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ConsumerWatch: Credit Card Machine Rental Customers Surprised Massive Bill

SACRAMENTO (KPIX 5) - A firm that rents out credit card machines is under scrutiny after a number of customers were unexpectedly charged fees that totaled several thousand dollars above what they expected to pay.

Silvia Ramirez expected a smooth transaction with The events manager for Susan G. Komen in Sacramento expected to pay about $760 dollars to rent eight credit card machines for the organization's annual race for the cure event. But after returning the machines, she says unexpectedly deducted more than twenty times that amount from Komen's bank account.

"I just remember looking at it," said Rameriz, "and thinking this is the most absurd invoice I've ever seen in my life". The non-profit was cited for cleaning, repair costs, shipping charges and more than $15,000 dollars for "days in repair."

"These costs are ridiculous," said Rameriz. "You know (they're) charging us $2,600 dollars to repair a machine when on the contract it clearly states that one machine is valued at $1,100 dollars".

Amber Fitzsimmons' event marketing company ShowMax had a similar experience with the on-line credit machine rental company. ShowMax was charged over $14,000 dollars by, again for cleaning, repairs and extra shipping charges. And she says he's heard from 3 or 4 other companies who have had similar experiences.

Fitzsimmons has maintained the money was deducted from two ShowMax business accounts without any warning. "In the contract it says if there are repairs that they would let us know in a prompt manner." said Fitzsimmons. "No one called us".

Credit Card Machine Rentals' CEO, Jeremy Roberts, contends the company did inform Fitzsimmons of the charges.

"Look," said Roberts, "I appreciate that somebody is unhappy that they got charged a very large fee. It's a no-win situation. When somebody breaks something and the business and the consumer are both losing money on it, it's bad".

Roberts has pointed out that all the potential fees were laid out in's contracts, and that the fine print states there's a $175 dollar fee per terminal per day in repair. According to the Utah based company, it must ship the machines to California for repairs and Roberts contends the credit machine rental company loses money for every day the machines are out of service.

According to invoices for both organizations, provided by Credit Card Machine Rentals, the machines needed repairs for things like slow printing and power problems. However, neither Komen or ShowMax believe their organizations are responsible for any damage.

In the end, the repair charges for both the non-profit and the marketing company amounted to more than the contract stipulates the machines are worth.

And both companies have attempted to get their money back from The company denied the ShowMax request but says it's working with Komen to reduce the amount it owes.

Shomaxx recently filed a criminal complaint in Utah against and Spanish Fork Police confirm an ongoing investigation but wont disclose the number of complaints it has received. "The goal at this point is not about getting the money back," said Fitzsimmons. "The goal is to shut this company down".

According to CEO Jeremy Roberts, complaints like those from Komen and ShowMaxx have are extremely rare and the company strives to make every rental transaction as smooth as possible.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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