Visa Details - can someone help me quickly!!

sarahwilson
sarahwilson Experienced MentorRegistered Posts: 567
We have a customer who paid 50% of their bill via Visa some 6 weeks ago, the job is now complete and installed. Lo and behold, we cannot get hold of him to get the remaining 50%. My firm retains the slip with the card details on it, they are locked in a folder, in a locked box, in a locked room and only myself and the company accountants have the key to access them.

My question is would I be OK to email the customer saying if we don't get a response today, we are taking the payment tomorrow? If someone knows can they get back to me quickly- thanks

Comments

  • Cullen
    Cullen Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 592
    What was the nature of the delivery/installation? Did the customer sign an agreement or contract outlining payment details? Have they indicated any dissatisfaction with the delivery/installation?
    Depending on the above it may be ok to take the balance of the payment. However I would contact them in writing, I suggest recorded delivery, informing them that payment is now due and you will be taking the balance from their visa account unless they specify another form of payment.
    I am not an expert but I have often had second payments deducted from my card when the situation has warranted it.
  • sarahwilson
    sarahwilson Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 567
    Yes he agreed to pay the remainder once the signage was installed and he was happy with it. Obviously due to his lack of communication we have no idea if hes happy, presumably he is and just thinks he can get away without paying the rest.
  • blobbyh
    blobbyh Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 2,415
    I'd seriously hesitate before doing this and while I've sometimes been tempted to do this myself I never have. As far as I'm aware, unless you have the cardholders explicit permission, you risking taking the payment without authorisation no matter how just it might be and there could be repercussions.

    As Cullen says there could be a problem with the job for which the customer might hold a valid reason for not paying the balance. There might also not be enough credit on the card to cover the transaction and don't you risk suffering a chargeback if it's later revoked (not that you'd be any worse off from where you are now)?

    Do you also really keep all the necessary details including security code et all since I always shred mine as a security measure? Are you really allowed to keep this information indefinitely?
  • sarahwilson
    sarahwilson Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 567
    These are my fears to be honest Robert. I aren't happy with the arrangement of keeping peoples Visa details as a matter of course, I don't think the security we have in place is adequate and if I was in sole charge this would be the first area I would change. The implications if we got burgled don't bear thinking about and I would rather not have access to this information, not because I'd be tempted just because its a legal minefield. I aren't entirely sure its legal and if it is I am pretty sure the way we do it isn't adequate to satisfy the legal side.

    He may well have a quibble thats stopping him paying, the thing thats making me think hes trying it on is initially we asked for 100% up front. I phoned him to get the details and he said he had agreed 50% up front with my boss. I checked and he hadn't, against my advice my boss agreed to 50% and now look where we are. The jobs been complete 6 weeks and we can't get our money:glare:
  • Devilishbird
    Devilishbird Feels At Home Registered Posts: 56
    It might be worthwhile and a bit of a long shot but try sending him a solicitors letter regarding the debt he owes. As long as you have all the paperwork in order then you will have a case. I use Thomas Higgins I have mentioned it before and I think for a first letter on 5 or 7 days terms is about £2.00 exc VAT. This normally gives them a fright and they tend to pay up, if not they offer the service of taking them through court and charging interest on the debt etc, the fee is dependant on the amount owed and they do chase for court costs too. Fingers crossed you don't have to go that far!
  • blobbyh
    blobbyh Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 2,415
    I've just filed a court claim online against one of our old debtors who from once being on quite friendly terms refused to even acknowledge me in the end. However, before you do this it's essential that you lay down a paper trail (escalating letters, times and dates of phone calls, visits etc) to prove to the court that you've pursued the debt and given him ample opportunity to pay. The fee for filing was £80 which is added to the cost of his debt anyway. If we never get the money, we're adamant he's not going to get totally away with it.

    https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/csmco2/index.jsp

    Regarding the storage of card details, I'll quote this warning from my latest edition of HSBC's Card Processing flyer;

    "Do not store the following under any circumstances;

    The Card Security Code (CSC) - the three digit number printed on the reverse..."

