A Lesson In Horrible Service (A Review of Simplify Commerce)

My experience with Simplify Commerce exemplifies the most important lesson in customer service: pick up the phone. Make sure you employ this lesson in your own business before its too late.

First a little background. I started a new business this past summer to help accountants and bookkeepers stand out in their extremely competitive industry. Just like any start-up, we set up our new office, hired our staff, and configured our e-commerce components. The shopping cart we selected was 1ShoppingCart (highly recommended), the merchant service provider was Simplify Commerce (avoid at all costs).

As I configured the shopping cart, Simplify Commerce was presented as the “suggested” credit card processor. Perhaps Simplify is part of 1ShoppingCart, or maybe it has a referral alliance or possibly they paid 1ShoppingCart a lot for the exposure. Regardless, it is highly influential marketing. It is just like your doctor suggesting the specialist you go to. If they suggest it, you do it. I followed suit and selected Simplify Commerce.

The setup was easy. The pricing and fees were not even close to competitive (albeit I only figured that out in retrospect since I didn’t take the time to competitively shop). Our first few payments processed, and then the first problem arose.

Our per day release of funds was capped to $500. I inquired with Simplify Commerce to see what we could do to resolve this. My emails to support where 1. not responded to 2. pointed the finger to underwriting and left me on my own to resolve with them.

Now, I get that we were a new company and that Simplify Commerce needs to mitigate its risk. But there is a lot more to us, that the simple application we submitted wouldn’t explain. So I just wanted to hop on the phone with someone at Simplify Commerce to explain more about our organization and to see what we needed to do to get past this problem. Welcome to problem number two.

Simplify Commerce doesn’t like to talk with their customers. Email communication are their preference – scratch that – no communication is their preference. Some technical questions were answered by their techie guy (he even picked up the phone and called us a few times). But the financial decision makers (ahem, underwriting) would never pick up the phone. Just abrupt emails, that came out of no where.

One email, one day stating that the $500 limit was adjusted up. One email, one day stating that since we took a client payment for an annual membership our account was on hold (as in we could continue to collect payments, but that Simplify Commerce would permanently withhold the funds until the situation was resolved… via email). One email, one day saying our account was reopened. Then the next day that it was on hold.

Finally out of pure frustration, I wrote the most aggressive email I could, hoping it would somehow get someone to call me. It worked! 48 hours after demanding I talk with someone, a person actually called me.

After thirty minutes on the phone, we resolved everything. Our account was fully cleared, funds were released. As we completed the call, the underwriter said “I wasn’t aware of how established your company and brand was. I wish we had known this. Your account is fully open.”

“I wish we had known this?” How absurd! Simplify Commerce did everything in its power to not learn about my business (their client). Simplify Commerce did everything it could to avoid communication with me (their client). Simplify Commerce did everything it could to make it difficult to do business with me (their client).

I left Simplify Commerce that day for a new merchant service provider, NMI (highly recommended). Oh, and during the on-boarding process, the NMI representative called me. We have talked multiple times since. The result of being able to talk with someone? We have received inter-change plus rates (far better rates than Simplify Commerce), we can accept annual member payments (something Simplify Commerce prohibits), we have no cap on receivables (something Simplify Commerce forced on us) and, surprise, surprise we have access to real live humans. Twenty four by seven.

The lesson is this. Customer service boils down communication. Landing a customer is the easy part, keeping is even easier, if you simply talk to them. Make sure you regularly communicate with your customers and you make it easy for them to talk to you when they want. The “savings” you achieve by making it impossible for customers to talk with you will cost you in the long run.

Ironically, when I tweeted out to Simplify Commerce that I was going to share my bad experience with them in this blog post, they called me immediately. Did you read that? They called me! Doh!

My suggestion to Simplify Commerce (and to you if you have customers) is this: Call your customer’s while you have them, not when you lost them. Communication is king.

Comments

26 thoughts on “A Lesson In Horrible Service (A Review of Simplify Commerce)”

  1. I set up Simplify Commerce for a client, then one day they froze the account. All purchased came to a halt. No phone call, no nothing. It was a mess.

  2. Sorry man.

    I really hope some big companies read this and take action. This email customer service solution to save money is the worst thing.

    I’ve been waiting 2 months on a tech solution and the funny part is that the company still doesn’t even know we left them.

    Good luck with everything!

  3. Frank – It is kinda weird. I don’t know if they are big or small. They outsource a lot to Mastercard personnel. I think the mentality is “keep costs to a minimum” which i totally support… until it compromises your customers. That is the mistake.

  4. We received money for a workshop in January. Simplify Commerce is holding onto the funds until June. I understand holding onto funds for short time, but five months? Horrible attitude and customer service orientation on top of that.

