Eschelon Merchant Services Review

Eschelon Merchant Services Overview

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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 and 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.

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 an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received 5 complaints and 2 reviews in the last 3 years.
  • 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 Statement Analyzer

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Products & Services Offered

Types of Businesses Served

  • Retail
  • Mobile
  • E-commerce
  • MOTO
  • Non-profit

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Eschelon Merchant Services Rates, Fees, and Costs

Key Points

Swiped Rate Interchange-Plus
Keyed-in Rate Interchange-Plus
Early Termination Fee Undisclosed
PCI Compliance Fee Undisclosed
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 issue facing the company. In fact, the company even advertises its use of interchange-plus pricing, which is the most transparent in the industry.

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.

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Response from Eschelon Merchant Services

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Eschelon Merchant Services Complaints & Customer Reviews

Key Points

Total Online Complaints 30+
Live Customer Support Yes
Most Common Complaint Equipment Lease

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 Support 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.

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Response from Eschelon Merchant Services

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Eschelon Merchant Services BBB Rating Summary

Key Points - BBB

Product & Service Complaints 2
Billing & Collection Complaints 2
Advertising & Sales Complaints 1
Guarantee & Warranty Complaints 0
Delivery Complaints 0

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 an “F” rating while the other gives it an “A.” For the sake of simplicity, we will combine the figures from these two profiles.

Under 10 Complaints

In total, Eschelon has received 5 BBB complaints, as well as 1 which was closed in the last 12 months. 2 of these were filed due to problems with the product or service, 1 related to advertising or sales issues, and 2 having to do with a billing or collection problem. Eschelon has successfully resolved only 1 of these complaints, while the remaining 4 complaints were either resolved to the merchant’s dissatisfaction, did not receive a final response from the merchant, did not receive a “good faith” effort from Eschelon, or were not addressed whatsoever. The BBB cites the failure of Eschelon to respond at all to two complaints as the main factor lowering its score.

What Merchants Say

Eschelon has also received 2 informal reviews to its BBB profiles, both of which were negative. The most recent review describes difficulty cancelling 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 agree with the BBB’s rating in this case.

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Response from Eschelon Merchant Services

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Truth In Marketing & Advertising

Key Points

Employs Independent Resellers Yes
Advertises Deceptive Rates No
Discloses All Important Terms No

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.

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.

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Response from Eschelon Merchant Services

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Eschelon Merchant Services Marketing Example

Eschelon Merchant Services Logo

Our Opinion of Eschelon Merchant Services

A Substandard Option for All Businesses

Eschelon Merchant services rates poorly as a merchant services provider according to our rating system. The company has some very severe complaints for its size, and its combination of questionable sales tactics, poor BBB scores, 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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7 Reviews Leave Your Review for Eschelon Merchant Services Below

  1. Kathleen Brooks says:

    There is no way to contact this business. Phone numbers are out of service and emails are never returned. They are still charging me a fee every month!

    From The Editor
    This Post Might Help: Cancelling a Merchant Account Without Paying a Fee

  2. Richard C. says:

    These salespeople are good, and they do call back 3 times as they are required. Although we get one of these type calls a week, I actually listened to the person because she sounded so authentic. Ask them to give you a physical address of the company (if you take their call at all). In this case the company named was Smart Card Merchant Services. I looked up the phone number from their website while she was on the phone, and it is a UPS Store in Phoenix. When confronted, the sales caller reluctantly gave me 3320 W. Shero Drive, which is the address for Eschelon Financial Group. I have not done business with them, and will not, but it seems to me… buyer beware of a company that uses a UPS store for one of their headquarters. She gave all of the sales script that others have noted here. My credit score was upgraded recently, they are a wholesaler, schedule a visit, etc. It’s tough to find complaints or reviews for Smart Card MS so just know that it’s Eschelon Financial Group.

  3. Debbie Martinelli says:

    I have been processing with Eschelon Merchant Services for the last three years in all five of my pet supply locations and there is NOTHING bad that I can say about my Wholesale Conversion. My local Rep Michael Lee ALWAYS services me, always answers my calls, and the Customer Service Department is ALWAYS helpful! I see monthly savings within the 40%-60% range every month which I put back into the bottom line of my business, and now I have earned more than enough money to open up a 6th location! This is one of the best business decisions that I have ever made!

    1. CPO Admin says:

      Hi Debbie,

      Please reply to this comment with your business name and location in order to authenticate your testimonial. Thanks!

  4. Kathleen Downes says:

    I had all of the above happen to me. I was called and agreed to a meeting as I’m was unhappy with the current processor. Sean V., the sales rep did an excellent job on selling me the advantages and that I was going ‘direct’ with first data – no intermediary. What a liar! He would take care of all the details of cancelling my account with my processor and get me all set up…not ONCE mentioning the 48 month non-cancellable lease. I’m embarrassed that I was scammed like this. He did nothing to cancel my account with my previous processor nor did he take care of any early cancellation fees. I no longer take uninvited calls from marketers for ANYTHING! If I did not seek you out, I don’t want to talk to you.

  5. Heather Coover says:

    I made the mistake of accepting a call center position at this company. 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. I am embarrassed that I worked here, even if it was only for one day. What a scam!

    1. Johnny jones says:

      Me too. I believe the phone reps get sucked in this “sales” job. The company lies to the auto dialer, creating a ridiculous sense of “urgency” about a change to their account. They are told never to take no for an answer, keep calling the person who gets angry most of the time. Ridiculous! Also give a bogus 888 # to call. Owners are elusive snakes who should be shut down by the attorney general office of az.

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