Total Merchant Services Review

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Date Established
1996
Location
Woodland Hills, CA

Overview:

When we last reviewed Total Merchant Services (TMS), we were happy to report that the company appeared to be improving and had implemented some of the changes we recommended, even if it still had a ways to go. At the start of 2016, the picture is less promising. TMS has taken several steps back with a significant rise in complaints and a problematic independent sales force.

Founded in 1996 and based out of its Woodland Hills, California, headquarters since 2013, Total Merchant Services serves about 100,000 merchants, making it a medium-large provider.

While there are certainly many larger companies (Elavon serves 1.2 million merchants, to give you an idea of the volume large providers deal with), 100,000 accounts is enough to merit the use of independent agents, apparently. In fact, the company has a pretty convincing website to recruit independent sales agents (ISAs), maybe even better than their main site.

I’m not convinced that Total Merchant Services is providing excellent customer service or great rates, and I wish the company would offer some info about an interchange-plus pricing platform on the site (you can get it through TMS, however). Its questionable sales force (to be addressed later) is a serious concern, and the obvious rise in complaint volume is an indicator that something is wrong. For those reasons, we are dropping TMS from 3.5 stars to 3 stars. I would expect to see some serious improvements before we consider bumping TMS up again.

Read the full review below for more details, or take a look at our comparison chart to see the best of the best in the industry.

Final Note: If you do a Google search for Total Merchant Services, you’ll notice a large number of other sites heavily branded with the TMS logo that appear to be official, but most of those sites are actually set up by individual sales agents of TMS. Don’t be fooled. The official domain for TMS is www.totalmerchantservices.com.

Products and Services:

You’ll find a pretty good selection of products and services at TMS. There’s a comprehensive suite of offerings with all the essentials for businesses of all sizes, including:

  • Merchant account
  • “Free” terminal/mobile reader: In place of its former free Quickbooks deal, TMS has now opted for a deal that includes a free terminal (and mobile reader). The terminals are Ingenico and support both EMV and NFC contactless payments, so that’s good. However, this is basically a terminal lease, and if you don’t return it in pristine condition, you can expect to pay a hefty price tag. We don’t like terminal leases, because you’re almost always better off just buying the terminal outright. Not only that, but there are a fair number of complaints about how poorly managed the return process (via FedEx) is. Learn more about terminal leases here.
  • Check services
  • Groovv POS: This is basically TMS’ small business suite of services. You get a POS (it’s a rebranded version of Registroid, which TMS purchased a couple years ago), as well as Groovv Offers (formerly FanMinder, a social media marketing service TMS bought up).
  • Virtual terminal: Allows users to processing from any Internet-connected computer with a web-browser.
  • Integrated eCommerce support: Sell online as well as in person.
  • Mobile processing: TMS offers mobile processing (and a free reader) through Payment Jack for $5 a month (presumably on top of whatever the swipe rate is). However, it’s not EMV compliant. Additional readers are $19.95 (valued at $44). Groovv also offers a mobile swiper that is separate from Payment Jack.
  • Mobile/social marketing: FanMinder has been swallowed by Groovv, but the offerings are still essentially the same: Social media, SMS, and email offers that you can send to your customers to drive sales and encourage repeat visits. I like the concept, and I like that it’s integrated with the rest of Groovv. That is definitely where the industry is heading.
  • Merchant “advantage” program: This usually covers additional warranties, supplies and special offers. It might even be a good deal for you, but it isn’t always. TMS will give it to you free for 3 months, but then it’ll automatically start charging you $10 per month if you don’t explicitly cancel. If you do cancel, you can expect to pay some additional fees and you’re not eligible to re-enroll for 6 months. Check out what’s included here.
  • Loyalty/gift card services: TMS’s loyalty program runs through Groovv Offers.
  • Cash advances: These can be a powerful tool for merchants, or a dangerous one. Check out our guide on how to get a good deal on a cash advance.
  • Free upgrade program: If you’re already a Total Merchant Services customer, you are eligible for an upgrade to a free Ingenico EMV/NFC terminal. I’m suspicious because where payment processing is concerned, nothing is ever really free. You might have to sign a new contract with an ETF to get the terminal, so be wary

Fees and Rates:

Unfortunately, Total Merchant Services doesn’t offer any information about pricing beyond claims of “low” and “affordable” rates. Depending on whether you set your account up through the corporate office or an independent agent, all rates and fees can vary dramatically. Your business type and processing volume will also affect these numbers, with higher volumes leading to better deals.

I can tell you that TMS does offer interchange-plus pricing as well as seasonal downtime for most merchants, so that’s a plus. However, I’ve seen several mentions of sudden, unexplained monthly minimum fees.

While the Total Merchant Services website advertises “No monthly contract,” I’ve also seen contracts that include early termination fees, and there are, quite predictably, a very high number of complaints about this. But that’s a topic we’ll revisit shortly.

Something else that’s interesting — and something only advertised on the Groovv site — is an offer to meet or beat your current processor’s rate. If Groovv can’t, you get $500. Many merchant account providers offer a similar deal. What this really is, is a ploy to figure out what you’re currently paying for processing.

Groovv is also offering free Apple Pay processing for a full year. I’m guessing that Apple is footing the bill on this one, because it’s got a similar deal with PayAnywhere, and you can get both the Groovv terminal and the PayAnywhere reader from Apple Stores.

