Manufactured Spending

The Plastic Merchant’s Payment Issues (UPDATE: Response from TPM Included)

UPDATE: TPM’s founder has sent the following response to this post: We experienced a cashflow issue lasting roughly 3 days about two weeks ago where ~20 checks (out of ~450 that successfully cleared our account during that same time without issue) were returned for insufficient funds. As soon as I reconciled it, I made sure we fixed everything on our end and reached out to those affected to make things right. In every case, I offered to either send a wire transfer or expedite a replacement check to the seller. I also explained to each person that I would be reimbursing any and all fees incurred on their end due to the issue. None of the replacement payments or future payments sent out to sellers since have been returned.

Earlier today, I shared a Plastic Merchant tutorial post that got a lot of negative feedback. Apparently The Plastic Merchant’s payment issues have gotten worse over the past few weeks. People are reportedly receiving checks that end up bouncing. That’s completely unacceptable and I would not have written so “glowingly” had I known things have gotten that bad. In the year and a half that I’ve been selling with The Plastic Merchant, I’ve never had a payment issue and was under the impression that they had rectified some of the payment issues that came up last year. I don’t have a financial relationship with the company and I certainly wouldn’t endorse them if I’d known about any serious issues. As you can tell by my lack of posting, I’ve been a little out of the loop.

Now I’m hearing large checks are bouncing and people’s accounts are getting shut down as a result. Again, that’s absolutely unacceptable – if true. There are several allegations being made in the comment section, some of which I have no way of verifying. But I wanted to get this post out and warn you all because it appears people continue to have payment issues. I certainly don’t want any of my readers to experience the same.

My hope is that The Plastic Merchant addresses these issues and does right by those who are affected. In the meantime, proceed with caution. My general advice is always “don’t churn more than you can afford to lose”. Hearing about these allegations about five figure checks bouncing definitely drives this home. Whether it’s gift card companies sending you $0 balance cards, gift cards getting stolen or platforms like TPM not properly issuing payments – it’s important for all of us to be aware of these risks and to guard against them.

I appreciate readers bringing this to my attention. I hope you’ll keep us all updated on the status of your payment issues via the comment section.

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23 Comments

  1. Have any of these claims been verified? This could be a case of the competition trying to scare customers away.

    • Yes, and Mike has been forced to acknowledge them in public forums.

      • Where can we find the correspondence?

        • Bad checks are illegal

          The TPM Support outbox certainly has a copy. Perhaps check there.

          It’s hilarious you’re trying to pull the slandering competitor card.

          There is evidence all over the back channels that depositing your TPM check is a roulette wheel. When called out, “Sorry guys.” Then the person who publicly outs you mysteriously has their selling limits reduced.

          • What are you talking about? WHAT TPM support outbox? I checked my TPM messages and “support” tab — and afaik, there’s no such “outbox.”

            I get that folks understandably would be livid if TPM had indeed started writing bad checks…. (and given TPM’s poor communications history, I’m inclined to be extra suspicious and inclined to be extra concerned..) But the ferocity of the smack-down comments here aimed at anyone who raises (ahem) legitimate question or seeks further evidence mars the case of the accusers…. (scream, yell, belittle all you want, talk radio style — but if you’re serious about wanting to raise alarms fairly , the more real evidence, with links you provide, the better…. and don’t be making up sources that can’t be verified or don’t exist…. like “TPM support box”)

            I reiterate a question I hazarded to ask yesterday — WHERE exactly are the previous “reports” of this? I repeatedly have tried googling for it — checked reddit, flyertalk, etc — and not seeing any such previous “reports” as yet. Maybe I’m using the wrong search terms or not “bracketing” the right terms. Don’t shoot me for asking again — enlighten instead.

        • This blog post was updated with his comment acknowledging the claims.

  2. Burned by tpm

    Michael Dean’s response is nice. But I don’t think he is being honest. People are still reporting missing/delayed wires. And having issues with checks. Or sending checks instead of wire. That hints that he does not have the funds to pay a wire and is hoping to gain some more time by sending check that may or may not bounce.

    • “people are still reporting….”

      REALLY? Where? links? Or are you the same person, mad as hell, overstating your case. (and then roll your eyes and hurl insults at anyone daring to ask for confirmation)

      • Burned by tpm

        Most of discussion about things like this does not take part in public forums or blogs. People who do any sort of volume 1)do not want to draw more attention to it and 2) do not rely on those basic avenues for info.

        mhtga slack is probably closest thing to a public discussion. Apart from that there are many private communities on slack and fb with ppl who have been affected

        • what is mhtga slack? where can I read more about TPM issue ? thanks.

          • Agree – what is this group? Maybe if we all got on the same page and shared resources, it’d be nice. As opposed to “I’m a member and you’re not, but we discussed it there, and you’re SOL”.

          • Agree again. I get that people that are “elite” don’t want to share their ideas and get their MS shut down due to people posting publicly, but everyone started somewhere. So, if there is a “cool kids” group, then why not post where it is and let people apply? If they don’t meet the requirements, no harm done!

        • They don’t have to draw attention to themselves though – it’s possible to stay anonymous on the internet.

