SANTA MONICA, Calif.—A message from ePassporte chief executive Chris Mallick commenting on the ongoing suspension of the company’s ability to use Visa was posted to the GoFuckYourself.com message board a few minutes after noon PDT.
Short on specifics, but adamant that both he and the company are working to find a solution to the problem, Mallick said that they still have received no “good basis” for why the action by Visa was taken, and insisted that all funds are secure and the effort continues to “work out how all payments will be made and when.”
In a message clearly intended to mitigate concern among a large and international group of webmasters and others who count on access to their ePassporte funds, Mallick repeated several times that everyone’s money is safe. ePassporte, he added, also has “funds that are stuck in the system, as well as massive costs of operation without any income.”
The Middle Men producer ended his missive with a reminder of his many effective years in the industry, saying, “For those of you that have been in the industry for many years, I hope you will recall that I have a very strong track record of fighting for the rights of webmasters, program sponsors, billing companies, merchants and the industry; that dedication continues."
The complete message is, as follows:
We at ePassporte are as distressed as you, our valued cardholders, over an action that we did not see coming and as of today we still have received no good basis for it.
First, be assured that your funds are fully safe and protected. You are owed that and it will be fulfilled. The funds are secure.
Second, ePassporte is working with the St. Kitts bank to work out how all payments will be made and when. The details are complicated, because there are funds in motion and where and when they settle requires us to all be careful that we fully and properly account for all those funds and their rightful owner. This issue stems from our processing and reporting ability through the Visa system and their processor.
Third, ePassporte's most important asset has always been our account holders. We are not going to undermine that asset by treating cardholders in any manner other than the best we can.
Most of us have had the unfortunate experience of dealing with banks and card associations that simply “cut us off” and did not pay us. Those actions were limited to card acquiring (merchant accounts), not card issuing, which is what we do. We can all take some comfort in the fact that this situation is not anything like the acquiring side of the business.
We all fully understand that communication to our cardholders is critical. However, it does not help any of us if we are constantly updating you on the basis of the calls that take place almost hourly. It seems to us that giving you facts, based on agreements we are working on is the best form of communication. This is what we will be doing. When we know something, that is a fact, we will report it, quickly. Our staff is all working diligently to resolve these issues and the many moving and complicated parts of getting the funds returned. Therefore, please do not mistake our silence as “hiding”, “avoiding” or “stringing you along”. We too have funds that are stuck in the system, as well as massive costs of operation without any income.
Rest assured that when we know, you will know and you will all be satisfied with the results. Again, your money is safe.
For those of you that have been in the industry for many years, I hope you will recall that I have a very strong track record of fighting for the rights of webmasters, program sponsors, billing companies, merchants and the industry; that dedication continues.
Thanks you for your understanding in this difficult time and for your support over the last 8 years of our operations.
Visa, in a statement issued Tuesday, said that it had acted “at the request of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank (SKNA).”
“On September 2, 2010, Visa blocked network access for prepaid cards issued by SKNA and operated by ePassporte.com to address certain program deficiencies. ePassporte.com is a third-party agent that works with SKNA,” it said.
Visa also noted that “impacted SKNA prepaid cardholders are still able to access their funds through SKNA or SKNA’s agent, ePassporte.com.”
Repeated calls by AVN to the St. Kitts bank have gone unanswered and unreturned.