JEFFERSON CITY (WATE) - For a Jefferson City restaurant owner, the new year is off to a good start.
Since last June, the owner has faced legal action by a company that rented him a credit card machine.
Just about everyone carries either a credit or debit card and businesses can't do without a credit card processing machine, especially restaurants.
One of the leading providers of payment processing services is NPC, the National Processing Company. NPC rents its services exclusively to small and medium-sized merchants.
In Jefferson City, Tom Zhang owns and operates a Chinese restaurant.
Like many private businessmen, his customers not only want good food, but fast service when they pay their tab. So Zhang welcomes a variety of credit cards for customer use.
Zhang has been using the same credit card processing machine since opening his business two years ago.
But in October of 2011, a door-to-door salesman came to Asian House and rented him a new machine.
Zhang only understands a little English, so his teenage son, William, helped us with our interview.
Since the contract from NPC was prepared by a door-to-door salesman, Zhang had three days to cancel and he did. No one at the restaurant liked the new credit card machine.
"When we swipe it and enter all the amounts, we have to press 'enter' twice," William said. "If we press it too fast or forget about it, it would stop the transaction right there."
Zhang said on the first day, he called the man to come back and pick up the machine. He agreed, returned to the restaurant to pick up the machine and even signed a form that said "contract canceled".
While salesman Tom Wolfe noted that he picked up the machine, the cancellation order apparently never got to the company, because lease finance issued a lawsuit and is suing Zhang for $4,600 for breaking his contract.
"It clearly said that we had three days legally to cancel the contract without any responsibility," William said.
Jefferson County Mayor Alan Palmieri tried to use the prestige of his office to help Zhang.
"He's very humble and polite. The entire staff there is very gracious. The service has always been good, the food quality has always been good. It's a sad situation to see someone in our community being taken advantage of like this," Mayor Palmieri said.
Over the holiday, Six On Your Side got a hold of the salesman, Joe Wolfe. He says he no longer works for NPC, but was adamant that he returned the machine and signed the paperwork.
Six On Your Side called the company headquarters in Illinois and explained the circumstances.
Now, the Zhangs have been told the mix-up has been rectified and the judgement against them has been dropped.
"They were pretty nice about this whole thing," said William "It was their fault and they did admit that."
"Yes, we're very happy," said Tom.
Keeping the canceled contract certainly helped the Zhangs in their cause.
When you buy a big ticket item, or rent something that requires a contract, it's a good idea to file it and remember where you put it so you can refer to it if needed.
If you have a consumer issue, call the 6 On Your Side Hotline at 865-633-5974 or email email@example.com.