Both of these offers are just a little suspect to me — gimmicks are usually meant to distract you from something else, or to hide something, or make you think you’re getting a better deal than you actually are. So ask questions and do your research. If it is in fact a good deal for you, go for it. And then leave a comment and let us know about your experiences!

Contract Length and Early Termination Fee:

Previously, we reported that TMS had done away with its early termination fee (ETF). But something seems to have gone wrong. Way, way wrong. The ETF is back, apparently to be included at the discretion of the sales reps, according to people who claim to be TMS sales reps. And there are an abundance of complaints about this — many merchants who were promised no ETF suddenly find out they do in fact have to pay an ETF. TMS doesn’t appear to be very forgiving about the issue, either, at least not based on the BBB complaints.

Not only that, but you’re signing a multi-year agreement that auto-renews unless you follow a finicky set of steps to cancel. There’s a significant number of complaints about the headache that is trying to cancel your TMS account: Getting forwarded to a cancellation department that never responds, being passed around to other customer support reps or even your sales rep — who might say they’ll cancel the account for you, but don’t (and can’t), leaving you stuck with more fees.

The most recent version of Total Merchant Services’ Terms and Conditions lists the “standard termination fee” at $295. Given this, I must encourage you to be careful. Unless a signed waiver form is attached to your contract, this clause will remain active! Verbal agreements mean precisely jack in this business, so get it in writing.

Sales and Advertising Transparency:

This ETF issue is precisely why we’re always wary of companies that use independent sellers. Many of them are desperate for a sale, and they’ll promise you the world to get you to sign that piece of paper. Once you’re locked into a contract, it’s no longer their problem. There are a lot of complaints about agents who sign people up and then disappear into the wind, never to return a phone call again, and a fair number about agents that pushed people into signing agreements before they even fully understood what they were agreeing to. Do your research, and don’t let anyone push you into something you aren’t sure of.

Companies that promise big bonuses for signing people up for accounts can often become more concerned about acquiring those new accounts, not maintaining them. And with a $300 ETF fee plus whatever else TMS wants to tack on, plus dubious customer support, trying to get out of the deal can be a daunting, difficult, or just plain expensive option.

It’s nice that TMS takes care of its agents. Sales is a tough, grueling, high-stress field. But the lack of transparency around TMS is just horrible. Not only does it seem like the sales reps are out of control, but when you press the “I Agree” button online on the TMS site, you’re essentially signing a contract. And TMS likes to hide behind that contract. Look for those little links that say “Terms” or “Terms and Conditions” and read them before you press anything that even looks like an “I agree” button. Seriously, folks. This is important.

Want to see the kinds of deals that TMS offers its sales team? Check them out here.

All of that said, I like that the company publicly discloses its Terms and Conditions in the Merchant Resources section of its site. Some processors make it very difficult to get a copy of their standard contract terms before you apply.

One last point that TMS doesn’t make very clear: you must return your equipment within 10 days of the contract ending, or else you have to pay for it — and you’ll have to pay whatever they say it’s worth. You can count on them not to underestimate the value. A couple of complaints on the BBB indicate that you could pay $500 or more in some situations.

Something that usually indicates how well a company is performing is how active its press page and blog are. TMS hasn’t updated its press page since 2013, and while there are a couple of more recent articles, all of them are more focused on company culture and resources for sales agents — which is more a part of a good recruiting strategy than a way to attract more customers. The TMS blog is still active and the content is of decent quality, though publishing frequency seems to be dropping off.

News coverage and a blog are crucial to a good marketing strategy. The blog in particular is such a useful tool for consumer education, and a good way to showcase how a company is innovating and improving its offerings. Sharing information, either in a blog post or in a news story, is also a good indicator of transparency. So while these are certainly low-ranking concerns, they’re not something we ignore.

Customer Service and Technical Support:

TMS offers 24/7 “Terminal Support,” which covers any problems with your terminal. I haven’t been able to confirm that the company offers general support 24/7 as well, but you do get both phone and email, as well as a somewhat disappointing FAQs page. If you have experience with the support offered by Total, please leave me a comment! As a reviewer, it’s difficult to assess how TMS handles complex problems, so I rely on our readers to help me fill in the blanks here and keep the review as accurate as possible. The number of complaints about the quality of service makes it seem like TMS leaves much to be desired.

Negative Reviews and Complaints:

The previous BBB page for Total Merchant Services was taken down in 2013, which makes calculating and comparing the volume of complaints a bit difficult, but still doable. When we checked in with TMS in June 2014, there were just 27 closed complaints — that was for 1 year, about on par with the 98 in 3 years that we noted in 2013, before the page reset.

The closed complaint volume on TMS’ BBB page has increased to 195 in the past three years — that’s nearly double the 3-year count in 2013. Worse, 109 of those complaints happened in the last year. That’s 3 times the number of 2014 complaints.

Plus, you will also find about 30 separate BBB accounts listed for independent offices. It’s so hard to adequately get a picture of everything with so much of the information scattered around the web, and the sales force consisting primarily of independent sales agents. Still, it’s safe to say complaints to the BBB are on the rise. Beyond the BBB, there are 57 complaints through Ripoff Reports (up from 37 at the last review).

