Pankaj Gupta contacts Actevasucks

On June 24th, 2013 Pankaj Gupta the CEO of Acteva sent me an email. This was almost 2 months to the date that I was first contacted by Acteva. I was hopeful that Pankaj was ready to address the issues that I have been documenting here. It turns out he is not.

Here is the email from Pankaj:

Dear Mr. Brown,

I apologize for not responding sooner.

On behalf of Acteva, I am reaching out to you regarding your concerns about our company. I believe our interest may be aligned, as we are both attempting to resolve the outstanding issues with Acteva’s customers, but we seem to be going about it via drastically different approaches.

I want to reassure you that taking care of our customers is a number one priority for us. I would like the opportunity to address the current situation with you directly. Hopefully we can also discuss the various options that we are considering to expedite the resolution of these issues.

Is there a phone number and time that would work for you?

Regards,

Pankaj

I fired off an email advising that I would set up a special number to Mr. Gupta to call. I also advise him that the call would be recorded. (I was not going to budge on this.) I also laid out several items I wanted to address.

1. Repeated unanswered calls and emails
2. unanswered BBB complaints (20 as of 6/25)
3. 7 NPO’s that contacted me last week. 5 are claiming that they are being ignored still. One is advising me that his weekly payment did not show up.
4. Cherry Piper fake reviews
5. 2000 Hack attempts on my site

The response I heard back did not surprise me. Pankaj does not want this conversation to be recorded. What does surprise me is the fact that he wants to be have a series of calls:

Jason,

Given the history, it’s important that our first conversation is open and unconstrained by any legal overtones. My goal is to create some clarity between us and find a way to move forward mutually. I would ask that the first call be a free discussion which is not possible in a recorded environment.

Hope you understand. I look forward to having a constructive dialog.

Regards,
Pankaj

First conversation? Does Mr. Gupta want to have more than one conversation? I am completely open to hearing what Acteva wants to say. I am willing to hear them out, but will not be accepting what they claim.

I fired off an email reply:

Pankaj,

Please let me know what you expect to accomplish by talking with me? How does speaking with me benefit all of people owed money?

The NPO’s want to know why Acteva has refused to answer countless phone calls and emails.

If you can answer those questions, then maybe we can talk.

Jason

It had been over 24 hours and I have not heard any reply. What I did notice was over 400 failed login attempts in the early morning hours of June 27th.

I am pretty certain Acteva wants my site and me to go away. Knocking my site off line or destroying the site, will not help. It will only make me want to push harder. If Acteva thought they could offer me money to get me to go away, that ship has since sailed. If Pankaj thought that I would be willing to hand over all of the people that were contacting me, that would never happen. If I tell them who has contacted me, there is no guarantee that the ones, that do not contact me will get paid.

While Pankaj Gupta and I were exchanging emails trying to set up a phone call, another individual contacted me. The story is same one I have heard countless times. Event held, several checks never showed, countless emails and phone calls unanswered. I wonder how Pankaj Gupta wants to address that? And then I hear back from Pankaj.

Jason,

I am having a hard time understanding your logic of putting Acteva out of business as stated on your site while the organization is trying to fulfill its payment obligations. Your actions in creating the negative site has severely affected the business. It has had a cascading effect on our ability to generate the revenues needed to fulfill our obligations which in turn has forced me to reduce staff which would have helped in solving the communication challenges that we are having with the NPOs.

To give you an understanding of Acteva’s business, we started the company with a software / ticketing model. Part of our challenge was to be able to offer organizations the ability to sell tickets online. We offer the ability for organizations to use their own merchant account (PayPal, Authorize.net, Cybersource, etc.) to collect and manage their own payments. We have a large number of very happy customers that use our software for managing all of their ticket sales.

For organizations that are unable or unwilling to obtain a merchant account due to various qualification factors, we offered the use of our ticket reseller service where we are the transaction seller and the organization is the supplier of tickets. In most cases, organizers receive part of their funds prior to the event, when events are cancelled or refunds are issued we have to recover our funds from the organizers. Sometimes that is not an easy undertaking and creates a large burden on our staff as they work with the organizer to reimburse our funds. Over the past 12 years of operations, the vast majority of events have gone smoothly with organizers receiving their payments. We are currently in the process of totally moving away from this business.

