With 27 complaints filed with Oregon's attorney general since 2002 against Wholesale Merchant Processing, the company that sells and leases credit- and debit-card machines makes for a slam-dunk Rogue.
"We know this company," says Jan Margosian, consumer-information coordinator for the AG's office. "Twenty-seven complaints is a lot. That's why we referred it to the Federal Trade Commission."
Charles Harwood, the FTC's Northwest regional director, said his office couldn't comment until it takes action or releases its findings on a case. The state referred the cases to the FTC last year.
Former WMP customer Craig Lien, who owns Pac West Blueprint in Hillsboro, is among the locals who have filed a complaint against the company, alleging he lost more than $3,000 in excessive fees, time and other items.
"They get you into these unfair contracts by showing you how you'll save money," Lien says. "Then they don't. And when you try to cancel their service, they still make you pay these outrageous fees. Just because we're a small business, they assume we won't challenge them and that they can get away with it."
Margosian says the 27 allegations against WMP include failing to fulfill a contract, using unfair or oppressive contract terms and promoting false or misleading offers.
"I have 8,000 customers and we have 100 unhappy customers," responds Todd McCartney, owner of Portland-based WMP, which sells and leases its products nationwide.
"I can't watch each person all day," he says of WMP's reps. "We have reps all over the country, and if some of them lie, we get rid of them…. [But] sometimes, merchants just get confused. And that's not my fault."