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Northern Leasing Systems Lawsuit Update 2022
In June 2020, the New York Attorney General won the 2016 lawsuit filed against Northern Leasing Systems, Inc, voiding thousands of fraudulently-induced credit card equipment leases. The ruling also vacates nearly 30,000 default judgments and bans Northern Leasing from engaging in equipment leasing, effectively dissolving the company. The Attorney General’s victory will also force Northern Leasing and its related entities, Northern Leasing’s chief executive officer, and others who engaged in the fraudulent scheme to provide restitution to small business owners who were fraudulently induced into financing leases for credit card processing equipment from April 1, 2013, through the present. Northern Leasing is ordered to dissolve 60 days after providing relief. Restitution amounts are to be set by the court at a later date. Small business merchants are not required to take action at this time in order to receive restitution.
In February 2021, the Supreme Court denied the Northern respondents’ motions for discovery and a trial or evidentiary hearing and denied the Attorney Respondents’ motion for summary judgment dismissing the petition as against them, effectively upholding the 2020 decision.
Additionally, according to EINPresswire, in November 2020, the OAG brought forward another, separate proceeding after discovering that Northern Leasing’s owners and officers had created two new entities — NLS Equipment Finance and Leasing Expenses Company — to continue defrauding small businesses using the same scheme barred by the court in the prior litigation, as well as to continue collecting on leases rescinded by the June 2020 court order.
The companies found liable by this ruling — also issued by the New York County State Supreme Court — were operated by former Northern Leasing Chief Financial Officer Ariel Schachter and former Northern Leasing officer Sara Krieger and were owned by trusts that benefited the families of Northern Leasing’s owners, Jay Cohen and Leonard Mezei. The court found that these companies had “risen on [Northern Leasing’s] ashes” in an earlier December ruling that granted a temporary restraining order barring them from collecting on any equipment leases. In February 2021, New York Attorney General Letitia James issued a decision and order in February 2021 effectively shutting down Northern Leasing Systems’ alleged attempt to continue to enforce illegal leases, including those voided in the 2020 decision. The parties named in this proceeding include Leasing Expenses Company LLC; NLS Equipment Finance LLC; Leonard Mezei; Ariel Schacter; Sara Krieger; Jay Cohen; a Jay Cohen Family Trust; Fieldston Capital LLC; and JS Ventures Holding LLC.
Despite the extensive and public legal action against the company, Northern Leasing Systems appears to be still operating at some level, as per a promotional article from March 18, 2021, celebrating the company’s 30th anniversary penned by founder and president Jay Cohen posted to PRWeb, a promotional website. Additionally, some former customers report to the BBB that they continue to receive bills from Northern Leasing Systems, including for properties that the customers no longer own. According to some comments from customers, Northern Leasing Systems no longer answers communications, though they continue to list a phone number on their website.
In a further example of how major the case against Northern Leasing Systems is, it has become a reference point for fraud in New York law, even being invoked in the 2022 case against former US President Donald Trump.
Northern Leasing Systems Point of Sale
As a former major equipment leaser, Northern Leasing Systems supposedly offers a wide range of point-of-sale and other physical credit card processing equipment. However, it is unclear what equipment exactly they offer or if they still are attempting to after the lawsuits that have barred them from doing so. Their website is still functional but very barebones. If you have had any contact with Northern Leasing Systems since 2020, please let us what occurred in the comment section below
A Leasing Company of Many Names
Northern Leasing Systems, Inc., also known as MBF Leasing LLC, provides credit card processing equipment leasing services to merchants and businesses in the United States. Northern Leasing also does business under the names Lease Finance Group LLC; Golden Eagle Leasing LLC; Lease Source-LSI, LLC; NLS Equipment Finance; and Leasing Expenses Company. Many publicly available complaints about this company mention either Northern Leasing or Lease Finance Group. Launched in 1991, the company primarily leases point-of-sale terminals and other payment devices, enabling customers to accept credit and debit card payments. Northern Leasing lists 333 7th Avenue 3rd floor, New York, NY 10001 as their “Corp.” address, but 132 W 31st St Fl 14, New York, NY is also associated with the company. Jay Cohen is listed as the founder and president of Northern Leasing Systems.
Northern Leasing Systems Review Table of Contents
- Costs & Contract: Northern Leasing Systems offers a four-year lease contract that cannot be canceled.
- Complaints & Service: Northern Leasing Systems complaints number more than 400 on public complaints forums.
- BBB Rating: Northern Leasing Systems has an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received 59 complaints and 9 reviews across 2 profiles in the past 3 years.
- Sales & Marketing: Northern Leasing Systems exclusively uses third-party independent sales agents to market its products and has received a high number of complaints about its sales practices.
