Electronic Transactions
Home Up

24 Articles on SSQQ Policy
Information Guests & Watching Rudeness No Children Change Partners Crowds/Receipts
Business Policies Questions Dance Widow Same Sex Volunteers Refund Overview
House Rules Private Lessons Group Privates Electronic Trnsctns Deal is a Deal Changes
Refund Wedding Lessons Group Discount Exceptions Exception Overview Tuition Switch
Refund Struggle Refund Defeat Refund Arguments Double Charges Switching Classes New to SSQQ


Overview: SSQQ OnLine Registration is Wonderful  (But Stupid!!)
Story and Policies written by Rick Archer
March 2005

Issues Covered on this Page:

  • Why Electronic Transactions Resemble a Tar Baby - (lead story below)
  • How coping with e-processing almost led to a nervous breakdown
    Click Here
  • Were you double-charged?  Click Here
  • The Customer is not ALWAYS right  Click Here
  • The Courtney Walsh Incident Click Here
  • Short Version: If there was a simple way to cancel an Electronic Registration made using SSQQ Online Registration, I would use it.  But there isn't. So You Have to Come to the Studio instead.
     
  • Long Version: Read the Whole Article
    What You Don't Know About the World of Electronic Transactions

     

BACKGROUND ON THE SSQQ ONLINE REGISTRATION SYSTEM

The SSQQ On-Line Registration System became a part of the dance studio in 2001. It was added as a "Solution" to correct a "Solution which Created a Problem". 

As our studio grew in 2000, our classes became terribly over-crowded. It became clear we needed a far more sophisticated method to keep track of the size of our classes, so we began using computers to register students during Walk-In Registration.

The first two months were horrible. I am embarrassed to report this, but on the first night it took an HOUR to handle Registration using super-fast modern computers versus our previous Neanderthal method of hand-processing everything. Our students said this was ridiculous and I certainly agreed.

So we quickly added another feature called "On-Line Registration" that allowed our students to register using the Internet. This allowed them to completely bypass the Walk-In Line. And don't kid yourself - several of our first "On-Line" students clearly enjoyed the Cool Factor of being the first to use the new technology. They rubbed it in by sticking out out their tongues to torment their friends who were stuck waiting in line. Then with a song and a skip in their step, they would zip on by waving their On-Line Receipt for everyone to see. 'La di da, See you when you get to class!'

Yes, OnLine Registration is very convenient and very easy to use.

Therein lies the problem.  Since it is so easy to use OnLine to register, most people assume it is just as easy to correct a mistake or make an electronic refund.

Their attitude is usually shall we say "cavalier".  Here is a simple example:

From: JH
To: dance@ssqq.com
Sent: Monday, January 31, 2005 9:58 PM
Subject: Cancellation of Beginning Salsa

Per the SSQQ website, in order to cancel my registration I needed to include the information I've included below. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I cannot take part in your beginning Salsa class. If you need anything else, please let me know.  JH


----- Original Message -----
From: SSQQ Online Registration
To: JH
Sent: Monday, February 07, 2005 4:21 PM
Subject: Cancellation of Beginning Salsa


Here is the story. There are two ways to give refunds.

The simple way is to swipe your credit card on the terminal at the studio.

The hard way is to use the computer to delve deeply into the Internet and find the “eprocessing” transaction. Furthermore unfortunately I do not yet know how even do this.

The easiest way to handle this is to extend credit or have you drop by the studio so we can "swipe your card".  Rick Archer


-----Original Message-----
From: JH
Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2005 12:53 AM
To: SSQQ Online Registration
Subject: Re: Cancellation of Beginning Salsa

I appreciate the honesty and I will patiently wait until I receive my electronic refund. You can use this experience as practice! :)  
Let me know when you figure it out.

Thanks so much,  JH


-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer [mailto:dance@ssqq.com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2005 5:31 AM
To: JH
Subject: Cancellation of Beginning Salsa

After much work trying to track down your Registration information on the E-Processing Network, I suddenly had a better idea.  Please send me your mailing address and I will simply mail you a check. Rick Archer
 

Lesson from this Story:  Quite frankly, very few SSQQ students realize how difficult it is to do Electronic Refunds

They assume giving Refunds is like waving the Magic Wand:  just a couple mouse clicks and - POOF - problem solved.

That isn't how it works. 

Solving problems electronically is very time-consuming!!
As with most of our lessons, I learned this the hard way.

EXAMPLE ONE
-----Original Message-----
From: LV
Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2005 11:57 AM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: Credit Card Refund

Hello!  I got charged $38.00 twice on 01/08/05; please help me process the refund as soon as possible. I can be reached at xxx-xxx-xxxx if you need any information.

Thank you for your prompt attention.  LV

REPLY:
-----Original Message-----
From: SSQQ Online Registration
Sent: Tuesday, January 25, 2005 12:03 PM
To: LV
Subject: RE: Credit Card Refund followup

Lalita, I took a look at 15 different $38 credit card transactions on 01-08-05. I spent 25 minutes and I am worn out. This stuff is like looking for a needle in a haystack. I didn’t see anything with your email address on it, etc. However I believe you.

Three ways to handle this:

1. hard way… Look up the authorization numbers on the tickets… and email them to me. It would help to know the email address you used.

2. easier way: email me a picture of your credit card statement with the two charges on it.

3. easy way: Accept a credit and simply apply it to take a class for free in February.

Let me know what works for you.  Rick Archer


EXAMPLE TWO
-----Original Message-----
From: LV
Sent: Friday, January 14, 2005 10:02 AM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: Credit Card Refund

I will take the credit. Sounds good to me.  Sign me up for Int Salsa on Saturdays. LV


I have said it before and now I will say it again:

Our customers do not understand is that the On-Line Registration System does not allow us a simple way to cancel an "electronic registration".

Indeed canceling an electronic registration is a deeply time-consuming problem. It is also very easy to make mistakes!

If there was a simple way to cancel an Electronic Registration, (i.e. Online Registration), I would use it. But there isn't! 

And believe me when I say that as on January 2006 I have looked. I invite a reader to come to the studio and show me an easy way. If it's out there, I am willing to learn.  But until that person steps forward, you will just have to take my word for it.

And the consequence is this:

People who register on the Internet have to play by the EXACT SAME RULES as people who use walk-in Registration... "You have till the end of Break on your first night of class to get a Refund".

"I was out of town and couldn't make it back in time to cancel my on-line registration."

It is common for businesses to expect their customers to come to the premises to receive their Refund. For example, in the Dead Battery story illustrated in "A Deal is a Deal", I was expected to make a highly inconvenient drive across town to REMEDY A PROBLEM THAT WAS THEIR FAULT.

