Merchant One Review - lost $5000 - Merchant Beware!
This company claims to be your credible choice for credit card processing. They are lying. Here is my story. I had been using Paypal Merchant Services for over five years. My sales were at 1.2M in 2010, with credit card transactions being about 70% of the volume, the rest was Paypal. Paypal's fees were at about 4% combined at the time, and so I have decided to do some research online and maybe save some money on processing fees. If I could find a company that could do the same services for, say, 1% cheaper, I could save $12 000, based on 2010 sales figures.
First thing I did was typing "merchant service reviews". The first one on a list of results was a website called Top Ten Reviews, particularly the page that is dedicated to credit card processing companies, showing their pros and cons.
Merchant One was being ranked number three at the time. Now they are number six, which is surprisingly high, based on what they did to me, and most probably to other customers, too. Top Ten Reviews must have some sort of paid placement program.
When trying to select between twenty identical companies, the only thing that is different about them is the name. Merchant One sounded nice and solid. Their sales team responded faster than others, that means a lot in the IT world. As it turns out, the nice looking domain name, and a responsive sales team are the only thing that Merchant One truly possess. That's about it. Everything else is missing.
So the application process was a little bit of a pain, it appears that when you have higher sales volume, it is uneasy to get approved for a credit card processing account, almost like they don't want your business. But that I guess, can be understood, I could be a poser who wants to run a scam by claiming to have big sales and run large batches. Whatever.
But what I didn't understand is that these guys didn't have even a simplest API, not even a SOAP/Pear based one. They basically give you a set of CURL-based parser scripts, which contain a password to your account right there in a clear type. No token keys, nothing that could identify the server they are working with. It means that if your system is not completely bullet-proof (which is pretty much any website that is not hosted on a dedicated server, or about 80% of the web), anyone who hacks into your system could use that information to login to your account with Merchant One, change your bank information and wait for the money to come. Or do whatever else in on their mind. Their entire system is a complete joke. They keep the entire transaction history in a viewable format. If your competitor gets this information, he could turn this into multiple-charge nightmare. It's funny I don't even sell merchant services and I know how bad it is, I wonder what their PCI compliance tester thinks about it. Probably the same thing.
But enough about their amateur setup. The real problem lies within their attitude towards their customers. They don't work with you. They don't stand by their customer. Since they are a reseller, they only streamline transactions into a real processing system which they resell - companies like First Date, United Bankcard and the like.
I run five websites on which I sell similar stuff. About two days after I started working with Merchant One, their representative had asked me for invoices for ten recent transactions. The purchases were made on three of my five websites. So I send the invoices to the Merchant One representative.
It was Friday night, so I went to bed shortly thereafter. Saturday I was at a family gathering, my phone was with me all day, but I had no computer access. On Sunday I was reviewing statistics, and I had noticed there were no sales on Friday night, all day Saturday and Sunday morning. I tried logging into my Merchant One account, the passord did not work. I tried calling Merchant One, their office was closed, none of the phone numbers worked. They do not have any kind of emergency hotline (they are working with payment processing, by the way, in case you didn't know that). Oh, and Monday was a federal holiday. For them as well. How these people are still in business is a mystery to me.
The only thing that saved my sales that day was the Paypal merchant account which I luckily still had functional, and switched the processing back to the old system. I only lost about $5000 in sales. It took me THREE DAYS to get in touch with these people and find out why my account stopped working. It appeared that I should have had a separate merchant account for every website. Nobody had ever mentioned it, even though I specifically stated the fact that I had several websites, on multiple occasions, during our preliminary negotiations. It always sounds like smooth sailing when talking to their sales team, wait till you fill out an application, they start sqeezing you into additional terms. Yack. That alone should had been a sign to try something else.
On the website they claim to take 24 hours to release a daily batch (dispatch the accumulated daily sales into a bank account). It's really 48 hours, and they had actually frozen a last day of my sales, which was about $4000. I didn't even notice it at first, but when I asked a week later what happened to the last batch, it had been vaguely mentioned that if the funds were not fraudulently charged, they would release it three months later. Oh, so I am a fraud now. Of course.
Oh, wait, it gets interesting. The only way they keep in contact with their customers is through their sales department. To get sales, of course. The funny thing is, is when my account got disabled, apparently their CRM picked me up again as a new lead, because every now and then I keep getting follow-up emails from them. At the same time, I have received a collector's bill 10 months later, for their merchant fees. FOR THE ACCOUNT THAT THEY HAD DISABLED. 10 MONTHS LATER. Not a single email, not a single phone call.
What an idiotic approach! What an unprofessional behavior! What a stupid company!
I am not the kind of guy who goes on a rant about people he is unhappy about. In fact, I am a pretty peaceful guy. I understand people and their issues, I am raised as a human, just like anyone else. But these people run their business in such a screwed-up, unproportionally backwards way, that it is totally worth sharing the experience. I almost forgot about this horrible company, if it wasn't for the collector's bill. I jumped to 2M in sales in 2011, I have no problem paying their made-up bill, but I will let every PR and news site on the planet know about business practices of Merchant One, and I hope my authentic Merchant One review will be of service. That's right, let's throw in some SEO keywords, such as review of Merchantone.com, and merchantone.com review. Hope this triggers the attention of the ones looking for the truth.
Anyone who even thinks about dealing with Merchant One, please keep in mind that I have 15 years experience in the IT field, and I am a very communicative person, I am online most of the time and I am able to fix most things for my websites on the fly and on my own. If you don't posess these qualities, I strongly suggest to stay away from this company, if you don't want to be the next one sharing his story of tears after dealing with Merchant One. If you still think they are worth dealing with, trust me on this: BE PREPARED FOR NASTY SURPRISES.