ADVANCED ON-SITE is pleased to accept cash or check payment in consideration for services rendered. Our long held policy of not accepting credit cards has occasionally been described as “provincial” and “unsophisticated.” Mainly by agencies promoting the software and materials to begin processing credit card transactions.
Meanwhile, customer complaints have been surprisingly few, numbering perhaps only two or three over the years. Even so we would very much like to offer the convenience of credit card payment to our customers. Toward that end we often reevaluate our policy.
It always comes back around to security. There is simply too much potential in the system for fraud, and all the heartache that goes with it. Consider the following example:
A certain awning and pool enclosure company found itself caught up in a breach involving several credit card numbers. Information got into the wrong hands and identities were stolen. The company successfully fought charges of liability. But that didn’t stop the cardholders, two of whom had already been completely wiped out, from filing a class action suit against it and the credit card company whose questionable procedures were the likely cause.
As is often the case in a legal system representing itself as a justice system, the entity with the deepest pockets wins. The corporate giant was able to shift blame to the small business which was subsequently buried under a judgement so stiff it could not possibly survive.
Many lives were adversely affected, if not ruined, in the above referenced case. Cardholder’s had their ID’s stolen, and two were immediately brought to their knees. Later the identity of a third was found to be compromised. Of course it goes without saying that the awning and pool enclosure company went under, sending seven employees scrambling to find work and leaving no fewer than twenty customers with unfinished projects.
The owner was eventually diagnosed with traumatic stress disorder and institutionalized.
Friends, this all occurred nearly two decades ago when it was far more common for credit card companies to bear the brunt of losses from fraud. With the introduction of chip-enabled cards responsibility is now shifted to the merchants accepting them.
If anything, this strengthens our conviction.
Magnetic strips, holograms, and to some extent even pin numbers have shown themselves to be feeble safeguards against abuse. Just one week before this writing the safety of chip-enabled cards came under fire. All this points to an inability, or perhaps unwillingness on the part of financial institutions to secure the process.
We will continue to monitor new developments with a view toward revising our policy in the future. However at this time we remain unwilling to risk the security of ourselves or our customers in order to accept credit cards.
David Smith – owner