At SSQQ we expect you to come to our business to REMEDY A PROBLEM THAT IS YOUR FAULT.
 

"Why should On-Line Registrations be subject to the same rules as Walk-In?"

Any parent knows the dangers of treating one child with one set of rules and the other child with a different set. Last night we had over 200 people taking Salsa classes. At Break Time, 2 people came out and asked for a Refund because they thought it was too crowded. We gave their money to them on the spot without any arguing or meanness. They got their money back and departed without rancor. 

When it comes to On-Line Registration, the simple solution is "Don't Register Till You Make Up Your Mind".  Most of our students register the day of the class. How difficult is that??

Then if something goes wrong, we will give you credit. But no Refund.  
 

"I signed up On-Line in the convenience of my home. Why should I have to drive to the studio if I change my mind to get my money back?

It is extraordinarily tricky to find an Electronic Credit Card Transaction on the Internet. A hacker might be able to do it, but not me. 


If you are willing to accept a credit for your change of mind, you don't have to do a thing!

Just email us the problem and we will sort it out.

However if you want your money back we WILL give it to you if you come and get it at the studio DURING REGISTRATION on the day of or before your class starts.

I have already said it before: Giving out Electronic Refunds is very difficult. I have tried and found it confusing and time-consuming. If it was a two-minute simple click of a button, then I would be more understanding.

But if it means taking 30 minutes out my day for me to solve a problem using the Internet that you caused by changing your mind or letting you make a 30-minute drive to the studio to solve the problem you caused in the first place, which box do you think I am going to check? 

And don't suggest I charge a service fee.  My lawyer charges me $200 an hour. Why shouldn't I charge my customers the same fee?

You would end up owing SSQQ money at the speed I work on the Internet. Instead you can come to the studio and get all your money back with no service charge.

The Lesson of This Story:

You have read how difficult it is to track down electronic transactions using the Internet. 

Believe me, I have learned the hard way that using e-Processing to conduct electronic Refunds is extremely time-consuming.  In addition I later discovered it is also risky to make electronic refunds because SSQQ is forced to make decisions in the blind. Later on you will see exactly what I mean when we get to the Courtney Walsh story further below.

SSQQ students have to understand that using OnLine Registration is like playing with the Tar Baby -

OnLine Registration is a One-Way Street and there is no turning back!

OnLine Registration is STUPID!!

  1. It is not able to give you an $8 referral credit.
  2. It is not able to extend credit from a course you dropped out of.
  3. It is not able to give you a refund.
  4. Nor does it trust you when you ask for a half-price credit.  (If your class history does not include a course that you took before 2002, it won't let you take it for half-price either).

Nor will OnLine Registration allow you to correct a mistake or change your mind. 
In short, OnLine Registration is STUPID.


If OnLine Registration is so stupid, why bother using it?
 

OnLine Registration was created as a convenience for our students who complained about waiting in line to register.

The main reason to use OnLine is to bypass ten to fifteen minutes of standing in line.

OnLine Registration may be stupid, but if you understand its limitations, then you can save some time. If you know exactly what course you want to take and you hit your buttons with care, it is an excellent way to register for a class. 

Definitely be careful not to hit the "Back" button or hit the "Submit" button twice. This leads to signing up for the class twice and gives you the infamous "Double-Charge" disease!

A lot of our students like OnLine Registration. In January 2006, 460 SSQQ Registrations were done OnLine and 570 were Walkin. However since we register Leisure Learning students as "Walkin", this puts the actual statistic at close to 50-50.

However if you make a mistake or want to switch to another class or decide not to take the class at all, I am sorry to tell you will have to get a human being to help you alter your transaction.

One suggestion is that if you think you might change your mind, wait till the day before the class or early in the day the class starts to make your decision. 

Most people who change their minds register a week or so in advance.  Until the day comes when the studio gets overcrowded and we have to enforce room limits (as of January 2006 this is not a problem), why bother committing further in advance than you have to?

EXAMPLE ONE
From: RG
Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2005 11:20 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: Wed class

Hi Rick,  I'm sorry but I need to cancel the class I signed up for last week. It's the Night Club 2 step. I missed the first class and was going to start tomorrow. I will not be able to attend any due to an unexpected circumstances.

I don't have the email confirmation so I hope you can find me in your records and find me.

Please let me know when you have credited my Master Card.   Best, R

You should also read the instructions twice and follow them to the letter whenever you use the SSQQ On-Line system. (Definitely be careful not to hit the "Back" button or hit the "Submit" button twice. This leads to signing up for the class twice!)

One area that used to cause a lot of trouble was the "Couples" option.  70% of our complaints came from this complicated process, so in 2005 we discontinued this option. Now you simply register for one person at a time, then do the other person. It takes a couple extra key strokes, but the accuracy improves dramatically. The cost is no different than before.

As we are fond of saying, "Computers let you make more mistakes faster than any other invention in human history, with the possible exception of handguns, atom bombs, and tequila." 

Let's put things in perspective:

  • No one has ever gotten hurt using the OnLine system
  • No one has ever had their credit card number stolen
  • No one has ever accused us of making a credit card charge behind their back
  • No one has ever failed to get their money back when double-charged.

The only risk you take is the possibility of some inconvenience. 

If you register OnLine and something goes wrong, then you will either have to email us for help or better yet show a Registrar the problem in person during the First or Second Week of Registration.  

If you make a mistake or you change your mind or something comes up, we are sorry, but now a human being must get involved to help correct the problem. 

Actually if all you want to do is change a class or ask for Credit, we can solve almost all problems using email.

Your problem only gets difficult if you want a Refund.


Double-charges on your Credit Card and more about Refunds.

Unfortunately the SSQQ OnLine system allows people to accidentally double-charge themselves if they accidentally hit the "Back" button or they absent-mindedly hit the "Submit" button a second time. We see two or three of these incidents a month.

And - believe it or not - sometimes our Walkin Registrars do it too.

Calm down. It is no big deal.  Most people simply allow us to issue them Credit to take a class for free the following month to square the deal.

DOUBLE CHARGE EXAMPLE ONE
-----Original Message-----
From: SC
Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2005 10:07 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: credit card problem

Rick,

Just got my credit card statement from January and found out I got charged twice for Beginning Cha Cha.  I signed up Laura and I together ($84) and then me for Advanced Western Swing by myself ($23) I wound up with 3 charges, 2 of them for $84 and 1 for $23.  All the charges were on 01-04-05.  The only transaction number I can find is 005552.

Although I am pretty sure I followed the directions properly, running through the thing twice to get us both registered for 1 class and then me alone in another I may have screwed it up myself.  

