(WSVN) - They answered the call for personal protective equipment in South Florida and the country, but instead of paying off, their hard work comes with a huge price. 7’s Kevin Ozebek shows us how a small businesses may be “Facing Trouble.”
Enrique Eduardo, Symmetry Printing & Marketing: “Our heart is really to help as many people as possible.”
Eduardo is a partner in a South Florida printing company called Symmetry Printing & Marketing. His company wanted to help fill the country’s need for personal protection equipment.
Enrique Eduardo: “We developed a face shield. It was easy to transition to the face shields because we already have plastic in stock.”
Symmetry Printing & Marketing has sold and donated thousands of face shields to law enforcement and medical facilities. The general public can buy them, too.
But the company’s latest round of sales may end up costing them.
Enrique Eduardo: “Our merchant service provider apparently has stopped all of our funding and held our funds from our sales.”
Symmetry uses a merchant service provider to process its online debit and credit card transactions, but the provider put a stop to a $10,000 payment after seeing Symmetry wasn’t selling its usual products.
Enrique received an email saying Symmetry’s account was “flagged” because “the number of transactions have increased.”
It adds that Symmetry needed to stop selling face shields online because “the sales of these items are not allowed to the general population, only to government and health providers.”
Enrique Eduardo: “One of the things they originally had told us was there was some type of mandate that prevented us from selling it at all to the general public, and that it had to be sold to government.”
We reached out to the merchant service provider to ask what mandate they were referring to, but they never responded.
We then asked the State Attorney General’s Office. It sent an email saying, “We do not have any additional information related to this matter.”
We also checked the Florida Department of Health and went through all of the COVID-19 executive orders from the governor. There was nothing about a ban on selling plastic face shields to the public.
We emailed the information to the merchant service provider but, again, received no response.
Enrique Eduardo: “I think it’s just them protecting themselves, but it’s sad that in a situation like this, a company that’s working like ours to offer protection, has to confront red tape.”
Enrique says he was told that the hold the money would be released if the face shields were taken off Symmetry’s website, but that’s all his company is selling right now.
Enrique Eduardo: “Right now, we’re doing about over 1,000 a day. We have orders from California, from Washington State, Washington, D.C., a lot from New York, New Jersey.”
It’s also the only thing keeping workers paid.
Enrique Eduardo: “We’ll keep selling. We’ll navigate through this obstacle, because it is a need that we’re being able to fulfill right now.”
Symmetry was forced to open accounts with two other merchants, and they plan to keep making face shields for as long as they are needed.
After our investigation, Symmetry tells 7News that they finally heard back from the first merchant service provider. The hold on their money was released, and they will be able to keep selling their face shields online.
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