Northern Leasing Systems Reviews and Complaints
Here's What Their Clients Say
Total Online Complaints
Live Customer Support
Most Common Complaint
High Complaint Total
As of this update, we are able to locate hundreds of Northern Leasing Systems complaints on this website and other consumer protection websites. The overwhelming majority of Northern Leasing Systems reviews describe the company as a scam or ripoff organization. Most people leaving a Northern Leasing Systems complaint report misrepresentation or nondisclosure of contract terms, unavailable or unhelpful customer service representatives, unauthorized debiting of accounts, and trouble canceling service. If you have your own Northern Leasing Systems review of your own to make, please do so in the comment section below.
MBF Scamming LLC
It is worth noting that Northern Leasing’s alternate business name of MBF Leasing at one point inspired an entire online forum titled “MBF Scamming LLC”, which was an active community of merchants who felt they had been ripped off by MBF Leasing. This is not a positive sign for the company’s customer service, as a high number of merchants apparently felt that they were better off talking to each other than they would be talking to the company itself.
Northern Leasing Systems Facebook Complaint Group
Additionally, Northern Leasing Systems inspired the creation of a private Facebook group titled “NORTHERN LEASING SYSTEMS INC Sucks,” which is meant to gather alleged victims of the company for mutual support. This is a further sign that the company’s customer service is lacking.
Northern Leasing Systems Lawsuits
In March 2013, the New York Attorney General reached a multi-million dollar settlement with Northern Leasing and its affiliated companies over a scheme to drain nearly $11 million from the bank accounts of small business owners. The case alleged that Northern Leasing had created a shell company called SKS Associates LLC, through which Northern Leasing misled customers and began withdrawing lease payments from merchants’ bank accounts long after their leases had expired. Although this settlement concludes the Attorney General’s lawsuit and appears to be the end of SKS Associates, Northern Leasing and its related companies are still doing business and have grown into a very large equipment leasing network.
In April 2016, the New York Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Northern Leasing Systems, Lease Finance Group, and MBF Leasing “for their fraudulent and deceptive practices that trap small business owners across the country.” The lawsuit alleges that Northern Leasing Systems and its subsidiaries knowingly deceived thousands of business owners into buying overpriced equipment and then abused the judicial system by filing suit in New York to collect on overdue lease payments. The lawsuit seeks to vacate default judgments obtained by Northern Leasing against business owners, enjoin the company and its owners from further deceptive practices, obtain restitution for merchants, dissolve Northern Leasing, and force the company to notify all three major credit reporting agencies that the default judgments have been vacated. It was allowed to proceed in December 2017 and was resolved in June 2020 with a victory for the New York Attorney General, providing relief to thousands of small businesses. This marked the second action that the New York Attorney General has taken against Northern Leasing Systems. Merchants who have been harmed by Northern Leasing Systems are instructed to not take any action at this time, as the court is yet to set restitution amounts.
In 2021, the Supreme Court upheld the 2020 decision and the New York Attorney General made a further decision and order shutting down subsidiary companies that Northern Leasing Systems was allegedly using to attempt to continue to enforce their voided leases.
Northern Leasing Systems Customer Service Options
The company offers dedicated support numbers and email addresses on its website. While these are the basic support channels we expect of top-rated merchant accounts for customer service, it is clear that most merchants do not obtain positive resolutions through these channels.
We have located multiple Northern Leasing Systems customer service numbers:
(800) 683-5433 – Toll-Free General Customer Service
(866) 781-0440 – Lessee Customer Service
(866) 781-0440 – Lease Documents
(888) 607-3607 – Collections
(800) 342-7172 – Fax
Northern Leasing Systems also offers dedicated email customer support at the following addresses:
[email protected] – General Contact
[email protected] – Lessee Customer Service
[email protected] – Lease Documents
Northern Leasing Systems BBB Rating and Report
Our Better Business Bureau Profile Assessment
A Large Number of Complaints
Northern Leasing Systems is not an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau and currently maintains a BBB rating of “F” on their main profile and no score on their profile for NLS Equipment Finance, LLC. As of this review, there have been 59 complaints filed against the company in the last 36 months between the two profiles, a considerable decline from the 224 registered at the time of a recent review. This is likely because the company is no longer functioning as opposed to any improvement on their part. Only 2 of these 59 complaints were resolved by the company to the satisfaction of the merchant. The remaining 57 were resolved to the dissatisfaction of the merchant or received no final response.
BBB Warning and Government Action
The BBB profile also makes mention of the New York Attorney General’s lawsuits against Northern Leasing and includes the following notice:
BBB files indicate a pattern of complaints concerning the sales practices, contracts, and customer service of this company. Complainants are telling BBB about the difficulties they encounter when they lease equipment for their small businesses from Northern Leasing Systems. These complainants say that company sales representatives employ high pressure sales tactics to get them to sign a contract with the company. Many complainants allege that Northern Leasing Systems staff misrepresented the equipment to be leased or terms of the lease they sign. Other complainants are reportedly not given all pages of the contract after it is signed. Numerous complaints detail the burdensome nature of the company’s contract for return of the leased equipment. Some complainants that experience problems with the company claim they have a lot of trouble reaching a live person in customer service while a number of other customers reportedly receive repeated harassing collection calls from company representatives.