Since we're already signed up for Intermediate Cha Cha and Ghost Town for February, is there any chance of getting the extra charge applied to Advanced Cha Cha in March?

Thanks,  SC


REPLY:
-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Friday, February 04, 2005 11:14 AM
To: SC
Subject: credit card problem

That will work out fine. I will issue you a credit to take Adv Cha Cha. Don't worry about it.   Rick Archer

Lesson from this Story:  The simplest way to solve the problem of an overcharge is to simply give the money back to the student in the form of a Credit on another class.

That said, there is no reason you have to accept an SSQQ Credit if you don't want to.

Refund on an electronic transaction double-charge: You have the right to get your money back if that is your choice. 

Maybe you don't plan on taking a course next month.  Whatever your reason is, it is none of our business. If you want your money back, you have a right to get it.

Double Charge Our Fault: If you used Walkin Registration and our Registrar made a mistake, email the problem to dance@ssqq.com and we will handle it.
 

Double Charge Your Fault:

  1. Don't bother with email.  You can let us know if you wish but solving the problem must to be done in person at the studio.
  2. You must have documents proving the double-charge.
  3. If you want a refund, you will have to have your credit card with you to card swipe.
  4. You will need to come at 7 pm Weeknights or 4:30 pm on the Weekends.  The Registrar goes home after 7:30 pm.
  5. Don't wait. The faster you handle this, the better because it MUST be done the First or Second week of class ONLY.  The Third and Fourth Week are no good.

(Note: if you find out fast enough, you can simply handle this when you come in for your class in the second week of the month.  Otherwise it must be done the first week of the following month.  Since we do not register students for class in the third or fourth week of each month, there is literally NO ONE there at the studio to help you with a problem this complicated except in the first and second week)

It won't do any good unless you want to pay a $20 e-processing fee.

The Refund must take place at the studio during the first or second week of class (we don't have a Registrar on the premises in the 3rd and 4th week).


If you discover the mistake fast enough, you can solve the problem when you come to class in the second week.  Simply bring your credit card statement showing the double charge with you to the studio. Don't forget to bring your credit card so we can "swipe" it. 

However if you discover the problem in the third or fourth week of the month, you will need to wait till Registration Week of of the following month.


Rick Archer Nearly Has a Nervous Breakdown in January 2005

WHY CAN'T WE USE EMAIL?  WHY DO I HAVE TO COME TO THE STUDIO?  PLEASE??

Question: "If I accidentally double charge myself, is there any way we can handle this by email?"

Answer: Due to some very mean people that have come before you, we do not trust what people say in email. We need to see what you are talking about with your own eyes.

If you want us to use E-Processing to investigate your transaction, do you mind if we charge you a processing fee?  After all, $20 is what the banks charge to cancel a check.

Or you can bring a copy of your credit card statement to the studio and we will handle the problem for free.  We MUST see your documentation. 

The way most people handle double-charges that is their own fault is they bring in their credit card statement the first week of the following month. They can either use the extra charge to take another class or get a refund on the spot.

Emailing us about the problem won't work but I know you will anyway.

Remember what I said earlier about the Magic Wand?  About how our students assume giving Refunds is like waving the Magic Wand:  just a couple mouse clicks, say "Prestidigitation" and - POOF - problem solved.  It just isn't that simple!!

Did you know my previous Registrar - Ms. Susan Schroeder - quit this job in January 2005 complaining of over-work?   Afterwards, Susan's husband David told me in passing that his wife literally would sit up in bed at night handling SSQQ Administration details and problems.

After I took over from Susan, I had to deal with a dozen incidents in January 2005 that involved billing problems. I tried to solve the Registration problems using the Internet like Susan used to do.  I discovered that using E-processing added up to ten extra hours of work a week! 

After investing nearly 5 hours one day of researching everyone's billing problems using the Internet, I began to see exactly what David meant.  The amount of work was a major reason Susan quit.

E-Processing Can Drive you Crazy!!

Every day after Susan quit, I would go to my In-Box and stare at a half-dozen email headaches.  None were all that serious, but together they added up into a mountain of work.

Here are some examples of the daily problems I tried to handle using e-processing.  There are plenty more, believe me. 

Example One
-----Original Message-----
From: MS
Sent: Wednesday, January 12, 2005 3:28 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: refund I got charged twice

Hi, I registered as walk-in for belly dance class on Saturday, Jan 8, 2005 and I paid with cash $38.00. However, I received this approved transaction for credit card billing. So, I got charged twice. I need you to credit this back to me. Please check on this matter since this has caused an inconvenience to me.

Thank you.  Best Regards, MS


Example Two
-----Original Message-----
From: TM
Sent: Friday, January 14, 2005 10:15 AM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: overcharge

Hi there- I was charged twice $38 for the Belly dancing class. My account ID is TMxxxx

Authorization AUTH/TKT 131611

I only have one confirmation online but my bank statement shows that I was charged twice.

I would like the $38 to be credit to my bank account. Thank you


Example Three
-----Original Message-----
From: SG
Sent: Tuesday, January 18, 2005 9:50 PM
To: onlineregistration@ssqq.com
Subject: I goofed up my registration

I just signed up online for Jan 30- Feb 20 Western Swing and I kept clicking FEMALE for 38.00 and it kept giving me couple on the next page, please credit my credit card the 84.00 and charge out the 38.00

Thanks, SG
 

MANY OF YOU, FEW OF ME

I grew weary of the constant demands on my time and the whining was starting to get to me.  Here an example of the kind of email that made me just want to take a flying jump off a bridge.  It wasn't just this one, it was this one plus another dozen.  They all began to add up, one after the other.  Quite frankly, I began to feel seriously outnumbered.  No wonder Susan quit!!


-----Original Message-----
From: Jason/Mary H
Sent: Tuesday, January 18, 2005 1:18 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: xfer

Rick,
Mary and I are registered for Beg Western Swing (again) this month. We were able to attend the first week, but will not be able to make the remaining classes this month. Is it possible for you to allow us to use this month's tuition next month? We would be very grateful. I hope you can do this for us.

See you around your studio!   JH

But most of all it was the e-processing demands that made me nuts.

-----Original Message-----
From: TD
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2005 8:29 AM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: online credit card situation

Hi, My name is TD.  I am Britney H's cousin. She asked me to write you an email, because we can't get anyone on the phone.

She had registered online for the advanced Tuesday night salsa class for February. She paid with a credit card, but now she can't go. She hasn't made it to either of the classes, the first night she couldn't get off work, and this past Tuesday her little girl was running a high fever.