Unfortunately, the downturn in the economy in the past few years slowed us down resulting in a forced reduction in staff. The event business is very sensitive to economic cycles. Last year, the situation was exasperated due to Hurricane Sandy and the tough winter whereby we had a significant number of events that were cancelled on the east coast. That created an explosion in support calls to help organizers with refunds and event cancellations, overwhelming the organization. This also caused a significant drop in revenues since our primary source of revenues is ticket sales. As a result, we got caught in a situation that we had never experienced before.

The same thing happened with the BBB. I am not sure if you are aware of how time consuming it is to deal with the BBB. With the limited resources that we have. We had to make a tough call – deal with the BBB or work directly with the customers. We chose the latter – and obviously didn’t do that very well either! We did not realize the PR implications of that decision, but it unfortunately created an additional nightmare for Acteva.

We are committed to paying each organizer in full. Thankfully the business has 3 distinct parts, software licensing, support services, and ticketing services. All the problems we are experiencing is with the latter. As you know we were working with most of the NPOs and trying to come up with a payment plan based on our projected revenues. Unfortunately with the creation of your site and other negative publicity generated from it (e.g. Allyson Fergison), we are having a hard time holding onto our current employees and it is scaring away customers and new business. This also effects our ability to work out a sustainable plan with the NPOs. It is also hampering our fund raising effort to capitalize the business so that we can fulfill these payment obligations expediently.

My goal in talking to you is to request you to stop your site for a while, till we figure out a way to pay them all back expediently. These organizations need their money and we trying desperately to take care of them ASAP. We have no nefarious schemes to scam anyone. None of us are making any money from this debacle. You are kicking us when we are already down. If you are true advocate of the NPOs, I would request that you work with us rather than against us. If there are any reassurances that I or the organization could offer you or the NPOs that you are representing regarding our intention to make these organizations whole, I would like to hear that.
I would also appreciate that you not publish this dialog till we can put together a solid plan that will allow us to make them whole. Please, let me know your thoughts on how we could proceed. Your help in this matter is greatly appreciated.

Regards
Pankaj

I am was mulling over my reply as I had several ways I could respond. My first reaction was to point out the nonsense and lies in his statements. I decided to sleep on it. I was already to tell Mr.Gupta, that all I wanted is what I wanted from day one, for Acteva to contact all of the people owed money too. This is why this site was created. I woke up on June 28th to find over 500 hack attempts to my site. This brought the 2 day count to over 900. I started working on my reply and in the middle of it, I hear from one of the people that I had been talking to. I was advised that they were not going to make payroll for the week due to not being paid back from Acteva. A moderator, Don Karsh was supposed to call back and did not. Really? Pankaj claimed they are committed to paying everyone in full.

Here is my reply:

From Acteva:
Dear Mr. Brown,

I apologize for not responding sooner.

On behalf of Acteva, I am reaching out to you regarding your concerns about our company. I believe our interest may be aligned, as we are both attempting to resolve the outstanding issues with Acteva’s customers, but we seem to be going about it via drastically different approaches.

I want to reassure you that taking care of our customers is a number one priority for us. I would like the opportunity to address the current situation with you directly. Hopefully we can also discuss the various options that we are considering to expedite the resolution of these issues.

Is there a phone number and time that would work for you?

Regards,
Pankaj

My reply:

Pankaj,

I would love to talk with you about Acteva. I will set up a telephone number that you can call and I will record the call too. I am open tomorrow at 2pm.

I have several items I would love to discuss as well:

1. Repeated unanswered calls and emails
2. unanswered BBB complaints (20 as of 6/25)
3. 7 NPO’s that contacted me last week. 5 are claiming that they are being ignored still. One is advising me that his weekly payment did not show up.
4. Cherry Piper fake reviews
5. 2000 Hack attempts on my site

Please let me know if you accept my terms and I will set it up. I will email you with the number to call.

Jason Brown

His reply:

Jason,

Given the history, it’s important that our first conversation is open and unconstrained by any legal overtones. My goal is to create some clarity between us and find a way to move forward mutually. I would ask that the first call be a free discussion which is not possible in a recorded environment.

Hope you understand. I look forward to having a constructive dialog.

Regards,
Pankaj

My answer:
Pankaj,

Please let me know what you expect to accomplish by talking with me? How does speaking with me benefit all of people owed money?

The NPO’s want to know why Acteva has refused to answer countless phone calls and emails.

If you can answer those questions, then maybe we can talk.