Common complaints include:

  • Unethical independent agents: While I really believe that TMS tries to give its agents the tools needed to serve merchants well, I also know that it isn’t turning too many potential sales people away. If you called tomorrow and wanted to be a sales agent, TMS would probably take you. Does that mean you’d make a good agent? Not necessarily. Since the rigors of the typical employee hiring process are removed, some bad eggs get through. Given the rise in complaints and the fact that a significant number of them reference shady sales practices or mysterious sales reps, I think there might be more bad eggs than there were in previous years. That’s not to say every single sales rep is to be mistrusted. But you should always deal with the company directly when you can, and do your research on the independent representative you choose.
  • Poor customer service: While TMS advertises “Unparalleled Customer Service,” I’m not convinced. A ton of complaints I’ve read include qualms about customer service, and the company isn’t doing much to convince me it’s getting the job done in this department. A frequent point of contention in BBB complaints is being passed from department to department, as well as unhelpful, even rude customer support. My advice here is to sign up with a high-quality agent who can be your point of contact within the business when you have problems. If you need help finding a good agent within TMS or a sales rep for another provider, we can help.
  • Undisclosed, unexpected fees and high processing costs: This, along with the sales reps and poor quality service, is one of the most common complaints, and it’s also our least favorite thing to see at Merchant Maverick. When you are quote a rate, that’s what you should pay. Random tacked-on fees can add up and seriously hurt a merchant’s bottom line. Some merchants have been assessed a monthly minimum fee, which seems not only to vary by merchant, but also by month in some instances.
  • Shady gimmicks: More than a few merchants complained about being promised a “free trial” or a “no-obligation” trial period that their sales reps have offered. Then people call to cancel and find out they’re locked into a contract and the support team denies any knowledge of such offers. The Merchant Advantage program is free at first, but not something you have to opt into, and there are penalties for opting out.
  • Problems returning equipment: This came up with enough frequency that it merits mentioning. If you opt for the free terminal deal, you’re essentially leasing the equipment, and if you close your account, you must return the terminals. However, there seem to be some issues with the return process — whether it’s items that are lost in transit or charges that appear after the device is returned, or shipping labels that never seem to arrive. Free terminals are often a bad deal, and you’re typically better just buying them outright.

The thing I like the least, out of all these complaints, is this: Just reviewing the BBB responses makes my skin crawl. Square sounds more human when responding to BBB complaints — even the ones in which it reiterates that it can terminate an account for any reason, or no reason at all. This is unforgiving and unyielding customer support that doesn’t seem to care if its reps lie because TMS can hide behind its electronic agreement. I honestly can’t say with confidence that going through the BBB will actually help you solve your problem, and I really don’t like that.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials:

You won’t find any testimonials or reviews on the TMS site — not from merchants anyway. You will find a section for sales agent testimonials. I’m always a little disappointed when I see this, since I much prefer to see a few kind words from merchants. However, you will find a few very basic testimonials on the Groovv site on the Offers product page as well as single video testimonial on its YouTube page.

Overall, you won’t see too many people going out of their way to say nice things about Total Merchant Services publicly, but you will find a number of sales agents who seem sincerely proud to offer the TMS products (including in our comments section below). This means less to me than hearing from merchants directly, but it does mean something. It’s not that we think every sales rep is dishonest — just that there’s not a lot of transparency and probably limited oversight for a large sales team.

Final Verdict:

It’s always nice when a service provider we review makes an honest improvement. It makes us happy to be able to recommend a good quality service.

And that’s why it’s sad to see TMS take a significant step backward. It’s hard for us to have confidence in the quality of its sales team, as well as the promises it makes to merchants. The customer service is dubious at best. Worse, will you get what you were promised? Possibly. But there’s a significant chance you won’t, either.

Total Merchant Services has just about everything a small business needs, as well as larger businesses. Groovv, and everything it entails, is keeping pace with industry developments. But the cost could be significant, and being locked into a contract with an ETF, not to mention a terminal lease, is not worth the hassle.

We’re lowering Total Merchant Services to 3 stars. Beware of any gimmicks. Do your research, and get everything in writing. If TMS is working for you, please let us know! If not, tell us about that, too.

If you want to know what it takes to get a five-star review from us, check out our comparison chart for some examples. Thanks for reading!

Have something to say about Total Merchant Services? Leave your insights or experience in a comment.

Tom DeSimone
Tom loves asking tough questions and getting straight answers, so he has a lot of fun calling payment processors for Merchant Maverick to cut through their smoke and mirrors and find the real deals. He has run a full-time editorial business from his home in New York’s Hudson Valley since 2010 and could not imagine a better job. When not busy writing and keeping credit processors honest, Tom enjoys backpacking in the mountains.
Tom DeSimone
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51 Comments

    Mary Mader

    I started with this company about 6 months only to find out they drafted $150 from my business account and I have yet to see my money I have collected from my account. Then when I wanted to cancel they promised to put the money in my account. They deposited $2.33 instead of $53. I will contact the comptroller of currency to bring this company down!

    RatingNot Rated
    Jim

    I was with Total Merchant Services for 12 years without chargebacks. Other companies were telling me how bad their processing rates were. Called them for a review and was promised someone would review my rates and get back. Three months later no review so I dumped them only to discover they would hit me with a $95 cancellation fee. . . . after 12 years! I had no terminals or equipment to return and everything was already switched to the new processor. All they had to do was close the account. Wouldn’t wish these people on my competition.

