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Legality question, points of view
Using a phone number from a failed transaction.
JohnBiggscr




msg:4323183
 9:53 pm on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

So our system records when transactions fail for whatever reason, whether address doesnt match or card was simply declined, whatever.

We had taken the route of using the email they had used when trying to place the order to contact them to ask if they needed help.

We have decided to capture more information and now record the phone numbers from these failed transactions as well in order to possibly start calling these people to see if we can help.

I get that it could be intrusive but does anyone know the actual legal standpoint of using such information? Does a failed transaction mean they did not 'give' us the information that we would usually capture from a completed order and thus we would be misusing the information in calling them? With an email they can just ignore us if need be but a phone is a bit more direct.

 

rachel123




msg:4323185
 9:57 pm on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

As long as your privacy policy explicitly states that once they enter that information, you will use it to contact them regarding orders or ordering attempts, you should be fine.

piatkow




msg:4323213
 10:49 pm on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)


but does anyone know the actual legal standpoint of using such information?

This is an international forum, somebody may post saying something is totally OK, which it is in their country, but which can put you in prison in yours.

For any legal matters you need advice from a qualified professional in your own jurisdiction.

jwolthuis




msg:4323282
 3:49 am on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

We have decided to capture more information and now record the phone numbers from these failed transactions as well in order to possibly start calling these people to see if we can help.


Legal or not, I think it's creepy. If I tried to order off eBay for example (taking this scenario to its logical extreme), let's say my card was declined, and some random person (the seller) called up to "help". I would not react positively.

I know you're not eBay, but if that seller also thought that they could "help", what's the distinction between what they'd be trying to do, and your efforts?

What about successful transactions? Can you call them up to see if they want expedited shipping? Or just order six more dollars to qualify for a free gift?

jecasc




msg:4324499
 9:41 am on Jun 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

We treat order and payment separatly. First you submit your order. Then you make your payment. This way the customer always knows he has placed an order and that we have all his information. If anything goes wrong and we do not receive the payment we automatically send an email, checking what is wrong.

This way the customer knows we have all the order information and does not have the feeling we somehow went behind his back when we contact him. Also - nearly nobody simply goes elsewhere if the payment fails. Because they have already ordered and feel bound to the order - even if the transaction failed.

It is really a bad idea in my opinion to integrate the payment process into the order process. You will loose lots of sales. We changed this a few years ago, when we noticed that 30% of users that choose Paypal would not complete their payment because of the rotten usability of the Paypal payment page at that time.

piatkow




msg:4324525
 12:12 pm on Jun 10, 2011 (gmt 0)


Also - nearly nobody simply goes elsewhere if the payment fails. Because they have already ordered and feel bound to the order - even if the transaction failed.

I don't feel "bound" but I do wait to double check my account a few days later.

jwolthuis




msg:4324572
 2:11 pm on Jun 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

Because they have already ordered and feel bound to the order - even if the transaction failed.

I think the average person doesn't believe they've "ordered" if the transaction fails. Most Internet shoppers understand the difference between Shopping Cart, Checkout, and Order Complete.

It is really a bad idea in my opinion to integrate the payment process into the order process.

Agreed. And it's also a bad idea for a merchant to become involved with a failed payment. It's frankly none of the merchants' business (beyond regret that the order didn't complete).

As an example, do you want the restaurant waiter to say, "sorry your card was declined, but we really hope that you pay your check. So can I ask what's wrong?"

jecasc




msg:4325012
 4:05 pm on Jun 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think the average person doesn't believe they've "ordered" if the transaction fails. Most Internet shoppers understand the difference between Shopping Cart, Checkout, and Order Complete.


If you have a bad shopping cart design - yes. Many shopping carts work that way:

-> Shopping Cart -> Checkout -> Payment -> Order complete.

And if the transaction fails it is:

-> Shopping Cart -> Checkout -> Payment failed -> Abort Order Process

Or in other words they tell the customer: Unfortunately something went wrong with your payment, therefore I refuse to do business with you.

I don't do that. I say: Thank you for your order, great doing business with you. Now that we have closed the contract I will redirect you to the payment page. After I have received your payment I will deliver the products.

My shopping cart is designed like this:

-> Shopping Cart -> Checkout -> Order Complete -> Payment.

The customer selects his preferred payment option during checkout. Only after he has completed the order and the contract is closed the customer pays and I deliver. If the customer does not pay for some reason I offer help and alternative payment options so he can fulfill his part of the contract - the payment.

Why should I refuse to close a contract with someone because the connection to the payment provider timed out? I don't have money to throw away.

You have to realize that the payment is not part of closing the contract but is the customers part of fulfilling the contract. Legally I could even sue the customer for the payment once the contract is closed if he fails to pay for some reason. Before I even have delivered the goods. I don't do that however.

All you have to do as a merchant is create a shopping cart that separates the order from the payment in a way the customer understands.

rachel123




msg:4325451
 1:37 pm on Jun 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think I'll stick with my checkout.
Shopping Cart -> Checkout -> Order Review -> Payment -> Order Complete.

If the payment fails, you just send them back to the payment page so they can try again. After a few failures then they get the 800 number to call.

As a customer, that's the flow I understand. If I haven't paid for it, I haven't bought it, period. At a B&M store you can take things to the checkout counter, have them ring you up, and then discover you forgot your purse or that your payment won't work or whatever. You have no obligation to come back and pay for those items later; there is no legal "contract" implied or otherwise (IANAL, and I am in the States).

I'm surprised you don't get more customer questions on that. But, many different things work for different people. I'm not sold on the superiority of your approach, but if it works for you, that's great.

jecasc




msg:4325819
 8:53 am on Jun 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

At a B&M store you can take things to the checkout counter, have them ring you up, and then discover you forgot your purse or that your payment won't work or whatever. You have no obligation to come back and pay for those items later; there is no legal "contract" implied or otherwise


If you go to a used car dealer sign the contract for the car and then realize you forget your purse, you are bound to the contract you just signed. If you do not return with the money he can sue you if he wants.

In the supermarket things are a little different. There the contract is closed with handing over your money or the confirmation of your credit card payment.

In online business it depends on your cart design and terms of use how and when the contract is closed. If you buy on ebay you also close the contract with pressing "Buy now" or winning the auction and then are bound to make the payment afterwards.

So this is not so unusual as it seems. You have to do it right though and be transparent. Not surprise the user or trick him into confirming the order. And if someone doesn't want to pay afterwards, I do not insist. In the end the purpose for me is only to let the customer now that he has made the purchase, the goods are reserved for him and when I contact him to offer help with the payment there is no awkwardness about where I have the data from and no privacy issues.

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