Jason

His reply:
Jason,

I am having a hard time understanding your logic of putting Acteva out of business as stated on your site while the organization is trying to fulfill its payment obligations. Your actions in creating the negative site has severely affected the business. It has had a cascading effect on our ability to generate the revenues needed to fulfill our obligations which in turn has forced me to reduce staff which would have helped in solving the communication challenges that we are having with the NPOs.

To give you an understanding of Acteva’s business, we started the company with a software / ticketing model. Part of our challenge was to be able to offer organizations the ability to sell tickets online. We offer the ability for organizations to use their own merchant account (PayPal, Authorize.net, Cybersource, etc.) to collect and manage their own payments. We have a large number of very happy customers that use our software for managing all of their ticket sales.

For organizations that are unable or unwilling to obtain a merchant account due to various qualification factors, we offered the use of our ticket reseller service where we are the transaction seller and the organization is the supplier of tickets. In most cases, organizers receive part of their funds prior to the event, when events are cancelled or refunds are issued we have to recover our funds from the organizers. Sometimes that is not an easy undertaking and creates a large burden on our staff as they work with the organizer to reimburse our funds. Over the past 12 years of operations, the vast majority of events have gone smoothly with organizers receiving their payments. We are currently in the process of totally moving away from this business.

Unfortunately, the downturn in the economy in the past few years slowed us down resulting in a forced reduction in staff. The event business is very sensitive to economic cycles. Last year, the situation was exasperated due to Hurricane Sandy and the tough winter whereby we had a significant number of events that were cancelled on the east coast. That created an explosion in support calls to help organizers with refunds and event cancellations, overwhelming the organization. This also caused a significant drop in revenues since our primary source of revenues is ticket sales. As a result, we got caught in a situation that we had never experienced before.

The same thing happened with the BBB. I am not sure if you are aware of how time consuming it is to deal with the BBB. With the limited resources that we have. We had to make a tough call – deal with the BBB or work directly with the customers. We chose the latter – and obviously didn’t do that very well either! We did not realize the PR implications of that decision, but it unfortunately created an additional nightmare for Acteva.

We are committed to paying each organizer in full. Thankfully the business has 3 distinct parts, software licensing, support services, and ticketing services. All the problems we are experiencing is with the latter. As you know we were working with most of the NPOs and trying to come up with a payment plan based on our projected revenues. Unfortunately with the creation of your site and other negative publicity generated from it (e.g. Allyson Fergison), we are having a hard time holding onto our current employees and it is scaring away customers and new business. This also effects our ability to work out a sustainable plan with the NPOs. It is also hampering our fund raising effort to capitalize the business so that we can fulfill these payment obligations expediently.

My goal in talking to you is to request you to stop your site for a while, till we figure out a way to pay them all back expediently. These organizations need their money and we trying desperately to take care of them ASAP. We have no nefarious schemes to scam anyone. None of us are making any money from this debacle. You are kicking us when we are already down. If you are true advocate of the NPOs, I would request that you work with us rather than against us. If there are any reassurances that I or the organization could offer you or the NPOs that you are representing regarding our intention to make these organizations whole, I would like to hear that.
I would also appreciate that you not publish this dialog till we can put together a solid plan that will allow us to make them whole. Please, let me know your thoughts on how we could proceed. Your help in this matter is greatly appreciated.

Regards
Pankaj

After the 500 hack attempts I fired off this email:

Pankaj,

I was all prepared to answer you by stating, “I want the same thing now that I wanted from the beginning, for Acteva to contact all of the affected parties and work out a payment plan. I wanted you to personally contact everyone and apologize for Acteva not returning countless phone calls and emails.” Instead I see that I have had over 900 failed logins in under 48 hours. 500 came in after you emailed me with your latest message. I can not believe you would insult my intelligence with your reply. I have been contacted by some former Acteva employees, they still have an ax to grind and have been very forth coming. I have also been contacted by people that stopped using Acteva since 2010 and 2011. Please take a good long look and my site and rethink if I am not doing my homework. David Bunnell first learned about my site the day I launched it. That was Arpil 15th. Dave Ghosh and Acteva began fully aware of my site on April 25th, 2013. You have not contacted me 1 day shy of 2 months. In that time, I have been contacted by more and more people still being IGNORED AND OWED MONEY. I have only published a fraction of information on my site. I have tons of damaging emails threads.

I am going to point each lie and nonsense statement now with my reply.

I am having a hard time understanding your logic of putting Acteva out of business as stated on your site while the organization is trying to fulfill its payment obligations. (Trying? I am still being contacted by countless people that are still being ignored. While we have been engaging in our email exchanges 1 new person came forward stating there are still being ignored.)

