|Sales & Marketing|
|Costs & Contract|
|Complaints & Service|
TransTech Merchant Group (tmg-360.com), along with Summit Merchant Solutions, is a direct sales division of Certified Payment Processing that specializes in marketing merchant accounts to small businesses in the United States. TransTech may also be under the same ownership as or otherwise affiliated with Apex Merchant Group, Appstar Financial and First American Payment Systems as suggested in several merchant reports. The company claims to have been in business since 1996, however the BBB reports the business as starting in 2005. Additionally, there are no complaints filed online prior to 2005 so it appears that TransTech Merchant Group may be listing the start date of Certified Payment Processing as its own. The company’s corporate headquarters is located at 3350 Boyington Drive, Carrollton, Texas 75006. TransTech Merchant Group is a registered ISO/MSP of Fifth Third Bank of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, California. Tony Norrie is listed as the general manager and principal of TransTech.
|TransTech Products and Services||Industries Served|
|Key Points – Sales & Marketing|
|Uses independent resellers?||Yes|
|Promotes deceptive rate quotes?||No|
|Discloses all important terms?||No|
TransTech appears to rely primarily on recruiting and hiring independently contracted agents in a “hiring mill” fashion to market and sell its services. In addition, there is evidence that the company heavily participates in telemarketing. Although we found no uses of misleading advertising or false rate quoting on its website, numerous reports from merchants and former agents alike describe rampant unexpected fees and nondisclosure of terms. These reports suggest that agents receive very little oversight and are encouraged to sell expensive merchant accounts and equipment leases in exchange for large commissions. Several former agents have stated that they were very poorly trained by TransTech and encouraged to use unethical sales tactics.
TransTech Merchant Group Marketing Example
|Key Points – Costs & Contract Terms|
|PCI compliance fee:||$125/year|
As with most merchant account providers, the costs and fees of a TransTech merchant account will vary from one merchant to the next based upon the agent setting up the account and the merchant’s business type. Numerous reports from merchants state that their processing rates ended being much higher than original quotes and that several fees were never mentioned during the signup process. In addition, TransTech’s standard contract is stated to include a $125 annual PCI Compliance fee, a three-year service agreement with an automatically renewing clause, and a $400+ Early Termination Fee (ETF). These fees are deducted directly from a merchant’s checking account and there is only a small window of time to cancel service before the contract auto-renews. Some reports suggest that TransTech’s contract may also include a Liquidated Damages clause, so merchants are strongly encouraged to read it fully before signing.
Aside from fees for the merchant account itself, there are many reports from merchants suggesting they were set up with predatory equipment leases through Merimac Capital or Lease Finance Group. These merchants report being misled into long, non-cancellable leases at costs in the thousands of dollars.
|Key Points – Complaints & Service|
|Live customer support:||Yes|
|Most common complaint:||Hidden fees|
We are currently able to locate over 140 TransTech Merchant Group complaints on this and other consumer protection websites, many of which outright accuse the company of being nothing more than a scam or a ripoff. This is a high number of complaints for the company’s size and time in business, and these complaints are being filed both by dissatisfied business owners and by former agents/employees.
On the merchant side, many are reporting deception by agents during the account setup process, surprise over unexpected fees, and unauthorized debits from their bank accounts. There are several complaints specifically mentioning predatory equipment leases that include high monthly fees and five-year non-cancellable lease terms. A few merchants even reported paying $5,000-$6,000 in lease fees for equipment that would have cost $200-$300 to buy at retail. This reviewer was especially struck by the numerous unprofessional complaint rebuttals from TransTech Merchant Group. In several instances, TransTech’s rebuttals are rude, attack the merchant, accuse the merchant of ignorance, and carry an overall air of condescension.
As for the former agents and employees, there are many complaints of being misled by TransTech Merchant Group recruiters and management. A few agents detailed their experiences of being “lured in” with promises of high quality leads only to show up for most of their appointments completely unexpected. Several agents stated that they incurred costs in travel and supplies that were never recovered.
|Key Points – BBB Report|
As of this review, TransTech shares its Better Business Bureau profile with Certified Payment Processing, which has an “F” rating based on 283 complaints in the last 36 months. This is down from 288 complaints the last time we reviewed TransTech’s BBB rating. Of the complaints, 176 are regarding problems with products and services, 82 with advertising or sales issues, and 25 with billing and collection disputes.
The BBB report states that TransTech has successfully resolved 52 of the complaints but that it completely failed to resolve 38 complaints, resulting in the “F” rating. The remaining 193 outcomes either left the merchant dissatisfied or did not receive a final response from the merchant. In this case, we agree with the BBB’s rating of “F.”
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This review was originally published on 6/17/11 and was last updated on 1/20/16.
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