Flagship Merchant Services Review

Overall Rating Breakdown
Sales & Marketing Tactics
Costs & Contract Terms
Complaints & Service
BBB Rating

Flagship Merchant Services

"C" Credit Card Processor Rating

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Jump to: Sales & Marketing | Costs & Contract | Complaints & Service | BBB Complaints

Flagship Merchant Services Overview

Flagship Merchant Services Logo

Flagship Merchant Services Logo

Flagship Merchant Services (cardservicesales.com & flagshipmerchantservices.com) is a large merchant account sales organization based out of Charlestown, Massachusetts. The company was founded in 2001 and looks to have grown rapidly in the last 10 years. Flagship is a reseller of processing services primarily provided by First Data and iPayment but appears to handle the customer service of its accounts in-house. Flagship’s website boasts that it has been the top-rated credit card processor on TopTenReviews.com for seven consecutive years.

Aside from providing credit card processing services and merchant accounts, Flagship also supplies business cash advances, electronic check services, and gift card programs.

Flagship’s Acquiring Bank is Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. of Walnut Creek, CA.

Flagship Merchant Services Sales & Marketing Tactics | C-

Key Points – Sales & Marketing 
Uses independent resellers? No
Promotes deceptive rate quotes? Yes
Discloses all important terms? No

This reviewer located one use of deceptive marketing by Flagship in which the company advertises on its homepage and in Google Adsense ads that “rates start at 0.38% plus $0.19 per transaction.” This rate quote is misleading because it only applies to a particular transaction type, and the majority of a merchant’s transactions will run at much higher rates. Flagship fails to mention that the merchant will experience other rates and fees in addition to the unrealistically low rate quote. As you can imagine, these types of quotes can lead to confusion.

Flagship appears to primarily use inside sales staff to market its services, instead of using outside independent sales agents. Inside sales personnel are the preferred marketing strategy for this reviewer because the sales tactics of the agents can be better controlled. This is of course assuming that the company doesn’t encourage deceptive sales practices, which may be an issue with Flagship due to numerous complaints indicating that agents failed to fully disclose important fees and contract terms (covered in more detail below).

[Related: Get quotes from a provider with “A” rated sales tactics]

Flagship Merchant Services Costs & Contract Terms | B

Key Points – Costs & Contract Terms
Swiped rate: Variable
Keyed-in rate: Variable
Termination fee: None
PCI compliance fee: $99 per year
Equipment lease: Variable

Rates and fees of Flagship merchant accounts may vary for a variety of reasons including a merchant’s business type, processing volume, and the agent setting up the account. The company offers month-to-month contracts with no cancellation fees but charges an annual PCI Compliance fee of around $99 in addition to several other monthly fees. Merchants are encouraged to carefully read and understand Flagship’s merchant account agreement prior to signing, as many of the complaints about the company relate to its pricing, which appears to vary from merchant to merchant. Be sure to read “Fee Sweep” to understand merchant account fees and how to negotiate them in your favor.

Flagship Merchant Services Complaints & Service | C-

Key Points – Complaints & Service
Total complaints: 120+
Live customer support? Yes
Most common complaint: Hidden fees

For a provider of Flagship’s size and time in business, there are a moderate number of Flagship Merchant Services negative reviews filed in the usual forums, as well as over 60 in our comment section below. Many of the complaints follow a common theme, which is the reason Flagship is receiving a low rating in this section. Of the reports, numerous merchants complain of receiving higher than quoted fees after signing up, sudden increases in fees without notification, hidden/undisclosed fees, and difficulty cancelling service.

These types of complaints usually indicate systemic problems in the sales practices in which agents often fail to disclose fees and instead rely on the merchant to find them within the contract. It can also be an indication of problems with the billing system. Either way, Flagship can improve its rating in this section by eliminating future complaints of this nature.

