Well, this has to be about at the top of my list of “the last things” I thought I’d ever blog about.
But you know what they say…
Desperate times call for desperate measures…And…
Unfortunately, as of now, gymjunkies.com is shut down until further notice. I’m sure you’re asking yourself “WTF” or “how is this possible” or maybe you don’t care one bit.
Regardless everything I am writing in today’s blog post is 100% warranted, factual and well it may just make your blood boil.
Ok enough small talk here is how…
American Express Turned My Life Upside Down, Shut Down My Companies (gymjunkies.com) and Is Literally Holding Me, Hostage
2017 started out to be a pretty decent year…
Life was good I was training, blogging, and of course always working on ways I can make gym junkies bigger, better and continue to help people all across the globe.
But that all changed when I received a call on January 20th from my merchant processor, “sorry Terry we can no longer process payments for any of your companies anymore.”
I was placed on something called “MATCH” or “TMF” short for Terminated Merchant File.
I remember kind of chuckling, there’s got to be some mistake. I was familiar with TMF but that was for companies or individuals who had excessive chargebacks, excessive fraud or were involved in money laundering.
Nothing I was even close to being involved in anyway shape or form.
After some serious digging around I had found out a company called American Express had placed me on this list. What in the hell, this further perplexed me.
I was at the time I was an American Express cardholder; I had a good rapport with them, paid my bills on time and enjoyed card benefits.
But why in the hell did American Express place my companies and me on this list?
After pounding the phone lines for literally days…YES, DAYS… I finally got a morsel of information.
Vicky Trutti at (866) 870-5407 stated the reason was for “violation of standards” and the merchant ID # attached to it was 20436739**. She also confirmed there was no financial loss and this merchant account was opened in 2014!
Of course with this small bit information, I dug through my records and found the merchant account they were referring to.
We processed a whopping $4,000 and closed the account. This obviously further confused me considering the actual volume was so low and there were no issues. It was clearly about as low risk as you can get and I requested this merchant account to be shut down over 3 years ago!
Ok, what the HELL is going on I thought…
At this point, I went round and round with American Express with more or less 0 answers while my honorable marketing company and this great fitness blog gym junkies slowly descended into the gutter.
Since I could not charge users and clients for services, I had literally no way of making an income.
To be clear, American Express’s placement of me and my company on this MATCH list eviscerated my ability to accept MasterCards and Visa payments. So by its actions, American Express cut my ability to accept ANY credit card payments.
With irregular cash flow, my business took a nose dive, my ability to make standard payments for everything was reduced and my credit score tanked as a result.
That’s about the time I had enough playing patty cake with the customer service agents over there at American Express and hired my attorney, Eugene Rome at http://romeandassociates.com/. His firm specializes in payment processing so I figured he could connect with American Express, explain the issues and resolve the clear misunderstanding.
American Express came around pretty quickly and through its first smiling sleazebag, Tony Diab from the law firm Shook Hardy and Bacon (http://www.shb.com/professionals/d/diab-tony, 949.975.1726) said, hey let’s try and work this out.
American Express takes responsibility for its actions.
What do you guys want?
My attorney explained that we could not figure out why I was placed on MATCH and in response to Tony’s invitation sent out 5 written questions and 4 requests for documents asking American Express to explain why I was placed on MATCH.
We’ll answer your questions, Tony said, and we can then resolve the case.
That turned out to be complete B.S.
They waited 30 days and objected to everything. Tony suddenly disappeared. But, Shook Hardy and Bacon put another lawyer on it – Siena Caruso. (https://www.linkedin.com/in/siena-caruso-0740618b;
According to Caruso, Tony was taken off the case because he had mishandled our discussions.
Not to worry, she was going to correct things.
Conveniently she did not want to discuss anything by email with my attorney.
She even got a partner from Shook involved, Paul LaScala (http://www.shb.com/professionals/l/la-scala-paul; 949.475.1500).
Paul too refused to put anything in writing but kept repeating the same B.S. mantra – our client wants to work it out.
Next thing we know, Shook Hardy and Bacon are out and American Express’s “A-Team” is in. We hear that Stroock Lavan(http://www.stroock.com/) is representing American Express.
And, guess what – they also want to work it out???
They also are asking the judge for extensions because they claim to need time to understand things from the client and because somehow the hurricane in Florida is preventing its representatives in Arizona from signing and reviewing documents.
Judge gives it to them.
Well, long story short…
Eventually, my attorneys discovery leads to me finding out that someone stole my identity and opened up supplementary cards (http://www.moneycontrol.com/glossary/credit-cards/supplementary-card_15.html) under my name using a fake social security #(YES FAKE). Charged a ton of stuff on them and then charged backed (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chargeback) the transactions.
