On Behalf of the Better Half. . .

Well, it pisses me off, too. Maybe some of you with some experience in retail know how to deal with this crap.

So, the wife has a business, just herself. . .designing, making, selling jewelry. Wholesale, and at retail shows.

Anyway, she does a show in Louisville this year and sells a woman a $42 pair of earrings, who pays with credit card. My wife has a little “transceiver” thing to do CC purchases with. Well, she swipes the card, gets authorization, and gets a signature.

Doofus lady does a chargeback. This is the first one my wife has received in about 4+ years. So, doofus either can’t take the time to remember that she made a purchase at the show, OR she thinks “little jeweler doesn’t know how to handle the chargeback”. I don’t know. Maybe that’s too cynical, but nothing really surprises me.

(I’m getting to the point)

This is somewhat of a pain in the ass. Wife has to mail in the receipt, the signature, something else. Part of doing business.

So, she gets a letter from the CC company yesterday. The chargeback is taken care of, but THERE’S A $35 PROCESSING FEE.

WHAT? The $42 sale is now a $7 sale. That doesn’t even cover the cost of materials.

So, anyway, el wifo called them up, demanded to speak to someone who knows more than who she was talking to and they told her to call back today. So perhaps it will get resolved as it should.

If not, then what’s the recourse? She SHOULD be able to charge the lady who did the chargeback, but she can’t do that. She can’t NOT take cards. If everyone did a chargeback, she’d be out of business.

So, there’s a mini-rant. I guess the only lesson is, think twice before you do a chargeback. It’s a pain in the ass for the person on the other end.

What is a charge back? We used to have similar things with bad checks when my family owned an ice cream store. People would pay for two cones (>$5) with a check, and the cost of getting the bank to do something about the bad check would be more than the loss. So basically we just had to eat the losses and eventually stop taking checks for things less than $20.

If your CC bill comes and you see something you don’t like, you can do a “chargeback”. If a merchant can’t provided proof of a sale, they credit it back to the person.

I think there’s 2 types but the distinction is lost on me. I say that because she received another “contest” once but there wasn’t a charge involved.

Your ice-cream store example is why you always see “There will be a $25 fee for bounced checks.”

I don’t know if a merchant can put up a sign that says, “There will be a $35 Fee for all chargebacks.”

This won’t help your wife, but it sure seems to me like the $35 should be charged to the BUYER for making an erroneous chargeback and causing unnecessary work.

I also make and sell jewelry (on an extremely part-time basis), and this just affirms my decision not to bother with plastic. My pieces are not so expensive that people shouldn’t be able to come up with cash or a check to make a purchase.

I agree with this completely. The fee should be charged to whomever is in the wrong.

If the merchant cannot provide the paperwork, the merchant pays the fee. If the merchant can provide the paperwork, the complaining customer pays the fee.

That’s fucked up.

By accepting checks aren’t you looking at getting a wholly different screwjob?


If you want to get into it professionally AT ALL, you simply must take plastic.

She did ONE SINGLE show without plastic and flat out lost a sale to a guy who had the goods boxed up, and then wanted to pay with plastic. “Hold it for me, while I go get some cash,” he said and never came back. That one sale would have paid for a “knuckle buster” CC machine, which she promptly bought that week.

It sure does seem like the CC should put the fee on the person who made the wrong charge. They sort of have merchants over a barrel, though. I think it’s mostly common knowledge, but if people didn’t know, they take a small cut (in the 2% range) of every sale.

They’re not just making money by charging the user fees and interest out the wazoo. They’re getting a small percentage of every sale made with a CC in this country. Think about how much friggin’ jack that is, for doing almost nothing.

Well, my situation is different from Mrs. Trunk’s: I’m very small time and do maybe 5 or 6 days a year, whereas it sounds like she’s a full-time artist. I’ve never had a bad check (out of, guessing, a hundred or so) in the past five years. The only glitch I’ve had was someone who forgot to sign her check – but I contacted her, she replaced it, and everything was fine.

I understand that it’s different for a full-time seller. If I were one (and my pieces were more expensive), I’d probably take plastic too. But for 5 days a year, the hassle and cost aren’t worth it.

