Firstcall-Photographic.co.uk

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by lluisb, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. lluisb

    lluisb Member

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    Hello everybody,
    This is my first post (I’m returning to film processing 20 years after).

    My question is: Anyone knows if firstcall-photographic.co.uk is still in business and working?

    Many thanks in advance!

    (Yesterday at noon I’ve placed an order with them but, after check-out via Sage Pay [formerly Protx, their payment service provider] I got an “unsuccessfull payment” message.
    However, I’ll checked my online Bank and found that Firstcall Photographic charged £76.70 [correct amount for my order] to my VISA.
    Problem is that I don’t have any email from Firstcall Photographic, nor Sage Pay, and after two polite and patient messages from me, I still don’t have any feedback from this shop.)
     
  2. Graham.b

    Graham.b Member

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    Hello, i use Firstcall and to now i have had not had any probs. I get the email after the order has gone in. Still in business, yes. Placed a order in the last 24 hrs. ETA about 2-3 days.

    Graham
     
  3. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    Have you tried telephoning them?

    Tom.
     
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Like Graham I've used Firstcall with no problems, just sit back and wait for the delivery.

    Welcome to APUG BTW :D

    Ian
     
  5. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

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    I'm going to hazard a guess that your order failed the address verification check. (I.e. the check that your delivery address is the same as the registered address of the card.)

    When that happens, owing to the way address verification has been tacked onto a rather aging banking infrastructure, the authorisation will still stand against the card, but the retailer will be told the address didn't match. They then have the option of declining the transaction.

    The authorisation will normally hang around for 3 to 5 days - and show as a pending transaction on your online banking - and then expire.


    Just a guess though, mind. For what it's worth, I've used Firstcall before and found them to be great.
     
  6. delphine

    delphine Member

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    Very reliable supplier, 24hr delivery to uk residents, they even have kodachrome in stock !
     
  7. lluisb

    lluisb Member

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    Thanks for your quick answers!

    I didn't telephone them cause I'm not very confident on my spoken english, and even less on my understanding capabilities by phone.

    OK, maybe they're already working out this issue... But it would be nice from them to send just a short note to let me know if they're aware of it or not.
     
  8. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I wouldn't worry. Unless things have changed a lot since I last ordered and it would seem to be the same then Firstcall will want your custom and will ensure that you get your order even if there are things to be sorted out. In a pack of film it sent to me it got one film wrong and when I contacted Firstcall the correct film was sent immediately and I was told to keep the wrong film free of charge with their compliments.

    pentaxuser
     
  9. lluisb

    lluisb Member

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    Well, in fact they weren't very supportive (if some).

    I know there is not a problem with my bank, cause I shop online several times every month (just this noon I made a flawlessly VISA payment on a UK shop) and never had a problem like this: payment platform telling me that my "payment [was] refused by vendor due an identification problem" but my account charged with the name of the vendor as a reference.

    I won't bother you with my email exchange with them (altough I don't have any problem to do so if you want to know in detail the kind of support I got), but is a pitty that even when I was polite and patient (I waited more than 24 hours for their first answer expecting not a solution, just a "we know about it, wait for news") they end our correspondence with a rude message (no "Hello", no "Dear customer", nor anything and no signature).

    I'll look for better luck at Nova, Silverprint or elsewhere.
     
  10. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Sorry you had a bad experience with firstcall - they've always been good to me. One time phoning me a few minutes after I placed an online order to tell me there would be a 5 day wait.

    Anyway, both Nova & Silverprint are very good suppliers.
     
  11. AlanC

    AlanC Member

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    I have always found Firstcall to be first rate.

    Alan Clark
     
  12. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

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    Sounds to me like my hunch was correct, and your card failed either the AVS (Address Verification System) or CVV (Card Verification Value, aka CV2) tests.


    If this is the case, there is no 'problem' per se. In the event that these tests fail, the bank still process the authorisation, but the merchant may choose to decline the transaction. If the merchant does choose to decline, there is unfortunately no way to reverse the authorisation. This is an unfortunate consequence of the way AVS and CVV have been implemented by the credit card companies; it's not the merchant's "fault" (although it is the merchant who gets it in the neck in these scenarios, so don't expect the credit card companies to do anything about it any time soon.)

    The authorisation will normally expire from your card in 3 to 5 days, depending on your card issuer. Note also that some card issuers, particularly overseas (non-UK ones) may not even support AVS; in this case a merchant may also choose to decline the transaction. The effects are the same.