Oh but don’t worry about Terry or his livelihood or his companies…
American Express could have simply called and asked me to verify if this was indeed me.
But they didn’t….
They would rather proceed with the nuclear approach and destroy the small business owner’s life for absolutely no reason.
Oh but don’t worry they will fix there mistake right?
I mean it’s American Express here, I mean they state on their website awarded for customer service “DEDICATED TO YOU”.
American Express’s new ace team of smiling sleazebags Marcos Sasso (http://www.stroock.com/people/MSasso, https://twitter.com/mdsasso21, 310-556-5883) and Erick Kuylman (http://www.stroock.com/people/EKuylman; https://twitter.com/erickkuylman, 310-556-5835) acknowledge that someone other than me added me as a supplemental card holder.
They also said the social security numbers for the account weren’t even right.
So, whoever opened it up didn’t even have my correct information. They had NO EVIDENCE that I was even involved in the suspicious activity.
But, how about take me off MATCH?
American Express decided to double down. Drop the lawsuit or we will ask the judge to put the case in arbitration and, even if she says “no” we’ll tie it up in appeals for next two years and crush you into the ground.
But, guess what, there is more, we will also file four separate lawsuits against you just to show you that we mean business.
They did just that…
Different American Express companies filed four lawsuits against me.
I looked at Kuylman and Sasso’s life on Twitter.
Don’t worry; their lives are just fine.
They are happy as clams, enjoying their lives while grinding mine into the ground because I had the audacity to be the victim of identity theft.
WHAT REASONABLE PEOPLE!
WHAT A STELLAR COMPANY!
So I got to thinking…
I need the fans, the followers, the readers and everyone in-between to mobilize behind me in my fight against American Express. If you don’t want to do it for me, do it to resurrect gym junkies or do it to support the small business owner…
Help bring some justice to my case through exposure on social media.
I’ve been patient…
I’ve been reasonable…
I’ve waited on the sidelines for 9 months while my companies crumble to the ground…
But enough if is enough…
My fight begins here on gym junkies but given my Internet marketing background I intend to release this article out to the following publications that I’m already in contact with:
- Google News, The Press-Enterprise, MecuryNews, The Boston Globe, Chron.com, The Daily Herald and thousands of more news organizations
- Promotion on Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, CNN, NYTimes, WashingtonPost, TheAtlantic.com, ABCNews.com, Foxnews.com, CBS.com, CNBC.com, LATimes.com, TechCrunch.com, Mashable.com, TheGuardian.com, Bloomberg.com, BBC.com, Engadget.com, VentureBeat.com, Fortune.com
- KUSI local news producer is considering the segment
- I will also start a GoFundMe Campaign to raise funds to pursue my lawsuit against American Express to the end. Someone has to make a stand here!
Thank you for everyone’s help, hopefully, the site & content returns to normal sooner than later…
Strock & Strock and Lavan & American Express First Update (11/17/17)
It’s been a long 10 months now…
My company damages & personal damages pile up day by day… anywhere from my manufacturer threating to drop me since this fiasco first started to contractors, collaborations being damaged, projects being placed on hold, the extreme stress placed on my business partners & countless of other issues.
But I keep putting one foot in front of the other and fighting back in every way I can.
I will not stop until this is resolved in a reasonable manner…
With constant back and forth with the opposing counsel there are a couple recent developments…
Some Positive Outcomes… Some Not…
American Express has dropped their four measly lawsuits against me. It’s pretty clear that http://michellawyers.com/ most likely came to the realization that they couldn’t sue me based on the fact American express originally damaged my companies, to begin with.
Marcos Sassos Arrogance & Blatant Lies Continue
Macros Sassos (the dishonest lawyer representing Amex) recently sent a letter dated Nov 2. “Considering taking myself & my companies off MATCH”.
They reiterated the fact I opened an American Express merchant in 2014(yes five years ago) directly, which is actually NOT true.
If you notice above a company called cyber source states “we’ve opened the American express account”.
Again completely refuting their claim that “I” opened the account.
They state “American Express Reserves the right to put me on match” even though I did NOT open the merchant account, even though I did NOT open the supposed supplementary credit cards “suspected” of fraud AND EVEN THOUGH I REPEATEDLY TOLD MARCOS SASSOS & AMERICAN EXPRESS I WAS VICTIM OF IDENTITY THEFT.
But it gets better…
At the end of the letter they casually state, in exchange for the “GOOD FAITH”(ONLY TOOK 10 MONTHS FOR THEM TO COME AROUND “American Express requires me to cease posting, and remove all, personal information (including photos) of all attorneys representing American Express in this action from all social media accounts and blogs under my control as well as removal of his blog post from ripoffreport.com.
