I am a small business owner and signed up with Thompson Merchant services in 2005 for merchant processing. They were a conduit to 1st National processing, an alias of IPayment Inc. They set me up with Authorize.net and I used them to do small volume processing.
Within the first month, I did a number of large charges totaling about $14,000 in funds, and after a few charges, the company stopped releasing the funds to me. I called and they provided no explanation of why, and would not tell me a concrete date when the funds would actually be released. Over the next several days, I suffered hours of phone calls with "customer service", and was asked to fill out several forms like change of address forms that were in no way related to the funds, and provide bank statements. At one point, the agent simply started evading my phone calls and only after I threatened to de-enroll after 2 weeks of being on hold did they release my funds.
When my company stopped doing credit card processing regularly in about 2007, I tried to cancel the service but after several attempts, I could not get through to a representative who could de-enroll me painlessly. IPayment stopped sending statements, but by this point, the charges were small (about $25/month) and I was very busy with the business so I let it slide until about June 2008 when I decided I needed to cancel this service.
After filling out the necessary paperwork to cancel, the company started stacking charges. When I called, they claimed it was for PCI compliance fees (which card processors don't normally charge for). Two months later, I had 2 extra charges totalling almost $200 extra, and the account had not been canceled yet. After several weeks of phone calls, and resubmitting the paperwork, I was finally able to cancel the account, but not before they charged me for one more month of inflated fees since cancellation can take "up to 30 days".
Afterward, they failed to cancel the Authorize.net account that was linked to the cancelled merchant account, and did not inform me of this. It took another 2 months for me to notice the remaining charges and try to cancel the Authorize.net account. In order to get back charges from Authorize.net, I needed IPayment to fax them a letter on company letterhead an explanation of the date of termination. After 3 hours on hold, 8 phone calls between the two companies, and 3 failed faxes, I finally convinced IPayment to e-mail me the letter and I had to *personally* fax this letter to Authorize.net. This company is so shoddy it can't even successfully send a fax on your behalf, something they should have done automatically in the first place when I canceled my IPayment account.
After cancellation, I tried contacting IPayment repeatedly to get the collection of missing statements, which they claimed they would mail to me and which I never received. All in all, they billed an extra $300 for services I did not use, I had spent 2 full business days on the phone and on hold with call centers, and who knows what extra charges they had been billing me all along while I was not receiving statements.
I've learned my lesson will never sign up with a merchant processor without carefully researching it again. IPayment is a company has shady practices designed to to milk small business owners of small change that adds up to big bucks. It hides behind call centers and phone queues, and never returns phone calls or does what its representatives say it will do. It has a large network of front end "shill" sites that funnel potential victims to the central scam processor. Just do a search on Google to find the shady business practices from the management, and a mess of customer complaints. STAY AWAY.