alpine Systems is given a third party bonafide offer from another processing company via Certified Mail and Alpine Payment Systems fails to respond to or is not willing to match it, then the Merchant shall not be liable for any de-conversion or early termination fee whatsoever."
After many e-mails and phone calls over days because they're in no hurry, Alpine responds with "we will match some of the things in the offer, but not all of them. And, the new credit card machine goes back up to 200.00. If you try to cancel we will sue for early termination fees, attorney fees," and anything else they can. What a miserable, and dishonest company to work with! Basically, the customer service is way below any standard I've worked with in the bar/restaurant community. It's days to get anything done. THEY DO NOT CARE ABOUT THEIR CUSTOMERS AT ALL! They picked the credit card machine, get you to lease it, then don't support their software on the machine, then make you buy a different machine while you're still paying on the lease. Do yourself a favor, stay away from this company.
Voting came and went and in October I was asked who I voted for. I explained that I don't vote because I don't like either candidate. I was laid off one week later and discouraged from taking unemployment even though I was eligible because that wasn't an honorable thing to do (Alpine Payment Systems, Vancouver, WA). So I had to get a job quick and there was only one other thing I knew how to do which was work on cars. So I made a new resume and sent it to every stereo shop I could think of. I went to their websites and found contact info for each manager of each store, I emailed them all my resume.
I was hired on Black Friday to a retail store, one that I had emailed. Total process took about 3 days from when I emailed to when I signed the job acceptance letter. I guess I got lucky, but my point is to know what you are good at doing and go take the job. I was aggressive and I knew there was an opening. As far as I was concerned that opening was mine from the get go, and I got it on one of the most difficult days for retail I was hired on. I even brought my tools that same day and was ready to work.
I was told at the beginning there was no lease on the machine. My mistake, I didn't read the contract. Second, they told me the fees which had hidden cost everywhere that I couldn't see. I have went ahead and paid all the stuff that I was charged even though they added 29.04 a year for some phony charge extra on the lease. They told me when I got the machine that they would keep it updated free of charge till my contract with Alpine was up, which they lied about. Now are saying it cost an extra 800.00 and something dollars to have it upgraded. This company is pretty sneaky about everything. Get everything you talk to them about on a recording and then they have nothing to say.
Best thing to do is file at the FCC, then file with your attorney general's office and get everything on record against this company that you can. That is all that is going to change these kind of people that come out and tell you one thing and get you to sign something totally different because you trusted them.
I signed up for Alpine Payment Systems in January for a new business I opened. They brought me in a very low rate of 1% for most cards with some exceptions such as AMX and business cards. However, they would not allow me to buy a machine. They made me sign a contract for $69 a month for 4 years for a machine that only costs $300 to buy. Shortly after I signed up, they started increasing the rates. With every bill a rate increase would be included blaming the increase on the credit card companies. They also added an additional yearly fee for PCI complaince which I never agreed to and have increased my yearly fee from $59 to $79. Those are just the problems with the fees. There are several other problems.
The machine that I am paying significantly more money for than I should, has broken now three times. All three times were due to programming errors. All three times, it happened to be on a weekend, so I was put through to an outside technical support. They told me that the errors I was receiving was due to an improper programming and could be caused by nothing else.
The first two times, they swapped out the machine for me which took them a week and caused me to loose thousands of dollars worth of business as they do not allow you to use manual credit card receipts and want you to call them in. We are in a fast-paced sales environment where the customers are not willing to wait until we call the card in. Both times, they tried to say it was our fault because we dropped it or tampered with it in some way which we did not. This third time, they told us we had to send the machine back in again for them program the machine to fix the errors. Two days later, I received a call from "Ashley" telling me that the machine was fixed and would be sent out the next day. The following day I receive a call from "Jared" saying that the machine showed that it had been tampered with and that we would need to pay $200 to get a new machine. Jared refused to allow me to talk to a supervisor although I have a feeling that he is actually Robert, the owner, using a fake name.
They use fraudulent claims to bring people into the business. I asked them several times for a copy of my contract and they will not give it to me because they know that they have increased the fees. They took advantage of the fact that my partner is from outside the country and does not speak English perfectly and can be confused by tricky wording.
They have sent me back my broken machine and are refusing to do anything to rectify the situation except to say that I can cancel my contract with them which will cost me $700. But I will still have to keep my contract for the machine even though it has been ruined by their programming errors.
Alpine Payment Systems is for something that the FTC has ruled and acted on with other credit card processors and fined $26 million, in one instance, whose fradulent business practices are EXACTLY what Aline Payment Systems is still practicing, and is getting away with.
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Alpine Payment Systems Company Profile
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