    Rating11111
    Jim

    I was with Total Merchant Services for 12 years without chargebacks. Other companies were telling me how bad their processing rates were. Called them for a review and was promised someone would review my rates and get back. Three months later no review so I dumped them only to discover they would hit me with a $95 cancellation fee. . . . after 12 years! I had not terminals of equipment to return and everything was already switched to the new processor. All they had to do was close the account. Wouldn’t wish these people on my competition.

    Rating11111
    Rick McClure

    I signed up for service from TMS in early 2013. I quickly learned that the software I used for my business used a proprietary Merchant processor, so I contacted the agent I used to start the service and told him that I needed to end my service with TMS. To my knowledge, my service was ended in early June 2013.

    Jump ahead to 2016, my business ended and I’m trying to end all business affairs. I notice that there are a number of recurring charges to my checking account that caused it to be over drafted on several occasions. I kept working with my Merchant processor to find out why the charges kept occurring. They were finally able to help me discover that the charges I was seeing were coming from TMS. I immediately contacted TMS and was told that they could see where the merchant account was closed in 2013 but there was an internet account that had remained open, which was the source of the charges I was experiencing. They promptly closed the account on February 3, 2016.

    I wrote seeking a refund of all charges that had been assessed on my account. TMS did not provide me any service. They simply just kept charging my checking account. I thought all of the charges that I saw on my account were from my Merchant processor, not TMS, who I thought was ended. TMS sent a reply stating that they received my letter and that I should hear a response within 24 hours. Well, 9 days later I write another letter since I have not a response. I got an anonymous reply from TMS stating that one account was closed and the other had remained open until February 2016 and that they do not give refunds, even if they didn’t provide any service. WHAT? They know that a request was made to their agent by me to close my account and somehow only one got closed. We’re likely talking over $3000 in unwarranted charges that they do not want to refund, even though they didn’t provide any service.

    The customer service that I have received has been less than desirable. I’ve elevated my complaint. We’ll see. I do not recommend them.

    Rating11111
    Susan

    Same thing is happening to me. Deposits not going into my accounts, strange fees being charged. No help!

    RatingNot Rated
    tk

    This company charges excessive fees!!! Every other month they tack on some kind of fee!!! Yes you have to wait on hold for a long time before you even get to talk to them!!! Then when you go to cancel your account when you are tired of the whole mess then they charge an extremely high cancellation fee. They never tell you that you are in a 3 yr. contract and that there will be a cancellation fee and that there is no way to undo the contract, until you decide to cancel. I asked one supervisor if this was common for people to complain about them not telling someone about the cancellation policy and she said yes. I think with this many bad reviews and them admitting that there is a problem that they would do something about it, like waive it and make sure their sales team tells the customers about it. This company is a total ripoff. I would never recommend their services, EVER!!

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Jonathan Wofford

    [Potential Merchants]

    Notice that there isn’t a way to give star based reviews for this company on Facebook. Its because they will rip you off and not give you refunds for amounts that they “notify” you of. You also will not be allowed to speak with a supervisor after being put on hold for over 30 minutes.

    Yes you may save some money when they sign you up. But in the long run they will take more from you than even the bigger guys.

    My suggestion is to use anyone else except this processing company, which is now apparently owned by Wells Fargo, according to their footer on their site.

    Oh lets also not forget that if you want paper billing it is $2 a month. But if you want to login to look at your electronic bill you will have to reset your password if it has been more than 30 days. Which never worked for me, so I would have to email my area sales rep to get him to call someone, who would call someone, who would email someone that would send a password reset.

    I am now going to have to fight with these guys through my bank due to the charges they have placed.

    Rating11111

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Brad Burns

    Absolutely the worst company to do business with in the history of merchant services, run far far away from these clowns. I’m taking them to court.

    Rating11111

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Disc Meds

    Do Not Call list violators. They call me several times a week and simply hang up. When I call back the number that had just been so rude to me, it is answered by TMC. I told one loser who called me yesterday and was told off, that I make good on my threat to file a complaint with the FTC, and I have, numerous times. Now I call them back several times a day just to harass them and call them a bunch of thrid world shit eaters. They stopped taking my calls… I wonder why?
    Avoid these dirtbags.

    Rating11111

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Andrew Martin

    Monthly fees are way too high and customer service is slow. When I finally cancelled my account I was changed a cancellation fee on top of the poor service and outrageously high maintenance fees. No Bueno!

    Rating11111

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    toni cantor

    date 6-29-15 this company has one of the most unprofessional representatives I have encountered in ach processing. I need an email back immediately before legal action is taken.
    1. missed (3) that is right three scheduled appointments. While I was preparing for an annual art tour my company performs.
    2. I did not solicite your business, your representative walked into my brick and mortar and asked for mine, my time and my personal information.
    3. The debra bowen act puts very specific requirements and penalties for unprofessionalism that involve the request, storage and use of personal credit or identity information. Your representative gives me zero, actually less than that in confidence, your company is not a scam or complying with my privacy rights and financial information.
    4. Bait and switch to refusing to give supervisor information or company contact info on request after, she had proven untrustworthy with my and my company financial and credit and banking information.
    5. All we have is a business card, two cell phones which will be handed over in a fraud complaint and privacy act violation police report if this matter is not handled by the 2nd of July.
    If you are going to be in the ACH business, you need to tighten up. Totally pathetic that VISA, MC, DISCOVER or banks do not police you more thoroughly
    Couple this with a hit on credit from a mysterious credit processor, when our company did not soliciate one and have had the same since 2009 and in business since 1998.
    Fix or see you in court.

