Friday, November 6, 2015

Tales from the Workplace, Part XXVII

I am posting stories from my job, because I think they're funny.  I've done my best to disguise my company name, even the industry, and to keep the people I write about and even some details of the situation anonymous.  If you know me, and know where I work, please don't include details in your comments.  I'll have to delete your comment and reconsider posting these stories.

We have had the same credit card processing system since I started with the company.  I don't know any different, so I neither love nor hate it--it is what it is.  You can swipe cards of people who come in in person, or you can go online to run the card of someone that calls over the phone.  Either way, it e-mails a report at the end of the day, and the money hits our account a couple days later.  At the end of the month, we're charged some fees.  In two separate chunks, oddly, but whatever.  

As many of you may know, someone somewhere decided that the US should join the 21st century and the rest of the world in terms of credit card security, and add chips to the credit cards.  (Of course, the PIN capabilities are coming much later, so for now it'll still be chip-and-sign rather than chip-and-PIN but whatever).  We've been calling our credit card processor every few months to ask when they'll be sending us new hardware to accommodate the new cards, and they said they'd have it ready by the October 1st deadline, and just hold tight.  Well, mid-September I called and they said they didn't have it ready yet, but they would "soon," and no biggie anyway, it's just a suggestion and not a requirement.

I did some googling, and apparently what happens on that date is that the responsibility and liability shift.  Before that deadline, if you as a vendor take a credit card payment that turns out to be fraudulent, the banks have to eat it when the rightful owner ends up disputing it.  After the deadline, if the card was an old non-chip card, that will still be the case.  If the card is a chip card and it was scanned via the chip (and not swiped with the magnetic strip), that will still be the case.  However, if the customer had a chip card but the vendor swiped it the old-fashioned way using the magnetic strip, the vendor will be on the hook for the fraudulent charges.  This scares my boss, the business owner, enough that he wanted the new technology (though we've never had a fraudulent charge in 20+ years in business--the only CC chargeback we've had was a scammy customer who ended up losing and we got the funds back after a fight).

So my boss went down to the bank (yes, WENT not called), and they told us that they partner with a certain credit card processing system, and they DO have the chip readers available, so he made an appointment with the rep.  She came, we chatted, it sounded good.  She promised the pricing would be about the same, and I asked for their pricing structure in writing.  

She didn't send that, but she sent a link to some stuff my boss needed to fill out (based on his personal credit), so I sat him at my computer (his "wouldn't open the link") and he filled it out.  Meanwhile, I still haven't received anything in writing.  A couple days later, she asked if we'd received the equipment yet.  Um, what?  Apparently my boss not only filled out his credit information to qualify, he actually SIGNED US UP without getting anything in writing.  Oops.  He didn't seem too concerned about that, though he'd been all hot and bothered about having the chip-reading equipment.

So the equipment arrived, and I contacted the sales rep, who had said that she'd help us hook it up, etc., but she basically told me to call the 800 number if I needed help.  I ended up figuring it out myself, with one call to them to make sure I didn't need a phone line, just internet.  We were up and running.  Did a $1.00 charge to my boss' company credit card, then voided it, just to verify that it worked.  

It's kind of a pain.  The old system, you had to log into the website first regardless of how you were going to process the card.  Then once logged in, there was a choice to either swipe the card or manually enter it.  For someone standing in front of me, I'd click swipe, swipe their card, then enter a couple of fields for the dollar amount and the invoice number, and boom, done.  Print the receipt for them to sign, easy peasy.

Now, in-person transactions are done entirely on this terminal a little bigger (and a lot thicker) than a cellphone.  You hit a button to wake it up, hit a couple more buttons, swipe or insert the card (depending on whether it has a chip or not), enter the dollar amount, wait a few minutes for it to finally spit out the receipt, and have them sign.  Overall probably doesn't take much longer, but my fingers fumble with the keypad vs. using a real computer keyboard, so I prefer the old method, but whatever.