We were just wondering if she could get her money credited back to her card. I have the number, and the information on the card. Please consider this, so we can go next month. Please let me know, either way. Thank you for your time.

Thank you for your time!!  Argh!

I hated the emails when they were rude because I resented doing the work. I hated the emails when they were nice like the one above because then I felt guilty for hating every minute it took to solve the problem.

And each email took a lot of time.  Boy, did it take a lot of time!  Here's how e-processing worked:

1. First I had to figure out whether the mistake was made by you or done by us.

2. If it was our mistake, then I handled it no matter how much time it took. First I had to go into the student's database and figure out which type of card they used: Visa, Master, Amex etc. 

3. Then I had go to another computer and do a "Find" search to get your original transaction authorization number. Then I had to go to another place to get the correct email address. Your email address was often the only major clue I had if the customer did not add their transaction number (which they usually didn't). But to make matters worse, they would email me about the problem from work only for me to find out they had registered using a home email address (or vice versa)

4. Next I had to figure out the day the transaction was processed. Weekends were killers. It could be up to a three-day window if it was the weekend.

5. Now came the hard part. I had to pull up every transaction of every student for that time frame. Since we do business on Sunday and Saturday, I might have been forced to look at 300 or 400 transactions during Registration Week.

Finding your transaction was "needle in a haystack" work. These transactions do not have NAMES. Nor do they have CREDIT CARD numbers.  There is so much concern about identity theft that "who you are" is masked as much as possible.

Nor is there a "FIND" function!!
  It was all strictly "hunt and peck".  300 transactions have to be opened one at a time. There was no list to scan to narrow the search. One at a time: click look close, click look close... needle in a haystack.

Finally after finding the correct transaction, I then had to credit back the money and confirm that the transaction went through correctly.

The minimum solve time was 20 minutes. Maximum is 45 minutes.

Don't forget this wasn't one problems a day. It was 2, 3, 4 problems a day. Every day. More during Registration Week. This added up to a lot of work. 

And if the problem was caused by the customer, I would rather not say exactly what crossed my mind but it was something along the lines of "I have a better use for my time than this."

GETTING GROUCHIER BY THE MINUTE

After a day of solving problems, I would go to the studio that night meaner than a hungry dog. I was mad because I had to spend my free time that day nosing around the Internet to solve problems other people created and now I had to teach too.

My students didn't understand why I had such a bad attitude. No one was happy. Each incident was small, but together they started to add up.  Burn Out was approaching very rapidly.

I felt like the Grand Canyon - slowly but surely I was being whittled down to sand and rubble!  Finally I made a decision: unless it was my fault or that of someone on my Staff, I would not use e-processing to solve our transaction problems.

As callous as it sounds, I decided would not spend one more minute of my life staggering around the Internet looking for some obscure transaction for free. 

I regretted the inconvenience to my customers, but there were not enough hours in the day for me to sit in front of a computer going from screen to screen looking at hundreds of transactions one at a time . 


I MADE A RULE - MY MISTAKE SHAME ON ME, YOUR MISTAKE SHAME ON YOU

The Rule was simple: If it was a double charge and you used Walkin Registration, then it's my mistake or one of the Registrars.  I would use e-processing to find the double-charge and handle it no charge.

But if it was your mistake or you were changing your mind about something, I guarantee you I would never go into E-Processing again willingly unless you paid me to do it.

I had to learn the hard way that I would crazy if I allowed other people's mistakes to become more cleanup work for me.  There were too many of you and not enough of me.

So now you know why you have to come to the studio to clear up the problem unless you are so rich or so busy you don't mind if I charge you $20 to handle it using e-processing.


TRUST - Burn Me Once, Shame on You, Burn Me Twice, Shame on Me

This is not a funny story, but it is a good analogy.  A older gentleman in his 50s here at the studio was asked one night by a lady his own age why he insisted on dating women much younger than he. His answer was, "All the women your age are too darn mean."

She smiled and retorted, "We may be a little crusty, but it's the lies and BS we have had to put up with all our lives from guys our own age that made us this way in the first place. You included!"

As a rule I usually take people's word for it when the solution involves Credit. After 30 years of business I can sense when something doesn't feel right.  It is rare that I think someone is trying to take advantage of the studio.  Furthermore if someone gets a class for free that they don't deserve, the studio will not really be harmed.

In other words, when we use "Credit", the effort to solve the problem for both parties is small, the cost of a Wrong Decision on my part is small and the reward for a Right Decision is high (less work for me and the customer is happy!)

However when someone asks for a Refund, that is a more serious matter.  Now we are handing people back actual cash. 

Unfortunately I have learned the hard way that some people in this world do cheat and others make mistakes.  Before I go handing out the studio's money, I prefer to see the same piece of paper on which the customer is basing their claim.

Let's say someone has a credit card statement in front of him or her that lists two charges to SSQQ for the same amount on the same day. There is a good chance that is a double charge, right??  However, before I issue a Refund, don't you think I have a right to see that same piece of paper?  Why should I have to be the one to take someone's word for it? 

Ask yourself the same question. "Would YOU take someone's word for it?"

So you reply, "Why aren't you friendlier, Rick?  Why don't you trust people more??" 

And my answer is: Because the Customer is Usually Right, But Not Always!!

Here are three case studies drawn from my experience in business. I have listed them to show you why I don't take people's word for anything unless I know them personally.

The Customer is Not Always Right - Incident One
The Man Who Tried to Get a Discount for his Girlfriend

Do you remember I just got through saying "It is rare that I think someone is trying to take advantage of the studio"? 

It may be rare, but this is a good example of someone who I thought was trying to take advantage of the studio. Decide for yourself.

EMAIL ONE
-----Original Message-----
From: AS
Sent: Wednesday, February 09, 2005 10:29 AM
To: onlineregistration@ssqq.com
Subject: Duplicate registration charges

Hello,
I am writing you to correct a billing mistake by SSQQ that resulted in duplicate registration charges.
I forgot to enter my partner's name during the online registration process. However, since I chose couple registration I was charged $42 (if I registered only myself it should have been half price, because this is a repeat class).

You can verify all that information from the attached confirmation.

Date:      Tuesday Feb 01 - Feb 22
Time:      7:00 - 9:00 PM
Course:  Advanced Salsa 7
Amount: $42.00 (Couple: n/a)

In short, even though I paid for couple registration, my partner was forced to make another payment of $38 at the door.

Please update my partner's information in the database (Name: AH Gender: F) and refund her money.

Please contact me if you have any questions.  Thanks, AS

EMAIL TWO
-----Original Message-----
From: Online [mailto:onlineregistration@ssqq.com]
Sent: Monday, February 14, 2005 2:15 PM
To: AS
Subject: RE: Duplicate registration charges

I believe everything you say.  However it is extremely difficult to give back money electronically.