    Without this, thieves won't be able to order online even with the full card number but let them have this and it's just like them finding a golden ticket...
  • JoBo
    JoBo Settling In Nicely Registered Posts: 16
    I used to work for a company that did this all the time. People would pay some of the (overdue) bill using a card then my boss would procces the card for the rest of the money without telling the customer a week later. They used to tell me to do it to so i would call the customer and if i couldnt get them eventualy leave a message saying i would be taking the rest of the payment from their card and send the recipt in the post. Some would call straight back and say they didnt have the money. But if they didnt call back then then i put the card through and never had any come back from it. There were a few times when my boss had to refund the money though but it never went any further than that.

    I think it is totally illegal and so left the company but as far as i know they are still doing it now.
  • Cullen
    Cullen Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 592
    I think this is illegal too, but may depend on what the agreement was with the customer. I know of some companies that take a deposit and then state that the balance will be deducted from their credit card on delivery and the customer has x amount of time to notify the supplier of any shortfall or damage etc. If this is clearly stated in the T&C then the business is covered.
  • blobbyh
    blobbyh Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 2,415
    Whether the unauthorised taking of outstanding debt is moral or not, a potential issue here is storing the CSC three digit number which could be possibly illegal in itself as it may breach data processing regulations. Since this is clearly a very grey area, you'd be advised to check whether the indefinite storage of this number is actually legal - I'm not entirely sure it is but I could be wrong!
  • Cullen
    Cullen Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 592
    All personal data falls within the remit of the Data Protection Act.
    If your data storage policy is compliant then you should be ok.
    In our shops a credit card payment can be processed without the three digit security number.
    Have you managed to contact your customer yet, Sarah? Have they responded to your offer of taking the balance of payment?
  • blobbyh
    blobbyh Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 2,415
    Cullen, without meaning to stretch this point much further, if the banks are saying the CSC number is information NOT authorised to be kept by us then I'd assume they are saying that doing so regardless will actually breach the general provisions of the Data Protection Act. It stands to reason that there is frequently bound to be highly sensitive information, the storage of which is also prohibited by the act, irrespective of whether you are generally overall compliant elsewhere. It is also likely to breach your own terms and conditions as agreed with the bank who issued the machine since you're clearly not conforming to theirs and other generally established card processing security guidelines. The prohibition seems clear enough to me and doesnt leave an option open as to whether you feel you are data secure or not.

    EDIT; To further clarify this, I just rang our credit card processing company who confirmed that storage of the credit card CV2/CSC number is illegal and breaches the Data Protection Act as the act explicitly forbids this number to be retained on record. It must be destroyed immediately after use - which if you're intending keeping it on file for use at a later date as a contingency measure would leave you open to accusations of breaking the law. You ARE allowed to retain some cardholder information (bar the prohibited CV2/CSC number) in order to take funds from a non-paying customer without their express permission - eg. the hotel trade where guests occasionally check out without paying - however the machine ideally needs pre-tailoring to "pre-authorisation" status to enable this type of cardholder not present (CNP) transaction.
  • Cullen
    Cullen Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 592
    I think you have misunderstood my point, Blobby.
  • sarahwilson
    sarahwilson Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 567
    I decided not to take the payment off in the end, I could have done but I just wasn't sure it was OK to do. It sounds like a get out but I advised my boss how to deal with this so it wouldn't happen, he didn't listen which is fine his business he can run it how he sees fit, but if the only way to make it right is for me to do something wrong I aren't playing. Ooh I sound pompous today:lol:
  • Cullen
    Cullen Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 592
    I agree with you Sarah, if the boss overrules his rules and things go wrong, well it's his fault. I presume you have still been unable to contact the customer? Have you considered threatening them with removing your sign? Although I would ask your boss for his instruction as it is his mess. Ah well.....
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