ED Magedson – Founder
Merchant Care LLC / First Business LLC300 W Osborn Road Phoenix, Arizona USA
Merchant Care LLC / First Business LLC Don't let yourself be scammed! Phoenix Arizona
I was recently contacted by a company with the name of Merchant-Care LLC.
What are they:They offer Merchant-Care/credit card services to small businesses. The rate they can provide small businesses with is 2% on all credit card transactions. They agree to split the 2% evenly with you (on all credit cards transactions for each business you refer them to (no selling involved, you merely provide the contact details. Easy work for 1% on ALL credit card transactions!) They also provide a finders fee of $500 per successful referral. Sounds great!
But be warned before you hand over your money! They say the company has been around 12 years. I checked this - it was registered on 11/30/2012. (http://starpas.azcc.gov/scripts/cgiip.exe/WService=wsbroker1/names-detail.p?name-id=L18068026&type=L.L.C - per the Arizona Corporate Commission. A blatant lie! Red Flag.
I read the names on the legal documents to determine who owned this company and saw on the Articles of Association Amendment this name: Francis Carlson. Nothing there...
The deal is that you pay for an LLC to be registered - Merchant-Care gets no money from you - its only the registration fee's. The business who does the LLC registration is called First Business LLC. I checked out the website which is pathetic - no info "About" the company, what they do, services offered, clearly a front. Seriously someone could put that together in 2 hours. I looked up the company on the Arizona Corporate Commission (A government website) and found the persons name on the Articles of Association Amendment - Leary Darling.http://starpas.azcc.gov/scripts/cgiip.exe/WService=wsbroker1/names-detail.p?name-id=L18075870&type=L.L.C.
I searched her name and sure enough, the State of Oregon has a case against her for a similar scheme. She scammed thousands from elderly, from people desperate and clinging on to the hope of making some money. Here is the article: http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130508/NEWS07/305080354 And then she is on Ripoff Report in other articles.
This Mail Tribune article is great as it names the following companies - so if you come accross any of these companies I would be weary:
The article dated May 8, 2013 of the Oregan Tribune states the following:
"The companies operated by Lance Himes and Leary Darling include:
Afflac Assist LLC; Aflac Assist.com LLC; US Job Assist LLC; First Business LLC; Divine Clientelle LLC; Management AA LLC; Alac Assist LLC; Legal Dox LLC; Assisting US Jobs LLC.
I was told it is $319 to register the LLC. When asked about any upsells, further costs, upgrade to membership, paid for calls by sales agents or anything further (just trying to cover all the bases) - I was told NO. This is a once off cost and nothing further is ever needed.
I questioned them on the age of the company - why did they say it had been around for many years when its only registered 6 months ago. They responded that it was bought by another company. So I asked who? No answer. Changed the subject.
I challenged them on the reports I found about First Business LLC, Leary Darling and Lance Himes - they said they had no idea, never heard of either Leary or Lance - that info is above their pay grade (probably but wouldn't you know who owns the company you work for? Seems a bit strange that no one knew), and besides they use multiple legal companies like Legal Zoom.
Brilliant - Legal Zoom is reputable, legitamate, everyone knows them. So I ask, well can I have my LLC through Legal Zoom because I don't trust First Business LLC. Of course they said No. (Clearly using Legal Zoom was a lie - just the name of another legal company that they knew of) I pressed on - but I would like to use them. Merchant Care responded that Legal Zoom does not register businesses in California!! ???? I have registered a business in CA with them! I challenged with this - he responds - oh well maybe they do in California, but not Arizona. What?? I go onto Legal Zoom site, of course they register businesses in Arizona - oh and their site says $99. This company wanted to charge $319 for the registration (Cha-Ching!!). I ask why so expensive? They repond - its not, Merchant-Care actually subsidises some of the cost too. Yeah Right! If that is so then First Business is taking them for a ride!
I ask if Merchant Care is in any way associated or affiliated with First Business and I am categorically told No. My gut feeling is this is almost certainly a lie.
After all these questions, the manager of Merchant-Care LLC contradicts himself more and more and hangs up.
Shortly after I get another call from a company called EM Business Connections. My these companies are persistant! Curious - I let them go on for a while. It was like Deja Vu - exaclty the same script as Merchant Care LLC! Then when the "Director" gets on the line, I ask if there is any connection with Merchant-Care LLC bexause I have just heard the same script from them. The line goes quiet. He then asks if I signed with Merchant Care, I say no. He asks why and I tell him. He hangs up. Not surprisingly the address of EM Business Connections is Oklahoma, the same place as the article on Leary Darling.
Needless to say I am not handing my money over to these businesses. I would strongly advise you don't either!
I found a site which lists the VISA merchants by State - these businesses do not appear (Although the date is a bit old):
I would be curious if anyone knew if the credit card companies has a list of verified legitimate merchant accounts, or even work with smaller companies. Bottom line is - how would a small business (well no one has heard of them) be able to offer better rates than the banks. Does not add up.
I hope this assists in keeping your money in your pocket and not falling for this scam!
I never usually write reviews on the internet, but it disgusts me how dishonest these people are. This includes the call centre people. They are just as much to blame as the owners of these companies. To do nothing about something that you know is wrong, is just as bad as doing it yourself, which is why I wrote this. I didn't want to just sit back and let this happen to many hard-working, innocent people. I am not trying to get back at the company, in fact under different circumstances, I might have been friends with Jarrod Panetto, the sales guy I spoke too. He was funny, personable - I really wanted to believe this wasn't a scam. I am sad that I was wrong.
I did ask Jarrods manager about the other reviews on Ripoff Report and he assured me that it was most likely some crazy person with a grudge against the company, maybe even one of their competitors. If you mention this article - no doubt they will give you a similar story. But look at the facts yourself, do some research.
I actually filled out the form on EM Business Connections saying that I was a retailer and need some credit card machines for my business. No reply. How is anyone supposed to make commissions when they don't even sell or install the machines?
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/31/2013 01:17 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/merchant-care-llc-first-business-llc/phoenix-arizona-95012/merchant-care-llc-first-business-llc-dont-let-yourself-be-scammed-phoenix-arizona-1055371. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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