Trunk, I would think your state should have some information on whether the Mrs. would be allowed to post a chargeback policy. She could also perhaps check with whoever handles her merchant account, or a lawyer.

Doing almost nothing? I beg to differ.

Credit cards allow customers to:

  • Buy things they may not have the cash for at the moment without going through a lengthy application

  • go shopping without bringing along wads of paper money. Yes, checks allow that as well, but many vendors don’t want to take out of area checks.

  • recieve an itemized statement of everything they’ve purchased once a month

  • buy things with some protection - most credit cards have some insurance built in

  • shop online or by phone easily. Checks and money orders are a hassle to deal with.

Credit cards allow vendors to:

  • Sell more stuff because people can buy things they may not have the money for at the moment

  • Take payments from all over the country without having to deal with the hassle of checks or money orders

Granted, the merchants get stuck with a fee, but the buyers pay interest as well. Yes, the credit card companies make money - but they also provide a service I think that almost everyone really likes. If you shop around, you can get credit cards with amazing interest rates, much lower than bank loans, and when’s the last time a bank decided to loan you money to buy, say, a case of wine, or that comic book collection you’re dying for?

Oh, I just meant that they have money rolling in from every single sale with no real costs beyond bookkeeping and billing associated with it. On top of that, every sale represents (in a statistical way) another little percentage, identified with the amount of interest they expect that customer to be paying.

The bonus to the merchant certainly is greater than the cost.

Certainly, credit cards provide an excellent, necessary service. I shudder to think how the wife would do if she didn’t have people buying stuff they don’t need with money they don’t have. :wink:

I happen to work for the acquirer side of the credit card company that I am fairly sure you are referring to. I will say that the above is, well, in error. If you are interested in learning about just what the real costs of doing business are for a credit card company, you may refer to its published financials. Suffice to say, it’s a lot more than nothing.

If you believe you are being assessed a fee unfairly, take a look at your card service agreement. You might learn something.

Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s fair. What is fair is if the $35 processing fee is paid by the party that is in the wrong; in this case, the customer.

This very well may be true. I do not know what the policy is in this context, which is why I suggested that they look at their agreement to locate the dispute handing procedure. If this charge is in error, they can turn to their contract when discussing it with the company.

Contrary to Trunk’s feelings, the credit card industry is not exactly in the business to screw merchants, even small ones without a lot of market power.

That’s exactly what I was saying. . .they’re in business to screw merchants.

That’s actually what I meant when I wrote “The bonus to the merchant certainly is greater than the cost.” It just came out wrong.

As a matter of fact, I think profit is secondary to the credit card companies. They make just enough money to keep the “merchant screwing operation” going.

Any money that’s left over, they use to fund oppressive regimes and to light their cigars with.

I have nothing to add here, except that I noticed your wife’s jewellery when you were here in December, and it really made an impression on me. I’m pleased to see that it’s more than likely something she made herself.

It was. Thanks for saying.

The force of sarcasm is strong with this one.

I saw a small food joint here that charges a 75 cent fee to customers if they use their ATM cards - the 75 cent fee is tacked right onto the amount taken out of the account. I think that’s a great idea - the banks are all double-dipping for debit card use here (charging the customer and the business), and the small businesses really are getting screwed, with fees getting charged to them for purchases that aren’t much more than the fees.

Trunk, does your wife have a website? I’ve been looking to add to my jewelery collection and I prefer non-mass produced stuff.

I think it’s okay to post links to your retail stuff if someone asks, but if you don’t feel comfortable doing so, feel free to email me.


So this customer has basically stolen your wife’s jewelry, right? She didn’t return it, she just disputed the charge, and they took the money away from you, and she still has the jewelry.

Well, no, at least I don’t interpret it that way; (presumably) Mrs. Trunk provided adequate documentation, so the disputed charge was indeed valid. So the charge remained on the woman’s card and she will have to pay it, but to the CC company. Meanwhile, the CC company is charging Mrs. T. for the dispute. The CC company has her money, not the customer.

But the customer’s actions did cause Mrs. T. to be essentially stiffed.