Your actions in creating the negative site has severely affected the business. (I started this site due to Acteva not calling their clients back. You caused this site to go live, not me. You finally crossed the wrong person, my wife. So I used my skills to warn potential victims. I never imaged I would be giving a voice to so many people.) It has had a cascading effect on our ability to generate the revenues needed to fulfill our obligations which in turn has forced me to reduce staff which would have helped in solving the communication challenges that we are having with the NPOs. (why were countless phone calls and emails returned while you had the staffing? I am several email threads showing ignored emails going back months before I started this site.)

To give you an understanding of Acteva’s business, we started the company with a software / ticketing model. Part of our challenge was to be able to offer organizations the ability to sell tickets online. We offer the ability for organizations to use their own merchant account (PayPal, Authorize.net, Cybersource, etc.) to collect and manage their own payments. We have a large number of very happy customers that use our software for managing all of their ticket sales. (I have yet to see a real positive review in the last year. All I see is negative reviews and complaints.)

For organizations that are unable or unwilling to obtain a merchant account due to various qualification factors, we offered the use of our ticket reseller service where we are the transaction seller and the organization is the supplier of tickets. In most cases, organizers receive part of their funds prior to the event, when events are cancelled or refunds are issued we have to recover our funds from the organizers. Sometimes that is not an easy undertaking and creates a large burden on our staff as they work with the organizer to reimburse our funds. Over the past 12 years of operations, the vast majority of events have gone smoothly with organizers receiving their payments. We are currently in the process of totally moving away from this business.

Unfortunately, the downturn in the economy in the past few years slowed us down resulting in a forced reduction in staff. The event business is very sensitive to economic cycles. (really I seen an upswing in BBB complaints.) Last year, the situation was exasperated due to Hurricane Sandy and the tough winter whereby we had a significant number of events that were cancelled on the east coast. That created an explosion in support calls to help organizers with refunds and event cancellations, overwhelming the organization. (I see that checks were not sent out prior to Sandy. One person alone is owed over $18,000 starting Feb. 2012 through Oct. 2012. Sandy was Oct. 22.) This also caused a significant drop in revenues since our primary source of revenues is ticket sales. As a result, we got caught in a situation that we had never experienced before. (you collected payments for your clients and were supposed to send that money back. They money collected is not yours to use to pay back other people needing refunds.)

The same thing happened with the BBB. I am not sure if you are aware of how time consuming it is to deal with the BBB. (you send an email back. Its not that hard to do. The real reason you have ignored the BBB is because the complaint was not paid. Let’s be honest here. I have seen some of the complaints. People would never had gone to the BBB, had Acteva just called them back.) With the limited resources that we have. We had to make a tough call – deal with the BBB or work directly with the customers. We chose the latter – and obviously didn’t do that very well either!(didn’t do well? You ignored countless people and when Acteva did reply, they lied. Check was issued, check is coming. “I was told this account was all paid off“) We did not realize the PR implications of that decision, but it unfortunately created an additional nightmare for Acteva. (This is not new, this has been happening for a while. I have contacted and been contacted by people that experience these same things years ago. How does a group not getting paid in 2011 get blamed on Hurricane Sandy? http://www.yelp.com/user_details?userid=9CatdWXBU2D1TeEnSDZ8iA )

We are committed to paying each organizer in full. (I am still hearing about people being ignored, you are picking and choosing who gets paid and when. I reached out to everyone after you first contacted me and several are still being ignored. Rebecca came down to your office and was promised a check. She has yet to be paid or called back. How is this a commitment?) Thankfully the business has 3 distinct parts, software licensing, support services, and ticketing services. All the problems we are experiencing is with the latter. As you know we were working with most of the NPOs and trying to come up with a payment plan based on our projected revenues. (projected revenues? You get your cut from money collected. You are merely holding the money. What you are talking about is robing Peter to pay Paul.) Unfortunately with the creation of your site and other negative publicity generated from it (e.g. Allyson Fergison), we are having a hard time holding onto our current employees and it is scaring away customers and new business. This also effects our ability to work out a sustainable plan with the NPOs. It is also hampering our fund raising effort to capitalize the business so that we can fulfill these payment obligations expediently. (now its my fault and Alysson’s that you are having a hard time making money? No, it was the continue pattern how Acteva chose to deal with this situation. You do not understand how angry your clients are. People that have not used you in years are still angry and are contacting me.)

