Flagship Merchant Services / Abusive Business Practices
Signed up for Merchant Services on February 4, 2009. I have a small internet business and wanted to be able to accept credit cards. I started using their services on February 10, 2009. On February 17, 2009 (seven days later), one of their departments called me to give me 30 days notice that they were terminating my merchant account contract due to the fact that they could not handle accounts like mine (ie, they don't want to work with online web businesses with the exception of web hosting).
Of course, I would prefer to work with a company that accepts and specializes in the type of business I am in... However, what was truly irritating was the fact that they were SO quick to sign me up, they spent so much time in the beginning trying to get my account. They had an entire department look over my credit, my business history (I had to turn over some sensitive information), they poured over my web site, they did "google"-type checks on my site (to see if I was selling anything on eBay, or selling anything illegal), etc. That's the process you have to go through in order to get approved for a merchant account, and I was fine with that. The horror was, after this week-long procedure, they approved me. A few days later, I find out that my business could not be supported by their services. They were "kind" enough to give me 30-days notice to find another merchant processor. Meanwhile, they placed me on some sort of "watchlist" - not the TMF (Terminated Merchant File), however, any watchlist of merchants is still a type of blacklist.
I haven't done anything wrong! Flagship went out of the their way to court our business and sign us up - without thoroughly checking if we were the right business type for their company. They seem to just sign EVERYBODY up, and then after they get their business, THEN they start asking questions. Although they can't put me on the TMF because I don't owe them any money - their poor and irresponsible business practices have made it difficult for me to find another merchant processor! Though I have done nothing wrong - my business is suffering! They have even told me that they would hold all of my money for six months ("just in case" - of what, I have no idea).
Be careful who you decide to work with when it comes to getting a Merchant Service account. Flagship Merchant Services, Merchant Warehouse, and about a hundred other different companies work under the umbrella of "First Data". The odds are stacked against the merchant - there is a TMF and about a dozen other types of blacklists of merchants, and YET THERE IS NO SIMILAR LIST warning of merchant processors who will damage your business and your credibility (and just because they're so anxious to make a few extra bucks!).
First Data is backed by Wells Fargo Bank.
If there is ever a blacklist of merchant processors for merchants out there - these banks/companies should be on the list:
- Wells Fargo
- First Data
- Flagship Merchant Services
- Merchant Warehouse
- Any other of the hundred companies that process through First Data.
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- Flagship Merchant Services - Technical Support 
- Flagship Merchant Services - Thieves 
- Flagship Merchant Services - MTOT withdraws
- Flagship Merchant Services - Flagship Merchant Services. Fraud Theft 
- Flagship Merchant Services - Contract cancellation
- Flagship Merchant Services - Unauthorized Withdrawals
- Flagship Merchant Services - Horrible Customer Service