Despite their A+ rating with the BBB when you search for Appstar Financial on Google you might find information on Appstar Financial Scam or Appstar Financial Rip off or Appstar Financial Complaint.
So how can there be such a disconnect between what you are reading and what the diligent folks at the BBB have investigated and discovered about the company?
In order to understand the complaints about the company, and there are certainly complaints you need to understand the industry in which they operate. Appstar Financial just like all of their competitors in the industry are in business because they offer a solution at a discounted rate, or at a lower margin for their customers versus what the customer is currently paying for those same services right now! Think about it, they make money by discounting the profit that they make on each sale, and by doing this the merchant gets a better deal on their credit or debit card processing.
However, this is the rub…
In order for Appstar or any other merchant processor to make money they have to make up for this discounting with volume. If they can’t make a ton of money per client, then they need to have lots of customers. They are essentially giving the merchant the good deal in order to sell the service and then they need to sell a heck of a lot of these low priced services to survive.
Now I don’t know anything specifically about Appstar Financial but you can see that this trend holds true with almost any merchant processor, they have a system that allows them to sell lots of new customers per month. This is part of the reason that the credit card processing industry is a growth industry, because they are saving clients money, and new businesses are opening every day that need merchant services.
But at times, just like in any high volume business mistakes get made and customers are unhappy!
At the merchant processor that I used to work for we made nearly nearly two hundred thousand calls per month to set appointments for our sales reps. Our goal was to connect our local sales reps with business owners and during this process you are going to call someone who is having a bad day, or that the offer is not going to be what they need. We are just reaching out with the goal of saving these business owners money and visiting them on site to evaluate their needs and see if we can sign then up as customers. The ultimate goal is to help the business owner migrate from their current credit card processor to another that is more affordable or can offer them a better rate. But every time we used to sign someone up another company looses. I hope you understand this, when a business switches from one provider to another for services the incumbent is typically upset and they are willing to lower these fees just to keep the merchant on their service. Make sense?
Problems that arise…
However, there are problems that arise at any point during this transaction. Firstly, you have the Appstar agent calling and setting up the appointment. This is a cold call and customers dislike cold calls. Think about what would happen if someone called and asked to “speak to business owner about saving you money on credit card charges” you are bound to piss some people off. The biggest problem that we used to experience is when the business owners listed their cell phone number as their contact information on a database or list that we purchased. They then say that we were trying to scam them or that they are on the “do not call list”. The reality is that there is NO do not call list for businesses. If your office phone is your cell phone, or if you are forwarding your cell phone to your office – then outbound telemarketers are not the problem here. In these types of situations we, just like Appstar financial are not a scam. When this process runs smoothly and the appointment gets set this is awesome!
Sales people love it, the company loves it and I am sure that Appstar loves it also. Remember no appointment, no new sales.
And the business relies on new sales every day. That is why credit card processing jobs pay so well!
Now in our company we had to call the appointment and confirm and that was kind of a pain, but I think that Appstar is handling it better than we were. Once the sales person gets on site they meet and review the terms of the existing company, and if there is money to be saved the business owner is offered lower rates for making the switch. A contract is presented and signed by the business owner. Appstar will then initiate the process to move to the new processor.
Now often times and it is not a problem that is unique to Appstar is that there may be fees or money due for cancelling or that the business owner is still under contract with their existing provider. The business owner should always investigate this before signing a new contract. But I think that this is common sense. You are going to get hit with a fee if you break your cell phone contract and move your number to a different provider, why do you think that if you break a deal with your credit card company it is going to be any different? And just like in cell phone land, when you tell then that you are switching, they offer you discounts to stay! But where were these discounts before? Oh well. Sure people get pissed if they have to pay fees to cancel their other services to save money on the new guys, but don’t write that the new company like Appstar or anyone else is a rip off or a scam.
The other thing that we used to hear and I am sure that every merchant processor hears the same thing is that the customer did not know what they were signing.
Our agreements are written pretty straightforward, this is how much it will cost, this is the savings and here is how we are going to migrate you over. Now with us and I am sure with Appstar there are always sales people that stretch the truth… Back to the phone sales person analogy, no our service NEVER drops calls, and you will ALWAYS have service and 100 included text messages, you will NEVER use more than that. Come on folks, that is sales. For 98% of the time these things are probably true and if there are overages or problems with the service complain to the company. What I did like as well was I was given an opportunity to review my contract.
No matter what was said or how the customer remember it the sales rep wasn’t trying to hide anything. You have to read the agreement and sign the agreement for yourself. Do salespeople sometimes over promise? To be honest I am not sure, it is possible and I have learned from my dealings with other sales associates to never take what they verbally say at face value, it is all in black and white and if it is not the chances are, you won’t get it.
I was in the industry at a competitor of Appstar Financial and we lost deal to them, but the most painful was when we lost sales people to them. They recruit heavily and provide a great deal of training and a huge amount of support. They differed from us (back a few years ago) that they just scheduled the meetings and then confirmed them. I heard that sales people never had to make their own cold calls. But just like anything, if you build your own business by asking for referrals the job is easier. Overall my impression of the Appstar Financial is that if you have what it takes to go on two or so appointments per day that are set for you and you are ready to help business owners who don’t have a ton of time save money it’s a good gig.
My overall impression of Appstar Financial and that of most of the processors in the industry is that when you deal with them, you know that they are working hard to find you the best solution for your credit card processing needs. No one wants pissed off clients, but this is a numbers game. You have to sell enough deals to make it worth your while and every now and then out of the hundreds, if not thousands of accounts they have you are bound to piss off a customer or two. I think that the industry is completive, but is App Star Financial a scam? In my opinion, they are not a scam.
AppStar Financial has served thousands of clients and they have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, they have this rating because the company is open about what they do and the service they are trying to provide. Heck they even have their phone number on their website. (We did not)