IMS merchant services

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My horrible experiences with IMS

I opened a store(women's boutique) in June 2009, I was new to this country.I needed a merchant service for the store in order to charge credit card. I called the IMS company, the sales person told me they charge only 0.5% for the credit card services, and the machine cost over $3000, they can lease it to me. Also they said will give me a $50 gas card for free. So I thought it's good deal, they didn't mention about other fees at all-- I compared with other companies' 2-3% fee then decided to signed the contract.

My store is doing well till May 2010, I recieved bills from IMS every month, but I only paid attention to the total amount, never look through everything in detail(cus it's a long list),plus my English is not good. But one day, one of my friend came to my store and asked me about the machine--I said it cost over $3000(actually I have to pay $66 every month for 4 years), he was surprised and told me that machine only cost $200, and I went to the other stores too and found the same machine everywhere, i asked them the cost, they all said it's around $200. I began to feel I was cheated by them, so I called the company--it took me a long time to get in touch with someone,they gave me the number to call the leasing company, I called the leasing company, they said they just helped IMS to lease the machine and told me if I call IMS they would tell me the same thing.

I began to take a deep look at my bill--I found out they charged me a lot of things that I never knew they would, for example,they charge me $19.95 for a package service(which I had no idea what's about), they charged capture fee for $7 every month too, plus the main charge is Inter-CHG fee, which I didn't know either why and how they charged that. I calculated my fees every month, it's almost 5% of my total credit card charges for sales, which is the highest in the industry.

I spent several days trying to reach someone in IMS who can give me an answer, in the beginning they said would return my call within 48 hours--but they didn't. I went out of the country for two weeks and found they called me after three days I called. Finally after another several times of trying, I got in touch with someone.

I asked about the Inter-Chg fee, they said it's around 1.29%--3.4% of every transaction; For the service package fee, it's the service to send me the paper for the machine--I never knew that and never order anything from the company! For the capture fee, it's the fee for machine settlement. I found a bill in November--there is a plat Security-Dial ANN, they charged another $90 without telling me anything, they said it's an annul fee, but in my January's bill, they charged me again for another almost $100 for the yearly charge. Since every charge was taken from my account automatically, i couldn't control how much they charge or couldn't do anything if I have doubts.

When I called the company in January, they told me to fax to them to cancel the service package fee for Feburary, I did fax to them on Jan 26th, but I recieved a bill today(March 7th), they still charged me the service package fee for $19.95. I already stopped using the machine since Jan 30th, I no longer run the business anymore--but I still have to pay the $69 leasing fee every month for the machine which is worth only $200 for the next two and half years. From all the experience I had with this company, I felt it's unfair for small business owners to get into this trap, I need help! (By the way, they never sent me the $50 free gas card as they promised to). Please give me suggestions what should I do. I don't know how many other business owners are suffering from the same experiences as I did.

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