To process transactions where the person isn't physically here with the card, you log on to a website.  Fine.  Slightly different format, but actually asks for less input (last system required billing address, which was weird), so it's all good.  However, the old system let us save customers' card info securely, which was great both for local customers that wanted to be able to send someone else to pick up their product, but authorize payment ahead of time over the phone so they didn't have to give them their actual card.  And for long-distance customers who just wanted to be able to say "run my card," or even authorize us to just automatically run it after invoicing.  The new system apparently does not do that.  It seems from their materials that if you pay enough, they'll let you set up recurring charges, but ours aren't the same amount every time or on a set schedule, so that doesn't work for me.  I've already had a few customers get kind of irritated that they have to re-provide their CC info every time.  So I'm starting to make use of our accounting system's ability to save the card info, but of course it doesn't "talk" to the CC system, so I have to hand-copy the information (can't copy and paste!) it every time.  Ugh.  Plus the old system would e-mail a receipt to our customer after I charge their card, and it appears the new one doesn't.  

Oh, and the online part costs extra.  Of course.  (Old system is just one set fee per transaction, no matter which way it's done, plus of course the percentage fees we're charged.)

THEN it turns out that the two systems (desktop doohickey for processing actual cards and online module for processing them long distance) don't talk to each other.  So they make separate deposits in the bank, and you have to go both places to print off the reports in order to get the details on the transactions that are being deposited.  Plus neither report provides as many details as the old system did.  WHY does it have me put in the invoice number if it's not going to help me out by including that information on the report?  Ugh.

So already I wasn't thrilled with the new system, but part of that is just hating change, and whatever.  I can deal with it, and the boss is happy that he won't be liable if someone uses a stolen card, so it's all good, right?

Until I'm reconciling our bank account and see a $10,000+ charge I don't know about.  Um, WHAT?  It, of course, has absolutely no helpful information.  In fact, the gobbledygook mess of letters and numbers looks very similar to the deposits we take to the bank in person.  Weird.  I call them, and they tell me it's from our brand spankin' new credit card processing company.  Um, I'm pretty sure they didn't tell us it would cost THIS much.  I tally up the charges we did with them, and they're barely over $11,000, so that would mean an effective rate on the processing fees of well over 90%.  Yeah, no.

Do I have a statement from them?  Of course not.  I e-mail the sales rep that we'd worked with, and she says she signed us up for online statements "to avoid the fee of having them mailed."  What?!?  It costs money for them to send us statements?  Of course it does.  She gives me the website to go to, and I do, but the account ID I use to log in to the processing website (which, of course, is an entirely different website) doesn't work.  I e-mail her back and she gives me the correct one.  Which, of course, I'd never seen before.

I finally get logged in to the website and get my temporary password changed and find where to go to see my statement.  Yup, that's the same dollar amount we had hit our bank account.  It has $10,639.00 in "other fees."  Now, we were expecting a few hundred dollars in fees for the new terminal (of course they charge for that up front), for using the website (yes, they charge for that!).  At the last of five pages, it finally details the "other charges."  Sure enough, a couple fees that do look correct, and then $10,000.00 exactly for "App. Fee."  Um, what?  I'm guessing this is an application fee, but I wasn't even informed of one, let alone for $10,000.00.  Ah, I see what the problem is--someone entered a quantity of 100 plus a price of $100.00, and I'm guessing it should just be one fee of $100.00.  I dig out the electronic documents we got after the boss had filled out all his personal information, and sure enough, it outlines the fees, including the quantity of 100 and price of $100 for an application fee.  So this would appear to be an error done by the sales rep.  Ugh.

I e-mail her, and she says yes, it's an error, and she sees it on her end, too.  She's e-mailed customer service, but recommends I call them and then have them conference her in if necessary.  As of the minute I'm typing this, I've been on hold for 50 minutes.  It's on speakerphone (which probably annoys the boss and co-worker, but I'm NOT holding a phone to my ear for that long!), so at least I'm not getting a neck-ache, but still.  Ugh.  Rep says they have very long hold times due to everyone getting switched over at the same time due to the deadlines, but I think they ought to have a dedicated line for things like this where it's their fault and not just me asking dumb questions.  Ugh.

They picked up at 52 minutes, and then after verifying who I was and explaining the problem, I waited on hold another 5 minutes or so while the rep looked into it, then she came back on the line and told me that the sales rep has to generate the refund and get it approved by their manager.  SERIOUSLY?  I waited on hold for nearly an hour for NO reason?  Ugh!  So I left a voicemail and sent an e-mail to my rep saying that, and we'll see what happens.

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