    Rating11111

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Erin Richmond

    This business engages in illegal practices, 100% of the time. This website states that the BBB has only received a small number of complaints, but when we filed our complaint, the number was at 311 in the past two years. This company sent us a contract via fax, which we signed. This contract had no term agreements or early termination fee written into it, but when we tried to cancel our account, they charged us a $490 termination fee. When contacted, they stated their copy of the contract had a termination fee on it. Fortunately, we had a hard copy of the contract. They did refund us the $490 because they realized they were holding a fraudulent contract which they had altered after the original signing. Even after this occurred, they charged us another $200 because we supposedly did not return the credit equipment. After a few more exhausting and ridiculous phone calls, they also refunded us the $200 because we had sent our equipment back months before the charge. Long story short, stay away from this business. They engage in criminal business practices.

    Rating11111

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Ashli Young

    Can I give negative stars? I have been harassed by these guys to an unbelievable degree that I’m in complete shock. I received numerous phone calls from them and I explained that I was not interested in their services however they continue to call. I was not rude I just simply said no thanks. They will not take no for an answer. I just checked my voicemail & the last call from them resulted in the man calling me a “Mother F***er” on my voicemail. I am appalled that they would allow their employees to behave this way. I sure don’t want anything to do with them now and I want others to know what happened so that they don’t get mixed up in a company like that.

    Rating11111

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Aubrey Clarke

    Total Merchant Services are complete crooks in my opinion.I used this company for 4 years to process my credit cards at my small auto repair shop.The first year on average it cost me abot 1 to 1 1/2 percent .The last year I used them that number was up to 4 and 4 1/2.I changed companies and found a better company to handle my credit and debit cars at my shop.I cancelled my services and Total Merchant Services continued charging me monthly fee’s of about $50.00 a month for 26 more month’s for services they were no longer providing.I called and called until I was blue in the face.They play these hold games on the phone to make you feel like you will implode.I am a patient person but my goodness!! Finally after calling and canceling numerous time’s a rep. Of Total Merchant Services tells me that the fund’s they have charged me over the last 26 months for services they did not provide can not and will not be refunded and she goes on to tell me that if I truly want the monthly fee’s to stop I can pay a cancellation fee,again in the amount of $199.99. So as for me I will avoid Total Merchant Services like the black Plague!! I feel like I have been robbed by them and was overcharged and overcharged fees on a monthly basis.But trying to get away from the company is a whole other nightmare.The telephone hold games.The monthly charges they continue to withdraw from your bank account for services they no longer provide.A real nightmare.You would think in this day and age we as American;s would have someone to protect us from Savvy thieves like Total Merchant Services.I pray someone put’s a stop to their scam’s!!.

    Rating11111

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Nancy Gomez

    It is too bad I have to give them one star. They desire 0. My terminal was shut down (swipe) TMS did not know the company went out of business. That was down for 10 days lucky I have an online account. Then they told me I did not have to fill out the IRS I think D-5 paperwork that my EIN number matched. Well then the government starting taking 28% of my deposits. Stay away from this company if you want to keep any of the money that your company generates I think that a class action law suit is in order. I would be all for that

    Rating11111

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Sharon Panther

    What does it take for them to accept the word NO, we get at least two three page faxes a week, I have requested at least three times to be removed from their fax list also called the company. I feel like this company is stalking us.

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Woodson Woodworks

    I am in the process of signing up for a merchant account so am spending a couple of days on research. Your review is the most balanced so far.
    Thanks

    Rating44444

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tom DeSimone

    Glad to help!

    If you’d like some more guidance, try our new tool that matches you with the best provider for your business.

    Take care,
    Tom

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Odus Fryman

    Went with this company cause they were suppose to be cheaper on fees just got our machine 2 weeks ago and started using it I checked bank account and none of our deposits were coming through they don’t know where the money is almost 1200 dollars they would have made us over draw if I hadn’t checked and unhooked their machine they better send us our money.

    RatingNot Rated

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    Penny Watson

    I was called by TMS this afternoon, and when I questioned their fee schedule and high early termination fees they put the squeeze on hard to get me to sign up. They sent me a contract which they wanted me to sign while we were on the phone together, and I asked them to call me back and give me some time to review the terms. Thank God I did. These guys gave me a knot in my stomach. No WAY would I sign up for services with them.

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    Helen Folsom

    Stay away! Unless you want to give up most of your money to TMS. Dishonest, phony fees, cranky tech support. The billing support people cannot even look up your account, and you will hang on the phone for a very loooong time just to find out that they are ZERO help. They took 1/4 of the money I booked thru them, until I kicked them off the stack.

    Rating11111

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    lori lister

    Been with this company like 5 years and I’ve never had a problem. If something is wrong with my cc they have replaced it no questions asked. If I need paper they give it free and with in 2 days it’s great. I’m really shocked by these reviews and makes me think maybe I should change companies but what one to change to that offers free machine in paper at such a low price for processing

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Karen Anesi

    I have been a customer of Total Merchant Services for more than a decade. If i could give them a zero, I would. More than a year ago we asked for explanation regarding hidden fees, poor communication and a host of issues. Our agent was Martin Franze. Long story short, he repeated three times in the last month an incorrect date regarding the termination of our contract, then declared a penalty more than double what would have been assessed had his claims been correct. Even under the threat of a call to the Colorado Attorney General did he persist with half truths, denials and misstatements. When I was able to independently confirm that he was not in possession of the facts, when he was finally “caught” at the eleventh hour, he played the “Sorry for the confusion” card. Stay away from this unethical company. They are expensive and worse, do not disclose the truth even when confronted. I have never filed a complaint or registered an unfavorable review in my 15 years of doing business, but others should be warned.

