A Review of Merchant SVCS
Every business looking to accept cards as a form of payment needs to partner with a credit card processor. This can be an easy, and cost-effective necessity, or it can be a financial and contractual nightmare, depending on which company you partner with. There are plenty of unethical payment processors out there, but one company, Merchant Services in Irvine, California ( Merchant SVCS .com) tops our list as setting the perfect example of what NOT to look for in a payment provider.
Tricky Sales Tactics
An attractive sales tactic that Merchant SVCS utilizes is its promise of low fees. When they analyze the merchant statements of a business, they’ll often promise to quote super low rates on the merchant account, then they’ll add a line item into the quote on their fees called “profit.” This could be as low as $50 and we’ve seen it reach as high as $179. Well, the business owner believes this “profit” is what they are paying extra on the merchant account, and it seems transparent to them. However, the real trick being played is that the “profit” is actually a flat monthly equipment lease fee and the merchant is being locked into a 48-month contract! If they want to get out of the contract early, they’ll need to pay the remaining months on the contract term. For example, if you pay $100 a month and you’ve had the equipment for 1 year and want to cancel, you’ll need to pay 36 months in advance, or $3,600 in order to exit the contract! Plus, you don’t even get to keep the equipment after the lease is over.
Most of the time, you can buy this equipment outright for a few hundred dollars. Some companies even give you the necessary equipment for free if your processing volume is high enough.
Merchant SVCS also has difficulty passing PCI compliance procedures, resulting in a $30 a month charge. Additionally, a “reporting charge” has surprised merchants with another $20 monthly loss unless you have read both the contract in length and opted out before it appears.
Which contract? This company has two; one that you will sign, and another approximately 70 pgs long with all of the specifics about how long you will be locked in which is incorporated into your original contract when you sign. Merchant SVCS uses its four years (48 months) equipment contract to keep you tied down. Your sales rep will tell you there is no fee for canceling your merchant account, which may or may not be true, but a hefty fee is charged if you cancel your equipment lease contract.
Not only are Merchant SVCS employees paid on commission, but are also paid a bonus upon signing up new clients. This means, a service rep doesn’t care how long you stay happy with the company, only that their sales pitch sounds good enough for a signature that day. This can be especially frustrating when your only contact with the company is through an employee that does not intend to answer the phone or address your concerns after the sale is made.
Instead, you should opt to sign up with a company that pays their resellers a residual commission. This way the sales agents are incentivized to offer good service, answer or return your calls promptly, tell the truth during the sales process in order to properly set your expectations with your pricing and technology functionality, and attempt to earn your business each and every day with the goal of making you happy as a long term client.
What Others are Saying
Don’t just take our word for it. Look into other online reviews and see what other people are saying. If you skim the top layer of information on Merchant SVCS the internet has to offer, you might find that its rated 3.8 stars and is BBB approved. However, take a closer look at the reviews on BBB.org. BBB Customer Quotes:
- “This company increased our rates without notification during our contract period and charged numerous additional fees.”
- “Good luck trying to get a hold of them for resolution.”
- “If you want your bank account compromised months after trying to withdraw from their services, this may be the company for you.”
Also, customers have plenty to say on Yelp, resulting in dozens of one-star reviews. Yelp Customer Quotes:
- “Although their sales rep had verbally assured me that if there was a problem that we could cancel without a penalty, it turned out that the contract I signed did indicate, in obscure fine print on the backside of the form, notice of a cancellation fee.”
- “Comparing multiple months I found that the new total fees were ALWAYS higher than I had been getting”
- “They forged my signature and set me up with a four-year contract for 48 months. I ended up paying over $4000 for a $100 terminal and was continuously threatened and harassed by this company.”
Who better to vet the company than an employee themselves? Check out the truth their sales reps want to share about Merchant SVCS on glassdoor.com. GlassDoor Employment Quotes:
- “Make a lot of money, hate what you have to do to make it.”
- “Great money for those with moral flexibility.”
- “I wouldn’t recommend them to my worst enemy.”
You Can Do Better
There can be some real sharks in merchant services. It can get real ugly when we shine the light on unethical business practices. We don’t want to leave you feeling like all credit card processors are like this. Lift your spirits by checking out Our Core Values or get inspired with some quotes about the character:
- “Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.” ― King Solomon
- “I would rather be a little nobody, then to be an evil somebody.” ― Abraham Lincoln
- “With integrity, you have nothing to fear, since you have nothing to hide. With integrity, you will do the right thing, so you will have no guilt.” ― Zig Ziglar