Well, they definitely made us pay!

Customers who have visited to order from us a few times over the last month may have had the surprising experience of paying in three different ways although selecting the same option.  As you would expect, we are always doing our best to keep our systems up to date and to comply with the ever more stringent banking legislation.  The challenge for many online retailers has been to offer a PCI DSS compliant system that is efficient and easy to use both for the business and the customer as well as not being too expensive to run.  After all, if you are paying high fees for transactions it is the poor old customer who ends up footing the bill.  That is one reason why, like many other main retailers, we have tended to not have PayPal as a main payment option although we do review this from time to time.  Anyway, a customer could have paid through our old Shared SSL a month ago and then via HSBC Secure ePayments a week or so later and now via Actinic Secure Payments.  Why?  Well, nobody at Actinic or HSBC saw fit to mention that there is an incompatibility issue (known for some years too!) between Actinic and HSBC Secure ePayments.  We had to find out the hard way.  We also found out that a number of the ways we had previously made customer purchasing easier would no longer work.  That is why it had to go out in favour of Actinic Secure Payments.  There are now just one or two minor design issues left and then, really, when you think about it, what we achieve is to end up back where we started since our track record for efficient card processing and security was excellent to start with.  Anyway , at the end of all the hassle and hair-tearing it all works and we can say we are PCI DSS compliant.  Does anyone care?  Who knows?  I expect most of our customers come to us by recommendation and all they are concerned about is how soon their order will arrive.  If you’re not already one of themk and you’d like to join them then click here.

Dear God, unfortunately your credit card is not valid …

I was in the office at the weekend during the thunderstorm that almost turned Liverpool into a swimming pool and John Lennon Aiport into an aquarium. There was a huge flash of lightning and a crash of thuinder and all of a sudden the credit card machine nearby came to life all by itself, bleeped loudly and showed the error message that the card was invalid. We have no idea what it was that God was trying to order but he’s obviously having a bit of a problem with his plastic at the moment :-)