Northern Leasing Systems Overview
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 and Lease Source-LSI, LLC. Most publicly available complaints about this company mention either Northern Leasing or Lease Finance Group. Launched in 1991, the company primarily leases point-of-sale terminal and other payment devices, enabling customers to accept credit and debit card payments. Northern Leasing is based in 132 W 31st St Fl 14, New York, NY, and 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 cancelled.
- Complaints & Service: Northern Leasing Systems has received more than 400 public complaints.
- BBB Rating: Northern Leasing Systems has an “D” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received 347 complaints and 67 reviews 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.
- Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Northern Leasing Systems
Northern Leasing Systems Statement Analyzer
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Northern Leasing Systems Rates, Fees, and Costs
|Early Termination Fee||Liquidated Damages|
|PCI Compliance Fee||Variable|
|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 a standard Northern Leasing 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.
The Lowest-Rated Contracts in the Industry
The vast majority of complaints 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.Are you happy with your Northern Leasing Systems fees? Tell us about them before your go!
Northern Leasing Systems Complaints & Customer Reviews
|Total Online Complaints||400+|
|Live Customer Support||Yes|
|Most Common Complaint||Leasing Costs|
High Complaint Total
As of this update, we are able to locate hundreds of complaints about Northern Leasing 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 complainants report misrepresentation or nondisclosure of contract terms, unavailable or unhelpful customer service representatives, unauthorized debiting of accounts, and trouble cancelling service.
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 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 has not yet been resolved. This marks 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 file complaints here or call 1-800-771-7755.
Northern Leasing Systems Customer Support 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.
Northern Leasing Systems BBB Rating Summary
Key Points - BBB
|Product & Service Complaints||152|
|Billing & Collection Complaints||181|
|Advertising & Sales Complaints||9|
|Guarantee & Warranty Complaints||2|
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.
Nearly 350 Complaints
Northern Leasing Systems is not an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau and currently maintains a BBB rating of “D.” As of this review, there have been 348 complaints filed against the company in the last 36 months as well as an additional 88 that have been closed in the last 12 months. In addition to the 152 product-related complaints and 181 billing complaints, 9 were regarding problems with advertising or sales, 4 were filed regarding issues with delivery, while the remaining 2 complaints pertain to guarantee and warranty issues. Northern Leasing successfully resolved 35 of the complaints, while the remaining 312 were not resolved to the customer’s satisfaction, or unable to be substantiated by the BBB.
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. Complainants that experience problems with the company claim they have a lot of trouble reaching a live person in customer service for assistance with their issues.
What Merchants Say
Northern Leasing Systems has also received 67 informal reviews to its BBB profile, all of which are negative in tone. The most recent describes stolen personal information:
No stars for this company that has many aliases a/k/a as Lease Finance Group. They are calling and mailing aggressive letters about a credit card machine for a company I left back in 2003 ! it’s now 2019. The technology is obviously old and outdated and they would like for me to pay $588 for it. NYS Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against them. Fraud alert!
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 have adjusted the BBB’s rating to and “F” for the company
Truth In Marketing & Advertising
|Employs Independent Resellers||Yes|
|Advertises Deceptive Rates||No|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
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.
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. Most complainants report 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.
About Phillip Parker
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Why I'm Qualified to Write About Credit Card Processing
I'm a former credit card processing sales director who left the industry to start my own a small business. From the time that I starting working in the merchant services industry to when I left to write about it, I've been on the pulse of payments for nearly 15 years. It didn't seem fair to keep this insider knowledge to myself, so built this website to help small business owners research which service providers to use and how to save money on rates and fees. I've reviewed hundreds of companies, read thousands of user reviews, and learned the pricing tricks of every provider. If you have questions about credit card processing, you can find the answers here. I can help you save money with your current merchant account or help you find a new one. Message me here to get started.
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