On July 1st we got an email from our payment processor Stripe stating that they can no longer do business with us because we sell ammunition (even though this is a completely legal business transaction):
They gave us 2 weeks to move over to a new payment processor. It was nice that they didn’t just freeze our account and all the funds in it as we’ve heard of other payment processors doing…
Luckily we anticipated this and had started the steps of moving to a gun-friendly payment processor Authorize.net (or at least one that respected the fact that we were conducting legal commerce and not doing anything wrong).
The migration process isn’t easy because the payment processors won’t talk to each other to coordinate how to get customer credit card information from one secure server to the other, and then connect that with our database. (We never see customer credit card information – it is stored on the payment processor’s site).
What they give us are “tokens” that match a customer ID with a payment ID that we can then input into our system and match up with our subscriptions. We simply got a big ‘ol excel file with customer numbers and “tokens”.
After spending literally HOURS manually copying and pasting customer ID’s, Payment IDs in the correct subscriptions, we thought we were good for the month’s allocation.
The technology gremlins had other plans for us today, however….
We woke up to literally HUNDREDS of “Failed Order” emails that had gone out to customers because there was a problem with their payment details. EVEN after checking and double-checking the customer IDs and Payment ID’s matched up with the new processor, about two-thirds of our customer orders failed this morning. Some failed for no apparent reason others had payment information just disappear.
After breathing in paper bags for a few seconds, we calmed down and sent out an email with instructions on how to fix the issue.
Even with that email, we’ve been on the phone and email with dozens of folks letting them know how to correct the situation if they have a failed order… (it is worth repeating here)
- Go to the Subscription Tab and find the Failed Subscription
- Click “Pay”
- You’ll be taken to your shopping cart (you just need to make sure you click on the required “legal eligibility” dropdown, accept the terms, and enter your CVS number for security)
- Click Place Order.
You will then see a confirmation page.
If this doesn’t work – Try to Delete your card and reenter the information. If THAT doesn’t work, give us a shout and we can't try to walk through it with you…
After all the dust settles we will be back on track and we hope (fingers crossed) that this doesn’t happen again next month.
We don’t like to point fingers but this month would have gone much smoother if we didn’t have to switch payment processors and the fact that we are somehow an outcast because we sell ammunition is insane. In doing some research, all of the big-name Silicon Valley-based payment processors: Stripe, Square, and Paypal have restrictions on ammunition sellers.
That could probably be an entire blog post in itself.
We are thankful for the patience of our many hundreds of awesome customers that stuck with us through the early morning chaos and gladly logged into their account and updated their payment information. We hate it when technology hiccups get in the way of the customer experience, but unfortunately, that is the world we live in today.
Thanks, everyone for your patience. The thing will go MUCH smoother next month!
Dan, Danielle, and the AMMO² Team