Dozens of landlords around the country are still missing tenant payments and trying to collect funds tied up in an ecommerce dispute that has led to one Kentucky-based company filing bankruptcy last month.
CC Operations LLC dba eCHECKit, filed a bankruptcy petition in October in Kentucky. eCHECKit is the payment processor for the 13-year-old Fort Collins, Colorado, company eRentPayment, which offers landlords and property managers the convenience of collecting rent payments online.
According to eRentPayment’s website, tenants pay rent on the company’s secure website and it is processed in the automatic clearinghouse, or ACH, network and then deposited in the landlords’ accounts.
It is still unclear how many landlords may have received some payments and how many are still seeking payments from reports.
Fort Collins Colorado company
The Ft. Collins, Colorado newspaper reported, as an example, landlord Wes Kalter’s tenants paid their $3,200 rent on Oct. 5, the same as always. The money paid to eRentPayment.com should have made it to Kalter’s account within three to five days. It never showed up, according to the newspaper.
Kalter says he has talked to 91 other landlords who are owed about $250,000 in rent payments, and to Fort Collins police.
Kalter told the newspaper he is not holding his tenants responsible and blames eRentPayment for “not giving us a route to fix this. ERentPayment is blaming eCHECKit … all they are telling us is eCHECKit is declaring bankruptcy, and we’re out $250,000. They’re just blowing us off.”
But eRentPayment emailed customers, claiming that recent payments weren’t made because of issues with its payment processor, eCHECKit, which filed for bankruptcy protection.
The BBB of Colorado and Wyoming said it started getting complaints about eRentPayment Oct. 12 and had received 41 complaints last month and has suspended eRentPayments’ accreditation.
Ask tenant to just write a check to the landlord
“In my husband’s and my case, it’s about $4,000 that we’re missing,” Sherrie Mills, a Denver Realtor who owns investment property, told the Business Den. Mills said she has used eRentPayment for three years.
Mills told the newspaper she’s disappointed by what she sees as a lack of communication by the rent management company. Next month, she’s asking tenants to cut her a check. “I think it’s turned me off permanently,” she said. “At no point did we think our funds were at risk.”
Multiple posts by various landlords around the country on Bigger Pockets discuss what has been happening with the payments.
Rick Sands, president of eRentPayment, wrote on his company Facebook page, payments made through the site now are being processing by New York-based Esquire Bank, and those made after Oct. 12 are being processed without issue. The latest Facebook posts from the company, however, indicate that some payments from early October still had not reached landlords’ bank accounts. The posts have attracted dozens of comments from frustrated customers, according to Business Den.
Tempe company caught up in dispute
The issues faced by Kentucky-based payment processor eCHECKit, have put Tempe, Arizona’s Check Commerce in the middle of the dispute, according to a report by the East Valley Tribune.
The newspaper reported the Tempe-based company, payment processor for eCHECKit, froze over $4 million of eCHECKit’s funds in a reserve account due to irregularities it noticed in debit and credit instructions that eCHECKit submitted on behalf of its merchants.
In a notice to consumers, Check Commerce stated, “At that time, Check Commerce believed that eCHECKit lacked sufficient available funds to cover the corresponding credit transactions for the debits it had submitted on behalf of its merchants,” according to the newspaper.
The issue began when property owners using the eRentPayment online platform realized they had not received automated clearing house payments submitted by tenants in early October, the newspaper reported. It became clear that issue stemmed from financial problems faced by eRentPayment’s payment processor, eCHECKit, the newspaper reported.
Payment processor filed for bankruptcy
eRentpayment said on their website last month, “We regret to inform you that our payment processor, eCHECKit, has informed us that it expects to file for bankruptcy protection. We are told that it suffered losses due to a fraud and that its processor, Check Commerce, has held over $4 million of its funds and will not release the funds to the intended recipients at this time. Please note that eRentPayment had nothing to do with the fraud eCHECKit suffered. It was apparently caused by another client of eCHECKit, according to a statement on erentpayment.com.
“The transactions potentially affected were submitted after approximately 7:31:00 PM (Pacific time) on 10/03/2017 through approximately 7:01:33 PM (Pacific time) on 10/12/2017. Any transactions submitted after this time period should not be affected as they are being processed through eRentPayment’s new direct bank relationship. Similarly, any future transactions should not be affected as they will be run through the new direct processing relationship.
“We do not know if or when Check Commerce will send the pending transactions to the recipients. Accordingly, you should consider your options including having the tenant contact his or her bank to request the transaction be reversed. Specifically, the tenant may initiate a return for an “Incomplete Transaction.” We understand that the return code for this is “R10” and the bank will require a written statement from the tenant. Also, the tenant will have a limited time period to request the return from his bank, usually within 60 days from the date of the transaction,” the company said on its website last month.
“We are contacting the Attorney General of Arizona, the National Automated Clearing House Association, and reviewing legal action against the relevant parties,” according to eRentPayment.
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