Charge.com Overall Rating
Last Updated: January 16, 2014
Charge.com is a merchant account provider based in Plantation, Florida, that has been in business since 1995. The company was bought by Pipeline Data (possible affiliated with Cynergy Data) in 2005 and resells Authorize.net for its payment gateway services. Charge.com focuses primarily on supplying on credit card processing services and equipment. The company is a registered ISO of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, California.
Charge.com Sales & Marketing Tactics | D
It is not completely clear how Charge.com brings in new merchant accounts, but it appears that the company relies heavily on online marketing and referrals from its parent company and affiliates. Charge.com has received a low score in this section because the company promotes highly misleading pricing on its website.
For instance, the company compares its pricing to “industry standards” but fails to disclose all of its own fees. In particular, Charge.com promotes its processing fees as though they are a flat rate but fails to disclose the Downgrade Fees for Mid-Qualified and Non-Qualified transactions. This is not only deceptive, but some may consider it as borderline false advertising. Additionally, the website claims that there is no service length commitment and no cancellation fee; however, there are numerous reports from merchants stating that they incurred a fee for cancelling service. It appears that Charge.com itself does not charge a fee, but its parent company, which handles the card processing service, does charge one.
Charge.com Costs & Contract Terms | D
Charge.com’s pricing appears to vary from merchant to merchant based on business type and processing volume. As mentioned in the previous section of this review, the company promotes deceptive pricing that could easily confuse merchants. Although Charge.com itself does not lock merchants into contracts, it signs them up with a processor (and parent company) that issues a 36-month service agreement with Early Termination Fees (ETFs) ranging from $300 to $495 (as reported by merchants). The company also charges an annual PCI Compliance fee of up to $185, which is much higher than the industry average.
Charge.com Complaints & Service | C-
Charge.com has a moderate amount of complaints filed online for a provider of its size and time in business; however, it should be noted that its parent company (Pipeline Data) and its processor (Cynergy Data) have very high complaint counts. Charge.com seems to have a consistent pattern of public complaints filed on Ripoff Report, although a handful of these complaints may be filed against other businesses with “-charge.com” in their names. The majority of the complaints report unexpected and hidden fees, nondisclosure of the PCI Compliance fee, high cancellation fees, and unauthorized debits from merchants’ checking accounts. As of this update, the company’s complaint volume appears to have slowed from previous years, which may be an indication of improved policies and customer service. It could also be a sign that the Charge.com’s business has slowed, or that the company is making use of a DBA.
Charge.com BBB Report | B-
As of this update, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is reporting that Charge.com is not BBB accredited. The report shows a “B-“ rating for the company with 46 complaints filed in the last 36 months, which is down from 48 complaints as of our last update. Of the total, 20 are due to billing and collection disputes, 16 with service problems, and 10 due to advertising and sales issues. Charge.com has resolved 39 of the complaints to the merchant’s satisfaction.
Charge.com has been in the merchant services industry for nearly 20 years; however, the company is suffering from the typical types of complaints found with less reputable credit card processing companies. Additionally, Charge.com’s parent company and processor score poorly and suffer numerous complaints from merchants. The company can improve its rating by fully disclosing all fees and contract terms of its own services (as well as the ones it resells to merchants) and eliminating future complaints regarding deceptive sales tactics.
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