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Note: The Eschelon Merchant Services website has been down for over a year, and we can find no evidence of activity on the part of the company in that time. It appears the company is out of business, and we will no longer be updating this review. If you have any information that the company is still around, please let us know in the comments below.
Connected to Smart Card Merchant Services
Eschelon Merchant Services is a merchant account provider headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona. According to public complaints, Eschelon appears to be either affiliated with or a major independent reseller of Northern Leasing Systems. There is also some evidence that Eschelon operates a DBA or subsidiary called Smart Card Merchant Services.
Eschelon Merchant Services Location & Ownership
Eschelon is headquartered at 8125 N 23rd Ave Ste 200, Phoenix, Arizona 85021, and is a registered ISO of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, California. Rishank Baweja is listed as the president of Eschelon Merchant Services, while Daniel Drake is listed as the company’s vice president of business development. Daniel Drake is also listed as a managing member of EMV Payment Systems, which suggests a connection between the two Phoenix-based organizations. As of this update, Eschelon Merchant Services appears to now also operate under the name of Eschelon Financial Group, LLC, which lists the same Arizona business address. The website under the original name appears to no longer be functioning properly.
Eschelon Merchant Services Review Table of Contents
- Costs & Contract: Eschelon Merchant Services appears to offer multi-year contracts with four-year, non-cancellable equipment leases.
- Complaints & Service: Eschelon Merchant Services has received more than 30 public complaints.
- BBB Rating: Eschelon Merchant Services has 2 different profiles with the Better Business Bureau, one has a “B-” while the other has no rating. The company has received 2 complaints and 0 reviews in the last 3 years across both profiles. One of the profiles now appears under the name of Eschelon Financial Group, LLC.
- Sales & Marketing: Eschelon Merchant Services hires independent sales representatives and has received a moderate number of complaints about its sales practices.
- Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Eschelon Merchant Services
Eschelon Merchant Services Reviews and Complaints
Here's What Their Clients Say
Total Online Complaints
Live Customer Support
Most Common Complaint
Moderate Complaint Total
We have located more than 30 Eschelon Merchant Services complaints on this and other consumer protection websites, some of which express concern that the company is a ripoff or a scam. The two issues most consistently cited in these complaints are deceptive sales and telemarketing tactics and undesirable equipment lease terms through Northern Leasing. We have not found an instance in which Eschelon publicly responded to any of these complaints, indicating that the company may not consider it a priority. The company’s score has been lowered in this section primarily as a result of the content of these complaints rather than the volume.
Eschelon Merchant Services Lawsuits
We have not found any outstanding class-action lawsuits or FTC complaints filed against Eschelon Merchant Services. Dissatisfied merchants who wish to pursue a non-litigious course of action against the company should consider reporting it to the relevant supervisory organizations.
Eschelon Merchant Services Customer Service Options
Eschelon offers phone and email support on its website, but the most recent comment posted below this review claims that the “[p]hone numbers are out of service and emails are never returned.” It should go without saying that this falls well short of our expectations for top-rated merchant accounts for great customer service.
Eschelon Merchant Services BBB Rating and Report
Our Better Business Bureau Profile Assessment
Product & Service Complaints
Billing & Collection Complaints
Advertising & Sales Complaints
Guarantee & Warranty Complaints
Note: We have adjusted this company’s BBB rating according to our own standards. To better understand why we adjust BBB ratings, please see our Rating Criteria.
Two Separate Profiles
Eschelon currently has two separate Better Business Bureau profiles, with one listing the company’s correct address in Phoenix and the other listing an Alpharetta, Georgia address. Neither profile shows accreditation, and one gives the company no rating while the other gives it a “B-“. For the sake of simplicity, we will combine the figures from these 2 profiles.
Under 5 Complaints
In total, Eschelon has received 2 BBB complaints. These were filed due to problems with the product or service. Both complaints were either resolved to the merchant’s dissatisfaction or did not receive a final response from the merchant.
What Merchants Say
Eschelon currently has no informal reviews on its BBB profiles. However, at the time of our last review, there were two negative reviews. One described difficulty canceling service:
Faxed several cancellation letters and they never cancelled. I have Transmission Verification report that was printed from my fax machine that says successful and proves that it was sent from me and was received there. They didn’t want to see my proof and will not refund my money. I knew this was going to happen so I asked if I could email or mail and they said it has to be by fax. Yet they claim they didn’t get my fax even though I have proof nor will they give me a refund. My rep finally cancelled manually for me which in the past said he couldn’t. I asked for proof to be sent in an email and in fact he sent it, However I asked if he could wait for a second until I received the email and he was not willing to because he said they had other calls .He however put me on hold to answer some questions for his boss on an unrelated emergency . (those were his words) but he couldn’t give me the 10seconds to wait for my confirmation . He also refused any refund even though I had documentation and proof of cancelation. They also charged me $125.00 renewal fee that I was never notified of and I had not used there services for several months and $52.45 when there minimum monthly fee is $44.95 which they said was in error and was not refunded either. This is my first complaint in all my 52 years . Absolutely one of the most unpleasant experiences with a vendor I have ever had.
