Eliot Management Group / Unethical Business Practices
Why is this company still allowed to continue to stay in business. My complaint is lengthy but I think it is important to show everyone the degree this company goes to in order to steal from their customers... Which is apparent due to the other complaints on the internet... They are still getting away with it so I am willing to do my part to warn others about how they operate and how the regional offices and their corporate office plays off each other in order to swindle fees out of unsuspecting companies...
I own a small firm that provides bookkeeping and accounting services to small companies and one of my clients was concerned about the fees his credit card processing company was charging him. They had been with eliot management group for 5 or so years so I was pretty certain that whatever contract he might have signed had expired. I contacted the denver office who initiated the relationship to speak with his rep to re-negotiate. Their rep was not available so I left my information for the purpose of reviewing their rates. I didn't receive a call back. I called a second time and again the rep wasn't available, I left another message requesting a call back.in the meantime my client’s terminal failed so he contacted them directly with his problem. Funny his rep was available then. He informed my client that he would need to obtain a new terminal as the one he had was obsolete. The rep proceeded to discuss "lease payment options" available that he would need to agree to in order for them to service his account allowing them to continue accepting credit card payments immediately from their customers. Even though my client specifically ask if he could simply purchase the equipment he was told it was unlikely anything he purchased elsewhere would be compatible, therefore it was in his best interest and more cost effective to go with the equipment that was guaranteed to work. Since credit card payments were essential to his business, he felt he didn't have a choice and agreed to a lease.
When I discovered what transpired I was very upset that this company would basically blackmail one of their clients into signing an agreement that would ultimately cost them almost $3, 000.00 for a piece of equipment that at best should have only cost them $500.00! So I once again tried contacting the rep and again he wasn't available. I informed the person who answered the phone that I was very disappointed that they would allow one of their longtime customer to enter into a lease like this, and since I had tried contacting them numerous times already and they didn't bother returning my call that it was apparent they truly didn't care about their customers - therefore we were going to look for a company that cared about their business partners.
I already established a business relationship with a small local credit card processing company that had treated some of my other clients very well and went out of their way to service them. They even provided the equipment at no cost to them - they considered this part of building the business relationship. So they did their thing and provided my client with a "notice of cancellation" for them to fax to eliot management... Which my client completed and faxed to the denver office on 2/5/11. As far as everyone knew that was the end of it. However on their march bank statement there was a fee from eliot. So I tried calling the denver office and again, rep not available. Considering my past experience at leaving messages for the denver office, I contacted the customer service number and requested that they reverse the march fee since the account was cancelled. To make a long story short and a very unprofessional exchange with their rep, they claimed they did not receive the notification by the feb 28, 2011 cancellation deadline per the 5 year old contract (with an automatic one year extension if they were not contacted 30 day prior to the cancellation deadline), therefore per the terms within that contract the customer was responsible until feb 28, 2012. They told me our options were that we could pay the $595.00 cancellation fee or keep the service another year and pay the monthly fees. I informed them that their rep in denver was contacted therefore prior to this deadline and it was his responsibility to inform his billing office. Then the corporate office customer service rep asks me why we didn't call the 1-800 customer service line. This stumped me for a minute because the obvious retort would be that since all prior contact went through their rep in denver, why would we assume it was necessary to "also" contact someone we had never dealt with. They demanded proof that we faxed the notice... Basically calling my client liars. To make matters worse when my client tried to print out the fax report, his machine was out of ink and once he replaced the cartridge, it wouldn't duplicate the report and the phone company claimed they couldn't provide an itemized statement. Again I called their corporate office and tried to reason with them, that even if we couldn’t produce the proof they requested, it was only 3 weeks after the cancellation date and that after 5+ years they needed to do the right thing and simply close the matter. They basically told me regardless of the circumstances they were going to charge my client the $595.00 because that is what the contract read – period - live with it. Not even an offer to pro-rate like most viable companies do.
So I contacted the bank to stop any further withdrawals... Here is where everyone needs to pay attention... Banks hands are apparently tied when it comes to electronic transactions so if you sign something giving a company access to an eft or ach the only way to stop these withdrawals completely depends on your relationship with that company... If you are in dispute the only way you can stop them from getting into your account is to close the account! We thought a possible way outside of closing the account, and the only option our banker could suggest, would be to initiate a stop payment for the specific amount of $595.00– which we did.
Here is where you know exactly what kind of experience this company has with disputes like these and how well they know the limitations banks have to electronic transactions…. Eliot management initiated a withdrawal for $100.00 and a separate one for $495.00 on the same day to avoid the $595.00 stop payment! I admit I informed them I was putting a stop payment for this fee, but in my defense even if I wouldn’t have divulged this to them, I am confident that once the initial attempt to hit the account for the full fee was bounced, they would have simply turned right around and done it exactly the way they did! Seems obvious to me they have pulled this “trick” before.
I discussed this matter with the local company I deal with and he told me that some of these companies biggest profit centers are on "equipment" sales and they have iron-clad contracts written by very good lawyers so it is impossible to break them... And they know how to solicit and retain reps that can "sell ice to eskimos"... And these fast talkers know how to recognize a potential "target". There are a lot of small companies out there fall prey to fast taking reps that present impressive "packaging" and offer a service these companies need in today’s business environment. It is amazing how many intelligent people really know nothing about the "language of the contract" and most don't even bother to read it because they are told just enough to get them to sign on the dotted line. People want to believe that if a company has been around for a while and has reps all over the country, that they are an honest reputable firm that wants to form a business partnership with them. Eliot management does not fall into this category. From everything I have experienced and read on line, they are very good at their deceptions and know just when to "ignore" complaints when they come in. If my daughter brought home a potential life partner that had worked for this company for more than 3 years, I would have to find a way to convince her to be very very cautious... Because anyone that works for a company like this that long probably has some serious character flaws that aren't apparent during the courtship... But eventually surface and they make movies about them on the lifetime channel.
Help spread the word to any business owner you know, or anyone you think might be considering going into business to stay away from this company. They are not looking to establish a long-term business relationship with you... They are only looking at an opening to suck your hard earned money away from you and into their coffers and they are very experienced an accomplishing their goal.
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