    Tedious excursion into the vagaries of AVS follows, for the curious:

    For the curious, if you have an unusual address - and an overseas , getting address verification to pass can be something of an artform. The way AVS works is based on the numbers in your address and postal/zipcode; the address you enter on the website is not passed on to the credit card company for verification, only the numbers; so for example if your address is:

    12 Acacia Avenue
    Somewhereville
    Somecounty
    SC56 2LP

    when the card transaction is processed the merchant also sends the number "12562" across. Once the charge is authorised, the card acquirer then returns a code that says one of (in simple terms) either

    • Yes, the numbers "12562" also match the numbers in the address we have on file for this cardholder
    • No, the numbers "12562" do not match the numbers we have on file for this cardholder
    • We do not support AVS, and cannot tell you if the numbers match
    If the response is either of the last two, the merchant may, at their discretion choose not to complete the transaction. Unfortunately the authorisation remains valid until it expires, and there is no way for the merchant to cancel it.


    AVS becomes 'tricky' when your address is complicated - basically, when you have a flat number and a house number, for example. The question becomes 'do we include all the numbers - flat number and house number - and in which order?' In theory, you should concatenate all the numbers together, but some systems will only take the numbers from the first line of the address, or some will only take the first number they see, and so on... This means you often require a certain amount of trial and error to work out the 'right' way to write your address to pass the AVS tests.

    Said trial and error obviously needs to be conducted on low value transactions of course, to avoid piling up authorisations on your card!


    AVS is a long way from perfect, but it exists for a reason (using stolen credit cards to have goods delivered to the thief's address; if you can only get goods delivered to the cardholder address, a stolen card is a lot less valuable.) I'm afraid it's something that more and more sites will implement...
     
  13. George Hart

    George Hart Member

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    My experience with them is the same.
     
  14. lluisb

    lluisb Member

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    Thanks for that really informative answer.

    Yes, this could be the case. Anyway this is strange, cause only this year I made no less than 25 successfull online transactions with this VISA, and in this particular case Sage Pay asks me for a verification code that was send to me automatically by my bank.

    Anyway, I never told Firstcall that they were the ones to blame, my complaint is that I use to expect support and interest from sellers if I want to become a customer.
     
  15. lluisb

    lluisb Member

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    10 days after update.

    I’d hoped that by now I have a refund or at least a little support from Firstcall Photographic or Sage Pay, but I have nothing.

    Ten days after, my VISA still shows a 90,56 euros (76,70 GBP) charge tagged as “Specific description: WWW.FIRSTCALL-PHO” but all the support I got from the people at Firstcall was this message from July 21 (copied here complete: no “Hello” no signature):

    “No it isn't. You have not been charged by us, we have not received your money and the problem lies 100% with your bank - I suggest that in 48 hours the allocated funds will be released by them. We can do no more for you.”

    And all I can get fro Sage Pay (on July 25, four days after I ask help from them) is this:

    “Hello Lluis,

    Thank you for your email.

    Sage Pay provides the Internet payment solution for the website you have ordered from. However, we do not fulfil the orders and have no control over this aspect of the transaction.

    If you wish to change your order, request a refund, or request further information you will need to contact the website you have ordered from directly.

    Kind Regards,

    Xxxx Xxxx”

    OK, almost this people keep politeness on their correspondence, but as you can see, they throw me in a loop without any solution.

    Now is time for me to ask VISA for a refund (annoying process, BTW).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 30, 2009
  16. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    If I have understood Tim Walls explanation correctly and that's a big "if" then if you now order with Nova or Silverprint or maybe several other suppliers, isn't the problem going to recur? Of course the correspondence may be more polite and leave you feeling better but is it going to get you the goods which is what counts?

    It is unfortunate that you cannot get either party, Firstcall or your card issuer, to take responsibility for resolving the issue but unless you get a solution to this problem then isn't it going to continue no matter whom you order from?

    pentaxuser
     
  17. lluisb

    lluisb Member

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    I don’t think so, because I’ve shopped abroad on the web with this Visa several times (and twice last week, after this incident) and I've never encountered an issue like this.

    Well, things may happen, but I'll keep trusting on reputable shops and on their checkout systems. I need to do so since here in Barcelona even large photography shops do not import some accessories for film processing due to the lack of demand, and in the other hand is easy to found better prices online.

    Thank you all for your opinions and suggestions.
     
  18. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    I sympathise, the response from Firstcall leaves a lot to be desired.

    I've been in business for many years, mistakes and difficulties happen sometimes however hard you try. But it's the way the business put them right which counts, and a litttle effort can turn an unhappy customer into someone who comes back and also recommends the business to others.