Manufactured Spending

The Plastic Merchant Officially Sucks

I’ve been getting a lot of flack for not posting about this sooner. So I’m taking time out from manually entering 2500 news articles into an unusable DNN CMS to share this with you: The Plastic Merchant sucks. Late last week, I got a message from a reader who told me a large TPM check had bounced and she was looking for a way to contact Michael. An hour later a mass email was sent out, notifying people that Michael was hospitalized and the team was trying to get the situation sorted out. Quite frankly, I don’t know what one has to do with the other.

I don’t mean to be flippant about people’s health – the hospital story just sounds like BS to me. What’s going on right now at The Plastic Merchant is completely unacceptable. This is the third time in a year that I’ve had people complain to me about large checks bouncing. This is a serious problem – bounced checks lead to account closures and fines. Some of which (according to my readers) TPM has yet to reimburse people for. 

For a while, I gave The Plastic Merchant the benefit of the doubt because 1.) I’ve never personally experienced payment issues 2.) They’ve been swift in communicating with their members when payment issues arose and 3.) I wasn’t able to personally verify some of the comments people left on my blog. I’m well aware that there are a lot of commenters out there who make stuff up (I’m looking at you Jerry M). So while I shared a warning about The Plastic Merchant, I didn’t fully want to write them off until I heard from non-anonymous sources. 

Now that reports are coming from reliable sources and The Plastic Merchant has admitted a payment issue, I won’t be doing business with them again. Since running a business this way is not sustainable and will probably result in legal consequences for them. I find it baffling that this continues to be an issue, this time on such a large scale. 

If you still have a check from The Plastic Merchant, you might want to be careful where you deposit it. Some reports indicate that checks as small as $5 have bounced. You might want to read through this MilestoMemories post, where people are sharing their experience with bounced checks from The Plastic Merchant. 

If you haven’t cashed your check, you have two options: 1.) Try depositing it into an account you don’t mind getting shut down if it bounces (assuming you’re also ok with incurring a bounced check fee). 2.) Don’t bother cashing the check and simply spend the balance on the gift cards you sold. This could be really difficult for people who sold large batches of gift cards, but it’s better than ending up with nothing. Option 3.) You might want to contact your credit card company and explain the situation to them. It’s not exactly flying below the radar, but recouping your funds is more important than credit card rewards.

This situation sucks and I’m frustrated for anyone waiting on payment from a large transaction. I’ll reiterate my previous advice: Never spend more than you can stand to lose. And always have a back-up plan.

If you have a bounced check from The Plastic Merchant, please keep me updated on how this works out. If you need help liquidating gift cards, please leave a comment or email me and I’ll help you brainstorm some solutions.

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47 Comments

  1. Who or what is the plastic merchant? Didn’t even read anything explaining that…

  2. It’s been a week since that email from them. The lack of communication is frustrating.

  3. I have iTunes cards that I would like to liquidate but Raise makes you become a bulk seller and the other main exchange doesn’t offer protection anymore from iTunes in case they come back “bad”. Any suggestions? I don’t use iTunes so I was using them solely for resale.

    • I am also in the same boat like you. There is always first time for everything so I suggest start using those itunes gc. Give it to family and friends. Spread the love. Its better than losing them all unless someone has better ideas or suggestions. I am listening.

      • If you are willing to take quite a hit (but recoup something), I’d be willing to buy your iTunes from you. Let me know what your email is and I’ll contact you.

        • precisely illustrating the problem at hand. You may or may not mean well, but how the blazes should anybody trust anybody they don’t know, doing a gift card transaction over the internet? Somebody could send you their codes — and then what? How would you guarantee a payment? tpm was a fine concept, just terribly not executed. (and with no guarantees, no backing, vulnerable as anything)

          While I’m at it, how does anybody do business with GiftCardWiki? They seem to operate on the model of “you figure it out,” and well we may pay you, we might not….. and never mind any manual. If you can’t read broken, badly garbled english, tough luck for you…. Serious question for any GCW users… How do you do it?

          • Why sell to anyone but anyone you meet in person with cash only by your logic?

            Sure, you’d be risking by selling to me with my supposed zero track record, but your alternative is pray that TPM pays out. You can trust me on this one, I’m not hurt one iota if you sell to me or not.

