1st National Processing / Touchpay / overcharge
In 2006, I opened a Touch-Pay merchant account through Thompson Merchant Services. Thompson itself did not handle my account; they represent 1st Nat'l Processing, sometimes known as 1st National Merchant Services. My records show an address in Calabasas, but it seems they've relocated to 6399 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048. For the first few years, I was very satisfied and eagerly recommended it to my colleagues. Accepting cards increased my sales significantly and I only paid a $6.99 statement fee and a flat % on sales.
Unfortunately, after a few years, my monthly fee more than doubled without warning. When I called customer service, I was told I was being charged a $10 monthly fee and a $7 statement fee. As I am a seasonal user, I asked to discontinue the statements, but was not told that this would mean I would receive NO information at all - no announcements, no information about changes to the contract or fees or PCI compliance, NOTHING. Last year, I discovered my fee had increased dramatically, totaling almost $440 for 8 months, a $300 overage. I was told these were PCI compliance fees I was being charged because my account was not compliant. I am not unfamiliar with PCI compliance. In fact, at a previous job, I was responsible for meeting PCI requirements. (If you already practice good security, it's not rocket science; you just fill out a questionnaire.) However, it is not possible to meet standards you are not informed about! I believe this is intentional. Each time I have spoken to a representative, they have been unhelpful, stonewalling and reading from a script, which leads me to believe they'd heard the same complaint many times over.
On another occasion I was told by customer service that if I wish to cancel my merchant account I must inform them in writing, and was given an address, so I drafted and mailed a letter. This was misinformation; there is a specific form they require to be faxed, to the correct number. This delayed closing my account by a month.
Finally I was able to close the account, my last fee of $21.99 (this is $5 higher than normal, for some reason) withdrawn May 3. However, my bank statement shows a $129 PCI compliance fee withdrawn on June 28! I was essentially told they bill retroactively (what??) and that no supervisor was available to speak with me but that she could request a supervisor call me back. I asked what time their office closes, and returned the call myself this evening as I did not expect to hear from them. I spoke to a supervisor, who flatly refused to consider a refund. I have read other reports that they charged customers a $250 cancellation fee. (!) I will be going to my credit union tomorrow to discuss this, and close my account if necessary.
I have switched to another service that allows me to swipe cards on my phone, and it has been just great so far. (I'd plug them, but I'm not posting this to advertise.) Easier and MUCH cheaper. It's worth getting a smartphone just for that, IMO; my card sales are more than enough to subsidize the increase to my cell phone bill. If you are looking for a merchant account, ask the sales rep who will actually be processing your transactions and research THAT name.