There are two simple options:

1) tell me how much I owe you and I will send you an email verifying credit if you think you might wish to take another class soon.

2) tell me how much I owe you and I will send you a check in the mail. Include please your mailing address.

Rick Archer


EMAIL THREE
-----Original Message-----
From: AS
Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2005 11:10 AM
To: Online
Subject: RE: Duplicate registration charges

Hello Rick,

You don't owe me, you owe my partner.
Please mail a check in the amount of $38.00 to AH

xxxxx H
Houston, TX 77059

Email address: xxxxx@ghg.net

Thanks, AS

EMAIL FOUR
--- Online <onlineregistration@ssqq.com> wrote:

Mr. AS, I don't follow your logic at all.

I checked the records. You are indeed a repeat: $46/2 = $23 

I checked the records. Your lady friend is taking this class for the first time. $38.

If you and she had registered at Walk-In, they would have charged you $23 and her $38.  That equals $61.  As it stands, you paid $42 and she paid $38. That equals $80.

I owe you $19. Why do you think we owe you $38?

Help me out if I am not seeing this correctly.

Rick Archer


EMAIL FIVE
-----Original Message-----
From: AS
Sent: Wednesday, February 16, 2005 4:35 PM
To: Online
Subject: RE: Duplicate registration charges

Rick,

My logic is simple. I registered as a couple for the repeat class and I was charged $42. Since repeat class would be $23 as you pointed out, naturally I assumed that I paid the registration fee for both myself and my partner.

When they said it looked like I was the only person registered in the system, my partner paid an additional $38 for walk-in registration. That's where the $38 comes from.

I can see your point that it was not a repeat for my partner and she should be charged $38. However, if you look at your online registration site, you'll see that you have to make a selection in 2 categories. Gender (male, female and couple) and repeat (Yes, No). I selected couple and repeat.
There is no way in your registration site to make a repeat selection for your partner.

There is also nothing that says both of the partners must be repeating the class to qualify for repeat.

Therefore, if this complication had not happened, my partner would not have been charged an additional $38.

I hope this helps, AS


EMAIL SIX
-----Original Message-----
From: Online [mailto:onlineregistration@ssqq.com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 16, 2005 5:28 PM
To: AS
Subject: RE: Duplicate registration charges

I owe you $19. Help me out if I am not seeing this correctly.

Rick Archer


FINAL EMAIL SEVEN

-----Original Message-----
From: AS
Sent: Monday, February 21, 2005 8:55 AM
To: Online
Subject: RE: Duplicate registration charges

You're obviously dodging the issue. However, I am not gonna argue for 20 bucks..

Please send the check to:

The Lesson of This Story:

This was another lesson in the School of Business Hard Knocks that taught me the "Customer is not always Right."

Mr. AS said: "You're obviously dodging the issue. However, I am not gonna argue for 20 bucks."

I find it interesting that I was accused of dodging the issue in the final email. The truth is he was right.  I avoided discussing it any further for the simple reason that if I said anything, I would be forced to tell him that in my opinion he was completely off base.

Mr. AS figured that since he was a repeat, this gave him the privilege to extend the SSQQ half-price courtesy to his girl friend who had never had this course in her life.  If we had overlooked this transaction, he would in essence have short-changed us for $19.

However our Hall Monitor took one look at his receipt and saw something fishy. The Hall Monitor's sharp eyes stopped this nonsense at the door and the Registrar correctly charged the lady $38. 

Please note that he would say he sees it differently.  This is his right.  However I have a right to my opinion too. In my book, this customer's position was not fair to the studio.

 


The Customer is Not Always Right - Incident Two
The Man Who Wanted a Refund He Didn't Deserve

Editor's Note: For over twenty years, SSQQ has had a simple Refund Policy - if you want your money back, we have a person sitting at the desk to handle your request on the spot until the end of Break one hour after class starts. All you have to do is ask for it before you leave. After that, if you have a complaint, we will transform your money into Credit.

People have wondered why we are so inflexible. Most of all, I think one hour is plenty of time to make up your mind. But the real reason we are so adamant about refusing refunds "after the fact" is that Refunds generally involve a great deal of time once someone leaves the studio

Perhaps you will see what I mean in this exchange of emails below. I estimate the two of us invested six hours typing out our various email responses.

FIRST EMAIL IN STORY
Monday, June 03, 2002 10:10 AM

Hello, I believe I successfully enrolled in the Latin Carnival class starting June 2nd. See transaction confirmation below for my credit card purchase. I was at your office yesterday for the class but was disappointed to hear you had no record of me, and I did not receive proper attention in resolving the issue. So I would like a refund of my fee.

Please advise whether there is any other information you require.

Sincerely
Stephan Weaver


SECOND EMAIL IN STORY
Mon Jun 03 10:27:32 PDT 2002
Mr. Weaver, I acknowledge there is something very odd about your transaction - we have no record of it.

When you register on-line, you receive a receipt. All you have to do to attend the class is show the receipt at the door. Did you not receive a receipt?

Our computers were down yesterday when you arrived so there wasn't much we could do about the problem on the spot.

If there is something we did wrong, I would like to know about it.

Were you denied entrance to the class?
Did you participate in the class?
What was it that left you so dissatisfied?

Rick Archer


THIRD EMAIL IN STORY
Tuesday, June 04, 2002 12:16 PM

Mr. Archer, my latest statement confirms that my VISA credit card was charged May 18th for $44 by "SSQQ INC 713-861-1906 TX."
Stephan Weaver


FOURTH EMAIL IN STORY
Tue Jun 04 17:27:42 PDT 2002

You did not answer my questions.
Rick Archer


FIFTH EMAIL IN STORY
Wednesday, June 05, 2002 10:30 AM

Mr. Archer,

As I implied in my previous email, questions of enrolment and records logically precede questions of customer service and subjective quality. You and your staff have stated they have no record of me. I'd like to get that straight first.

Your staff had an attendance list printed June 2nd (14 days after my enrollment) showing four people in the class; I wasn't one of them. The second staff member I talked to said, precisely, "No, we have four people in the class [showed me their names]. You're not on the list."

No further questions or clarifications, and she started talking to someone else. I turned from cheerful anticipation to disdain in a matter of seconds. Not a good inauguration to a fun evening.

So yes, I was dissatisfied and not impressed. Many salutations and greetings for return customers, a bit of confusion and no warmth for me and at least one other newby.