    Rating11111

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    Pauline Vaughn

    This company is a total RIP OFF! We fulfilled our contract duration and they still charged us $195 to cancel our contract. We sent our machine back as instructed and now they are trying to charge us $750 for not returning our machine. DO NOT do business with this company. They are scammers. Their monthly fees were very high and they were always taking out additional fees. Terrible!!!!

    Rating11111

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    Angelle Meaux

    Machine hasn’t worked in almost a month. Trying to talk to customer service is like pulling teeth as it takes about an hour per call to even get someone on the phone before they transfer you to some other department that also puts you on hold. When I finally did speak to someone they were extremely rude and condescending. We have been trying to cancel for weeks and apparently no one in the company knows how to because they just transfer you from person to person until you can no longer stay on the line because you are at work!!!!! Also we were charged almost double for the month where the machine wasn’t even online!!!!

    Rating11111

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    Bill S.

    Read the bad reviews. Believe all of them. Cancelled my account as they are simply liars and thieves. Today there are far better options. Hopefully the reviews on this website will cost them business and save someone a huge headache.

    Rating11111

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Cynthia Holdefer

    My daughter had the account to begin with and turned it over to me and I used it for a year or so and stopped. I never signed any agreement papers and was told that once I stopped using the CC machine and all transactions cleared that I would not have to pay anymore service charges. I retired and stopped paying close attention to my account, had many health issues and multiple collection agencies collecting health payments. I kept noticing a Global charge on my account and thought it was the last of my health care payments, but it kept being taken out and was varying amounts every month. I called my bank and they told me who the company was and I realized they had taken at least $2500 over a 3 year period out of my account. Officially I never authorized them to take any money out and at first they would not even talk to me because it was still in my daughters name. Having gone through an act of congress, we closed the account and I knew that I was out all that money. I accepted that. Never once was I told to send the card reader back….besides it was over 5 years old and extinct by now. About a month later I noticed $750 was taken out of my account by TMS company and over-drafted my account along with many more transactions as well because I did not anticipate $750 from my account. When I called they said that I needed to send the card reader back, I was very angry because after all I never authorized anything to begin with. They said they would send me a box to send the card reader in and I said, give me the address, I will send it back myself. They agreed that I would get the money back on my account quicker that way. That was September 3rd and today is September 22nd. I still did not have the money on my account so I called again. They gave me such a run around, I got my daughter involved and every single time I would barely raise my voice I was told not to talk to them in that tone. So DO YOU WANT ME TO SING MY DISPLEASURE!!!!!! Thank GOD for tracking records but of course, it is never their fault. DO NOT EVER USE THIS COMPANY!!!!!!! If I do not receive my money back into my account by the end of this week, this message will be on Facebook, Yelp and any other service I can find. Oh and by the way, they still do not have anything signed by me, so a lawsuit may be pending!

    Rating11111

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    Richard Minick

    I had signed up for this when my wife was just looking for info. Called to cancel that day and was advised to refuse shipment of machine and I did. One month later I get a box to send the machine back to TMS. Called them and told them it had been shipped back. A rude man told me that they had not received the unit and I was to investigate why it had not come back. Told them to call FedEx for that information. Today I find they have taken $500 from my checking account without authorization. I called them and they admitted the mistake, but told me they had to keep my money until I could get paperwork from my bank. I spent 2 hours of my productive time with these people. Stay away from them.

    Rating11111

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Daniel Ricker

    I’ve been with TMS for a little more than four years. The rep told me they had no cancellation fee, and there was none in their “Schedule of Fees”. As a small mobile business owner, I’ve been tempted to go with Square or a clone and just accept credit cards with my mobile phone. I’ve stayed with TMS because I like having paper receipts that a customer can write a tip on. Anyway, after they added a mysterious $100 charge last December (we get your Xmas bonus charge), I decided to start looking elsewhere. Apparently I’ve been substantially overcharged for a real merchant account all these years. I recently switched to a lower cost alternative, and when I went to cancel my TMS account, I was told there was a $195 cancellation fee buried in #13 on page 3 of their contract agreement. BEWARE!! Read the fine print. These guys are shady and and will lie to your face. This rant is my only legal recourse.

    Rating11111

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Todd Yung

    TMS sucks. Here’s why: I signed up for a cc machine because I was doing a govt contract and could only be paid with a credit card. I’m in construction and a cc machine is not a necessity for me, so if u use a machine a lot perhaps one should disregard this rant. The machine works great, no complaints. The problems arose last month when my bookkeeper asked about a $67 auto withdrawal from my account. I have not used the machine for 3 months or so. I called TMS and got nowhere except: “read ur agreement sir”. This was about an hour of being on hold. Yesterday, my bookkeeper said, “you call the cc company? Your charges are $77 this month. I have not used the machine 4 months now. So, I called them back and was referred to my sales partner, who is an independent company that signed me up. TMS really doesn’t know what these “sub-prime mortgage lenders” are up to, at least that is what they told me. I did ask 4 times on the phone when I signed up: 1% fees right? Yes, they didn’t hesitate to say. I know there are fees to a business, I am a company president. But I hate being lied to and rushed through a contract and then have the fees doubled over the contract amount. My agreement was $25 per month, $10. For wireless and some other minor fees. The $77 a month? Nobody has an answer. Tomorrow I will spend another hour on the phone settling my termination fee of $400 to get out of my 5 year contract. Be careful with this company. They use outside sales firms but don’t seem to have a handle on their practices which tells me they are not a good company to choose. And that is why TMS sucks. Please fact check the info presented on the header of this article. There is lots of misinformation. Good luck and if u are choosing a cc service, I encourage u to be very careful as the only recourse I had for any consumer rights was writing this rant.

