Merchant Industry Overview
Merchant Industry, LLC (merchantindustry.com), is a merchant account provider founded in 2007 that specializes in providing credit card processing and debit card processing services to small businesses within the United States. The company also appears to do business under the name “National E-Payment, Inc.” and possibly resells the merchant services of First Data. Aside from providing merchant accounts, Merchant Industry also offers other financial services including merchant cash advances, gift card programs, check services, e-commerce solutions, ATMs, and equipment leasing. Additionally, Merchant Industry also promotes that it offers web design and high-risk credit card processing. Merchant Industry LLC is a registered ISO/MSP of First National Bank of Omaha of Omaha, NE and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. of Walnut Creek, CA, with corporate offices located at 36-36 33rd St., Suite 306, Long Island City, NY, 11106.
Merchant Industry Sales & Marketing Tactics | D
Merchant Industry appears to rely on numerous sub-ISOs and independent sales agents to market its services. There is evidence that the company operates under multiple business names and allows its resellers to use the Merchant Industry name at their various locations, which appears to cause some merchant confusion. We are currently able to locate numerous Merchant Industry negative reviews that describe nondisclosure and misrepresentation by the company’s sales agents, higher fees than were agreed to upon signup, and failure by the company’s sales team to deliver on promises made upon signing. One major issue appears to be multiple agents claiming to pay a merchant’s early termination fees and cancel their account with their existing processor if they switch over to Merchant Industry. In many cases, these agents do not follow through on either guarantee, leaving their clients subject to continuing monthly payments and the full early termination fee upon cancellation.
The Merchant Industry website includes multiple tables and charts advertising various rates and fees. In all cases, the only discount rate advertised by the company is its “Qualified” rate, while the higher “Mid-Qualified” and “Non-Qualified” rates are nowhere to be found. We consider this type of rate quoting to be deceptive, as it may lead merchants to have unrealistic expectations of the rates they will pay. In addition, Merchant Industry lists many types of fees common to the industry and claims that while it’s average for merchant services providers to charge all of these fees, Merchant Industry does not charge them or charges them at a reduced price. While it may be immediately obvious that this is an advertising gimmick, it should be made clear that Merchant Industry appears to charge many of these fees under different names, and at the very least has many expensive fees of its own that it isn’t listing on its website. Overall, Merchant Industry’s sales structure and official advertising materials appear to lend themselves to deceptive practices and should be regarded with skepticism in most cases.
Merchant Industry Costs & Contract Terms | D
According to multiple merchant complaints, the standard Merchant Industry contract is a three-year agreement through First Data with early termination fees usually around $495-$595 but sometimes in excess of $700, PCI Compliance fees of $79 per year, PCI non-compliance fees of $19.95 per month, an annual fee of up to $99.95, statement fees of $9.95, and expensive tiered pricing. The company also provides equipment leases that may carry their own terms and fees. As of this update, there are numerous merchant complaints filed against Merchant Industry and its subsidiaries that express frustration with the company’s undisclosed costs, specifically its early termination fees and PCI Compliance fees. The company appears to enforce these charges even when they may have been deceptively presented by sales agents. Although these expenses are higher than industry averages, the company might not score so poorly in this section if these costs were more consistently disclosed to merchants upon signup.
Merchant Industry Complaints & Service | C-
We are currently able to locate over 25 Merchant Industry negative reviews, many of which accuse the company of being a scam or a ripoff. Common complaints include deceptive sales practices, excessive billing, no follow-through on verbal agreements, difficulty canceling service, poor customer support, and expensive, hidden fees. Merchant Industry has responded to some of these complaints with different solutions, sometimes offering a partial or full refund and other times insisting that the merchant is bound by his or her contract terms. Since the company appears to have a serious issue with misrepresentation by its sales agents, it does not seem helpful or especially fair to hold merchants to these contract terms.
Merchant Industry does appear to respond effectively to publicly posted complaints about excessive or repeat billing, which is probably only a small consolation to merchants who have had to go public with these issues in the first place. Additionally, we have located some positive testimonials about Merchant Industry’s service, but these posts are of questionable legitimacy.
Merchant Industry BBB Report | D (CPO Adjusted)
As of this review, Merchant Industry holds a “C“ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and has had 56 complaints filed within the last 36 months. The company’s alternate business name of National e-Payment also has a BBB page, which currently shows a “C-” rating as a result of 24 complaints in the last three years. We will combine these reports for the sake of simplicity. Of the total complaints, 38 are due to problems with products and services, 38 with billing and collection disputes, nine with advertising or sales issues, and one with a delivery issue. Merchant Industry has resolved 70 of the complaints, but 14 merchants reported that they were not satisfied with the company’s response. The BBB also formerly stated that Merchant Industry misrepresented itself as a BBB Accredited Business and was ordered to removed any claims as such from its website and marketing materials. As of March 21st, 2012 the false statements and logos were removed from the company’s website. This notice has been removed by the BBB since our last update.
In light of these figures, including the total complaint rate and resolution ratio, we have adjusted the BBB’s overall rating for Merchant Industry to a “D.”
Merchant Industry rates as a substandard merchant services provider according to all available information. Merchants are reporting a consistent pattern of deceptive practices from the company’s sales agents, and the contract terms cited by complainants are more expensive than industry averages. These issues have resulted in the company receiving a moderate-to-high complaint rate for its size and time in business, and the company’s responses to these complaints have not demonstrated any serious commitment to customer service.
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