TechStorm Review

TechStorm Logo
Overall Score
4
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How did they treat you?

UPDATE 2/19/2019: TechStorm's website has been significantly scaled back to a client portal that sells merchant cash advances under the i3 Verticals domain. The company does not appear to be structured as a full-service merchant account provider. We therefore will not update this review for the foreseeable future. See our i3 Verticals review for up-to-date information about this organization.

TechStorm (gotechstorm.com) is a merchant account provider that offers a tablet-based point-of-sale system for the retail and quick-service industries. The company appears to have been founded sometime in 2014 and is headquartered at 15725 North Dallas Parkway Suite 125 Addison, Texas 75001. TechStorm is a registered ISO/MSP of Merrick Bank Corporation, South Jordan, Utah, and its advisory board consists of Jon Frankel, Rony Batagower, Alan S. King, and Phil Taken.

Jon Frankel is the former director of a company called Certified Merchant Services, which reached a $23.5 settlement with the FTC in 2004. Following the FTC litigation and the subsequent sale of Certified Merchant Services, Jon's brother Craig Frankel (who also was an executive at Certified Merchant Services) released a book and served as the executive producer of a film titled Chasing the Green, which tells the story of “two young brothers who become millionaires during the early 1990s. Their ambition and drive lead them into conflict with FTC officials, where an over-zealous bureaucrat attempts to destroy their company.” The Amazon book description also states that the brothers in the story (the “Franklins”) “were confident and bold, and thus ignored warnings by the government to ‘respond' to numerous complaints regarding their practices. Ultimately, they were nearly destroyed by the FTC, who sought to demolish their company at the behest of their competitors in the industry.” This version of events—in which two reckless, money-hungry brothers fall victim to unreasonable federal regulators acting at the urging of jealous rivals—suggests a great deal about how Craig Frankel interprets his actions, his brother's actions, and the FTC's actions. It's unclear whether and to what degree Jon Frankel contributed to Chasing the Green, although he is the basis for one of the main characters.

Jon Frankel is also a co-founder of Crescent Processing Company, which has a “D” rating on CPO. He is also the brother of Andrew Frankel, the former CEO of a Plano, Texas-based company called Apex Merchant Group, which reached a $550,000 settlement with the Minnesota Attorney General in March 2015. According to multiple sources, Andrew Frankel is now in charge of a Carrolton, Texas-based company called Certified Payment Processing. We are sharing these facts due to the close proximity of these businesses to one another and the personal history linking their owners. It is unclear as of this review's publication whether TechStorm is formally affiliated with any of these other businesses.

Chasing the Green Trailer

Key Points

  • Sales & Marketing: TechStorm appears to hire independent sales agents and has received a few complaints about its sales practices.
  • Costs & Contract: TechStorm appears to offer a three-year contract with a liquidated damages-style early termination fee.
  • Complaints & Service: TechStorm has received more than 10 public complaints.
  • BBB Rating: TechStorm has an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received seven complaints in the past three years.
  • Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With TechStorm

TechStorm Customer Reviews

Here's What Their Clients Say

Customer Reviews Summary
Total Online Complaints 10+
Live Customer Support Yes
Most Common Complaint Sales Tactics

We are currently able to locate more than 10 negative TechStorm reviews, some of which accuse the company of being a scam. Merchant complaints mention rude sales tactics, inaccurate guarantees, nondisclosure of fees, and poor customer support. As noted above, the available employee reviews cite poor working conditions, insufficient training, deceptive sales practices, and a substandard product. TechStorm’s low overall complaint total may be due to its short time in business or its size, so we will continue monitoring the company’s reputation as it grows. The company’s website offers a customer service/tech support line, but it’s unclear whether this line is serviced by TechStorm or if it is available 24/7.

TechStorm Online Ratings

Here's How They Rate Online

Online Ratings Summary
Product & Service Complaints 5
Billing & Collection Complaints 1
Advertising & Sales Complaints 1
Guarantee & Warranty Complaints 0
Delivery Complaints 0

TechStorm currently has an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau and is not showing accreditation at this time. The company has received seven complaints in the past three years, five of which were related to product or service issues, one of which was due to a billing dispute, and one of which was related to advertising or sales. TechStorm resolved four complaints successfully, while the remaining three either were resolved to the dissatisfaction of the merchant or did not receive a final response from the merchant. Considering TechStorm’s complaint total and its resolution ratio, we agree with the BBB‘s rating.

