Eliot Management Group
Review Updated: 10/1/2013
Eliot Management Group Overview
Eliot Management Group (e-mg.com) is a mid-size merchant account provider based in Salt Lake City, UT, that appears to have opened its doors in 1999. The company provides services to small businesses for credit card processing, debit card processing, gift card processing, check processing, and merchant cash advances, as well as supplying processing equipment and online payment gateways.
Eliot Management Group is an ISO/MSP of Fifth Third Bank and may be under the same ownership as, or have ties to, Appstar Financial, Apex Merchant Group, Trans Tech Merchant Group, Summit Merchant Solutions, First American Payment Systems, and Certified Payment Processing, as suggested in several merchant reports. Although no public information exists to verify these claims, most of the mentioned companies share very similar complaints. Eliot Management Group’s headquarters can be found at 100 Throckmorton Street, Ste. 250, Ft. Worth, TX 76102.
Eliot Management Group Sales & Marketing Tactics | D
Eliot Management Group seems to rely primarily on an “agent hiring mill” marketing strategy wherein the company actively recruits and hires both independently contracted sales agents and internally employed sales representatives. Additionally, the company engages heavily in telemarketing and appointment setting.
Based on merchant complaints, it appears that agents are either poorly trained in the terms and conditions of Eliot’s merchant account agreement or encouraged to omit important details during the account setup process. This is evidenced by numerous merchant reports claiming surprise over fees and service commitments, and complaints of misleading sales tactics. At minimum, the complaints suggest a lack of oversight that allows many agents to engage in deceptive sales practices and that Eliot often enforces the contracts even when merchants claim that an agent misled them.
Eliot Management Group Costs & Contract Terms | D
Costs and fees of an Eliot merchant account will likely vary based on the agent setting up the account as well as a merchant’s business type. Numerous merchants report that actual fees are much higher than what they were originally quoted and that they experienced several fees that were never disclosed prior to account setup.
In addition to processing fees and other monthly fees that can vary, Eliot’s standard merchant account agreement includes an annual PCI Compliance fee reported to be $125 per year, a three-year service agreement that automatically renews for one-year terms, and a $495 Early Termination Fee (ETF). Both of the fees are automatically debited from a merchant’s attached checking account and there is only a small window of opportunity to cancel service before the service agreement renews. Eliot Management Group also appears to partner with Northern Leasing to sell equipment leases.
Eliot Management Group Complaints & Service | F
We are currently able to locate over 140 Eliot Management Group complaints on this and other consumer protection websites, and many of these complaints outright allege that EMG is a scam or a ripoff. This is a high number of complaints in comparison to similar-sized providers. The overwhelming themes of the complaints are reports of hidden and undisclosed fees, unauthorized debits from checking accounts, inability to resolve problems, difficulty canceling service, and poor customer support. Many of these problems seem to be traceable to deceptive sales tactics used by agents and failure to verbally disclose important fees and conditions prior to setting up accounts, instead relying on merchants to read the fine print. With the exception of complaints to the Better Business Bureau, it appears that, in many cases, Eliot’s management chooses to enforce contracts rather than satisfy merchant grievances.
Eliot Management Group BBB Report | D (CPO Adjusted)
As of this review, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is giving Eliot Management Group a “C+” rating based on 158 complaints filed within the last 36 months. The complaints are divided into 97 regarding problems with products and services, 34 with advertising and sales issues, and 27 with collection and billing disputes. All but four of the complaints have been resolved to the merchant’s satisfaction, which seems to confirm merchant claims stating that Eliot only worked to resolve their problem once they contacted the BBB. We have adjusted the rating of this section to a “D” for the purposes of this review according to our own rating criteria.
Eliot Management Group rates as a substandard merchant account provider according to our rating system. Like the companies with which Eliot Management Group is allegedly affiliated, Eliot suffers from numerous complaints of deceptive sales tactics by agents, nondisclosure of important fees and conditions, and poor customer support when attempting to resolve problems or cancel service. The company can improve its rating by amending unfriendly and predatory contract policies and eliminating complaints of deceptive sales tactics, unauthorized debits, and poor customer support.
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