In January 2009 I was considering starting my own business and attended an e-commerce business seminar held by a company called Auction Teacher. Several hundred people were in attendance. At the end of the seminar a business package was offered to help start and develop an e-commerce web site. Included in the package was the Auction Teacher e-commerce website with help to develop and maintain the site, also in the package was an application to obtain a merchant account, and a telephone system.
After a month I realized that the Auction Teacher setup would not work for me since their software was based on PC/Microsoft Windows computers and I use Macintosh computers. I contacted Auction Teacher and they canceled my service and gave me a refund. No business was created or conducted. For the time I gave up on the idea of having my own business.
About four months later I started receiving charges on my bank account from Innovative Merchant Solutions. I never received any notification that my application for a merchant account had been approved. I contacted Innovative Merchant Solutions and informed them that the charges on my account had surprised me since I had never been informed about my application approval nor had I given them any financial information or authorized any charges to my bank account.
The representative I spoke with said his name was Mark, and he looked up the account and said he would cancel it for me and refund the charges. However, over the next couple of months the charges continued.
I again contacted Innovative and this time spoke with a man named Leo. I asked Leo his last name and was told that for security purposes and company policy that he couldn't give me his last name. I informed Leo of my earlier conversation with Mark. Leo indicated that there were no notes in my record of the conversation. He said he could cancel the account but there was an account termination fee that I had to pay.
This is the first time anyone mentioned to me a cancellation fee. Back in January when I signed up for the business package with Auction Teacher no mention was ever made of any termination fee. Leo said he would have to transfer me to someone else to discuss the termination fee. Leo then transfered my call to a woman named Melissa.
I spoke with Melissa and again related the entire story, I also asked her for her last name and was given the same response as Leo regarding giving out last names. She told me I needed to write a letter of cancelation and either mail it or fax it to her. I did this. She also mentioned the charges to my account would be refunded and that the account termination fee would be waived. Some charges were refunded to my account.
However the charges to my bank account continued for a few more months. I informed my bank of the entire situation and they reversed the charges and put a stop on my account to any future charges from Innovative Merchant Solutions.
Finally mid-year 2009 it appeared that everything was cleared up and taken care of with regards to dealing with Innovative Merchant Solutions. Fast forward to one year later, here it is mid-year 2010 and I started receiving calls from Innovative that I owed them for the cancellation fee and charges that they tried to bill to my bank account.
Does this company not know what goes on within it's walls? I've been contacted three times over the last few weeks by three different people about paying the cancellation fee and other charges. Each time I've related the story previously given. I've been told that there is no information in my account regarding previous contacts or having any fees waived. And now they are threatening legal action. I received a letter from someone named Al Sherman who lists the title Litigation Manager under his name.
In conclusion, I've been charged for services NOT received. Innovative Merchant Solutions Never informed me that my application for a merchant account had been approved. They charged and removed funds from my bank account without authorization, I never gave them my bank account information. How they managed to obtain my bank account information and levy charges without authorization appears to me to be fraudulent and criminal.
Do not use them! If you need a merchant account go to your local bank they will offer service superior to Innovative. Wells Fargo, Bank of America, US Bank, Chase, others; none of whom have any account termination fees. All who do business in a straight forward business manner.