ClearSale prevents the heartache of ecommerce fraud for Heartbreaker Guitars

4 years with ClearSale

0 guitars lost to fraud

0 false declines

0 fraud-related chargebacks

“Without a doubt, the #1 benefit we get from ClearSale is peace of mind. We know that once we get that approval from them, we can ship our guitars out with confidence.”

Brendan Smyth, Owner, Heartbreaker Guitars

ClearSale keeps fraudsters from cheating Heartbreaker Guitars


Heartbreaker Guitars sells instruments that get musicians’ hearts beating a little faster, from premium luthiers like the Relish brothers in Switzerland and Matt McPherson in Wisconsin. Their boutique’s offerings range from $1,000 acoustic guitars to $20,000 electric guitars.

Understandably, “We want to be able to ship out these thousand-dollar guitars and multithousand-dollar guitars and not worry if we are dealing with a fraudulent individual,” says Owner Brendan Smyth.

ClearSale has protected Heartbreaker Guitars from fraud since shortly after their online store opened in 2012. Since then, Assistant Manager Karley Cottrell says, “ClearSale has never flagged an order as fraudulent that wasn’t, and they’ve never allowed us to lose a guitar or lose out on revenue.”

The Challenge: Keep high-end guitars out of fraudsters’ hands, keep customers happy

Heartbreaker Guitars has a clientele of musicians all over the world who are happy to pay a premium for exceptionally well-made instruments. But the store also has two major risk factors for e-commerce fraud. First, it sells coveted, costly items that fraudsters could easily make a profit on by reselling them below market value. Second, Heartbreaker Guitars accepts international orders, which raises the risk of transaction fraud somewhat.

But when Heartbreaker Guitars opened its doors in the winter of 2012, owner Brendan Smyth says, “We had no idea about e-commerce fraud and how owners and retailers out there are at such risk with high-end items. If you lose one to fraud that transaction could cost you a fortune. Once we realized the potential risks, we started researching fraud protection programs and found ClearSale.”

The Solution: ClearSale Total Guaranteed Protection

Smyth was impressed with ClearSale’s comprehensive fraud protection that would protect Heartbreaker Guitars from fraud-related chargeback costs—the first chargeback guarantee in the CNP fraud prevention industry.

And because ClearSale’s screening combines artificial intelligence, machine learning and expert human analysis, the fraud prevention program at Heartbreaker is always getting better and faster at identifying fraud and verifying good orders. That frees Heartbreaker to ship good customers their new guitars sooner, with confidence.

ClearSale also provides

  • Fast order decisions so good customers aren’t kept waiting
  • Virtually no false declines, so good customers will keep coming back
  • Screening that’s custom-tailored to the risk profiles of different industries, channels, markets and customer profiles
  • A dashboard with real-time metrics and customer reports
  • Data protection compliance, so stores can avoid fines and protect their customers’ trust

ClearSale has grown along with Heartbreaker Guitars since 2012. It’s now one of the world’s largest CNP fraud prevention service providers, with more than 18 years of experience and 3000 clients selling into 160 countries.

The Results: Zero false declines, zero fraud losses, 100% peace of mind

With ClearSale checking their online orders, the Heartbreaker Guitars team can focus on exceptional customer service.

“Once we get an order in our system, we start prepping the guitar to ship it out to the customer,” Cottrell says. “Usually in half an hour to an hour, we've already gotten an approval from ClearSale showing us that it's safe to send that out, that the order's not fraudulent, and that we are protected. That lets us provide the quickest service to our customers.”

When Heartbreaker employees have a question for ClearSale’s fraud team, “we get instantaneous responses,” Smyth says. “If we want to follow up with a transaction that we haven't gotten a response on yet, usually they email us back right away. ‘Hey, Brendan, we're just waiting to get final approval on this or that.’”

Smyth also says he “can’t put a price tag on the peace of mind” he gets from having ClearSale review and guarantee his online store’s orders. “If something goes wrong, we're covered.” So far that hasn’t been an issue. In 8 years of working with ClearSale, Heartbreaker Guitars has had:

  • 0 false declines
  • 0 guitars lost to fraud
  • 0 fraud-related chargebacks

“I would recommend ClearSale to any e-commerce business out there, whether you're selling widgets or expensive guitars,” Smyth says. “Knowing that our transactions are clean and clear and free of any fraudulent activity helps me sleep at night.”


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ClearSale Reviews


Saves a ton of time and headaches!

"I don't have to spend time researching orders to see if they are fraud or not. I love that ClearSale backs up their approvals with a money-back guarantee if the order turns out to be fraud."



Amazing - takes the stress away from me!

"I love that it takes the stress away from me worrying about fraud charges."

Dustin D.


Excellent service - both timeliness and fraud control

"I have always received immediate response and minimal fraud rejection -- which leads to increased sales."



Great fraud prevention for ecommerce sites

"ClearSale has a great fraud protection program using their algorithmic matching of potentially fake orders, and will scan them as they come up and reject them if they are suspected as fraud."

Lee K.


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