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.
- Sales & Marketing: Merchant Industry appears to hire independently contracted agents and has received more than a dozen complaints about its sales team.
- Costs & Contract: Merchant Industry offers a three-year contract through First Data that includes a liquidated damages early termination fee.
- Complaints & Service: Merchant Industry has received more than 25 public complaints.
- BBB Rating: Merchant Industry has an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received 27 complaints in the past three years.
- Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Merchant Industry
- High risk
Sales & Marketing
Key Points - Sales & Marketing
|Employs Independent Resellers||Yes|
|Advertises Deceptive Rates||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 deceptively presented, and there are multiple merchant complaints supporting this interpretation.
Costs & Contract
Key Points - Costs & Contract
|Early Termination Fee||$395+|
|PCI Compliance Fee||$79.99 Per Year|
|Equipment Lease Terms||Variable|
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.
Complaints & Service
Key Points - Complaints & Service
|Total Online Complaints||25+|
|Live Customer Support||Yes|
|Most Common Complaint||Sales Tactics|
We are currently able to locate over 25 negative Merchant Industry 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
|Product & Service Complaints||8|
|Billing & Collection Complaints||15|
|Advertising & Sales Complaints||3|
|Guarantee & Warranty Complaints||1|
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.
As of this review, Merchant Industry holds an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has had 27 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 zero complaints in the last three years. We will combine these reports for the sake of simplicity. Of the total complaints, eight are due to problems with products and services, 15 have to do with billing and collection disputes, three are due to advertising or sales issues, and one is related to a guarantee or warranty problem. Merchant Industry has successfully resolved eight of the complaints, while the remaining 19 complaints either were resolved to the dissatisfaction of the complainant or did not receive a final response from the complainant. In light of the company’s complaint total and resolution ratio, we have adjusted the BBB’s rating to a “C.”
Related: EMV Terminal Recommendations
About Phillip Parker
Hi, I’m Phillip and I’m disgusted by the state of credit card processing in the U.S. and abroad. I believe that the industry has been overrun by people who engage in fraud and deception in order to steal money from hard working business owners. I’ve made it my mission to expose the companies and individuals who engage in predatory marketing, pricing, and contracts, or just provide terrible service. Along with uncovering the bad guys, I’ve also discovered the good guys who do stand out from the status quo. CPO is a website where you will find ratings and reviews of these companies along with advice on how to save money and which service providers consider. Together we can move the industry in a positive direction. If you would like to help support my work, please checkout “Fee Sweep” my eGuide to getting the lowest possible fees when accepting card payments. If you haven’t heard of “interchange” this advice will save you hundreds, even thousands, in processing fees.Schedule a Consultation with Phillip
Related: Phillip’s Top All-Purpose Merchant Account Picks
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