General Chunterings

Chapters = rubbish

*Engage rant mode*

My sister lives in Canada so buying Christmas presents on-line is a really good idea. There’s no need for expensive international postage and most web stores will even wrap stuff for you. Great! Such convenience!

This year my sis decided that Chapters might be a good store to buy from, as they’d recently started a Toy department and I have a couple of nieces to buy for. Unfortunately, my procrastination is legendary and I didn’t actually get my arse in gear until this weekend, where after some subtle prompting I actually put my order in for some nice toys for the girls and some other bits and pieces.

It all seemed quite easy to start with. Loading up the basket was easy enough, but various pages just stopped loading for no apparent reason at various points during my shopping session. This proved to be especially frustrating during the payment part, where the page that entered my visa information just kept refusing to load

Well, it’s Christmas nearly. No doubt there are other lazy brothers buying last-minute Christmas gifts for their families abroad.

My frustration with their website didn’t end there though. My sister had entered a wish-list to make my shopping even easier. However Chapters, in their infinite wisdom, didn’t seem to know her address. I’m not sure if Amazon have this patented or not, but surely you’d think that they’d ask this information when creating an account but at no point was I offered the option to automagically send these fine gifts to her. I had to enter it myself.

Fine, I thought, Just crappy web application design.

Well, it turns out that these little hurdles on the way to shopping nirvana where just a test of my stamina. It turns out that they don’t trust me because I’m a foreigner. I got an email last night requesting that I verify my billing address as an anti-fraud measure:

As a valued international customer, we are writing to request verification of the billing address as recorded with your credit card issuing bank. We must be in receipt of this information before we can process and ship your order.

In order to verify ownership of the credit card number provided, please fax the following information to fax number 001-905-789-2626.

1. A copy of your latest credit card statement and;
2. The front of your credit card

The copy of your latest credit card statement should include your name, billing address and account number. All other personal details such as your transactions, credit limit and/or available balance are not required. Please feel free to block this information.

Please note that we have a process in place that will ensure customer safety and security when faxing in information. This process was put in place as a means of protection for all international online consumers.

We do appreciate all of our return customers and this process will only have to be completed once (unless you are issued a new credit card number). We feel this will help us serve our international customers with increased speed and familiarity.

If we do not hear from you within the next 2 business days your online order will be cancelled and your credit card will not be charged for this order.

Should you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us at
1-877-492-7044 Monday – Friday 9:00AM – 5:00PM EST.

“Valued international customer” my arse.

Now let’s see why I’m not going to do this. For a start, why the hell should I have to verify my sodding billing address? Thanks for assuming that I’m a criminal attempting to defraud your store. Fine, this is my first purchase from them but way to go to dissuade me from ever using them again.

Also, fax this information to them? At my expense? What a bloody stupid idea. Why the hell should I trust a fax somewhere in Canada with a copy of my visa bill and an image proudly displaying the front of my card? Let’s think about this carefully for a second – they want a fax! Great image quality there, how difficult do you think it is to fake the information they want? Even my shoddy image manipulation skills could soon whip up something that’d pass a cursory glance from some “fraud expert” on the end of the fax machine.

Let’s see. If I was actually in Canada with my foreign visa would they bother to verify my billing address then? I doubt it. There was no chip ‘n’ pin the last time I was there so they’d just have some disinterested till-monkey checking my signature.

Perhaps they think that these anti-fraud measures are worthwhile? Well, they’re just a waste of my time, a waste of my money and totally inconvenient for casual shoppers. I mean, who even has a fax these days? I know that I don’t and I’m sure that my company wouldn’t be too pleased about me faxing anything to some Canadian number.

Chapters are unlucky, I suppose, in that I’ve already had a similar request from Pixmania. What the hell is wrong with these companies? Are they trying to drive us back to having to physically go to a store to buy things?

I’m livid, as you can probably tell. I’ve sent Chapters a snot-a-gram via their contact page and I’ll see whether they’re going to full fill this order or not. I’m certainly not going to be sending them any more information – if they cancel the order then I’ve already arranged for my sis to visit a real store (Toys R Us) to buy the same stuff.

Bah! Now, more importantly, why the hell didn’t I get all this done a few weeks ago so that it wasn’t so close to Christmas? I know, I’m an idiot.

  1. I had the same letter from them after trying to buy gift cards. Such a pain in the neck. Every time I try to do the ‘easy’ thing and buy my nieces and nephew in Canada gifts online it is always so difficult. Yet, as you say, when I go back to Canada and use my UK visa debit, it is totally fine!
    I also tried Toys R Us, and they have a bug in their ‘billing address’ form that doesn’t allow me to put in an UK address, even though they explicitly state they accept payment from cards from the UK. And when I emailed their customer service team they said ‘the form won’t let you put a post code in that is less than three characters long’. Um yes, I don’t know of anywhere in the world that has a post code less than three characters. I put my normal UK post code in (6 characters) and it doesn’t work. The problem is not my post code, the problem is a bug in your form that is making you lose out on TONS of revenue from ex-pats wanting to buy gifts for family in Canada . Stop blaming the customer and sort it out or you won’t survive this recession!

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