National Bureau of Merchant Services
National Bureau of Merchant Services Overview
National Bureau of Merchant Services, Inc. (irnsystem.com, internalresourcenetwork.com & merchantservicebureau.org), also known as the Merchant Services Bureau, is an Arizona-based company that is commonly linked to another entity named Internal Resource Network in merchant complaints. In fact, it seems as though the website for National Bureau of Merchant Services (merchantservicebureau.org) is designed to resemble a consumer protection or watchdog site, but according to complainants, it is actually a site for a merchant account provider that also operates under the name of Internal Resource Network. Merchants are advised to keep in mind that there is no privately owned or government-run watchdog group known as the Merchant Services Bureau.
On April 9, 2014, we were contacted by Jennifer Portillo, a representative of Internal Resource Network. She stated that Internal Resource Network and the National Bureau of Merchant Services are two separate companies, that Internal Resource Network is not owned by Michael or Suzanne Salman, and that Internal Resource Network is based in New York. However, numerous online complaints and other consumer protection websites posit some kind of link between NBMS and Internal Resource Network, so the exact relationship between the two companies remains unclear at this time.
The company offers processing services for all major credit cards, electronic benefits transfer (EBT), government cards, checks, cash advance, credit card terminals and gift card options. Founded in 2004, National Bureau of Merchant Services is headquartered at 3003 W Northern Avenue #1, Phoenix, Arizona 85051. The company’s website does not list an Acquiring Bank.
Merchant Services Bureau Sales & Marketing Tactics | F
National Bureau of Merchant Services appears to utilize telemarketing to market its services, and it is unclear as of this writing whether the company hires independent sales agents. One complaint in the comment section of this review mentions receiving a call from National Bureau of Merchant Services in which the caller posed as the merchant’s current provider and tried to sign the merchant up for services, a tactic known as “slamming.”
In general, locating information about National Bureau of Merchant Services is especially difficult because the company’s website explicitly states that it is not a merchant services provider, even though the Better Business Bureau lists it as such. After taking a closer look, it seems that the website for National Bureau of Merchant Services is constructed to look like some kind of consumer assistance or watchdog group, when in fact we were only able to locate one company that has received any rating from the “Merchant Service Bureau”: the aforementioned Internal Resource Network.
As of this update, Internal Resource Network boasts an “A+” rating from the Merchant Services Bureau; this is unsurprising, as they appear to do business together. To be clear, our research indicates that this company is posing as a consumer protection entity in order to give its affiliated business an “A+” rating. In our opinion, this is extremely deceptive. Merchants should be advised that contacting National Bureau of Merchant Services for any kind of financial guidance or to obtain agent recommendations would likely result in referrals to Internal Resource Network, and we would similarly suggest that merchants disregard the “A+” rating listed on the Internal Resource Network website. We give the company’s sales and marketing tactics a rating of “F.”
Merchant Services Bureau Costs & Contract Terms | D
According to complaints listed on this site and elsewhere, the standard National Bureau of Merchant Services contract is a 48-month agreement with an early termination fee of $300, although multiple merchants report having $1000 debited from their accounts after cancellation. It is unclear how National Bureau of Merchant Services explained the $1000 debit in these instances. Merchants also report a monthly minimum fee of $15 and a statement fee of $9.95. These contract terms are slightly less competitive than industry averages, and the habit of debiting $1000 from a merchant’s bank account without authorization or explanation is especially troubling. We therefore award the company a “D” in this section.
Merchant Services Bureau Complaints & Service | D
We were able to locate approximately 15 complaints about National Bureau of Merchant Services on this and other non-BBB consumer protection websites. Most complaints report unauthorized debits, nondisclosure of contract terms, and an inability to reach National Bureau of Merchant Services representatives. The company’s website provides a 24/7 service number and live chat, although both appear to be outsourced to other, unknown companies.
It has been brought to our attention in the comment section of this review that the sole board members of National Bureau of Merchant Services at the time of its founding, Michael and Suzanne Salman, have been indicted in the state of Arizona for fraudulent schemes and artifices, theft, and forgery. These allegations appear to be unrelated to their business dealings as representatives of National Bureau of Merchant Services, although they stand accused of misrepresenting their income and relationship with National Bureau of Merchant Services. While these indictments do not appear to have affected any merchants directly, they do raise legitimate questions about the business ethics and corporate culture practiced by members of National Bureau of Merchant Services.
Merchant Services Bureau BBB Report | D (CPO Adjusted)
National Bureau of Merchant Services is not an accredited business of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and currently maintains a “C-” rating. The company has received 25 complaints in the last 36 months, with 16 of these complaints related to the product or service, seven having to do with billing and collection, and two due to advertising or sales issues. Eighteen of these complaints were resolved with the assistance of the BBB, four were not resolved despite a good-faith effort by the company, and three received no response whatsoever from National Bureau of Merchant Services. In light of these figures, we have adjusted the BBB’s rating to a “D.” For more on why we adjust BBB ratings, please see our Rating Criteria.
National Bureau of Merchant Services rates as a very substandard merchant account provider by our standards. The company appears to use a highly deceptive sales strategy of posing as a consumer protection group in order to give its affiliated provider a positive rating. In addition, the company’s contract terms don’t appear to be especially desirable, and its complaint rate is average for a company of its size. It is also worth mentioning that merchants looking for the company’s affiliated site (irnsystem.com or internalresourcenetwork.com) may confuse the company with IRN Payment Systems (irnpayment.com), but it is unclear whether these two companies are related to each other. Merchants are advised to read the terms of any contract they are given with extreme diligence.
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