Stephan Weaver


SIXTH EMAIL IN STORY
Letter from Rick Archer to David Schroeder, registration system programmer

David, is something wrong with the system that I need to know about? Neither Jill nor I can find this man's name on a roster. However we have his email address in our system. Can you figure out what is going wrong?
Rick Archer


SEVENTH EMAIL IN STORY
from our "tech" guy, David Schroeder

Rick,

We saw this one other time. There is not something wrong with the system. If the Registrar or Student does not hit "Continue" on the e-Processing confirmation page then the student's record will not get added to the Roster and will not get a confirmation email.

David Schroeder


EIGHTH EMAIL IN STORY
Wed 06/05/2002 12:36 PM

Mr. Weaver,
I am curious why you are so quick to blame my studio for your problem. From my point of view:

1. You showed up without a receipt
2. Your name was not on a list.
3. I asked both women who worked the desk that day about your problem. Neither Registrar has the slightest memory of who you are. I wonder if you even talked to them.
4. Our computer system was down when you showed up so we had no way to deal with the problem at the time.
5. You expect us to refund money we don't even know we have.
6. And furthermore you refuse to answer my questions despite the fact that I have asked you to answer them on two different occasions. For the record, you still haven't answered the following:

Did you not receive a receipt?
Were you denied entrance to the class?
Did you participate in the class?

As we continue to go round and round with these emails, just what is it that you expected these people to do?

It sounds to me like they told you the truth. You weren't on the List. So what? The important thing is whether you were allowed to participate in your class or not.

You signed up for a dance class, the teacher was there and the class was held - WERE YOU DENIED ACCESS TO THE CLASS????? Since you have chosen not to answer my direct question on the two occasions I have asked it, I feel confident in concluding you were indeed permitted to participate.

Furthermore I took the trouble several days ago to ask my programmer to investigate your original email. His conclusion was that you simply made a mistake. My hunch is that he is right. We have had over a thousand people successfully show us their receipt. You are apparently in the minority of 2 people. I included his report for you to study at the end of the email.

Isn't it about time that you cut us some slack and took some responsibility for your own situation?

Mr. Weaver, based on our written policy, you are not due a refund. Furthermore based on your obvious lack of candor, you are receiving a lot more cooperation than you are giving.

I will be happy to issue you credit.

Rick Archer
SSQQ Dance Studio



NINTH AND FINAL EMAIL IN STORY
Thu 06/06/2002 10:27 AM

Mr. Archer, I think I prefer your "gift certificate" option. I feel No guilt.

Stefan Weaver

The Lesson of This Story:

My guess is that Mr. Weaver wanted a Refund that under the rules he didn't deserve. He decided he was going to argue until he got one.  He based his argument on a non-incident involving a database name disappearance. 

Even though we couldn't find his name in the computer, the Hall Monitor said she would take his word for it. Instead he got angry for whatever reason and left.  He never took the class he came for, then decided after the fact to demand a refund.

The point of this story is: If he had asked for a Refund on the spot, he would have been entitled to one and we would have given it to him.  But once he left the studio, his tuition became Credit and we stuck to our guns even though it meant three hours of typing and much aggravation.

 

The Customer is Not Always Right - Incident Three
The Courtney Walsh incident
 - The Lady Who Got Two Refunds for Only One Payment

Why We Will Not Do Electronic Refunds!

Have you ever heard of a "Refund Refund"?  Of course not.

On Thursday, January 27, 2005, SSQQ Dance Studio received its first ever "Refund Refund Check" from a dance student.

Mind you, my computer's Spell Check is going nuts with the double Refund Refund wording above. As I type, there is a huge wiggly red line under the second "Refund" screaming to draw my attention to this grammatically-incorrect use of the double word.

Spell Check says this word should not be repeated. Guess what? After you read this unusual story, you will agree even a computer was wrong!  Ms. Walsh based her forceful request for a Refund she wasn't due because her computer did not show the SSQQ Refund that had gone through without a hitch. More than likely, it was a software glitch behind the entire problem. 

And although the student had every right to stick to her guns, Ms. Walsh ultimately realized she had been wrong the entire time.  

This incident taught me three important lessons:

  1. Trying to verify transactions using the Internet is an incredible waste of time
  2. Computers do not always give reliable information or perhaps humans don't always know the right place to look.
  3. It is ridiculous to issue Refunds electronically.  In this incident we issued a full Electronic Refund only to discover we had given a total stranger $84 they didn't deserve.

FIRST EMAIL IN STORY:

-----Original Message-----
From: Courtney Walsh
Sent: Monday, January 10, 2005 5:01 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: Private Dance Lessons

My fiancι and I are getting married on March 12th and are interested in taking private lessons to learn the waltz. I saw on your website that the price is $50, but it was not clear how much time that covered. Could you please provide me w/ an estimate of how many lessons it would take for beginners to learn. I realize it will be a guesstimate at best, but I would appreciate a ball park figure to work with.


(Editor's Note: This message was referred to ssqq instructor Charlene Tees for private lessons the same day)
……………

SECOND EMAIL IN STORY:

-----Original Message-----
From: Courtney Walsh
Sent: Wednesday, January 19, 2005 9:23 AM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: Refund

To Whom It May Concern:

My fiancι and I were at SSQQ on Jan. 10th for group dance lessons. However, we decided to take private dance lessons instead. However, the refund (amount $84.00) has not gone through on my credit card as it should of. I will be at SSQQ this Thurs. Jan 20th at 5:30 for a private dance lesson and it would be great if I could take care of the refund at that time.
……………

THIRD EMAIL IN STORY:

On Wed, 19 Jan 2005 10:57:49 -0600, Rick Archer wrote:
Ms Walsh,

I have two issues with your request.

For starters, there is absolutely no record of your transaction on our database that I can find. Your name does not register anywhere. Perhaps the transaction is in your fiancιs name?

Who handled the refund in the first place?
……………

FOURTH EMAIL IN STORY:

-----Original Message-----
From: Courtney Walsh
Sent: Wednesday, January 19, 2005 12:07 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject:Re: Refund

It was in my name. The credit card was a Visa under the name Courtney E. Walsh. I don't know the name of who did the transaction, but it was whoever was handling transactions for walk-ins that evening. I have the receipt saying that it was supposed to be credited back to my account and then I also have the bank statement showing that it wasn't.
……………

FIFTH EMAIL IN STORY:

On Wed, 19 Jan 2005 12:13:39 -0600, Rick Archer wrote:
As I said, there is no record on the database. Do you have a Visa statement showing that SSQQ has charged you??
……………

SIXTH EMAIL IN STORY:

-----Original Message-----
From: Courtney Walsh
Sent: Wednesday, January 19, 2005 12:21 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: Refund

It is a debit card, and yes I have the bank statement. It went through on 11/13 in the amount of $84.00. And then I have the receipt showing that it was supposed to be refunded. Your employee stated that she wasn't very good at doing refunds for credit cards, so I don't know if she punched in the wrong keys or what. I had to sign something both for the original charge and the refund, so there should be paperwork somewhere. I'll be over there tomorrow at 5:30. I can bring my bank statement and receipt if it helps.
……………

SEVENTH EMAIL IN STORY:

On Wed, 19 Jan 2005 14:37:09 -0600, Rick Archer wrote:
Your statement: "I'll be over there tomorrow at 5:30. I can bring my bank statement and receipt if it helps."