    • I don’t use iTunes, but I loaded them to my account because I would rather have them sitting with me rather than completely losing out. I will use them to watch some over priced movies. It’s better than nothing

  4. I can stand behind Mike and TPM, we were Delta Chi’s together at Truman University.

  5. Thank you

  6. Curiousreader

    Tpm’s finances Will soon come out in the Bk proceedings. As an attempt to let you get ahead of the story, did you ever promote TPM or sit on a story, in exchange for things of value or preferential rates?

  7. Head scratcher

    “I wasn’t able to personally verify some of the comments people left on my blog.”

    LOL. You don’t do know anyone in travel hacking community? Every forum and community is riddled with real non-anonymous people who have been effected by these issues,as well as well known bloggers.

    ” Don’t bother cashing the check and simply spend the balance on the gift cards you sold. This could be really difficult for people who sold large batches of gift cards, but it’s better than ending up with nothing.”

    Cards that you have a check for have already been sold. Not only is there a good chance they are drained already but you are advising you readers to potentially open themselves up to a lawsuit. Per the contract with tpm, ownership has already been transferred to him. Regardless of whether or not your check bounced, it is theft for you use those cards. I find it highly unlikely he’ll be In a position to pursue, but it is shocking a public figure would openly advocate theft.

    “You might want to contact your credit card company and explain the situation to them.

    What credit card do you know of that has a “illegimately used a personal credit card for business purposes, received the goods I purchased, but sold them to someone and did not get paid” protection? I suppose you could lie and try theft protection etc, but I’m not sure if gift cards are covered.

    • I see your point here but how can this be a lawsuit if the check that you got was declined. You were never paid for what was agreed in the contract so you are getting your goods back. TPM breached the contract first. Does that make any sense?

      • Igotbounced

        Then you sue him for the money.

        If a contractor remodels your bathroom, and you fail to pay him, he doesn’t come in and rip out the bathroom, he files claim against you.

        You cannot repossess what you don’t own, without a judgement or court order. After your cards were processed, he owns them, regardless of whether or not you were paid for them.

        This logic is the equivalent of mugging him for the cash because you have the right to by any means be made whole.

    • Per the contract, he’s also supposed to pay people for the stuff he buys.

      • Igotbounced

        Correct, but nowhere in the contract does it state that ownership of the cards transfers back to the seller in case of nonpayment.

        • The contract does, however, give TPM recourse in the case of a bad card. He gets to come after you for the “buy value” of the card. So if anyone’s cards turn out to be bad, for whatever reason, that is TPM’s recourse. And of course, whatever you owe to TPM for bad cards will be offset by whatever he owes to you. (BTW, I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.)

        • Robspoints

          With no payment, there is no consideration and the contract is not enforceable. Contracts 101.

  8. i’d like to take this opportunity to announce to the world that i’m am a proud homosexual, and samm and i are together and will be getting married in the fall.

  9. The real question here is, who the heck would bother selling something to TPM for only $5.

    • I think someone was trying to check if a certain amount of funds would clear before they tried cashing a check. They probably asked if $5 would clear. TPM doesn’t send out checks for less than $200.

    • TPM_burned

      TPM is a lowlife, recruited some lowlife sellers and pitched to lowlife blogs to get more lowlife sellers. $5 be big money to these lowest common denominators

  10. Darth Farter

    And I just farted. MAGA

  11. The one and only Horseymen

    I have a few run ins with Mike over the years but I never thought he would go this low…. I love great returns on Gift cards/MO and all other avenues of credit card profits but Stealing is a NO NO in my book. Ariana, what would be the best method to get my 25 dollar Old Country Buffet gift card back besides purging myself on meatloaf and fried steak?

  12. This blog officially sucks

  13. Nada moneys in broke ass account to pay you dumazzes that trusted me. Go eat Top Ramen now if youze broke like mee

  14. I never had a missed payment from TPM. Too bad I churned about $3000 of cards ITUNES and Google Play.

  15. Shitblog iz broke due to TPM and need more Top Rammen donations plz send more

  16. frat broz plz seend me more Top Rammen —- ΔΧ fo-evah brah

  17. ΔΧ bros … me getting tired of hospital lots of anal probes reminds me of pledging
    stupid TPM customers asking for moolah back me need more Top Ramen ΔΧ fo-evah tbh

  18. Robspoints

    So, in retrospect the wisdom a mentor once shared with me is proven correct yet again. There are 2 types of people, solvent and insolvent. Solvent people don’t miss payments, Insolvent will eventually miss all payments, don’t get stuck holding when they do. We should have all run for the hills at the first missed payment many months ago.

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