I became a customer of Innovative Merchant Solutions in July of 2007 when I took over an existing small business. It happened fairly quickly so I didn't take the time I should have in searching for a credit card processor. The previous owner used Quickbooks Point of Sale and also used Quickbook's credit card processor, which is IMS in disguise.
After going through the application process which took about 2 weeks, I was informed that due to my lack of credit history and since I was a new business owner, that they required a deposit amount equal to my projected monthly credit card sales. That came out to about $9, 000 US for us at the time so I dipped into my start up funds and sent them a certified check. I was informed over the phone that after a few months of being a customer that they would release these funds back to me. Let me just stress now...get that in writing!!! I was in a rush to open on time and needed a credit card processor so I made some very stupid decisions which IMS took advantage of.
Approximately five months into being a customer I filed a request to have my deposit at least partially refunded. I was promptly denied and told to re-apply the next month when I would have been a customer for half a year. This didn't seem entirely unreasonable so I resubmitted a request a month later. Again I was promptly denied with no reason other than...we can hold your deposit for as long as we want.
This month I did more research and discovered that all the other credit card processors out there don't usually require a deposit and I quickly switched to one of these processors. They set me up in less than 3 days and I immediately notified IMS that I was canceling my account and requested my deposit to be returned. This too was promptly denied and was told they would hold my money for 270 days OR MORE per a contract I signed. When asked for a copy of this contract with my signature the agent got very aggressive saying there was no reason they should send me a copy. I did some digging and unfortunately realized I did sign that after the account is terminated IMS does have the right to hold the deposit for 180 DAYS. I'm resigned to that fact, but I then got a nasty voicemail from one of their service reps.
She said once again it was 270 days or more and to mark my calender and call back to RE-APPLY for my deposit which I'm sure takes several months. She stated that my customers have the right to dispute a statement up to 9 months after the initial transaction. Which is a blatant lie since consumers have 60 days in most circumstances to challenge a purchase. But this being said, our business has always worked hard for customer satisfaction and have absolutely no disputed charges or chargebacks in our history.
Also she chastised me for doing over $9, 000 in credit card sales the last few months and said that was another reason they were holding my deposit. Yet I never received a notice that this was a problem or even a limit mentioned in my monthly statements. I looked at the contract and while it does state they can set limits, I never received notice I was on a limit. Even if I had the contract says nothing about holding your deposit. It only states 'If Merchant exceeds the limit established by this Agreement, IMS may suspend processing, charge over limit fees, hold the funds over the cap and/or return all Sales Drafts evidencing funds over the cap to Merchant.' It never raised any concerns about my increased sales or held any of the credit card transactions processed. Nowhere does it say they can hold a deposit for an extended period of time. But apparently you're penalized for being a growing business by IMS.
For all prospective customers of IMS, I urge you to look elsewhere. They are not worth the trouble and their contracts really place you in a headlock. Also they are the only processor that works directly with Quickbooks, but this is not a license to stomp all over their customers. The other service I now have worked just fine and melds nicely with the Quickbooks POS software. There are a lot more reasonable and business oriented services out there. IMS is not one of these. They make you fight for any sort of customer service and treat you with absolute disrespect. I was a customer for a year with very strong sales and never had a chargeback or any other dispute. Yet they still treat me like some second rate criminal, when all I'm trying to do is get my deposit back. I'm waiting the 180 days like I agreed to per the contract, but after that I'll be filing legal action.