    Rating11111

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Angela Champ

    On March 26 2013 I sent a signed letter asking to stop our contract of accepting credit cards. February was the last month we used them for credit card processing. They or the Alaska Financial Network Corp who signed me up would acknowledge me. I had my account manger acknowledge in Oct of 2013 & do absolutely nothing. All the while they keep taking 67.20 out of my bank account as Global Pay, on 1/31/14 they took $166.20. They took 9 x 67.20 = 604.80 + 166.20 for a total of $771.00. I put a stop on my account in February 2014 & finally someone from one of the companies call & says they do not have my signature so they can not cancel the account, however later they admit they have my original letter signed & they have no records of sending me an e-mail stating they needed my signature. They have a note on my account from an employee who no longer works for them saying she sent an e-mail. March 2014 charges show up on my account of 67.35 from guess who TMS a stop is put on my account in their name. I call & guess what they tell me they are just going to keep switching names (I guess they have plenty of names to use) & taking money. I ask for refund for taking my money with no right to take it. In June 2014 they credit my account $134.70. They still owe me $703.65 & I want to start a class action lawsuit is there anyone who is in this situation who wants to join or a lawyer who wants the case?

    RatingNot Rated

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    Angela Poland

    I just went through the same thing you did. I had two business with this company theycharged me over 1,000 in fees after I was out of my contract and canceled. I would love to get some people together and have a huge lawsuit against this company. I just got off the phone with this fraud of a company. This is not the last time they have heard from me.

    RatingNot Rated

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    marie washer

    we have a business here “European auto co.” and we are having difficulty with our transaction- I keep calling my agent- no response- busy all the time- and we call the 888 # its always busy- what should I do- no very happy about the service- can not get anyone to help. on line or by phone- Help please-

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    Shane Walters

    Worst service ever my business is suffering because they are holding my working because of the lack of experience they have and are ripping me off if i gEt my money in going to sue .WORST COMPANY EVER STAY AWAY FROM THEM

    RatingNot Rated

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    Sam Ilstrup

    Terminated my account without any warning as they said they had switched banking to Wells Fargo and could no longer service my gun shop. The lack of warning has cost me a an enormous amount of sales, profit and credibility with my customers. Worst company ever!

    RatingNot Rated

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    Denny

    I seriously have never had to deal with such a cluster fuck as a company as this. THEY ARE HORRIBLE. They tell you theres no yearly fee, however they charge you a “security fee” of $100. I just started with this company and not even two month later I get a later saying I am going to be transferred over to collections because I have a out standing balance of $100 for a security fee even though I knew nothing about it. I then call and see if they can remove it, because why would a pay a years worth for a security fee when I only had them for two months. The girl that worked there told me it would be taken off and I would be able to receive my transactions for my money. Two weeks later nothing, still haven’t received my $300 in swiped transactions. Called again and another girl told me that “you no longer qualify for the credit back for the security fee”. I ask why, she then says “because you didn’t file for a refund in time”. At this point I went off, because I did file for it, two weeks before actually. I didn’t get me refund back so theres $100 out the door for no reason. I then want to cancel my account with total merchant. I paid off the $100 security fee and the girl from total merchant said she would call me back with a confirmation number. a week later, no call. I call her ext. back, no answer. I call the 1 800 number AGAIN. They finally tell me that my account is now closed and they are going to mail me a box and that I have 10 days from the time the box arrives at my house to send it back. They box never showed up, so total merchant then goes and charges my card a $750 terminal fee because I never mailed it back. HOW CAN I MAIL IT BACK WHEN I NEVER GOT THE BOX WITH THE SHIPPING LABEL!? This company is a joke. There is no origination, they nickel and dime you for everything, you pay them at the end of the month for credit card fees (they don’t automatically take it out of each transaction), they don’t know there own product, and aren’t trained enough to even know what there saying. THIS COMPANY SHOULD BE OUT OF BUSINESS.

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    TAS

    We used Total Merchant Services for almost 10 years, and recently discovered how bad we have been overpaying for all of this time. We had asked TMS to review our rates repeatedly over the years. Each time, they lowered our rates to what appeared to be a good level. However, each month after that they would add new fees and hidden statement charges to gradually bump up our total percentage paid to a much higher level. TMS would provide interesting names and excuses for these rates, but they are unique to TMS. After recently putting our merchant processing business out for bid, our seasoned TMS “rate-reviewed” rates were over 0.8% higher than the competition! This really impacts the bottom line. In addition, TMS’s chargeback process (through Global Payments) was a joke. The chargebacks were mailed to us with a Reply By date that had already passed. There was no way to receive the chargeback notices or reply using the Internet. Anyway, to add insult to injury – after discovering we had been overcharged by thousands of dollars over the years and finally terminating TMS, they recently charged us an Early Termination Fee (this is despite what is written in the TMS review above – read the fine print!). Our experience with this company is characterized by hidden fees, creeping rate increases, poor communication and a total lack of trust that TMS would deliver what they say. We are taking the time to post this review in the hope that other merchants will not make the same mistake we did.

