I have always found Firstcall to be first rate.
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.
Originally Posted by lluisb
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
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...
Another day goes under; a little bourbon will take the strain...
My experience with them is the same.
Originally Posted by AlanC
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.
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:
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.
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 lluisb; 07-30-2009 at 05:21 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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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?
Originally Posted by pentaxuser
I donít think so, because Iíve 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.
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.