A more recent notice details the New York Attorney General’s victory against Northern leasing and subsequent government action.
What Merchants Say
Northern Leasing Systems has also received 9 informal reviews to its BBB profile, all of which are negative in tone. The most recent describes trouble canceling services:
The worst! They overcharged us and is impossible to cancel their services with them. I’m going on a year now and still no luck cancelling. STAY AWAY!
Merchant accounts process sensitive financial data making confidentiality an imperative consideration for any company. Merchants whose confidentiality has been breached should pursue all available legal remedies.
A Well-Deserved “F”
In light of the company’s complaint total and resolution ratio, multiple lawsuits, and accusations of illegal activity, we agree with the BBB’s rating of an “F” for the company.
Northern Leasing Systems Fees and Rates
A Closer Look at the Contract
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Early Termination Fee
PCI Compliance Fee
Equipment Lease Terms
48-60 Month (locked)
48-60 Month Contract
The standard Northern Leasing Systems contract (available below) is a non-cancellable 48-month agreement, which means that upon signing the lease, merchants are obligated to pay the full cost of the four-year lease whether they use the equipment or not. The full cost of Northern Leasing fees in their contract appears to be several thousand dollars, often up to ten times the cost of purchasing the leased equipment independently. To terminate the contract, merchants can either notify Northern Leasing of their intent to terminate the contract, return the equipment, and pay the remaining balance; or they can purchase the equipment and pay the remaining balance. Either way, they will be on the hook for the remaining monthly payments. It appears to be standard company policy to simply withdraw the amounts owed on delinquent accounts in monthly or lump sums, often without ever notifying the merchant. We instead encourage merchants to check out our list of the providers of the best merchant services.
The Lowest-Rated Contracts in the Industry
The vast majority of Northern Leasing Systems reviews online indicate widespread dissatisfaction with Northern Leasing’s contract terms, and we are inclined to agree with the merchants in this case. The company’s leasing policies are not competitive with the equipment rental terms offered by low-cost merchant account providers or with the flat purchase price of top EMV-compatible terminals. See the standard Northern Leasing Systems Lease Agreement.
Northern Leasing Systems Jobs and Employment
Hiring Standards and Ethical Marketing Assessment
Audit Your Current Statement To Find Its Hidden Fees
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Employs Independent Resellers
Advertises Deceptive Rates
Discloses All Important Terms
A Supplier for Resellers
Northern Leasing does not appear to directly market its services to merchants, preferring instead to act as the designated third-party equipment provider for numerous ISOs across the country. This means that many ISOs include a lease agreement with Northern Leasing in their standard credit card processing contracts, and as a result, many merchants find themselves signed up for a 48-month equipment lease through Northern Leasing without ever having interacted with a Northern Leasing sales representative. This appears to be a major cause of merchant confusion, and it does not compare favorably to our list of best credit card processors.
Widespread Lack of Disclosure
By and large, the sales agents who are reselling Northern Leasing leases do not appear to do a good job of outlining the company’s lease terms. Many Northern Leasing Systems reviews report merchants not understanding their full contractual obligations and feeling deliberately misled by sales reps. It is our philosophy that this pattern ultimately reflects poorly on Northern Leasing Systems. If you feel that you are stuck in an improperly disclosed equipment lease, we recommend seeking a third-party statement audit to renegotiate your terms.
Northern Leasing Systems Review Summary
Our Final Thoughts and Opinions
The Lowest-Rated Company on CPO
Northern Leasing Systems rates as the industry’s worst equipment leasing company according to our criteria. The company often partners with merchant account providers to package its leases with their services, resulting in confusion and frustration among merchants who did not clearly understand what they were agreeing to. Northern Leasing offers a non-cancellable standard lease that is likely to cost merchants well in excess of the price of the equipment itself, and many complainants report difficulty in extracting themselves from the lease once it has been signed. The company can improve its overall rating by working harder to ensure that merchants understand the terms of its contracts, by offering more competitive contracts with more reasonable terms, by improving the response of its customer service team, and by lowering its complaint rate with the BBB and other consumer protection sites. We strongly advise all merchants to carefully examine any Northern Leasing contract they are given. In nearly all cases, they will be better served by working with a top-rated merchant account provider. It should be noted that most credit card terminals can be purchased for under $500. Non-cancellable, long-term leases mean a merchant can pay thousands for that same equipment making them a contract term to avoid.
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