TechStorm Fees, Rates & Costs

A Closer Look at The Contract

Cost & Fees Summary
Swiped Rate Variable
Keyed-in Rate Variable
Early Termination Fee Liquidated Damages
PCI Compliance Fee Unknown
Equipment Lease Terms Variable

The standard TechStorm contract (available below) is a three-year agreement with a liquidated damages early termination fee, a variable monthly account fee, and an unspecified PCI compliance fee. The company’s monthly account fee increases depending on how much hardware a merchant receives from the company, and its early termination fee is calculated by multiplying this monthly fee by the remaining number of months in the contract. This type of termination fee has the potential to be very expensive, and it is the primary factor lowering TechStorm’s grade in this category. Merchants should also note that failure to return all equipment within seven days of account termination will cost them $100-$300 per unreturned item. We are currently able to locate a few TechStorm complaints that mention the company’s contract terms at this time, and the contract itself contains provisions that are highly unfavorable to merchants. See the Techstorm Merchant Service Agreement.

TechStorm Employee Reviews & Sales Tacitcs

Should You Work For Them?

Jobs & Marketing Summary
Employs Independent Resellers Yes
Advertises Deceptive Rates No
Discloses All Important Terms No

TechStorm appears to utilize both in-house outbound marketing and independently contracted sales agents to market its products. The use of independent sales agents is commonly linked to elevated complaint rates in the credit card processing industry, and it is also the preferred model of companies like Apex Merchant Group, Crescent Processing Company, and Certified Payment Processing. We have found a few TechStorm merchant complaints related to the company’s sales practices, and complainants specifically report undisclosed fees and promises about features such as EMV compatibility that were never fulfilled. There are also a few complaints from former employees that mention insufficient training, a substandard product, high turnover, and unethical sales practices. To its credit, TechStorm does not advertise misleading rate quotes or unrealistic guarantees on its website, and it claims to offer interchange-plus pricing to all merchants. These factors in combination have earned it a “B” rating in this section.

Our TechStorm Review Summary

Our Final Thoughts

TechStorm rates as an average POS provider overall, but its rating worsened since our last update. The company’s contract terms are more expensive and less flexible than industry averages, and complaints from both merchants and former employees indicate that the company may have internal sales issues. Merchants who are researching TechStorm should also bear in mind that the company could potentially be referred to as “Tech Storm” in merchant reviews.

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Testimonials & Complaints

How Did TechStorm Treat You?

1 User Reviews

  • Jimmie Davenport

    Highway robbery at its finest. Worst experience ever in dealing with credit card processors. We was signed up by a local TechStorm sales rep named Doug, He stopped by about 3 times very persistent showing my wife a pos system that was “free” . I rarely give credit card processors the time of day but I decided the last time he came to let him compare the rates and see what they could offer, since we needed to accept EMV chips and Apple Pay. We was promised Next Day Funding, a android based system with a scanner that accepts EMV and Apple Pay, 30 Days free Trail, waived the $150 shipping cost, pay for my cancellation fee if we decided to keep TechStorm. We was told that there cancellation fees are among the cheapest at only $250 while my current merchant was $499. We closed for a week after, so we didn’t receive our POS system and TechStorm Doug came over to help setup about 2.5 weeks later. They sent a Ipad2 POS system not Android which was fine by me. There was no EMV reader or Apple Pay device, I was told by the Tech over the phone something about it not being fully ready for production. (I wasn’t happy about that since it was the main reason we decided to upgrade, but they promised it would be available in near future) we currently use Quickbooks for everything and was told it was compatible to Quickbooks online only but now we find out it’s not down easily and requires us to download info reformat manually input data then upload. Plus there was no way to transfer our Estimates at all. (So more back and forth work.) We decided to test it out and only used it for 3 business days and we knew it wasn’t a fit for our business. We also was promised free next day funding which we didn’t get. We called up our local TechStorm Rep Doug and let him know that the system would work and we was no longer using it and packing it back up. Doug said ok and we then get a call from TechStorm Ramsey Inside team which was trying to save the deal. We let him know everything and told him that it wasn’t going to work. He then states that he want to help us avoid the cancellation fee and send us something else out. We told him we have a 30 day trail and only used the service 3 days. He stated that’s not in the contract and there is nothing he can do. We then called our TechStorm rep Doug and he said no that’s not true you are fine. The next morning we have 2 large transactions from out account 1 for $1200 and 2nd for $2995. I was very angry now. I sent a screen shot of that transactions to Doug, he said he was appalled and could not believe such a thing. We called Ramsey to discuss this matter and he stated that’s all of there cancellation fees and that they never do 30 days free trail. Upset I contacted Doug again and he sound mad as well and said there cancellation fees are only $250 and that I shouldn’t pay anything because it was he error and this issue should be handled internally. He stated that they are escalating this issue to higher authority to get overturned but now has been a week and he hasn’t heard anything. We gave Ramsey one last call because all the equipment should have reached them by now and I decided to have Doug on the phone as well to clear this matter. Doug told Ramsey everything he told me and Ramsey stated its nothing he can do. Ramsey also stated there is no one else above him to talk to he reports directly to the Founder himself. Doug said he will go to bat for me on this issue. We tried to resolve the issue with no avail and now I’m having my attorney handle this issue. Please do not do business with these scammers, unless you have money to give away.

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