Thumbs down to Amazon marketplace. We applied to sell food products in their Grocery section, they denied the request stating (and I quote) “we need doubles quantities”. Needless to say, they use Indian children as their technical support solution and these malnourished non-English speakers don’t have a clue how to deal with customers. Still it’s a big setback for our small but growing food operation that we can’t sell on Amazon. On the bright side we got setup with an Ebay account, and will try there. Ultimately this is why reliance on 3rd party markets is a BIG RISK for businesses because you are at the mercy of their terms, and their goals don’t always automatically align with yours. It’s always better to own the solution, to have the customers and the business going directly through your own website whenever possible which is exactly why business owners should invest in their own domains and build high quality eCommerce sites.
I’m on hold with TD Canada Trust right now to deal with a 2Checkout transaction, a chargeback against the seemingly defunct GPLClub.org. After we made the mistake of buying a subscription there and found our login did not work, we placed multiple tickets and got zero replies from the website itself. Expecting there would be a refund/chargeback process provided by 2CO we opened a ticket with them. What we found was surprising. They expressed their profound sorrow that our money had been stolen by them on behalf of their vendor, and refused to refund the transaction. Their reasoning? They are only a humble contractor that just happens to charge Visa cards for websites that no longer exist. How convenient. They urged us to contact Visa directly if we wanted to dispute the charges. Guess how long it took me to file a Visa dispute with my bank? 1-hour. And that’s not like 1-hour of life, or work, and certainly not 1-hour on a nice beach, that’s 1-hour of dealing with Gupta the village idiot from Mumbai and his 8 friends, Pipikin, Gupar, Shindigga, Mumakin, and of course 4 different versions of Raj, Rajesh, Raji, Rajaman, Rajagirl. No disrespect to my friend Raj… some Raj’s are great. The ones you reach via telephone for important financial matters however always share the distinct attribute of not giving fuck about helping you at all at any point now or in the future.
Here’s a philosophical thought on this… there is probably some connection between the horrible scammy approach that banks and visa and 2co and others take to how people in Greece are now on the brink of starving to death. Meaning somehow in our globalized economic world, the VALUE has been sucked out of everything to the point where we generally pay for NOTHING. Even though I pay through the nose for bank fees, interest fees, currency exchange fees… who actually gets that money? Not the $4/day Indian’s that answer my phone calls and say “dear sirs and madams, go fuck yourself”. The bulk of my money, goes in profits to shareholders and executives. Not only those from the bank itself, but from every other company the bank pays because sure it’s not making 90% margins, but when you look at the bigger picture the reason we don’t get value as end-consumers is because the VALUE is being scraped and scraped and scraped until what we receive for our money is just overpriced garbage.
I hope that somebody I will have the last laugh. And that all of you will as well. That someday we will see the banks all go bankrupt, and Visa and other card systems burnt to the ground. That someday the entire crooked financial system will be broken. But we must ensure that before that day, we build a better system. A fair system, a value-based system. One where keeping your finances safe doesn’t cost you hundreds of times more than the services is worth. A system where merchants and buyers alike are not held hostages by a credit card system that forces them both to use it. We must not blame the companies that profit from the broken system of today, but put our energy into making the better system of tomorrow.