After listening to you -- I delivered!
I am a home body. I don't travel unless absolutely neccessary... I put my butt on a train and went to Chicago, IL to the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition.
Of course only the G & L boys showed up! (www.gandlclothing.com). Everyone else stood me up -- I won't mention any names (Brian Shockley) but stood up nonetheless.
So I spent alot of time trying to take photos by myself!! (spare the "shiny head" jokes -- I've heard them all)
Do you know how embarrassing it is to get caught taking a photo of yourself in the restroom??!!
So I thought the elevator would work out better! But of course the door flew open just as I was clicking the photo... Needless to say the lady took the next elevator. Pathetic.
Enter the G&L guys! Finally someone to hang with at this amazing sushi bar. Lots to eat and drink.
After the lady took 4 photos of our plates -- she finally was able to fire off a photo of us. (I'm mumbling "Just hit the damn button lady..." while trying to hold a smile)
YES! There was SAKE involved! Or is that Saki? Or Socky? I'm too lazy to spell check. Just suffice to say international booze was involved.
The G&L guys had to jet.. So I was back on my own again.. Found someone to take a photo..
Made up my mind that people from Chicago just can't operate a camera so ... Back to the drawing board... Taking my own photos.
Shopping (no not for purses! It was the nearest mirror)
Orvis! Finally get to see all that cool stuff up close. Boy I wish I fished.
Checking out of the Hotel...
Wandering around Chicago picking up gifts for the family. (Found a traveler that knew how to work a camera. Thank goodness)
And the end. Just remember... I was there and you weren't (Brian Shockley)
I enjoyed myself overall. I also hooked up with the FiftyOne www.fiftyone.com guys and talked shop. It was a good trip.
Web design and e-commerce
I'm writing this message because I feel it's very important that our community of online e-commerce retailers understand how fraud impacts your business.
Kevin from www.diveprodivegear.com has a horrific story that started with $28,000 of fraudulent orders. The end result was a frozen credit card account and over $7,000 of HIS LEGITIMATE money held by Visa and Mastercard.
Keep in mind that Kevin identified and refunded this money thinking he was doing the "right thing".
** IMPORTANT NOTE **
Kevin mentions Linkpoint many times in this story. Keep in mind that Linkpoint is merely a gateway and does not make these decisions. The decisions are made by the actual processing bank -- in this case "First Data Corp.". Which, in turn is regulated by Visa/Mastercard, etc. So "Linkpoint" is only the gateway that happens to be the company handling the complaint.
I'll post Kevin's messages verbatim since he does a good job of telling his story...
Credit card fraud
Shane -- thanks very much for your prompt return of my call on Friday. I really appreciate it. Here's what happened ...
Over the last couple of months, we had 4 fraudulent orders get through the automatic Linkpoint authorization process and show up as new orders. These were large ($5000 - $11,000) orders and were suspect to us, so we called the credit card company, confirmed the credit card was stolen, cancelled the orders and processed credits to the cardholders. So far, so good.
Then our Amex orders started getting declined and shortly thereafter all our orders. Without notification, Amex's computer had decided that we were high risk and had suspended our account. That triggered Linkpoint into doing the same (again without notification). All this after 1) Amex approved the fraudulent transactions before we ever saw the orders and 2) in spite of the fact that we notified Amex of the fraud and promptly processed credits to the cardholders. Since last Friday, we have had to process orders manually and hold transactions while I sort things out with Amex and Linkpoint.
Amex has reinstated our account, and Linkpoint says they will within the next few days, but they aren't terribly responsive.
In any event, have you had website clients experience this before and, of so, what were they able to do to prevent re-occurance ?? For example, do they automatically decline any orders where the Bill To and Ship To don't match, then process those manually ??
Any advice is welcome. Thanks for listening -- KOB.
Toll free: 1-877-55-DIVER
I asked Kevin to post the details so I could share......
Re: Credit card fraud - the details
Here are the details ...
If you look on our website details, you will see the following orders:
#70600482 5/10/08 $7K+ Visa
#70600434 4/23/08 $5K+ Amex
#70600380 3/27/08 $10K+ Amex
#70600303 2/13/08 $6K+ Mastercard
Each of these orders was processed via Linkpoint and authorized prior to them being forward to us. Because of the large $ value, odd nature of the purchases (e.g. 20 of the same dive computer) and foreign Ship To address, we suspected that they were fraudulent and contacted the credit card company. When we confirmed that the credit cards were stolen, we cancelled the orders. Because the transactions had been approved by either the issuing bank or Amex, the funds had been automatically transferred to our bank account, so we also had to issue credits to the cardholders.
All of the above seemed to be "doing the right thing" and the credit card companies seemed to appreciate our efforts. We have not had a single bad transaction process to completion since opening in June 2007. And each of the Amex investigations was settled in our favor. There were no investigations for the Visa or MC transactions.
