Merchant Services Direct LLC (MSD), also known as Sphyra, LLC, is paying the price for their dishonest business practices.
Since 2008, MSD misrepresented that they could offer lower credit card processing rates and better equipment, such as card-swipe terminals, which businesses use for sales transactions.
In some cases, the company’s sales agents enticed small-business owners to sign new contracts for credit card processing under the guise that they were signing updated paperwork with the business’ current card processor.
In reality, these scammers weren’t affiliated with the small business’ current payment processor, MSD’s processing rates were higher than represented, and undisclosed fees were being debited from the business owner’s bank account. Many businesses only realized they had been deceived when they began receiving bills from two separate companies, after they had already signed contracts.
MSD estimated gross revenues of $7 million in 2012.
The Attorney General’s Office filed a complaint against MSD in Spokane County Superior Court in July 2013, in concert with a federal action filed by the Federal Trade Commission.
MSD’s principals are Shane Patrick Hurley and Kyle Lawson Dove, although Dove left the company in January 2013. The defendant’s other companies include Generation Y Investments, LLC, and Boost Commerce, Inc.
After negotiations started in July 2014, Hurley and MSD agreed to pay $150,000 and Dove and Boost Commerce agreed to pay $25,000 for AGO legal fees and services. The AGO alleged Boost Commerce was involved in the scam and therefore sought to obtain money from them too. As part of the agreement, MSD is prohibited from using deceptive sales practices.