UPDATE 4/5/2017: Ironwood has undergone an ownership change and is working toward resolving past grievances and repairing its reputation. We are placing the company in a “Score Pending” state until further information surfaces regarding this process.
Ironwood Payments (iwpmts.com) is a recently created merchant account provider that appears to be a new entity created by, or at least closely connected to, the founders of ElitePay Global and the executive team behind One For Merchants. We have obtained irrefutable evidence that Ironwood Payments and ElitePay Global are essentially operating as one and the same. Regardless of whether or not they may have established themselves as separate legal entities, they appear to share employees, facilities, and marketing materials. We are withholding some of the evidence that we have obtained at this time due to pending litigation.
Given the fact that ElitePay Global’s website is now inactive, it is possible that ElitePay Global’s executive ownership may be looking to transition to a new brand name. In our view, Ironwood’s existing ties to ElitePay Global make it a strong candidate for this transition. Ironwood may also operate under the name of “Ironwood Financial.” The limited information that is currently available about Ironwood Payments suggests that it primarily sells its products via telephone calls and preset appointments for independent sales agents.
The relationship between ElitePay Global and Ironwood Payments is supported by at least the following information:
- As of this review’s previous update, ElitePay Global and Ironwood Payments both displayed the following identical copy on the “About Us” pages on their websites:
(Company Name) is a very forward minded company which is and always will be ahead of the curve in innovation and technology.
Customer service is one of our highest priorities. We would not be able to continue to be so successful without our loyal customers. We take pride in the fact that we have been able to assist so many businesses in reducing their overall costs of doing business and allow them to be more successful as well.
- A number of LinkedIn profiles list both ElitePay Global and Ironwood Payments as a recent or current employer, including profiles for Clarissa Snyder (“Company Website” links to ElitePay Global’s website), Jennifer Markin, and Rob Camarata. Jarrod Boshell’s Indeed resume lists him as a national sales manager at ElitePay Global, but his LinkedIn profile lists him as a national sales manager at Ironwood Payments.
- In August and September of 2015, a large number of job listings went up on ZipRecruiter and LinkedIn for sales positions at Ironwood Payments. These job listings either displayed branding from both Ironwood Payments and ElitePay Global, or they mentioned both ElitePay Global and Ironwood Payments as though they were interchangeable. An example from ZipRecruiter can be seen here, and an example from Indeed can be seen here.
- On October 14, 2016, International Payment Services (the parent company of ElitePay Global) filed a complaint against Ironwood Payments in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The complaint states that, following the sale of substantially all of International Payment Services’s assets to Ironwood in July 2015, Ironwood was to pay International Payment Services an initial closing payment followed by two later payments contingent upon the continued successful operation of the business. According to the complaint, Ironwood refused to make the second contingent payment of approximately $4 million in September 2016. More pertinent to this review, however, is the fact that the complaint also states that “until recently the parties enjoyed a positive and cooperative working relationship. For example, Ironwood retained two of IPS’s principals as employees and consultants following the [purchase agreement]. Although it limited their operational role, until early 2016 it regularly provided them with updates and sought their input on various issues, and the parties worked well together.” The complaint goes on to say that “In March 2016, around the time it ceased regularly communicating with IPS, Ironwood abruptly stopped providing customer service on the entire portfolio of accounts it had agreed to service until May 2016, including its own accounts.” In our opinion, the information contained in this complaint confirms ongoing collaboration between the principals of ElitePay Global and the owners of Ironwood until at least early 2016 and indicates that a financial relationship persisted between the two companies after the initial sale of assets in July 2015. It also reveals that Ironwood simply stopped providing customer service to a portion of its portfolio in March 2016, which is now reflected in its overall rating in this review.
In July 2016, a class action lawsuit was filed in the state of Illinois on behalf of California business owners against Ironwood Financial and Vantiv. The lawsuit claims that Ironwood sales representatives recorded sales calls regarding sensitive financial information without merchants’ permission. According to the October action brought against Ironwood by International Payment Services, this complaint was voluntarily dismissed in early September and not refiled.
However, in December 2016, another class action lawsuit was filed against Ironwood Financial in Illinois Northern District Court. Like the previous lawsuit, this complaint accuses Ironwood of secretly recording phone calls in which merchants disclosed sensitive financial information, and it also names Andy Bentley, Brian Bentley, Adam Bentley, Fifth Third Bank, First Data, Vantiv, Wells Fargo, and International Payment Services as defendants. The plaintiffs are seeking $5,000 per violation plus attorney fees. The lawsuit’s case number is 1:16-cv-11223, and it can also be found under searches for “Wang et al v. Wells Fargo, NA et al.”
Ironwood Financial, LLC, is registered in Illinois and in Mississippi, with its active name in Illinois listed as Ironwood Payments. The principal office listed for Ironwood Financial in the Illinois business registry is located at 525 West 465 North, #130, Providence, Utah 84332, which appears to be the address of the ElitePay Global office mentioned in this recent news article. Ironwood Financial’s registering agent, Incorp Services Inc., appears to be headquartered at 2360 Corporate Circle, Suite 400, Henderson, Nevada 89074-7739, while ElitePay Global is headquartered at 2850 W Horizon Ridge Pkwy Ste 200, Henderson, Nevada 89052-4395. The Ironwood Payments website states that the company is headquartered at 2150 South 1300 East, Suite 500, Salt Lake City, Utah 84106.
Where to File Complaints
If you believe that you have been a victim of “bait-and-switch” rate quotes, nondisclosure of fees, unlawful contract alteration, unauthorized debits, or predatory sales tactics at the hands of Ironwood Payments or one of its business partners, you may be able to obtain some relief by engaging in the following actions:
- Leave a detailed comment describing your experience in the comment section below this review. Be specific, provide as much factual information as you can, and, if possible, publicly authenticate your comment by including a link to your business’s website. This review and its comment section will contain the most current information regarding Ironwood Payments’ sales practices and merchant complaint record.
- File a complaint with the Illinois Attorney General, Mississippi Attorney General, and the Utah Attorney General.
- File a complaint with your state’s attorney general (directory available here).
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
- If you believe your agent knowingly defrauded you, consider filing a police report and a lawsuit against him/her in small claims court for your losses.
- File a complaint with Ironwood Payments’ Processor:
- Vantiv’s ISO Partner Program Hotline: +1 866-622-2880
- File a complaint with the District Attorney of your county.
- File a complaint with Ironwood Payments’ acquiring bank, which will be named in your contract..
For other solutions, see our article on How to Report Bad Credit Card Processors.