(WSVN) - You own a small business. A customer pays with a credit card, you run it and are told it’s good, and then it’s not. You can still get your money if it’s a bad credit card, right? Maybe not, as 7’s Patrick Fraser discovered in a report called “Stern Lesson.”

The coronavirus has dramatically changed everyone’s life. Stress levels are high.

An afternoon on a boat with a captain in control could certainly ease your tension.

Drew Romanovitz, Lauderdale Yacht Charters: “They feel free on a boat. They’re more relaxed. They’re king for a day.”

Drew loves the water so much he created Lauderdale Yacht Charters, so other people could enjoy it, too.

Drew Romanovitz: “It’s a hell of an idea! It’s a hoot how things turned out.”

Drew has his own yacht but also charters yachts from other owners to meet his customers’ demands.

Drew Romanovitz: “Ninety-nine percent of the time, you get good people. There is always that 1% that gives you a hassle.”

Yep. That bad 1%…

Drew Romanovitz: “He indicated he was on his way from Orlando, and he had a group waiting for him in Miami.”

The guy wanted a nice yacht. Drew found one for the fellow and his 12 friends.

Drew Romanovitz: “Seventy-five hundred for six hours, which is not high-priced for this quality of yacht.”

The man entered his credit card information through the merchant provider Square that Drew uses.

Drew Romanovitz: “Square said everything was paid, so I had no reason to think otherwise.”

Since the customer said he was driving from Central Florida and going straight to the boat, Drew never saw his driver’s license to make sure it matched the credit card. It didn’t.

Two days later, Drew says, he was told the customer had used a stolen credit card.

Drew Romanovitz: “If he was a fraud, he was a good fraud.”

Very good. A dispute was filed with the credit card company. Drew lost that and his $7,500 fee.

Drew Romanovitz: “The bank issuing the card is the judge, jury and executioner.”

Yamilet Strauss, president, Merchant Processing Solutions, Inc.: “They would not recommend this for a business that is processing more than $3,000 a month.”

Yamilet Strauss is the president of Merchant Processing Solutions. She says many people like Drew use companies that are called aggregators to process their customers’ credit cards.

Yamilet Strauss: “An aggregator is a company that uses their own merchant account and gateway to process transactions on behalf of other business.”

Companies like Square are good for small businesses because they charge a transaction fee instead of a higher monthly fee to run a customer’s credit card. That’s great … until you get ripped off.

Yamilet Strauss: “The business does not realize what they have at risk until they have a dispute, and then they realize they’re not going to be able to win the dispute.”

Drew says Square did not fight for him, and not only did he not get the $7,500 for the charter, Drew paid the captain and boat owner out of his own pocket.

Drew Romanovitz: “We had to. That’s just our reputation. You can’t burn a charter company.”

Drew runs a successful business. He says he will survive this hit from a crook, but his old way of doing business has set sail.

Drew Romanovitz: “From now on, I’m going to say, ‘OK, we can’t do anything until I get a photo ID.'”

…To hopefully avoid a stern lesson and block a crook from sinking him again.

Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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