My goal in talking to you is to request you to stop your site for a while, till we figure out a way to pay them all back expediently. These organizations need their money and we trying desperately to take care of them ASAP. (yes they do, they should have been paid a long time ago. One of the affected groups can not make payroll now. They have a board member with contacts with the WSJ and CNBC.) We have no nefarious schemes to scam anyone. (you have used money that was not yours to pay other people or things.) None of us are making any money from this debacle. You are kicking us when we are already down. If you are true advocate of the NPOs, I would request that you work with us rather than against us. If there are any reassurances that I or the organization could offer you or the NPOs that you are representing regarding our intention to make these organizations whole, I would like to hear that. (over 3000 hack attempts and you want me to work with you? You are not know to be a honest company with the countless lies of the check was sent. Stop blaming mother nature and now me for the issues that caused this site to go live.)

I would also appreciate that you not publish this dialog till we can put together a solid plan that will allow us to make them whole. Please, let me know your thoughts on how we could proceed. Your help in this matter is greatly appreciated.

I understand that you want this site to go away. I have given Acteva countless opportunities to do the right thing. I am still at a loss for why it is that Acteva still unable to return countless phone calls and emails. Acteva practices have put a lot strain on many organizations. Programs have been suspended, staff was laid off and assets were liquidated to due to Acteva not sending the payments.

I have no faith that you and Acteva will do the right thing. You have shown a repeated pattern of late and missing payments. Even with the pressure of my site, Alysson’s site and countless complaints and reviews, you still ignore people. Instead of Acteva contacting their clients, you keep visiting my site on daily basis and leave 3 of the most insulting comments. I am not playing games. I am not buying what your selling. Its time for your actions to back up your words.

Jason Brown

There are several reasons for this reply:

1. Clients are still being ignored
2. I have documentation of 10 missing checks totaling over $16,000 prior to Hurricane Sandy.
3. Repeated Hack attempts on my site
4. If my site was taken down, people would not have access to the needed resources
5. Acteva has had 2 months to contact people and do the right thing.
6. Pankaj Gupta has take no responsibility and is blaming mother nature, the economy, lack of staff and my site for why people are not getting paid.
7. Acteva can not be trusted. They make deals and then do not honor them.

Sadly as I am writing this, another group has just reached out me now. Acteva sure has enough time to view my site and exchange emails with me this week, yet can not reply to their own clients. I spoke with Alysson and she advised me that Pankak Gupta contacted her too. She was contacted days after I was first contacted. The message was almost identically to the one I received.

Here are the 2 emails for Pankaj Gupta

pgupta@acteva.com
pankaj@acteva.com

Sincerly.
Jason Brown

3 thoughts on “Pankaj Gupta contacts Actevasucks

  1. Pankaj,

    I am from one of the NPO’s that you ignored. Let me stress what Jason said in his letter – had someone actually called us to tell us what was going on and when our money would arrive, we most likely would not have complained to the DA/AG/BBB. Being late was not nearly as big a deal as being blown off….it gave your customers the impression that something fishy was going on and you really didn’t give a crap.

    You guys dug your own hole – your misfortune that you had to piss off someone that had the ability and guts to start this website to try and make a difference for the organizations you damaged by your mismanagement and apathy. Next time you may not be as lucky – you may blow off payments to an NPO associated with someone who can do a lot more damage than this site admin. I suggest you re-evaluate how you are handling your customers, and fast.

    Quit ignoring people – pick up the phone, apologize for the delay, and tell them when the money will be delivered so they can actually PLAN for a delayed revenue stream.

    Why is this so hard for you to understand??? And don’t give us the “we don’t have enough staff to call everyone” excuse, because we’re not buying it. Call yourself if you have to. Get Ed to call. Just don’t ignore people any more, because that hole you dug can get a whole lot deeper in a hurry.

    • It was the ignored phone calls and unreturned emails that caused the BBB complaints. The backlash started after Acteva’s clients were ignored. The BBB rating was revoked on 10-16-2012, well before Hurricane Sandy. It takes 30 to 45 days for the BBB update a rating when an account is under review. The review was triggered in August of September. The Pr nightmare is not from the BBB complaints or ignored complaints. Its is a byproduct of what caused this site to go live. Why is it that Acteva is still choosing to ignore people to this day?

  2. Pingback: Pankaj Gupta called me and we spoke » Acteva Sucks

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Pankaj Contacted Actevasucks

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