Electronic transactions are extremely tricky. I don't know what happened, but if you will be patient I will figure it out.

I am sorry to put you in limbo, but unfortunately there won't be anyone there tomorrow who can process the refund. There is no one around who handles "Registration" in the third and fourth week of class. Refunds are supposed to be handled on the spot, not after the fact.

What you do not realize is that our Registration person suddenly quit and left the second string to handle the job last week. No one knows how to do refunds until our tech guy frees up his schedule and trains us.

Why don't you bring copies and leave it with the teacher. I will take a look at the data and show it to our tech guy, then I will let you know what happened and how we will handle it from there.
……………

EIGHTH EMAIL IN STORY:

-----Original Message-----
From: Courtney Walsh
Sent: Wednesday, January 19, 2005 3:49 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: Refund

OK. I don't know if it is possible, but we will be taking at least 2, and I am sure more, private lessons from Charlene. If you can credit the $84 to her, that is fine w/ me. I'll bring in the information in Tomorrow for you nonetheless.
……………

NINTH EMAIL IN STORY:
-----Original Message-----
From: Courtney Walsh
Sent: Thursday, January 20, 2005 7:22 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: Refund

I have given the appropriate documentation to Charlene to give to you. Please let me know the status of this as soon as you know.

TENTH EMAIL IN STORY:
On Fri, 21 Jan 2005 11:49:13 -0600,
Rick Archer wrote:

I received the documents.

Just so you understand my problem, there is NO RECORD in my database that you were charged.

Furthermore, the document you handed me specifically says we gave you a REFUND on January 10th!  I have no idea why you are so convinced you never received a refund.

My plan is to get the man who designed the system to come over next week and show me how to get into the guts of his system. I will let you know the results as soon as I learn something.

ELEVENTH EMAIL IN STORY:

-----Original Message-----
From: Courtney Walsh
Sent: Friday, January 21, 2005 5:33 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: Refund

I don't know why you don't have a record of it. As is clear from my bank statement, I was in fact charged. There should also be two signed receipts, one from the original charge and one from the refund.

If you can't ever find the record of it, how do you propose that we solve this problem?
……………

TWELFTH EMAIL IN STORY:

On Sun, 23 Jan 2005 08:53:54 -0600, Rick Archer wrote:

I suggest we do as I suggested... wait for the tech guy. He is coming on Tuesday.
……………

THIRTEENTH EMAIL IN STORY:

-----Original Message-----
From: Courtney Walsh
Sent: Sunday, January 23, 2005 10:12 AM
To: Rick Archer
Subject:Re: Refund

I am extremely uncomfortable with the idea of waiting around for your tech guy without any indication from you that you intend to refund the money. While I realize that you can't find records on your end, I have provided you with adequate documentation to move ahead with a refund.
……………

FOURTEENTH EMAIL IN STORY:

On Sun, 23 Jan 2005 14:41:24 -0600, Rick Archer wrote:
I disagree. I have absolutely no proof in my database whatsoever you signed up for anything.

If anything, the document you have handed me makes it appear the cancellation went through. Your documents clearly indicate you have a receipt for money that was refunded.

As I am now about to tell you for the fifth time, I am flying blind on this transaction. I don't know how to solve this problem other than "trust you" and hand over $84 to a complete stranger.

If you were in my shoes, is that what you would do?
……………

FIFTEENTH EMAIL IN STORY:

-----Original Message-----
From: David Schroeder on behalf of ssqq
Sent: Sunday, January 23, 2005 5:31 PM
To: Courtney Walsh
Cc: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: Refund for January 10, 2005

Courtney Walsh,
I found your $84.00 transaction of January 10, 2005 and gave you a refund.

The email address entered for that transaction was "cererving@ " and not "cewervin@ ". That is why we had trouble researching it.

An email receipt has been sent to the correct email address and you should receive it within the next 24 hours.
Sorry about the mix up.

David Schroeder
……………

SIXTEENTH EMAIL IN STORY:

-----Original Message-----
From: Courtney Walsh
Sent: Wednesday, January 26, 2005 8:45 AM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: Refund

Rick,

My records indicate that you have refunded $84 to my account on two separate occasions.
……………

SEVENTEENTH EMAIL IN STORY:

On Wed, 26 Jan 2005 10:10:01 -0600, Rick Archer wrote:
My guess is that original refund made on your first visit to the studio went through after all.

I would rather not take a chance on another mistake. Would you be so kind as to mail me a check for $84?
……………

EIGHTEENTH AND FINAL EMAIL IN STORY:

From: Courtney Walsh
Sent: Wednesday, January 26, 2005 11:20 AM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: Refund

Rick,

I have sent a check to your home in the amount of $84. It should arrive within five days. Please tell me if you do not receive it.

END OF STORY

More About the Courtney Walsh Episode

If someone is willing to accept Credit for their problem, we are generally pretty open-minded. But when someone asks for money back, then we expect them to prove we owe it to them!

FOURTEENTH EMAIL, Courtney Walsh Dilemma
"
As I am now about to tell you for the fifth time, I am flying blind on this transaction. I don't know how to solve this problem other than "trust you" and hand over $84 to a complete stranger.

If you were in my shoes, is that what you would do?

Rick Archer"

I do not know why Ms. Walsh was so impatient with me.  But she made it clear that she was "extremely uncomfortable" with the way I was handling things.  As it turned out, she was incorrect in her analysis of the records she handed me.  In the meantime I ended up exhausted just trying to stand up to her.


LESSON ONE: Trying to verify transactions using the Internet is an incredible waste of time!

The "Refund Refund" put to rest an incident that took 17 days, 18 emails, and at least three hours on my part in emailing and computer research looking for the facts of the transactions.  I am sure Ms. Walsh put in a similar amount of time. And David put in an hour of his own time.  Afterwards we discovered the Registrar had entered the wrong email address which explained one of the reasons why our Internet research had been so futile.  Factor in the time typing the emails and you will guess why I found this incident so frustrating.