Merchants in this situation may need to take the steps to cancel their merchant account without paying a fee.
An “F” Performance
Given the fact that the company has not responded to multiple BBB complaints, we have adjusted the BBB’s rating to an “F”.
Eschelon Merchant Services Fees and Rates
A Closer Look at the Contract
Don't Fall Into An Expensive Trap. See Who The Worst Processors Are.
Early Termination Fee
PCI Compliance Fee
Equipment Lease Terms
48-60 Months (locked)
Variable Contract Terms
There is very little information available regarding the actual terms of Eschelon’s contracts, as merchants have not filed complaints that specifically mention transaction fees, early termination fees, PCI Compliance fees, monthly minimums, or other fees. It seems that the rates and fees charged by Eschelon for its credit card processing services are not the biggest issues facing the company. In fact, the company even advertises its use of interchange-plus pricing, which is the most transparent in the industry. We would encourage merchants to check out our list of the providers of the best merchant accounts.
Long-Term Equipment Leases
Eschelon’s tendency to package its merchant accounts with equipment leases through Northern Leasing Systems, on the other hand, is a major problem for merchants. Northern Leasing is notorious for providing long-term, non-cancellable, expensive equipment leases, and most complaints filed against Eschelon refer to Northern Leasing as the primary problem. This association has lowered Eschelon’s score in this section more than the terms of its merchant agreement. Any association with Northern Leasing automatically precludes a company from competing with the cheapest merchant accounts.
Eschelon Merchant Services Jobs and Employment
Hiring Standards and Ethical Marketing Assessment
Audit Your Current Statement To Find Its Hidden Fees
Processing statements are intentionally complicated so that they can overcharge you. Get clarity before you switch.
Employs Independent Resellers
Advertises Deceptive Rates
Discloses All Important Terms
Outside Sales Team
Eschelon advertises a “Merchant Services ISOs & Agent Program” on its website which indicates that it employs independent resellers. This hiring strategy often results in a team of unsupervised or untrained sales agents and is commonly linked to merchant complaints. In this case, most Eschelon negative reviews describe aggressive telemarketing and deception with regard to the company’s equipment leases through Northern Leasing. Merchants allege that Eschelon sales agents intentionally misrepresent rates and fees and fail to disclose the 36- to 48-month non-cancellable lease that accompanies the service. This does not compare favorably to our list of best credit card processors.
Eschelon Slamming Tactics Revealed
Some older complaints also describe tactics that closely resemble “slamming” scams, in which an Eschelon agent will call and claim to be with “Merchant Services” in order to persuade a merchant to purchase new equipment. This is corroborated by an account in the comment section below this review:
I worked for one day and never went back due to the harassing telephone calls we were required to make to each potential customer. It was stressed during training that each potential customer MUST BE CALLED THREE TIMES before entering the potential customer’s name as “not interested”. Many people I called that one day were furious at being bothered repeated times. We employees were also required to follow a script that clearly and intentionally failed to describe the service being provided properly. We were also ordered to inform each person called that their current merchant services account had changed and that we were simply calling to advise them of that change. We were then supposed to attempt to set up a “free meeting” with a rep in order to provide them with “up to 40 to 60% savings” each year.
As if on cue, an unverified positive testimonial posted in the comment section a few months after this report mentions “monthly savings within the 40%-60% range every month.”
No Deceptive Quotes
The Eschelon website actively promotes interchange-plus pricing, which is the most transparent pricing model available. Although there is no indication that this pricing structure is misleadingly promoted, the company’s reputation with regard to its equipment lease sales inclines us to warn merchants against taking the company’s word on this. Business owners should be sure to confirm that the rate structure they will receive is true Interchange-plus rather than a tiered model that has been misrepresented.
Eschelon Merchant Services Review Summary
Our Final Thoughts and Opinions
A Substandard Option for All Businesses
Eschelon Merchant services rates poorly as a merchant services provider according to our rating system, if they are even still in business. The company has some very severe complaints for its size, and its combination of questionable sales tactics, poor BBB score, and expensive equipment leases through Northern Leasing has lowered its overall rating. It should be noted that the company’s name is an intentional misspelling of the word “echelon,” which may lead to difficulty for merchants who are searching for “Echelon Merchant Services.” At this time, merchants are likely to find a better deal by working with a top-rated merchant account provider.
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Customer & Employee ReviewsWhat Others Are Saying About Eschelon Merchant Services