  3. TPM’s response is so wrong. They never reconciled and reached out after the bounced checks, we had to reach out to them and ask them what is going on, also, they have not refunded the fees charged. It’s like once they get negative press, they picked a number “20” which is being circulated outside but there will be more and then come up with bullshit that they proactively reached out and fixed the issue. $18k and $20k checks getting bounced are no jokes, please do not deal with the shady TPM company because you never know when they file for bankruptcy and take all your money with them

    • Exactly! Some folks actually were emailed and were told 10 people were affected. That was before my check bounced. No, I was certainly not notified. I contacted them after I learned the check wasn’t honored and was promised an overnight replacement check. When that didn’t arrive, I asked for a tracking number and learned it hadn’t yet been sent. It did arrive the next day but didn’t include a reimbursement for the Returned Item Fee.

  4. TPM seems to have a communication issue. A few months ago, they debited me one of my GC, saying it was a GC from SVM’s security breach. No email, no communication, just saw that on a check. I emailed them saying they were wrong and look at the source I have listed and sent them the eGC (showing it’s not SVM). Michael Dean apologized, say he will fix it… it’s been 5 months and I haven’t seen a fixed. I have emailed him and the support email 4 times within the past 5 months to follow up, no answer. So now I’m out on this GC, as they haven’t responded or paid me back on this.

  5. kenneth wells

    Mike of you make one negative comment will kick you out or ban you. I can get you 20 people that will Verify this but you still kiss his ass

  6. Carol brilhante

    This is the third time this has occurred and a frequent issue with them along with personal battles inside slack channels where Mike is a grown child. You wrote a glowing review but you didn’t do any due diligence on your part and that’s not your job really but when you post bad information it causes people to doubt what else is bad your posting? TPM was a fantastic place but has gone down hill over the last year. Things you are missing, it use to be all ACH but not paper checks. We used to get paid in seven days, now 14 or more. His rates are not even competitive compared to others, if you need evidence I can provide. I saw days of people bashing you and your article on various private slacks and WhatsApp groups and that’s how i found the link. Please ask Mike about him kicking people off over personal things or asking questions or complaining about stuff. Ask about how it’s all paper checks now. Thanks for posting an update but it really made things worse in the eyes of many readers

    • Mind sharing a link to these secret forums? I’d love for some of those people to share their experiences. Otherwise, this is yet another “It didn’t happen to me, but I know others who got screwed” story. People can’t stay anonymous and then get mad when a blogger fails to telepathically deduce their experience. All I can do is share mine (which has been positive) and allow others to chime in with theirs.

      • I couldn’t agree more. I think it’s ridiculous that people come to your blog, or other public ones and feel the need to cr@p on it yet brag about all the private ones they supposedly belong to. Which slack’s or Whatsapp groups? If they are private, they obviously won’t let everyone in, so there’s no downside to posting them and letting others apply to be a part of it. Hell, I consider myself pretty crafty at finding MS routes and have posted them in comment sections to help the cause. I think it’s pretty crappy, actually, to come to these blogs, complain about the information and then cite all these private groups that have better information. Why come here then?

        Ariana, I give you credit for dealing with the negative comments. I think it’s great that you are willing to share and help the community. You post about what works for you to help educate others. It’s a free country, whether they use any of the resale sites, there’s an inherit risk – which you always state – and if people don’t heed the warning or are just looking to place blame on your site because you post about your experience, they really need to look within. If you don’t want the risk, don’t participate in the “game”.

        All these resale sites have different rates and depending on what people are looking for, each offers their own pro’s and con’s, which we, as customers of theirs, have the ability to decide who gets our business. If you don’t like the site’s policies, don’t sell to them. If you’ve had a bad experience with one, don’t do business with them in the future. If you can’t afford to float the cash to cover your expenses, until you get paid – or deal with any hiccups, this isn’t the place for you. Simple as that. We can all wish places did what WE want, but until WE start our own company to do it, we have to be satisfied with what’s there, or not participate.

        I’ve had bad experiences with many many online retail companies.. Some were for late deliveries, some not as described, etc. Do I just visit each blog and say their site sucks? No. You hope for a resolution and move on. If I don’t want to buy from those companies, I am not forced to. Same with reselling GC’s… If a site does you wrong, don’t visit them again. You can let people know what your experience was, but back up your claim. I haven’t seen one post with any REAL information. The “my friends friend had a check bounce” or “It happened to me, and the rest of the cool kids in these private groups, but we’re in hiding” messages are pointless.

        If you are so elite and have such better methods that are discussed in private – deal with it there! Telling us “common folk” that other forums exist and are much better, but never sharing the information (and why are you here, then?), only makes people MORE suspect of what your intentions are – and shows how much of a team player, you actually are (not). Clearly “pay it forward” is a mantra you’ve never adopted.

        Ariana posts her experiences, shares her knowledge, which we are free to take or leave. We can also share OUR experiences too. I think there’s no better place than to explain what we do in pubilc. Sure, things are going to shut down and people will take advantage and “ruin it for everyone”, which I’m sure NEVER happens in all of those super-elite private cults – I mean slack’s – that are reserved for the red carpet elite’s. Come-on.

        Thanks Ariana for your posts, your willingness to help the COMMUNITY, and for having thicker skin than me.

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