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Did anyone else have problems with internet/credit card processing last weekend?

We were at the Ohio Sauerkraut Festival in Waynesville, Ohio, and all set up... everything a go. Cell phone had 4 bars, square was up and running until about 11:30am when the entire bunch of us (440 artist vendors) lost internet and ability to run credit cards.  In fact, i lost everything but texting capability.  As we scrambled to rethink our processes we all realized this was an outage, or an overrun of the bandwidth of the internet provider/ cell towers.  Througout the entire weekend we experienced ups and downs. Oddly, after leaving Waynesville our cell phones returned to normal function, and all of the pended credit card transactions went through.   

So my first question is - has this happened to you?

Second question - what is your backup plan? Do you go to paper, and process the transactions when the system comes up?  

Views: 750

Comment by Laurie Leonard on October 15, 2013 at 3:30pm

This has happened a couple of times to me, once everybody in the show was down so it was square, the other time AT&T internet was down.  I signed up for Paypal as a backup in case it is square and now carry CC charge slips to fill in manually and process later.  I ask my customers to pay with cash or a check first though.

Comment by sharon tesser on October 15, 2013 at 4:19pm

How was the festival?

Comment by Melanie Moore on October 15, 2013 at 4:36pm

Square failed me on Sat Oct 5 and then again on Sat Oct 12.  Very frustrating.  The first time I emailed them (no response) and used one of my backups (GoPayment) which worked fine until the end of the day when it stopped acknowledging the reader.  I got GoPayment on the phone and they were wonderful.  Walked me through an analysis (it was not the new IOS7 I upgraded to) and I wound up reinstalling the app which did the trick.

I decided that night to reinstall Square just to be on the safe side.  It was fine on the following day.

Then came the failure on October 12.  I sent Square a scathing email and they responded quickly that the engineers were working to correct the problem.  I told them they were about to lose a customer and they refunded my transaction fees for that day.  I used GoPayment for the remainder of the day and had no issues.  One charge that I thought did not authorize on Square actually DID about 10 minutes after I switched to GoPayment.  Luckily I checked my email receipts and saw the duplicate card # and quickly voided the second transaction so the customer would not be double charged.

Everyone needs to complain to Square and get some money refunded.  Maybe then they will see that this doesn't happen again.  It was not Verizon but Square that was a problem.  Needless to say, this caused a lot of anxiety at a disappointing show!!!  Hot weather, government shutdown - then Square failure!  Yesterday I forgot that it was a holiday and checked my bank balance and NO DEPOSITS!  After a little meltdown I realized Monday was a holiday. 

I also have Paypal which has a lower discount rate and am considering trying that system at an event this upcoming weekend.  Does anyone have experience with Paypal?

Comment by greta anthony on October 15, 2013 at 6:38pm
I have PayPal as well as square, the problem with PayPal is the app is slow and very glitchy.
Comment by Jim Parker on October 15, 2013 at 8:06pm
Last weekend there were quite a few people who couldn't get Square to work at all.
Comment by Melanie Moore on October 15, 2013 at 10:10pm

Yes, at my two shows this month there were many exhibitors who had problems.  Thank you, Greta, for your input regarding Paypal.  I guess GoPayment will be my "go to app" when Square fails.  I started using Square last January and have been very happy with it until now.  Thanks again.

Comment by Barbara Pitorak Bloom on October 16, 2013 at 9:23am

Update to my post: 

First, my apology for not being so clear.  My problem was not with the credit card processor, it was with the cell phone carrier.  After some research, and a call to my cell provider's customer service i learned that there was a problem i nthe Waynesville area, with several cell towers going down for about 28 hours... starting around 11:30 saturday.   With reduced cell tower capacity, and a half million people pulling on the remaining towers the signal absolutely bottomed out.... causing no connectivity to things like square and paypal.  My neighbor artist who had a bank credit card processor also had issues - resulting from no internet connectivity.  So it did not matter who the credit card service was - because it was down... down.  

As to square, i have been using it for over 3 years with great success.  Smooth processing, and the money in my account the next business day.  I feel bad that others have not had as good of an experience.  

So the updated question is for the techy folks out there.... is there an alternative when cell service goes down, or is overrun by sheer volume of users pulling on the limited resources?

Comment by Barbara Pitorak Bloom on October 16, 2013 at 9:24am

ps- here is the link to my review of the show:

Comment by Patricia DeMaria on October 16, 2013 at 9:25am
The Waynesville Sauerkraut Festival is the ONLY PLACE I've ever had trouble with Square. I had no connection by internet or Verizon, but it was okay because I didn't have any customers either! I was appalled by the huge number of buy/sell vendors, and the fact that everything that was selling was "Kountry Kraft Krap".
Comment by Barbara Pitorak Bloom on October 16, 2013 at 9:34am

yes, for the half million visitors the percentage of buyers was very low, and there was a lot of purchasing chineses made stuff on a stick lawn ornaments.... i hear you. 


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