National Cash Systems Review, Irvine, CA

UPDATE (October 15, 2012)
After numerous back and forth emails and delays over a span of about a month, I discovered why I was originally charged such a large amount. They charged me $125/hour for each ATM and then tacked on an additional one hour long driving charge for each upgrade. So I got charged two hours of $125 each for driving time for my two ATMs that were 10 minutes apart, while the actual upgrades took about 20 minutes and 30 minutes.

In any case, they just contacted me to issue me a refund for one of the driving times.

ORIGINAL
I’m currently with National Cash Systems as my ATM Processor and up until about this past month, I would recommend them to other people.  After two years of not really needing to call them for anything, they start taking this hyper aggressive, “I will take your money and you will thank me for it” approach on things.

Unfortunately, the worst part about this company is how they’ll just withdraw funds from your bank account, and not tell you what it’s for until you discover it on your own and call in.  Then trying to get an invoice for those charges becomes a drawn out game of email-tag. They’re also very unapologetic about it, so I expect this kind of treatment in the future.

JUNE 2012

I discover some monthly charges on my accounts for $7.99/month.  Why was I charged?  Because I didn’t reply to their email or contact them to “Opt Out”, I was charged $7.99/month for each of my ATMs.  Obviously, I complained and the funds were eventually refunded back to my account.

BUT SERIOUSLY WHO DOES THIS?!

Here was the email I failed to take seriously and I won’t analyze it because this seems so blatantly unethical that if I need to communicate why this is wrong to you, we will probably never associate or do business with one another.

May 15 Email Subject: Sticker Insurance Opt In

 

SEPTEMBER 2012

I discover two charges on my account, $166.67 and $144.95, labelled, “Software and Braille Stickers.”  I’m annoyed again and call in.  I discovered that technicians from National Cash Systems came over to my machines, logged into the Master password, and upgraded my machines to the latest versions back in July 2012.

So that’s annoying after what occurred with their Sticker Opt-In and I send them this email (September 6, 2012).

I have discovered your company has charged my account in the amounts of $166.67 and $144.95 on August 15, 2012 without my authorization.

See attached work orders for service done to my ATMs without my prior consent.

Please refund the charges and do not charge my account in the future without my explicit consent.

 

We can also talk about a lower amount to be charged for the software upgrades rather than an outright refund. I’d be okay with $50 for each site being upgraded for a total of $100. $150 for about 20 minutes of work that includes uploading files from a USB thumb drive does not seem reasonable (the stickers were mailed to me prior and I had already placed them on the machines). In my particular case, I would’ve been able to do the work myself if your technicians emailed me the files and the directions received from Hyosung. For the sake of expediency, however, I’m willing to compromise and at least cover your expenses.

For the two years I have been with your company, I’ve generally been satisfied and recommended you to my friends. I thought we had a great working relationship where I purchased the ATM, installed it myself, programmed it myself, maintained it, provided Internet connection, and restocked it with my own cash. I took care of the machine, and your company processed the transactions. The division of labour seemed very clear and there were minimal surprises. This was the relationship I was expecting from the very beginning and was communicated to me with your staff.

Then in June, your company started charging me an unsolicited $7.99 from my account for insurance I did not approve of (which was refunded, thank you). And now, we’re dealing with the software upgrade issue.

I would like to continue my business relationship with your company if at all possible. I have been generally very happy with your company’s service and I would like to continue and recommend your business to others. In order to do so, I need to be assured that our business relationship returns to the original intent as described at (http://www.nationalcash.com/affiliate-programs/), “Some independent deployers choose to manage its own fleet of ATMs but utilize National Cash for all its back-end processing, accounting, statement generation & reconciliation services.”

I look forward to an agreement that will enable us to have an ongoing and profitable relationship.

 

Look, I get it.  Sometimes we make mistakes and send out techs without letting people know in advance.  Then we withdraw some arbitrary amount we want from their account and still not tell them until they look at their bank statements.

No response to the email and I’m trying to get an answer from staff and I get an official one today, September 17, 2012.

Their official response is essentially, “touch luck.  We can get into your machines and that’s our right per the agreement you signed.”  Their position is that no prior notice is needed whatsoever and then they can charge me for it.  That’s what I signed up for, right?

Obviously, this company cares minimally for me as a business partner.

So now that I understand how they want to play this, I sent them cancellations for my contracts that aren’t due to expire until about a year out and another one 6 months later.  Luckily, I had enough foresight to not sign the 5 year agreement they originally wanted.

I’ve also submitted a request for them to change the contracts to make it VERY clear that I don’t want their techs touching my machines unless I give them consent first.  It’s just a pet peeve of mine to get funds withdrawn from my account by surprise.  In fact, I’m helping them to cooperate by changing the master passwords and telling them I did so that they don’t try to come out again without my consent.

I can easily imagine in a couple of months, that their techs will come out to my machine to do some additional programming without my consent despite my explicit email to them to NOT do that.  Then they will just withdraw the funds from my account and call it a travel charge.

SERIOUSLY?!  What’s wrong with these people?

Hopefully, I can get some kind of resolution from this with them creating a new contract that explicitly states they shouldn’t be touching my machines without my approval first.  Otherwise, I’ll be moving to a new ATM Processor.

Unfortunately, I don’t have experience with any other ATM Processor, so maybe this is just standard behavior in the industry.

Any recommendations?

Vending Machines as Extra Revenue

This one’s fairly simple and straightforward. Buy a used vending machine on Craigslist and place this somewhere safe and obvious.

Price your products competitively and it will be used just for the convenience factor by guests.

The biggest threat to profitability is vandalism. Other than that, you’re guaranteed some relatively easy money.

Why pay someone else to vend and profit on your property when you can easily just do it yourself?

If your parents aren’t already doing it, you might as well see if you can personally invest in a machine and stock it yourself for personal profit.

If you have some vending experiences, share them in the comments section!

How I Got Over $600,000 for Selling my Cell Tower Leases

Some hotels have cell phone towers on their hotels. Consider yourself lucky because YOU JUST HIT THE JACKPOT!

AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, Metro PCS, and whatever other cell phone provider basically pays out thousands of dollars per month to property owners for the permission to put cell phone towers on their roofs. Most of the time, the property owner doesn’t need to pay for electricity.

That’s a pretty sweet deal. You get thousands per month for doing pretty much nothing.

There are some companies that will offer you a lump sum of cash in exchange for the monthly payment from these cell towers (40-year term). So for example, for a $2,000 / month cell tower lease, you can get a lump sum of about $192,000 (more or less)!

The break even for this is about 8 years, but seriously, how many hotel owners actually keep their hotels for 8 years? And when a hotel brings in millions per year in revenue, a couple thousand is a drop in the bucket during selling time. A person who buys a hotel buys a hotel for its ROOM revenue and is not so concerned about a cell phone tower lease.

I got competitive bids from multiple companies, and we ended up going with UnisonSite.com We got the highest bid from them and they processed the cash relatively quick. Their lawyers also helped us get rid of an erroneous Mechanic’s Lien on our Title. Definite bonus points for that added perk!

Have you had experiences (good or bad) with different lease buyout firms? Have a better idea to best utilize your cell towers? Let me know below.