  5. im also having problems with them big time, no communication at all. can you post their telephone number or at least email me it so i can communicate this. i am in the process of opening a fraud case with Mastercard

  6. Rather than go through all the nasty details of my nightmare with this company, I would simply say BEWARE to anyone even thinking of doing business with Simplify. They are the model of a poorly run unscrupulous customer unfriendly company. May they get what they deserve in what one can only hope is the short run. Maybe they have some decent people working for them, but the bean counters who obviously wield the power in their organization are quietly sabotaging any hope for customer service. There are other choices out there, stay away from this one.

  7. I can concur about the problems with Simplify Commerce. They keep your money until they feel that it’s ok to release it, even though you’ve been paid and had the product delivered. Nobody will answer your questions over email but instead respond with one sentence that has nothing to do with your question. They don’t post a phone number when you’re approached by their ‘underwriting’ department for website verification purposes and give you about a 2 hour window to call YOU in with no other options. It’s crazy.

    They’re holding on to my money (and I’m sure a lot of others’ too) for no good reason. They apparently don’t feel the need to ‘verify’ your website until you’re actually waiting for funds to transfer. I’ve made a complaint to WooCommerce about them and since they actually DID call me one time, I’m going to post their phone number for the rest of the frustrated folks out there too. This is for their underwriting department: 4049522158

    I wish you better luck than I. I used to have Stripe and never had a problem until WooCommerce dropped them from their E-Commerce list…really big mistake on their part. These people should NOT be in business!! I’m removing them from all of my sites after the money is transferred to my account. I’m just worried that they have my bank account info as some have said that they’ve been debiting their bank accounts! WATCH OUT!!

  8. This blog is still fresh even 6 months after written!

    Simplfy has not changed and they still ignore clients until you are so frustrated you are looking for a new merchant services provider. We spent two weeks trying to sort it out with them and got nowhere. The cap remains in place and we are changing merchant service provider.

    If you considering Simplify, do your own research and look elsewhere.

  9. I just want to make every one aware of the disgusting business practices that simplify engages in. My site http://www.pyore.com is a ecommerce website selling skin care products. I signed up with simplify and started using their payment gateway. Once week after i had already started using their service, they said that i need to change the content of the website in order use their service. This sounded extremely strange to me as to why is a software company asking me to change the content on my website. I emailed them asking someone to call me back, (they do not even have a customer service number, so if you have a problem , then god help you). Some from the underwriting department called and said that because i am using the work “anti aging” and “anti wrinkle” they cannot allow me to use the payment gateway. I explained to them that my products are formulated in a GMP certified, FDA approved lab, and the content on the web site is written by a certified wellness expert. But they did not pay any attention to this and closed my account. I don’t understand as to why we were not told of these things before we signed up with them. I had to pay my web developer a lot of money for payment gateway integration, now i will have to take my site down and again pay the developer for payment integration. This is the worst service i have ever purchased. I would tell each and every person who is ever thinking of using their service ‘DON’T USE SIMPLIFY”

  10. I just ran into some serious problems also with Simplify Commerce! Now keep in mind Im new to the ecommerce business scene, but Ive done all my research, also got help from my sponsors in which they hold successful businesses & now Simplify Commerce is completely screwing me over from what I can see! Im use to using PayPal but wanted to offer a 2nd payment option for my customers that don’t exactly have a PayPal account. So WooCommerce offered me to use “Simplify Commerce”, well its turned into a complete MESS an also from what I can see there a fraudurant company! Well, where should I start… I opened up my online ecommerce store just a week ago. I got my SSL Certificate Installed (as required) to accept credit card payments at checkout. I went ahead an went with Simplify Commerce as I stated earlier it was offered by WooCommerce an seemed simple from the start… Well a few days went by an I received $100+ in revenue from customer purchases made on my online store then thats when stuff started to get messy. They contacted me stating they needed more info to make sure I’m the owner of the business an also they needed pages such as: terms and conditions, privacy policy, shipping policy & return policy available to my customers. I felt like that was all understandable at the end of the day so I gathered up everything they requested all within just a few hours from when they contacted me that same day! In return I got my website APPROVED & the lady I was speaking to stated my funds shall be transferred over to my bank account within just 1-2 Business Days! …Well, 5 days passed no funds got transferred to my bank account… Instead I receive a email stating my Simplify Commerce Account has been TERMINATED! I emailed them stating I’m at a loss for words with what has happened an explained to them what happened a few days ago with my website becoming approved an said please contact me right away. I also mentioned to them I went back thru, an read there terms and conditions in which I have went by everything 100%! So I went on to say I feel as if I’ve been mistreated an want a explanation right away. I will go on to take legal action if needed cause this is just not right specially for somebody like me doing everything they asked then suddenly getting terminated for no reason what so ever. With all of that being said I recommend NOBODY to go with Simplify Commerce if your planning to open up your own ecommerce store online.