    Rating11111

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    paul devine

    I find it quite strange that TMS seems unable to show me any sort of statement until 2 days AFTER they charge me a discount fee. The capability is there and they could do it if they wanted. (look at Amex) It is almost as if they have something to hide.

    RatingNot Rated

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    Lola Jones

    This company is a ripoff. Do not use them. They messed my accounts up on setup, again on changing me to another processor, and then kept billing me after I cancelled them, and wouldn’t refund it. Incompetent, unresponsive, and uncaring.

    RatingNot Rated

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    Troy Louis

    Could you please advise me as to a preference in selling for a particular merchant? I’m a experienced agent deciding between a couple of processors to sell for. EVO, Global, Harbortouch, etcYour input is highly respected. Many due have several pros and cons.

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    Tom DeSimone

    Troy, Unfortunately we do not assess processors/merchant services providers from the agent’s perspective. I would, of course, recommend looking into any of our best rated providers here. I’ve heard good things about working for Heartland Payments, but again, I don’t evaluate the experience from the sales perspective. Best of luck.

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    Troy Louis

    Who processes for TMS? Do you know thanks.

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    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Troy, TMS uses Global Payments for processing. You can see a copy of the TMS Merchant Agreement stating this here.

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    Kirstin Nrldon

    I had the worst experience with TMS. They told me that my small business would only have to pay 14 a month, and the cc fee. Instead I was charged 50 a month for not meeting a quota they never told me about. I would have never signed up with them if I knew that. Thank you TMS for being fraudulent on your services and your billing practices!

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    NZ

    I used TMS as a result of befriending a person who worked for them. He said that he would give me a great rate, no contract, and never mentioned a cancellation free because no contract was signed. They continued to charge me after I complained that they were more expensive and said that they would give me a better rate after I discovered that they were charging more than my bank was. I reversed and disputed the charges to my account and today received a letter from a collection bureau. I will never pay those thieves. Listen to your gut and use a bank or reputable company. I read the reviews before I started with them and told my friend of the bad press. Unfortunately, I trusted my ‘friend ‘ and not the reviews. I deal with a branch in Northern NJ, but I would not trust any of them. They are totally sleazey operators. Please heed my warning.

    RatingNot Rated

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    North Country Veterinary Clinic

    I was with TMS for 1 year before we had to close our business due to moving. The last 3 months we did $700 on our card and were charged $89 per month for the service! So we closed the account and were told to expect a call tag within 10 days. We got it a week later, but we have no fedex location due to the extreme rural state we live in, so we did not get the machine back for a total of 20 days – our nearest fedex is 89 miles away.
    They charged us $750 for the machine and we are still disputing this but my gut tells me we will get nothing back. 🙁

    Rating11111

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    Pauline Vaughn

    My bank told me that we could file a claim through them against the company for the $750 after we returned our machine and had proof of this.

    RatingNot Rated

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    David Call

    6 years and over paid all 6 years , when I told them I was leaving they offered me a better commission rate ? No customer locality anymore, and forget customer service forget it, I was a half hour on the phone to get to a real person.

    Rating11111

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    R Thompson

    Total Merchant services Ripped my company off hundreds of dollars and I am still fighting them to get my money back they are theives.

    RatingNot Rated

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    Olufunso Ajayi

    Honestly this Total marchant company should be close down, they ripped me off and almost ruined my business, they stole from me thank God it was not too much before I realized what they stand for. Oh their representatives sucks, you can actually tell when thy speak. I was going to sue them for my money, but I feel mine is too little from others. I just feel upcoming mini business owners will not become a victim anyways. One day I know Better Business Bureau take an action to bring them down.

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    Richard Moore

    I am self employed and I use Total Merchant Services to set up retail customers with updated equipment and rates. I consider myself independent of TMS because I maintain the customer service with my accounts. I don’t even give them the main number to TMS because I want the customer to know I care. They call me or my wife with any question or issue. I started in Oct of 2007. I have nearly 300 customers today. I have never lost a customer due to poor service, lack of response or inaccurate rate quotes. I can resolve 99% of any issues myself. I also install the equipment (even if it means running telephone lines or IP connections) and I train every customer on the use of the equipment. You are correct in saying that some of TMS BBB issues are due to poor reps. From my perspective, I do have problems with TMS withholding funds at the drop of a hat. But, I have learned to resolve those issues within 72 hours and the customer only had to wait one extra day. TMS sends me an e-mail every time one of my customers has had any unusual activity. I respond to every e-mail. It is the rep’s responsibilty to maintain that account. That’s why we get paid. You cannot sign up an account and disappear. Which, unfortunately, so many companies do in this industry. My wife and I also set up ATM Machines (RBS Lynk) , clean carpet, clean office buildings, teach people how to cook, paint murals, appraise properties for sale, build websites, raise chickens and three daughters. I have never worked for anyone but myself. I have had 30 years of waking up in the morning and knowing that I have to put the food on the table. I treat the customers like gold. And I have been well rewarded.

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

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