Nonetheless, last Tuesday 6/10, our Amex transactions started getting declined. At first, we thought that the customers were entering some incorrect information. However, just by coincidence, I had called Linkpoint and Amex and requested that they reimburse us for approx. $500+ each in credit card processing fees that they had charged us for the fraudulent transactions. Seems fair, doesn't it ?? They approve a transaction and charge us BIG fees, then we discover it's bad, refund the full amount and are out the fees. In this case, these 4 orders were more than $1000 in credit card processing fees.
So, when I spoke with Amex about these fees, they told us our account had been terminated, due to high risk. That is the ONLY notification that I have received to date. And I subsequently found out that the decision to terminate was made by a computer !! OK, I was pissed off and removed Amex from our website, but felt that was not the end of the earth because most orders are not Amex and most people have another credit card in addition to Amex.
Now it gets fun ... when Amex terminated us, they automatically put you on a TMS (terminated merchants) list, which is published to ALL credit card companies. So, Linkpoint picks that up and also terminates us (again, no notification). We realize that somethings up with Linkpoint on Thursday evening 6/12, when ALL orders start getting declined.
So, Friday most of the day I am on the phone with Linkpoint and Amex. Linkpoint says it's their policy to automatically terminate a merchant if they show up on the TMS list. They also say they'll reinstate if Amex takes us off the TMS list.
Now ... you're gonna love this ... I call Amex and finally get a nice woman who says something like "the computer did it automatically, let me take a look". I give here some details and a few minutes later she comes back and says something like "you shouldn't have been terminated, I will take you off the TMS list and can reinstate you with Amex if you'd like." Well, DUH, of course I'd like. So, she says "give me an hour or so and you will be reinstated". She also says that Linkpoint can confirm with them that they're taking us off the infamous TMS list.
So, now I am back on the phone with Linkpoint. And I tell the guy that we're now back in Amex's good graces and would he please reinstate us on Linkpoint for our Visa, Mastercard & Discover. He calls back several hours later and says that they will reinstate us, BUT just need to verify some orders. So he gives me a list of orders that are higher in value and asks me to fax copies to him, which I do. It's now about 4:30p on Friday.
Obviously, this guy's going home for the weekend, so we're unable to process any creidt cards over the weekend, which is usually a busy time for us. But, on your advice, I had put the website on manual, so at least the orders came in and we'll process the credit cards when we get reinstated at Linkpoint. We were able to log into our Amex account on Sunday evening, but can't automatically process Amex cards on our website, because they authorize through Linkpoint.
So, yesterday (Monday 6/16) I spoke with the Linkpoint guy and he says they're checking out the orders and will reinstate as soon as that's completed and they verify we're off the TMS list. Linkpoint does NOT seem to be in any big hurry to help their merchants (at least from our perspective).
That's where we are right now. Still accumulating orders that will need to be manually processed once we're reinstated with Linkpoint. I am calling this guy pretty regularly so that he knows I won't go away. I am hoping that we'll get reinstated today, but he makes no promises.
1. Pay very close attention to the orders coming in and, if you suspect fraud, confirm with the credit card company and credit the cardholder immediately. We were told by both Amex and Linkpoint that we had done the right thing by acting immediately in reporting these transactions and quickly processing the credits.
2. You will NOT be notified in a timely manner by either Amex or Linkpoint if they decide to suspend or terminate you. Orders will just start being declined.
3. You cannot prevent the bad guys from attempting fraud with stolen credit cards on your website. And some of the transactions will be approved. If they are approved, it counts against you even though you didn't do anything wrong.
4. In the near term, we are going to continue to process credit cards manually via the Linkpoint merchant portal, even after we're reinstated and could do automatic authorization, so that we will not get a fraud transaction that is automatically authorized. This has been too painful a process.
I will keep you posted on the outcome -- KOB.
Toll free: 1-877-55-DIVER
Later the same day Kevin sent me this message....
Re: Credit card fraud -- update
Shane -- just got off the phone with Linkpoint. Reinstatement process has started (as of this morning). The party line is that it takes 24-48 hours, but the customer service person seemed to think it would take less time based on where we are in the process right now.
Hope the earlier details (sorry for the lengthy message) and this update were useful.
Thanks -- KOB.
Toll free: 1-877-55-DIVER
And the most recent update...
Shane -- it gets better. About an hour ago, Linkpoint called and said that they are NOT reactivating our account, in spite of the fact that this morning they said that they were and that Amex has reactivated us, because of the fraudulent attempts (no actual losses, just attempts).
After a heated discussion (and some threats of legal action), they have agreed to reactivate our account for about 2 weeks to give me time to find another credit card processor. They are also holding more than $7000 of my money, just in case.
So, I will be contacting Dale Spenrath to find out who he can hook me up with to process our credit cards.
This is SO painful and time-consuming, you cannot imagine. Orders are coming in and we still cannot process the credit cards, so we're now at a point where we're having to ship some small orders (< $100) without having received payment. The large orders we're not shipping yet (too much risk).
