|Sales & Marketing|
|Costs & Contract|
|Complaints & Service|
Merchant Industry, LLC (merchantindustry.com), is a merchant account provider founded in 2007 that specializes in providing credit card processing and debit card processing services to small businesses within the United States. The company also appears to do business under the name “National E-Payment, Inc.” and possibly resells the merchant services of First Data. Merchant Industry LLC is a registered ISO/MSP of First National Bank of Omaha of Omaha, NE and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. of Walnut Creek, California, with corporate offices located at 36-36 33rd St., Suite 306, Long Island City, New York, 11106. Leo Vartanov is the founder and CEO of Merchant Industry.
|Merchant Industry Products and Services||Industries Served|
|Key Points – Sales & Marketing|
|Uses independent resellers?||Yes|
|Promotes deceptive rate quotes?||Yes|
|Discloses all important terms?||No|
Merchant Industry appears to rely on numerous sub-ISOs and independent sales agents to market its services. There is evidence that the company operates under multiple business names and allows its resellers to use the Merchant Industry name at their various locations, which appears to cause some merchant confusion. We are currently able to locate numerous Merchant Industry negative reviews that describe nondisclosure and misrepresentation by the company’s sales agents, higher fees than were agreed to upon signup, and failure by the company’s sales team to deliver on promises made at the point of signing. One major issue appears to be multiple agents claiming to pay a merchant’s early termination fees and cancel their account with their existing processor if they switch over to Merchant Industry. In many cases, these agents do not follow through on either guarantee, leaving their clients subject to continuing monthly payments and the full early termination fee upon cancellation.
The Merchant Industry website includes multiple tables and charts advertising various rates and fees. In all cases, the only discount rate advertised by the company is its “Qualified” rate, while the higher “Mid-Qualified” and “Non-Qualified” rates are nowhere to be found. We consider this type of rate quoting to be deceptive, as it may lead merchants to have unrealistic expectations of the rates they will pay. In addition, Merchant Industry lists many types of fees common to the industry and claims that while it’s average for merchant services providers to charge all of these fees, Merchant Industry does not charge them (or charges them at a reduced price). The company does not mention several other large, common fees that it does charge, such as PCI compliance fees and early termination fees. Overall, it is our opinion that the company’s rate and fee quotes are deceptive, and there are multiple merchant complaints supporting this interpretation.
|Key Points – Costs & Contract Terms|
|PCI compliance fee:||$79.99/year|
The standard Merchant Industry contract (available below) is a three-year agreement through First Data with an early termination fee of $395 or liquidated damages (whichever is greater), a PCI Compliance fee of $79.99 per year, PCI non-compliance fees of $19.95 per month, an annual fee of $99.95, a $9.95 statement fee, and a monthly minimum fee of $25. The company also provides equipment leases that may carry their own terms and fees. As of this update, there are numerous merchant complaints filed against Merchant Industry and its subsidiaries that express frustration with the company’s undisclosed costs, specifically its early termination fees and PCI Compliance fees. The company appears to enforce these charges even when they may have been deceptively presented by sales agents. Although these expenses are higher than industry averages, the company might not score so poorly in this section if these costs were more consistently disclosed to merchants upon signup. See the Merchant Industry Merchant Agreement.
|Key Points – Complaints & Service|
|Live customer support:||Yes|
|Most common complaint:||Sales tactics|
We are currently able to locate over 25 Merchant Industry negative reviews, many of which accuse the company of being a scam or a ripoff. Common complaints include deceptive sales practices, excessive billing, no follow-through on verbal agreements, difficulty cancelling service, poor customer support, and expensive hidden fees. Merchant Industry has responded to some of these complaints with different solutions, sometimes offering a partial or full refund and other times insisting that the merchant is bound by his or her contract terms. Since the company appears to have a serious issue with misrepresentation by its sales agents, it does not seem helpful or especially fair to hold merchants to these contract terms.
Merchant Industry does appear to respond effectively to publicly posted complaints about excessive or repeat billing, which is probably only a small consolation to merchants who have had to go public with these issues in the first place. Additionally, we have located some positive testimonials about Merchant Industry’s service, but these posts are of unconfirmed legitimacy.
|Key Points – BBB Report|
As of this review, Merchant Industry holds an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has had 50 complaints filed within the last 36 months. The company has been accredited since May 5, 2015. Merchant Industry’s alternate business name of National e-Payment also has a BBB page, which currently shows a “A+” rating as a result of two complaints in the last three years. We will combine these reports for the sake of simplicity. Of the total complaints, 20 are due to problems with products and services, 24 have to do with billing and collection disputes, six are due to advertising or sales issues, and two are related to a guarantee or warranty problem. Merchant Industry has successfully resolved 43 of the complaints, while seven merchants reported that they were not satisfied with the company’s response.
In light of these figures, including the total complaint rate and resolution ratio, we have adjusted the BBB’s overall rating for Merchant Industry to a “D.”
* Denotes CPO-adjusted BBB score
Related: Best Processors For E-Commerce
This review was originally published on 11/2/12 and was last updated on 5/14/15.
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