A while back, I posted this about AVS Mismatches and Angry Customers. An AVS Mismatch is one customer error that can sometimes cause temporary charges to rack up against their credit card available balance. This has to do with the way payment gateways work with issuing banks and to be quite honest, I don’t fully understand it. The part I don’t understand very well is the variance between banks on the time it takes for these temporary charges to go away. Usually it’s 24 to 48 hours, but in some cases it can be a matter of weeks.
Other circumstances can cause this as well. This week we had a customer order 4 of something when she only meant to order 1. That may not sound like a big deal, but 4 of these items initiated an authorization on her card for over $1300. Although we voided the transaction in our payment gateway, the temporary charges from that authorization remained.
For smaller amounts, the customer usually is willing to wait until the charges fall off by themselves. In this case, the woman confided that her credit limit was $1500 and she wanted it removed immediately. It’s pretty easy in something like this to say “nothing we can do – that’s your bank” or “it will go away by itself”. But if you really want to help your customer and establish a positive customer-merchant experience, roll up your sleeves and go to bat for them.
In this case, it meant spending quite a bit of time tracking down the correct department in her bank that deals with merchant charges, finding the right person to talk with in that department, and then talking them into releasing the temporary charges. It took time that I really didn’t have, but perhaps we will have won a customer or at least some word of mouth goodwill from it.