Hope this saga continues to help -- KOB.
Toll free: 1-877-55-DIVER
I talked to Dale Spenrath, our Linkpoint provider. He is working with Kevin trying to see what he can do to help Kevin. Dale is not Kevin's Linkpoint agent however he is happy to pull any strings he can for all of our sake.
I'm waiting to hear from Dale to see if he was able to help. The main feeling is that the "First Data" computer is not going to change it's mind :).
In the old days everyone had some type of "banker" on the other end. Now it's just computers -- so we are at the mercy of the bits and bytes of a machine.
One important point I would add to Kevin's advice is to NEVER refund a fraudulent chargeback. Kevin had paid his 3% to charge the card and when he refunded it (thinking he was doing the "right thing") he was charged the 3% again -- Losing around $500.00 in fees that will never be refunded.
Either VOID the transaction or let the cardholder do a chargeback -- it's cheaper for the retailer.
Please post comments and questions for Dale, Kevin and myself to try to answer.
I have never cared much for Mac's. I was not excited about the Iphone. I DO love the Mac/PC commercials.. They are pretty darn funny.
So here is the story. My Blackberry died. I am and aways have been a die-hard Blackberry fan. I have had blackberries back before anyone knew what they were (back when they were ONLY email devices).
My Blackberry died last Tuesday. I went to the AT&T store. My contract was not yet up -- I couldn't qualify for any good discounts on phones (don't get me started on that...).
Anyways, I walked out of the store with an IPhone for less than a replacement Blackberry -- PLUS the monthly service was about $30.00/month cheaper than my Blackberry plan.
I don't need TelNav because the IPhone has Google Maps integrated (no GPS but the cell towers work nearly as well). That saved me $10/month.
And the unlimited data plan was much cheaper starting at $20.00/month compared to $60.00. I added $10.00/month for 1500 text messages and I was still $30.00/month ahead.
I'm not sure how the pricing works across the country -- But I am very happy with the IPhone (unexpectedly). The mail and browser work very well and it's the closest thing you'll get to a real browser.
You could easily use the IPhone to do things like view/manage your WebsiteForge orders and even use your credit card gateway like Linkpoint and Authorize.net with the IPhone to process credit cards. Our Project Portal System works perfectly there too.
Just figured I'd share my experience!
Web site design and e-commerce
One of the most difficult things to determine is whether or not an international order will end up as a fraudulent order.
Will you ship the product only to find that it was a stolen card and because this crook is from a far away land -- you can hardly do anything about it?
What about trying to get a product through customs? Is it worth the time and effort?
I'm pleased to announce that we are working with an international solution provider to REMOVE ALL THE RISK FROM INTERNATIONAL orders!
New FiftyOne service will improve international shopping experience and simplify international fulfillment
We are planning on integrating a leading-edge international ecommerce and logistics service later this year called FiftyOne into the Website Forge platform.
FiftyOne is a service that will automatically present all of your products in foreign currencies to international visitors by detecting the country they are coming from, and for any international orders that results, FiftyOne eliminates all of the headaches associated with international order processing, including landed cost calculation, international shipping, credit card fraud and customs compliance.
Once you sign up for FiftyOne, your website will automatically become multi-currency and be welcoming to an international customer.
You will not be required to make any changes to your existing business, financial, operational or fulfillment processes.
All international orders will be provided to you as U.S. orders with a U.S. credit card and a New Jersey shipping address that you will fulfill to and bill to as you normally would.
I think this service will drive more revenue for those who subscribe to it.
Website Forge Merchant Partners who would like to enhance their websites for international visitors with a risk-free fulfillment process will be able to sign up for the service for a low monthly subscription fee of $14.95 plus a reasonable commission on sales.
At a time when the volume of international orders are growing due to the sagging USD$, having an improved international ecommerce and logistics service in time for Holiday 2008 will be a great advantage. And saving time and money because you no longer need to handle customs paperwork is an asset.
Let me know if you feel you would benefit from using FiftyOne and you intend to enroll when it becomes operational later this year.
Hello everyone. Some of you encouraged me to visit the Chicago Internet Retailer Expo this year. So I have purchased my tickets!
I'll be there from June 9th to the 12th.
A few of our Website Forge partners will be there too. Justin from www.gandlclothing.com and Brian Shockley from www.shopbakersnook.com to name a couple.
If anyone else is attending.. Drop me a line and I'll see if I can meet up with you to say hello.
The web site for the show is: http://www.internetretailer.com/IRCE2008/
Today we received a few complaints that customers using USPS (US Postal Service) could not check out.
The error the customer received was "No Shipping Options Available".
After investigation we found that the USPS shipping API (web based shipping rating service hosted by the US Post Office) was having technical problems.
As far as we see this issue has been resolved by the Post Office.
Please let us know if you see any other issues. We cannot do anything when this type of issue occurs because the error is on the side of the Post Office.
The good news is -- this is a rare event. Let's hope the USPS keeps up and running in the future.