  11. Wow, it looks as if this post will end up saving me lots of grief. I was about to configure my site to use Simplify Commerce. I want to evaluate their card-on-file feature. They seem to be one of the very few that provide that capability.

    Are there any others out there with card-on-file capability?

    Thanks.

  12. Recently I built a shopping cart through PrestaShop and foolishly used SIMPLIFY.

    Without so much as a phone call or notice they cancelled the service stating the SSN was not verifiable to the state. On their behalf I am dyslexic and did probably screw up the social, however NO PHONE call, and ONLY an email after I requested to know why we couldn’t log in.

    Not a good experience to say the least 😉

  13. I added the simplify service to one of our retail sites as a test, DON’T DO IT! I had a purchase and 3 weeks ago and still waiting to get the payment. I’ve been is business 27 years and never seen anything like this. They have no phone number and will totally give you the run around. Stick with Paypal, Amazon, google pay or some other service. This one really bad news and exactly as described in the article.

  14. Just wanted to say Thank You for the recommendation of Network
    Merchants! And see if I can get you on our soapbox! Probably the most professional and well-written article I have read.

  15. Wish I came across this before using them, blows my mind why WooCommerce teamed up with them in the first place.

    Doing a small online store for within the corporation, they were expecting me to give them the owners of the 300 employee business his SSN for a “soft credit check”. They were not satisfied with anything else, first time i’ve ever heard of a merchant account NEEDING the OWNERS SSN.

    They are impossible to deal with and now say they can hold our funds up to 120 days. Why let us accept payments when you wont deposit them??

    Terrible, terrible company, one of the worst experienced I have had in years.

  16. I too wish I had seen this before I jumped through all the hoops to get my woocommerce site set up with them
    Guess there’s a reason why upfront cost appear low-Simplify blows
    Canceled service-no reason given
    On to Stripe-I need to be able to take pre-orders and they appear to be one of the other processors that allow this.
    I believe Authorize.net does as as well
    Anyone know of another that does and is easy to set up with woocommerece?
    Shame I’m going to have to buy yet another plug-in

  17. Same horrible experience with them, Cut off my account with this notice, ” We only permit federally recognized nonprofit organizations to accept payment for donations or contributions from fundraising efforts. To proceed with your merchant account, please provide your organization’s federal 501(c)(3) tax exemption letter, EIN filing and a copy of your state corporate filing (nonprofit articles of incorporation) to verify that your organization is a tax exempt charitable entity.”
    They did this without leaving me with anyone to talk to. First of all the IRS does not allow for 502(c)3 non profits to fundraise for candidates running for office. So basically what they were asking me to do was to break the law. My money is still in there hands and I cannot get anyone to respond to my email. I wish someone had a phone number for this company.

  18. Similar but worse situation happened to our company. We received notice of a “chargeback” alert from a large order we had fulfilled over a month ago. A couple hours later we received saying our account had been closed with no explanation. We couldn’t even log in to figure out how the repeal process worked. We offered to provide proof of the order and the tracking information to prove delivery, but our account remains closed!
    AVOID AT ALL COST!!! Who knows how many lost orders we had because of this!

  19. I don’t get it. We selected Simplify Commerce to process our online credit card orders. The MasterCard brand gave us confidence that you could do the job. We were mistaken.

    During the setup, we encountered problems and delays getting technical assistance from you due to the fact that their only means of communication is email (with an average 48 hour response time). Notwithstanding, we pushed ahead.

    They eventually resolved the technical issues and we were up and running. However, one week later (while we’re in the middle of an online ad campaign), they inform us by email that they have terminated our service effective immediately. No call in advance. No explanation. No telephone number. Nothing!

    If this is the way they treat customers, others should know it and avoid them at all costs.

    David Magee

  20. Yeah, these guys suck! No way to close account in your account settings. No contact phone number published. Absolute crooks as far as I’m concerned. They sure want you to sign up but it’s always a bad sign when there is no easy way for you to leave.

  21. Dealing with “Simplify” is one of the worst experiences I have ever had with a company. As others above have reported, they are very difficult to reach. They froze funds for my colleagues established (but small) company which has a very good history of making payments fully and on time. They never actually released the funds and after two months we cancelled the transaction. That client was lost. We cancelled use of Simplify service. Two weeks later they wrote and said they had decided the account was not worthy of being kept open. Last “humorous” note: about two months later they wrote and said we were approved for an account. It still shows up when we log into 1shoppingcart as “Your Simplify Application has been approved. Click Here to view your gateway settings and make changes.” We did not apply. Who knows what they are doing behind the scenes to make messages like that pop up. I would like to never see their name again, but that message continues to pop up in 1shoppingcart. Shame on 1shoppingcart for recommending “Simplify” to their clients.

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