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Summit Merchant Solutions Review
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UPDATE 2/6/2019: The Summit Merchant Solutions website is no longer active, and the Summit brand appears to have been discontinued. We therefore will no longer update this review. (bricks4kidz.com) It is reported that many of the people involved with Certified Payment Processing, Apex Merchant Group, and Summit are now operating a business by the name of Cypress Bay Solutions.
Summit Merchant Solutions (sms-360.com) is a Carrolton, Texas-based merchant services provider that focuses primarily on the sales of merchant accounts and credit card processing equipment. This provider lists either 1991 or 2006 as the year it opened its doors. This is because Summit Merchant Solutions is part of the First American Payment Systems network of businesses, but the Summit brand was not launched until 2006. Summit appears to be a more direct subsidiary of Certified Payment Processing than of any other First American companies, but the connections between all of these businesses are not entirely clear at this time.
It has been suggested in various merchant reports that Summit Merchant Solutions may also be affiliated with, or under the same ownership as, the following merchant services providers:
- Trans Tech Merchant Group
- Appstar Financial
- Eliot Management Group
- Apex Merchant Group
- Trinity Merchant Group
- First American Payment Systems
- Certified Payment Processing
Summit Merchant Solutions is a registered ISO/MSP of Fifth Third Bank, Cincinnati and of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, California. The company’s general manager is Tony Norrie.
- Sales & Marketing: Summit Merchant Solutions hires independent sales agents and has received a moderate-to-high number of complaints about its sales practices.
- Costs & Contract: Summit Merchant Solutions appears to offer a three-year contract with an early termination fee of $495.
- Complaints & Service: Summit Merchant Solutions has received more than 150 public complaints.
- BBB Rating: Summit Merchant Solutions currently has an “A-” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received 99 complaints in the last three years.
- Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Summit Merchant Solutions
Summit Merchant Solutions Customer Reviews
Here's What Their Clients Say
|Total Online Complaints||150+|
|Live Customer Support||Yes|
|Most Common Complaint||Hidden Fees|
There are currently over 150 Summit Merchant Solutions complaints online, many of which describe the company as a scam or a ripoff. Of these complaints, there are two common types:
The first type of complaint is from former agents who report that they were hired under false pretenses and empty promises. These agents claimed that Summit promised them qualified leads and preset appointments; however, they claim that the majority of merchants never expected their arrival or had actually declined the appointment. These former agents complain of wasting their own time and resources chasing undesired appointments with merchants. Apparently, the appointments are set by the company’s telemarketers and the leads are bought from Experian. Several agent reports also complain of poor training regarding the contract terms and pricing of the merchant account agreement, and were instead trained primarily on how to sell merchant accounts and equipment for the highest commissions.
In one complaint, a person who claimed to be a former recruiter reported that Summit Merchant Solutions is basically a “hiring mill” of independently contracted sales agents. He wrote that his department of 30 recruiters had to hire 350 agents per week, most of whom would quit within the first three months. Our research has found that companies that engage in this type of hiring practice often have numerous negative reviews.
Of the merchant complaints, the primary type of report is of surprise fees and higher processing rates than what were quoted during the merchant account activation. There are also several complaints regarding nondisclosure of Summit’s 36-month contract with a $495 cancellation fee during the opening of the account. A few merchants even complained of being locked into 60-month equipment leases on top of the 36-month merchant account commitment. Many of the merchant complaints name specific sales agents, which appears to be an important factor in a merchant’s future satisfaction with Summit.
There does not appear to be a dedicated Summit Merchant Solutions phone number for customer support on the company’s website, indicating that its customer support is likely outsourced.
Summit Merchant Solutions Online Ratings
Here's How They Rate Online
|Product & Service Complaints||28|
|Billing & Collection Complaints||14|
|Advertising & Sales Complaints||57|
|Guarantee & Warranty Complaints||0|
Note: We have adjusted this company’s BBB rating according to our own standards. To better understand why we adjust BBB ratings, please see our Rating Criteria.
As of this review, Summit shares its Better Business Bureau profile with Certified Payment Processing, which has an “A-” rating based on 99 complaints filed in the last 36 months. This is down from 196 complaints the last time we reviewed Summit’s BBB rating. Of the complaints, 28 are regarding problems with products and services, 57 with advertising or sales issues, and 14 with billing and collection disputes.
The BBB report states that Summit has successfully resolved 28 of the complaints but that it did not make a good faith effort to resolve five complaints, resulting in its lowered rating. The remaining 66 outcomes either left the merchant dissatisfied or did not receive a final response from the merchant. It appears that Summit’s reduced complaint total may simply be a result of the company transitioning away from the Summit brand, so we have left the company’s CPO-adjusted rating at a “D.”
Summit Merchant Solutions Fees, Rates & Costs
A Closer Look at The Contract
|Early Termination Fee||$495|
|PCI Compliance Fee||$120+ Per Year|
|Equipment Lease Terms||48 Mos./Non-Cancellable|
The rates and fees of a Summit Merchant Solutions account will likely vary by the agent setting up the account and the merchant’s business type. It appears that the company’s standard contract includes a 36-month service agreement with a $495 Early Termination Fee (ETF) and a $120+ annual PCI Compliance fee, among other monthly fees and processing fees. Agents also appear to receive commissions for selling equipment leases, which merchants have reported as containing 48-month non-cancellable lease terms. Even more troubling is the fact that these leases appear to be through Northern Leasing Systems, an “F” rated provider on CardPaymentOptions.com. Overall, there does not appear to be any consumer feedback online that recommends Summit Merchant Solutions to small or large merchants.
Summit Merchant Solutions Employee Reviews & Sales Tacitcs
Should You Work For Them?
|Employs Independent Resellers||Yes|
|Advertises Deceptive Rates||No|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
Summit Merchant Solutions appears to use the common “agent hiring mill” strategy, a practice in which a company aggressively recruits and hires independently contracted agents to sell and market its services. In this strategy, agents are paid on a commission-only basis and often encouraged to sell expensive merchant accounts in exchange for high commissions. The overall pricing of the merchant account fees are usually tied to the merchant’s initial payout and ongoing residual commission. All the evidence we’ve found suggests that Summit engages in such practices to the dissatisfaction of hundreds of merchants. The company also appears to heavily utilize telemarketing as suggested by numerous reports.
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