That is seven hours of time of three people's time wasted on a non-incident. 

I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't appreciate having someone tie up three hours of my time needlessly.  Whether you have sympathy for my positions or not, I hope you at least agree that after a while all this bickering gets very tiresome.

Who wants to tie up their lives constantly arguing about money incidents that aren't even their fault? 

I mean, if I did something to cause the problem, that's one thing.

But I never made one mistake in this incident, yet here I was ditching three hours of my life in this senseless Refund Tug of War.

Again I was haunted by the possibility that I had uncovered a major reason why Susan quit this job. 

I realize Ms. Walsh was an honest and sincere person. Nevertheless, after it was over, I had the exact same feelings someone has when their car gets sideswiped while idling at a stop light. As they view the wreckage and think about all the time it is going to take to clear this mess up, they are left with the feelings of anger and helplessness that come with the territory.

LESSON TWO: Computers do not always give reliable information (or let's put it this way: computers are only as smart as the people using them.)

Ms. Walsh was positive she was right to demand a Refund. After all, her On-Line Credit Card status showed the charge but not the Refund.

Obviously the first SSQQ
Refund had actually gone through. From the moment I saw that copy of the transaction, it looked to me like the original Refund was valid which is why I wanted to be patient.

Unfortunately the original $84 charge from the first Credit Card transaction appeared immediately in Ms. Walsh's On-Line Visa account, but mysteriously the Refund did not appear.  For whatever reason, the SSQQ Refund transaction did not show up immediately.

Why there was a delay I do not know, but it sure caused a lot of distrust!!

On one side of the coin, Ms. Walsh was looking Online at a screen that said we had not refunded her.

On the other side of the coin, I was looking at a piece of paper that said we had refunded her. Furthermore there was no record in our database that Ms. Walsh was signed up for a dance class.  As I have said repeatedly, I am usually flying blind on many of these transactions since they are so difficult to track down on the Internet.


Meanwhile I emailed David Schroeder, the man who designed the SSQQ Online Registration system, to request help in trying to understand why there was this glaring discrepancy. David took one look at the pyramid of email exchanges and decided to simply give Ms. Walsh a refund on the spot. He emailed me to say we would dig deeper when he met with me the next day. David meant to do a good deed, but unfortunately he didn't realize that he had accidentally given out a second Refund.

(By the way, let me say again that Ms. Walsh showed a great deal of integrity by immediately notifying me that she had received two SSQQ Refunds. I am grateful to her.)
 

LESSON THREE:  It is ridiculous to issue Refunds electronically.  In this incident we issued a full Electronic Refund only to discover we had given a total stranger $84 they didn't deserve.

The Courtney Walsh incident taught me the utter stupidity of handling Refund Transactions using the Computer.  As we have said repeatedly, computers let you make more mistakes faster than any other invention in human history, with the possible exception of handguns and tequila.

None of this would not have been necessary if we had waited for the monthly credit card statement. It may be old-fashioned, but in this case following a paper trail would have saved us all a lot of trouble.

The day after David made the unnecessary Refund, he sat down to work with me on understanding credit card transactions and e-processing. I learned that there are two ways to give a credit card refund:

1. Electronically using the Internet
2. Putting a physical credit card through a credit card swipe terminal at the studio.

The "Electronic e-processing method" that David used is deeply complicated. And thank goodness it is difficult!  If it is was easy, then all those hackers out there that we worry about would have a field day with our credit card numbers.

As David worked with me, I learned lots of lessons the hard way.

As I have pointed out several times, I learned was how easy it is to make MISTAKES using electronic refunds. We dealt with three other headaches the same day electronically and made a serious mistake on one of them. In addition to the Courtney Walsh mistake, we incorrectly credited another woman with a refund. What was our mistake? We took her word for it too.

I also learned the hard way how much time and trouble it takes to handle credit card problems using the Internet. David and I spent an entire hour and a half trying to solve 3 separate problems.

That's right - NINETY MINUTES. In order to uncover a credit card transaction using the Internet and E-Processing, you have to sort through hundreds of other transactions until you get to the right one. It is literally a "needle in a hay stack" problem.

In Summary, the Courtney Walsh lessons were valuable, but deeply frustrating as well.

I learned the utter futility of using the Internet to give credit card refunds because it is so difficult to see the whole picture.

That is where David and Ms. Walsh both made their mistakes. If she had waited for her "hard copy" statement, there would have never been a dispute. She was getting her information from her On-Line account. David only saw the first transaction, but had no idea where to go look for the second Refund transaction.

I learned that using the Internet to give credit card refunds is enormously time consuming. Including all the time I spent on emails and the time that David and Ms. Walsh invested, the Courtney Walsh episode easily consumed four hours of time on something that turned out to be a non-issue. The other three incidents took an average of half an hour to clear up.

I am sorry, but I am unwilling to use E-Processing to resolve Credit Card double charges or Refund requests in the future for two basic reasons.
1. They are unbelievably time-consuming.
2. The customer isn't always right.

From now on we will stick to ancient 20th Century techniques such as looking at hard copy credit card statements. 

Finally, I want all SSQQ customers to realize that they are dealing with an honest organization. We don't want to steal your money and we want you to be pleased with our service.  However we will stand up for what is right based on the opinions expressed in this article.

That said, we are always interested in your opinion. 

Rick Archer
dance@ssqq.com
 

Refund Stories

These articles deal with the ground rules, history, philosophy of the ssqq refund and credit policy.
Deal is Deal
 
Covers the reasons behind the Refund Policy and lists situations
Explains why Group Class Tuition cannot be switched to private lessons
Electronic Transactions
 
Discusses Online Registration and the difficulty of Electronic Transactions
Explains how to handle Double Charges and has the Courtney Walsh Story
Exceptions
 
Talks about our Credit Rules
 
Exceptions Overview
 
Talks about the History of our Credit Rules
 
REFUNDS
 
Home Page for Refunds. Covers the specific Refund Policy
 
Refund Arguments
 
A serious look at 5 case studies from 2005 that explains
why we will no longer even discuss Refund issues
Refund Defeat
 
Must Read for anyone frustrated with the ssqq refund policy.  At least you
can read with satisfaction about the only couple to ever win a refund argument
Refund Overview
 
How other dance studios handle the Refund problem
plus the real-life experience during a ski vacation that shaped our policy
Refund Struggle Easily the best article of the bunch. Two MBAs squared off in a battle royal over
$46 in 2005.
SSQQ Front Page Parties/Calendar Jokes
SSQQ Information Schedule of Classes Writeups
SSQQ Archive Newsletter History of SSQQ