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NETeller CEO posts YouTube message
The anxiety is starting to fade for NETeller's U.S. customers.
After a six-month wait, characterized by mostly silence from the major players and rampant Internet rumors from decidedly non-major players, NETeller finally began the process of returning seized funds to its U.S. members on Monday.
But apparently NETeller CEO Ron Martin wasn't satisfied was just an impersonal e-mail or bank transfer to repair the damage.
So to start re-building some much-needed customer faith, he took the unusual step of posting a video on YouTube last week, giving a brief synopsis of the last half-year and assuring customers NETeller is a brand they can still trust.
Dressed casually and looking a little Bush-esque, with a vase of flowers behind him on one side and a computer with the NETeller logo on the screen on the other, Martin walked through a short 3.5 minute pre-written speech addressing some of the key issues.
Here's what he said:
"Hi, I'm Ron Martin, CEO of NEteller. I'd like to take this opportunity to say a few things to our U.S. customers who have shown a lot of patience in relation to the return of their funds.
As a global financial services business, the trust we build with our customers is absolutely critical. You need to feel you can rely on our integrity and the fact that we deliver what we promise.
Our customer service ethos, regulated status and public listing all contribute to this trust. As a result, we've earned the confidence of millions of people in over 160 countries to manage and move their money online.
Recently, the U.S. Department of Justice stepped up investigations into the legality of online gaming services provided to U.S. customers. As a part of these inquiries, they've issued subpoenas, laid charges, filed indictments against - and in some cases settled with - a number of companies and individuals.
These include banks, payment processors as well as online gaming companies. Many of these institutions are well-known and respected global brands, such as ourselves.
Because of these actions, and due to the possible impact to our non-U.S. business, we voluntarily suspended our service to U.S. residents at the time. As we took this action, U.S. financial institutions began declining transactions to and from online gaming companies and payment processors.
The U.S. authorities also seized money, including that being sent from NETeller to U.S. customers, and vice-versa.
Even though our service to the rest of the world customers is unaffected today, since January we've been unable to return our U.S. customers' funds until we reached a resolution of the investigation with the U.S. authorities. However I can assure you it has always been our highest priority to get these funds back to you.
We know that many of you have expressed concern over the length of time it's taken us to reach this point, but as you may know, by now, we've reached a resolution with U.S. authorities.
That means on July 30th we began the process to return funds. I'm sure you're all relieved to hear this good news. All the details are provided on our Web site. I'll provide a link at the end, but here are some of the key points of the plan:
We started the processing of returning funds to U.S. customers on July 30th. On the first day alone, we processed over $40 million in withdrawals. For those who haven't requested funds yet, you'll have to sign in to your secure NETeller account to request your withdrawal.
You'll need to complete this activity online within a 180-day time frame indicated on our Web site. Your money will be delivered by electronic funds transfer to your bank or by check that we'll mail to you.
We have a total of $94 million to return, to hundreds of thousands of U.S customers in total, so it'll take a little time for all payments to be processed. All withdrawal fees will be waived. It will be free to you.
Importantly, please beware of any phishing scams out there. Only log-in to the NETeller.com Web site to request the return of your funds. Remember, it must have the NETeller.com as the top level domain - nothing else.
I've read many of your e-mails, blog entries and Web site posts over the last few months. I've also spoken to our staff and our contact center. I know that for some of you, the lack of access to these funds has been very frustrating.
It's been difficult for our staff too. There's been little we've been able to say as we've worked through the process. We're not accustomed to be unable to give the customers the service they expect.
Clearly, the situation has strained the trust we've built over the years. For that loss of trust, I'd like to apologize and thank you sincerely for your patience. I'd also like to re-assure you again that we've been working very hard to ensure the return of your funds.
It has been our highest priority.
Please visit the Web site shown (http://updates.neteller.com) to find out more. Thank you again for your business, your understanding and your continued trust in NETeller."
To see the complete video, you can find it here.