Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Nightmare and a Happy Ending

Well, on Saturday night, my credit card machine nightmare that I had been dreading for the past 5 years came true. Let me back up for a minute. When I take my credit card machine to events, I use it in a store/forward mode which means that all the credit card info gets stored in the machine and when I get access to a phone line, I then process all the transactions. There is a risk that a card can be declined- it has happened before occasionally, but it always resolved quickly. This machine that I have now is new and Saturday was my first time taking it to an event. I had practiced with it and everything seemed to be working perfectly. I did two silent auctions at Wine Fest all afternoon and evening. I got an assortment of sports memorabilia from a dealer that I've worked with for years. Driving home, I was my usual anxious self about processing the credit cards. I can never truly relax after an event until I get the credit card info uploaded and it prints out the receipt. Now, there are two steps to processing the cards when I get to the phone line. In the first step, all the cards are authorized- this step went through without a problem. 15 transactions for a total of approx $2,700. In the second step, it is called settling the batch. This failed. I tried it again and it failed again. You can't imagine how I felt- it was my credit card nightmare coming true. My stomach twisted and I could feel my blood running cold. I immediately called the credit card processing company. At first, the rep was not very helpful- he said there must be a problem with one of the cards that I had swiped and that was why it wouldn't balance out when it tried to settle. I was lost- I was new to the machine, but the slip that printed out showed each transaction as being authorized. I wasn't crying yet, but inside I was heading into a panic. The rep put me on hold and when he came back, he was much more helpful, although he couldn't resolve the situation that night, he told me to call back in the morning to speak to someone else. He said that they could see that the credit cards had been authorized (which is very important), so that I would be able to get my money, but I needed to call back in the morning to speak to someone else who might be able to get the machine working properly. If they couldn't do that, then he said they would have to send me all the credit card info for each person's purchase and I would have to manually enter the info. They would also need to reprogram my machine. I got off the phone feeling better since he said that I would get my money, but I was still stressed.

I called back as soon as I woke up in the morning. The new rep walked me through reprogramming the machine and then said that they would be sending me the credit card info for each person and I would have to manually enter it into the machine. The credit card info came this morning via an encrypted email. I actually deleted the email when I first saw it because I thought it was spam. Right after I deleted it, I went to the trash folder and opened it again- after it dawned on me what it could be. The rep had said that I might not get the info until Tuesday, so I wasn't expecting it so soon. It took a few minutes to go through all the security to gain access and then I had to manually enter all the info which was stressful. I didn't want to make any mistakes. Thankfully, it was only 13 transactions- if it had been a big event like the date auction, that would have been a lot worse. I settled the batch and it went through. I noticed that one of the transactions was missing from the list that they sent me, so I called the company to find out about the missing transaction and to make sure everything went through. It turned out that the company settled the last transaction when I had processed it on Saturday night- since they did that, I don't know why they couldn't settle the other 13 transactions instead of my having to input all the info in again. The good news is that by 11:30am everything was all set- our money will be on its way to our bank account within a few days. It was so stressful though. Almost half of the $2,700 goes to the dealer for the items that we got for the auction. So not only could I have potentially lost the $1,400 in profit, but I would have been on the hook for $1,300 for the auction items.

Well, it is after 1am and I need to get to bed. I just wanted to share my drama with you- it was quite nerve wracking, but the main thing is that everything is fine and this problem should not occur again. There is lots more to write about, but that was one of the dominating things of the last couple of days. Until tomorrow friends...

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