Flagship Merchant Services BBB Report | C- (CPO Adjusted)

Key Points – BBB Report
Product/service: 25
Billing/collection: 67
Advertising/sales: 19
Guarantee/warranty: 0
Delivery: 1

As of this update, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is reporting that Flagship is not accredited and is assigning the company a grade of “C+.” The company has 112 BBB complaints filed in the last 36 months and 32 negative reviews. Of the 112 complaints, 67 are regarding billing and collection disputes, 25 with service problems, and 19 with advertising and sales issues. Flagship has resolved 98 of the complaints to the merchant’s satisfaction and the BBB reports that Flagship made a “good faith effort” with the remaining 14 despite the merchant reporting dissatisfaction with the response. Given the company’s increase in complaints and negative reviews since our last update, we have adjusted the BBB’s rating to a “C-.”

Bottom Line

Flagship has seen its grade drop since our last review, due mostly to widespread reports of deceptive sales practices and excessive billing. The company offers month-to-month agreements, which makes it attractive for many businesses. Flagship can improve its rating in this review by eliminating future merchant complaints about billing, hidden fees, and difficulties cancelling service.

This review was originally published on 7/20/10 and was last updated on 7/30/14.

Leave your review of Flagship Merchant Services in the comment section below:

Flagship Merchant Services Review

Rated 2.375 Out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by Phillip Parker
Reviewed on 2014-07-30 14:15:30

Flagship Merchant Services (flagshipmerchantservices.com) has over 200 negative reviews filed against it. Many of the complaints follow a common theme regarding misquoted fees, difficulty cancelling service, and… Learn more in this Flagship Merchant Services review.

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About the author

Phillip Parker

Phillip Parker is a former merchant services agent turned small business advocate and the author of "Fee Sweep," which teaches merchants how to dramatically lower their processing rates, eliminate junk fees, and avoid fine-print scams. He founded CardPaymentOptions.com to help merchants enact positive change in the credit card processing industry.

Phillip can help you find an ethical and honest processor that will offer you great rates. Click here to request a free provider consultation.

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  1. Brandi Bogue

    Horrible company. We have been charged at least 20% of our charges in fees every month. We tried to cancel 2 accounts. It took 3 months, and of course, they continued to charge fees. They kept transferring us to new people, who also had no answers, gave fake fax numbers, claimed items mailed were never received, and one rep. said that he would enter a request for a refund. When we called back, we were told that no such request was filed. Representative claimed that we were notified in writing of the PCI compliance fees. We have every piece of mail they have ever sent us. There is no explanation of this fee. I contacted them to close the account and asked to speak to an operations manager. They told us that there was no way for them to contact the operations manager. Their call center manager and their website claim that they are top rated with the BBB. Outright lie! We have filed a complaint with the BBB and will be posting as many low ratings on consumer sights as possible. Nobody should have to deal with a company this crooked and dishonest. I will sign on for the class action suit when it happens!

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  2. Karen judd

    Same thing. Trying to cancel my services for months and have been given the run around.

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  3. Robert Moyers

    I also recently signed on with this company and after three days tried to cancel out, but they will not do it. I followed all their requirements. They will probably continue to bill me monthly for a service charge even though I will not be using their services. This merchant service should be put out of service. Matthew Peabody was my merchant representative. Robert Moyers

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  4. Mike and Little Buddy

    What a total rip off. We received “free” card reader and tons of non-understandable information in the mail. We were told it was a percentage of each sales transaction. We used the card reader once for $.01 as instructed by Flagship to make sure our banking information went through correctly. Within no time a $43 charge was deducted from out bank account. We reported the charge as fraudulent and 6 weeks later they referred us to a collection agency. They do not return phone calls or e-mails. Watch out for their deceptive business practices.

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  5. Joyce Ochoa

    In the same boat as most. When I sighed up I told the person I would probably only make 1-3 transitions a month if that and at $8 a month was a bit much for me but I was hoping that now I could charge I was hoping sales would be up, so I said ok. This was on the 15th of July and I didn’t activate untill the beginning of Aug. I was charged $16 they said $8 was for internet fee, wish I would have known. I sent them 2 faxes trying to cancel my account that I haven’t used and just recieved a statement of $40.90 because of $25.00 MIN DISCOUNT what ever that is. Guess I will have to cancel my checking account so I don’t get any more charges. Sooooooo easy to get started but trying to get this monkey off my back is horrible!!!!!!!!! Wish I had read these reviews first.

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  6. claire henry

    been trying to cancel this service for months. they truly give you the run around and hide under different names and numbers.

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