|Sales & Marketing|
|Costs & Contract|
|Complaints & Service|
Harbortouch (harbortouch.com) is a merchant account provider based in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Launched in 1999, the company provides card processing services, point-of-sale systems, electronic cash registers, and card processing terminals to U.S. merchants. It appears that Harbortouch at some point acquired, was acquired by, or is otherwise associated with United Bank Card. At this time, Harbortouch primarily promotes its proprietary tablet-based POS system. Harbortouch claims to handle merchant accounts for over 110,000 business locations and process in excess of $11 billion annually. The company is a registered ISO/MSP of First National Bank of Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska. Jared Isaacman is the founder and CEO of Harbortouch.
|Harbortouch Products and Services||Industries Served|
|Key Points – Sales & Marketing|
|Uses independent resellers?||Yes|
|Promotes deceptive rate quotes?||No|
|Discloses all important terms?||No|
Harbortouch hires independently contracted sales agents (ISAs) to resell its merchant account services. This is a standard practice within the industry that often results in unregulated or unsupervised agents reselling a provider’s services without effectively disclosing contract terms. On this website and elsewhere, reports are common of a Harbortouch sales representative promising to waive fees or provide month-to-month contracts only to fail to follow through, leaving the merchant on the hook for some unfavorable contract terms.
Online complaints seem to indicate that a common point of miscommunication has to do with Harbortouch’s heavily promoted deals for free equipment or a free POS system. Some merchants report that they agreed to receive free equipment or software but cancelled before receiving or implementing these services, only to be charged with a cancellation fee in the amount of the remaining cost of the multiyear contract. It is our policy to hold companies responsible for the conduct of their sales agents, and we therefore award Harbortouch an average grade of “C” in this category.
Harbortouch Marketing Example
|Key Points – Costs & Contract Terms|
|PCI compliance fee:||$99 per year|
|Equipment lease:||Variable (up to 5 years)|
The Harbortouch terms and conditions (available below) outline a three-year agreement with automatic renewal for two-year terms, a Liquidated Damages early termination fee of either $250 or the number of remaining months in the contract multiplied by $35 (whichever is greater), and transaction fees according to a tiered pricing schedule. Merchants who receive equipment from the company will also be subject to a $79 annual fee and a $99 annual security fee. Harbortouch’s “Elite” POS system costs $69 per month, while its “Echo” POS system costs $39 per month.
Although these are the company’s official terms, the company’s use of independent sales agents means that contract terms may vary from agent to agent. A representative of the company confirmed in the comment section of this review that many of the contract terms are liable to be altered by a given sales representative, so merchants are advised to review contracts carefully and only deal with agents they trust. Multiple complaints have described a situation in which a sales agent verbally agreed to waive or alter certain fees and then failed to follow through on those changes. Alternatively, there are multiple claims that agents failed to disclose the early termination fee associated with the company’s POS agreement.
It seems merchants should be aware that they will likely be on the hook for the actual language of the contract in some cases, rather than the specific deal reached with their agent.
|Key Points – Complaints & Service|
|Live customer support:||Yes|
|Most common complaint:||Undisclosed fees|
Harbortouch is showing a moderate-to-high number of complaints for a company of its size, almost all of which cite deceptive sales tactics or apathetic customer support. It appears that Harbortouch has paid Ripoff Report to be a part of that site’s corporate advocacy program, which allows Harbortouch to flood Ripoff Report with dozens of identical testimonials in an effort to obscure the details of merchant complaints. Researchers should note that the actual content of these Ripoff Report reviews can be found below each of Harbortouch’s testimonials.
We had previously given Harbortouch a “B-” in this category based on the fact that the company’s representatives seemed to actively respond to merchant complaints on other websites. Given the company’s attempt to cover up its reputation on Ripoff Report rather than respond to public complaints, we are inclined to lower Harbortouch’s rating at this time.
It should also be noted that two representatives of Harbortouch (including the company’s CEO) have directly addressed merchant complaints in the comment section of this review. Both representatives disputed merchants’ claims regarding nondisclosure of contract terms, stating that the company’s cancellation policy is clearly disclosed by Harbortouch sales reps and documentation at multiple points during the signup process. These representatives also stated that the company’s large early termination fee is justified by the upfront expense associated with providing POS equipment to merchants. Harbortouch offers email and phone support on its website in addition to equipment and software manuals.
Related: Best Processors For E-Commerce
|Key Points – BBB Report|
Harbortouch has been an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau since 2013. As of this review, the company currently holds an “A“ rating with the BBB and has had 219 complaints filed against it in the last 36 months. The bulk of these complaints (103) stemmed from problems with Harbortouch’s products and services. Eighty-eight complaints were filed regarding billing and collections issues, 27 involved problems with advertising or sales, and one was filed in regards to delivery issues. Of the total complaints, 179 were successfully resolved. Harbortouch responded to the remaining 40; however, these were not resolved to the customers’ satisfaction. Taking into account the company’s complaint total and resolution ratio, we have adjusted the BBB’s rating to a “C-.” To better understand why we adjust BBB ratings, please see our Rating Criteria.
* Denotes CPO-adjusted BBB score
This review was originally published on 2/18/13 and was last updated on 3/26/15.
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