Here’s my personal issue, their “good faith” has little merit, it was only when I went public with their crooked acts did they come around with a hint of reason.
When I say a “hint” I mean a “hint” as most of the damage I have suffered has already been done.
It’s been roughly 10 months of complete shut down of both of my companies.
Don’t bother with the massive amount of money I lost.
Or emotional stress
They swept that part under the rug…
But it get’s more interesting as my attorney and I dig deeper there’s even more unsettling details Marcos Sassos, Stock Strock and Lavan and American Express has bigger issues to deal with…
Strock Strock and Lavan & Marcos Sasso Have Bigger Issues To Deal With…
I’ll save you the time of legal jargon but if you’re curious you can review the case below my statements…
The lawyers cannot place their own interests in front of their clients (in this case American express). They CANNOT act in a way that is a “personal gain”, asking me to remove them from my blogs, social media & Google SERP.
The lawyers cannot disregard his client’s interests plain and simple.
During scheduling our mediation, the opposing counsel Marcos Sassos lured me into believing AMEX was interested in resolving this case but went so far as to use a hurricane in Florida to further push the date back so he could file for arbitration motion, gaining a strategic advantage in the case.
On Sept 6th, 2017 we simply asked how a hurricane on the East case affects the responding to the objections brought forth.
American express appeared before the court on Sept 8, 2017, when they were claiming that no one was available in Florida to assist with the response AND happened to have a declaration signed in support.
Then they filed on Sept 18th for arbitration behind our back (just happened to be my birthday that day, thanks for the gift Sassos).
Basically, Marcos Sassos flat out lied….
What does this translate into the legal world?
VIOLATION OF THEIR OTHS AND DUTIES AS ATTORNEYS
Moral turpitude: A legal concept in the in the United States and some other countries that refers to “an act or behavior that gravely violates the sentiment or accepted standard of the community”. This has been around since the 19th century.
Violation of his oath and duties as an attorney at law, DELAYING ACTION WITH A VIEW TO THER OWN GAIN.
California law provides sanctions in instances where “bad faith actions or tactics are frivolous or solely intended to cause UNNECESSARY DELAY”
You’re a lawyer but I’ll be here to remind you, you’re not above the law.
Strock Strock and Lavan Employees Question their Own Firm?
Anonymous Employee in Miami, FL
“If you are looking to work at this firm do not apply for a position with one of the female partners. Horrible working environment.”
“Keep you partners in check. Working under hostile conditions do not promote a good working environment.”
Former Employee – Legal Secretary in New York, NY
“Human Resources need training on how to approach and treat staff members. They ignore any complaints.”
“Listen to non-legal staff members.”
Paralegal in New York, NY
There are no positives at this firm.
Terrible place to work and most employees are looking to leave.
Find a firm to save your ship
Former Employee – Anonymous Employee
Place is horrible to work in
Working conditions are disrespectful to any human especially in the managing clerks office
No one speaks to one another
HR doesn’t know what anyone is doing from departments in ny
La office thinks that it’s the headquarters
Former Employee – Associate in Los Angeles, CA
Billed approx. 2300 hours the year before and got no bonuses; likely because I gave an honest upward review of management. Terrible culture; no respect for attorneys below management level
Practice group management (financial services) leaves much to be desired.
American Express Has Horrible Track Record & Thinks They Are Above The Average American
As I start to dig deeper and deeper into American express incompetence, I can only feel the pain for the other Americans that have been taken advantage of.
American Express is the worst credit card company. They charged my credit card without my authorization……
This is the second time this year American Express has sent me a membership request that THEY say I did not respond too, therefore I must have WANTED the subscription of $69.00 SkyGuide Magazine and $79.00 TL Golf Club…..
For a real horror story on credit cards service, read:
I noticed a small-unauthorized charge on my Amex account online. I immediately reported it. The clerk started an investigation…..
Dateline NBC gave a slight glimpse of my story in their episode: The Perfect Catch. Convicted con-artist Tim Blair aka Tim Dog -90’s Sony rapper- recently using in Dominican Republic alias Tim Williams (who was also reported on Rip-off Report prior to his being convicted) used American Express as one of his vehicles to rob his prey…..
My Personal Closing Statement
Marcos, American express you may be able to manipulate my case but I will continue to shed light on your crooked tactics.
I will continue to exercise my first amendment right of freedom of speech until a reasonable resolution is agreed upon.
Let me very clear I do not care if I win or lose my case; I can promise you one thing I will never go away.