• Report:  #4091

Complaint Review: ExchangePath - Nationwide

Reported By:
- Tempe, Arizona,
Wed, December 27, 2000

Nationwide, U.S.A.
Internet Services
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On December 12th, I was the winning bidder on a watch offered on Ebay by Stuart Kane. Stuart and I went over payment options for the watch, and I ultimately chose ExchangePath due to their promise of fast, free, easypayments with a credit card. Following ExchangePaths transaction regulations, I would be able to send money to Stuart in payments of up to $500 per transaction to a maximum of $1000 per day.

Since the final cost of the watch was $1,675, I had to break up the total cost into four separate payments over two days. I tried to sign up online and make my initial payments on Wednesday, December 13th, but was unable to set up my account due to an unspecified error on your servers. The webpage referred me to ExchangePaths customer service email and I wrote a quick note outlining my troubles.

On Thursday the 14th, I was able to sign on, open an account and make my two initial payments of $500 each. I emailed Stuart and confirmed that the transactions were running. All looked good as of 9:30pm when I went to bed. Friday morning, I woke up to a message on my answering machine from the night before from an ExchangePath representative asking me to call him back. I also received an email from Stuart. He wrote that he had received a message from ExchangePath stating that I had cancelled payment and wanted to know why. I wrote back assuring that I had not, there must have been an error somewhere and I would clear it up.

I spoke to an ExchangePath agent that day and addressed the situation. He (service representative Dov) stated that since Stuart and I were both new customers and we had maxed out our transactions, the transfer was flagged as suspect and a representative tried to call me to confirm the transaction. Since I didnt answer the phone, they cancelled the transaction for security purposes. At the time, I applaud their security measures on my behalf, but I didnt appreciate their actions making me look like I was behind the cancellation. It reflects badly on a buyer and is deceitful, whether intentional or not.

In addition to the cancellation, my account was suspended and I was unable to access it for a few hours. I was now a full day behind in the transaction. Friday evening I was able to log on again and restore my $1000 payments. Trying to make up for lost time, I had my wife (Amy Rinehart) sign up for the service and make the final $675 of payments to Stuart (incidentally, I had referred her Wednesday hoping to get the promised $5 signup referral bonus, but to this day I have nothing). We broke up the payments into two transactions. One for $300 and the other for $375, thinking wed safely pass thier stepped up (customer services words) security with the lower totals. All of the transactions made that day went smoothly and were confirmed later that night. ExchangePath currently holds funds for up to two days as pending.

At the close of those two days, the funds show up as "complete" in the recipient's ExchangePath account and may be withdrawn as a credit to their credit card or can be wired to their bank. At that point I can no longer cancel payments. Stuart saw that the transactions were complete Sunday and attempted to withdraw the money, only to find out on Monday that his account has been locked for security reasons. A call to ExchangePath got him promises and apologies and they assured him all would be OK Monday night. Tuesday comes and Stuart is again locked from his account. He calls ExchangePath and is assured that a representative will call him back within the hour. Two plus hours pass, Stuart misses a business flight and nothing is resolved. A call to ExchangePath Tuesday the 19th finds us in a deadlock. I cant cancel my payment and ExchangePath wont credit Stuarts bank account. I was told there was nothing that can be done after hours and Id have to call back the next day. Ive been referred to their corporate lawyer (Robert [email protected]) and Stuart was given a promise by customer service representative John Isely that the situation would be cleared up before January 4th...nearly a month after our initial deposits! In the meantime, they hold my money in their bank making interest off of it, Stuart is out of a sale and I havent received an item Ive paid for...a Christmas gift, no less. A truly disgusting situation.

I called the corporate ExchangePath office Tuesday morning and the switchboard operator had no information about the company other than the number for customer service. Wednesday the 20th was a full day of arguing over the phone about release of funds to Stuart, all to no resolution. Thursday the 21st I wrote a note to all of the leadership of ExchangePath explaining the situation and threatening BBB and FTC complaints. I was assured that everything will now pass through in a timely manner...the counsel for EP will release our money and initiate the wire transfer process. We were also chastized by the CEO (Heidi [email protected]) and warned never to use their service again in the manner in which we did...a manner completely within their regulations and our right. We followed all rules set forth in their member agreement and initiated a set of transactions in good faith.

The subsequent review of our member info and personal phone calls should have given substantial evidence of this. In order to follow the set guidelines, we split up payments. In order to make up for the lost time from the initial payment cancellation, we split up the second set of payments from another account. We did this to remain within the bounds of their regulations. On Friday the 22nd I sent an email to Robert Siegel, EPs corporate counsel and the individual who was to release our funds. I asked if he had done the transfer as Stuart did not see any activity in his account and when should we expect to see the transaction completed. His response was that the transfer had been initiated and should be closed in 8 days. I find 8 days to be completely unacceptable. I replied asking why the transfer would take 8 days and I still wait for a response. We were left in the dark and led around with conflicting information. We waited by phones that never rang. We spoke to people who didnt know how to resolve issues.

I personally doubted the existence of the company itself when I called the New York number listed as their main office in the agreement and spoke to a switchboard operator that was unable to connect me to anyone because "nobody's here...I'm just a switchboard operator". Lastly, I certainly didn't feel very safe when told that our problem was due to stepped up security in reaction to "possible fraud" from "new employees inside the company". Looking up ExchangePath in various online trading community boards I find Stuart and I arent the only ones having difficulty with the company. EP seems to be loathed across the internet for slow transfers, suspect actions and long holds on peoples money...seemingly for no reason other than to make more money in interest. I just wish I had known that from the outset.

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