I was misrepresented by Emerchant Middleman, LLC (EMM) when I bought into their services/products. Initially I purchased a custom website for $495 on 12-15-2011; I was told initially they were looking for regular people like me to go to the regular places I do business with and ask if they are interested in lowering their merchant costs & then I refer them to my site to leave their contact info, a rep will then get back to them from EMM and give the sales pitch and close the deal. They said they have the lowest merchant account (credit card) rate in the nation and if the customer could find a better rate they will give them $500. However, when I called to say the website looked really cheesy they told me it cant be changedhow custom is that?
I was told I dont have to be a sales person to make money with EMM and I will make $500/terminal and at the first of every month I will make 50% of the processing fee for the life of the service contract. I will also make 50% of the processing fee if the clients contract is up and they renew. They told me that there are 18 different ways to generate an income with EMM including 2% of any 0% interest loan. I did not receive the invoice to sign until 12-29-2011, at which time I noticed a weekly maintenance fee of $5.95. I called about the fee and was told; Oh, sorry the girl is new that you talked to and she just forgot to tell you so well waive that fee for few months.
Sometime after the 15th and before the 29th, I received a call from Joseph Wright of EMM saying doing it myself isn't indicative of how well I could do. He said: actually, you wont make very much money that way because youre not a sales person. Joseph then told me they have lead campaigns that I can purchase and EMM does all the work; I would just be investing. I said, then I dont really need a website if I purchase leads, so I should get my money back, right? He basically told me no, I still need it (not sure why because Ive never used it to date). I asked him about my return on my investment and he said they have a 7% average conversion rate and no one gets less than 3%; however, on rare occasions the minimum has been 1%. I told him I didnt have any money, and
wasnt interested. He got pretty upset and called me back a few times.
Then on 12-29-2011 Dave Thomas, director of coaches at EMM, called and said, I see you havent made any money yet on your website so I should purchase leads. He talked me into buying 7,500 leads for $15,000. I was told that the leads are new business leads (new businesses) so they are not already locked into a contract. He told me to leverage my credit cards by using other peoples money rather than my own (which I had none because I was unemployed & still am - I in fact told him this). He quoted me numbers equating to making about $12,000/month and said I would be able to pay off some of the credit cards by time my first statement is due and pay it all off within a couple months. He did not explain all the processing time involved that I was later told.
I was told by Bill Stark of EMM that he was going to work closely with me and keep me up to date and informed on my leads and they were going to have, in our back office, all our leads color coded so we will know the status of each lead and what stage of the process each is in. This never happened. I was constantly trying to call him, especially since he said you can call me anytime; however, he failed to mention that he will rarely ever answer the phone or call me back unless I call him numerous times.
I started really complaining because I wasnt making any money back, I had mentioned that I felt like I had been taken and that I really wanted my money back but Bill kept saying this takes time for the contracts to go through escrow and I have to be patient but it really does work. This was a
completely different story from what Dave Thomas had said.
After I made numerous complaints about not making any money and now owe credit card bills that arent getting paid off but growing due to the finance charges, I was contacted by Frank Goodman of EMM in risk management on June 8, 2012. He said we can help you set up an LLC and then you can open a business loan with us and use that money to pay off all your credit cards. I asked, All? Even the amounts that werent used for the leads? He said yes, and later said up to $35,000, but to qualify I would have to have the 12,000 lead campaign. Frank said the loan would be for about 4% interest and if the balance isnt paid by the proceeds of the leads in 2 years, then they would just write the loan off as a loss and I would just close down the LLC and my personal accounts & credit wouldnt be affected. I said Im unemployed, how would I qualify and he said with this campaign you would qualify, he said we can do this because we finance our own loans and we dont have to be approved by the bank. He said initially it will cost you a little bit more up front because I would have to purchase an additional 4,500 leads to qualify for the 12,000 lead campaign but I would get all that paid back by the proceeds or be clear of it in 2 years. So I purchased the additional leads for $4,300, maxing out my credit cards. Later he said oh sorry you misunderstood, it will be a business line of credit and we dont directly finance it, it will be through their affiliates (or partners).
Frank said Bill Stark of EMM will help me set up the LLC and then I would get an EIN number and then they would expedite the loan. It took almost 2 months, due to EMM issues, to get the LLC paper work done through Incorporatefast.com in which EMM initiated and paid for. I then received information in the mail that I had to file a Statement of Information and pay an $800 annual LLC Tax for the state of California. I called EMM and told them that I cant pay that so they told me they would; it then took another month to receive that, after supposed numerous times of generating a check they finally did an electronic deposit into my checking account on 9-14-12. I was later told by Victoria at EMM that LLC fees & the $800 actually come out of my initial investment and not out of the proceeds from my leads; that an LLC is part of the investment. I asked then why
I wasnt told about an LLC until 6months after I purchased the leads; she had no idea.
I told Victoria I was uncomfortable with this because it really didn't make sense that I could use a business loan to also pay off personal debt and be free of debt in 2 years if I made no proceeds from the leads. She said she wasn't sure about it either but Frank Goodman is the expert in that area. Frank would never return my calls until I just gave up trying to further contact him. I was told in the interim to talk to Desmond James about getting my credit card debt lowered. Which all he accomplished was have me quit paying my cards so I would be considered delinquent, then I never heard from him again either.
I purchased New Business Leads from EMM and did not receive that. I called on a number of the leads myself and not one was a new business; and not all were even businesses. After months of requesting an activity log I finally received a total of four (starting 9 months after I purchased the leads) but they don't really track from one to another and no individual lead status was given. Their leads and activity logs don't even have their company name on them or my EMM number. They could have pulled these from anywhere and put my name at the top. I am pretty sure if you check other clients, we probably have a lot of duplicate leads. I received a spreadsheet of the 1st 7,500 leads and then I received a CD with the leads I purchased on 6-8-12. I didn't look at the leads on the CD because I don't call them anyway and I had already looked at the 7,500 leads they sent so I assumed they were another 4,500 leads. I recently tried to look at the CD so I could compare all the leads they have sent me, and imagine that, the CD was completely blank!
In September, after I pointed out to EMM that I had a letter stating I would receive new business leads after 8 months if I had not made any money on the initial leads, they gave me another list of leads totaling 12,000. So even though they were suppose to only replace the initial 7,500 leads, I received another spreadsheet with 12,000 leads on it. Obviously none of this is tracking. I should have received initially 7,500 leads, then 4,500 leads and then a new set of leads for the initial 7,500. I guess it doesn't really matter the quantity if the leads are bogus anyway!
I decided to do a little detail work. I compared the initial 7,500 leads and the next 12,000 leads on a spread sheet and found out that they actually only sent me 7,499 leads initially and that 16 of them were duplicated on the new 12,000 leads. I was going to compare them to the 4,500 leads on the CD and that is how I found out that the CD was blank.
I have called the phone number I have for Emerchant Middleman, LLC for over a month and I've only reached a recording saying leave a message. The recording never states the company name like it did when I first invested in this company, I have left countless messages and have not received a phone call back. Since June and until over a month ago they hadn't been saying their business name when they answered the phone or on their recording. If this isn't consumer fraud or a scam then I really don't know what is!!!!! If you go on the internet you will read almost identical stories to mine regarding EMM.
Since I have not made a single penny on any of my 12,000 leads, I sincerely believe that they are contacting unsuspecting individuals like myself and scamming them into buying leads making them think they are investing their money, while they are in fact not buying new business leads at all. They are in fact just collecting a lot of money from each individual and if the individual complains enough, they will pay out a little bit of the money for a short period of time from money they received from that person or another person who invested money for the same reason. EMM does this just to string the investor along to make them think something is starting to happen so they will
hang in there without filing a complaint.
I received 3 payouts: $200 on 4-28-12, $250 on 5-29-12, and $300 on 6-28-12 (Out of a total of approximately $20,000 invested). When I asked what these monies were for; I was initially told they didn't know, then told they were for leases and finally I was told they were money for referrals. When I asked what referrals were, since I know I hadn't referred anyone, I was told that is when they recruit an individual like myself to buy leads. This further validates my opinion!
I did not receive what I was told I would actually receive and the results are absolutely not what they claimed over the phone not to mention I cannot contact them anymore no matter what time of day I call.
The problem is, I have not received the products or services that I purchased. Also, the company has vanished as far as getting a hold of them, I have tried to contact the company for over a month or more now with no success. There has to be laws and regulations to protect the consumers like
me. Companies like this should not even be allowed to have a merchant account to charge people money on their credit cards. If you now look at them on the internet all you will see is scam report after scam report and complaints to the BBB and the Arizona Attorney General and probably the California Attorney General too.
EMM approached with a scenario that sounded viable, just about every business uses merchant accounts, and all their stories and little delayed payouts were just enough to keep you wanting to believe them and hanging in there...then reality hits and you just have to admit and believe you have been taken... they finally took the money and ran, there is no doubt now!
I trusted my credit card companies and never thought I would be able to be charged on my credit cards by a bunch of crooks and shysters. I have been paying on this debt for almost a year and as you know it just keeps increasing due to finance charges, I do not believe I should have to continue paying for something I never received and I should get refunded all my charges including interest charges regarding Emerchant Middleman.
We need to consolidate, because I know there are many others like me, and file a class action lawsuit or something. This just isn't right and those people at EMM should be prosecuted!