Square Is Not Squaring Up

In describing their company philosophy, Jeff Bezos, president of Amazon.com once said, “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” Amazon is now listed number 206 in the Global 500 listing of corporations, an impressive accomplishment for a company that was created by Bezos as an online book retailer in the mid 90’s. Today, Amazon is an internet giant selling just about anything you can think of. Bezos, undoubtedly attributes its success to their commitment to outstanding customer service.

Across town, there is another customer service party that’s not quite as friendly… As of December 2011, Square , a payment processing company founded by Jack Dorsey (also founder of twitter) reported they now had one million customers toting their trendy square shaped card readers(also known as a Dongles) ready to accept credit card payments. Wow, that’s a lot of Dongles. I wondered how many technical support people they have on hand to answer the phones when there are questions about hardware, software, or most importantly, business owners receiving their funds. Turns out the answer is ZERO. One million businesses or individuals potentially running transactions on their system and no one at square can be reached by phone.

Don’t fret. You can always go to their twitter support page or shoot them an email….and wait.

It may not be such an issue if so many of their customers weren’t getting their money. A simple Google search will produce an abundance of websites flooded with complaints from businesses and non-profits who aren’t getting their money, some claiming their businesses and lives have been greatly impacted. What self respecting person working hard for their money is comfortable sitting back and waiting for an email when their bank account is short hundreds or thousands of dollars.

One site, Complaintwire.org has 21 pages of complaints about Square’s antics. One business owner states, “Square is holding $4900 of a $6900 transaction and said they will not release it for 30 days!
We own a small company and this really hurts us!”

Another website, Cardfellow.com, offers a full review and analysis of Square. They start by saying, “Square’s poor customer service and tendency to hold funds and impose reserves makes it a gamble for any person or business. Choosing the right credit card processing solution can make or break your business….” They continue, “Square has oversimplified credit card processing. This has allowed the company to grow rapidly, but at the expense and frustration of many of its users in form of deposit limits, frozen funds, and poor customer service.”

One business owner calling them self “Titan,” on Complaintwire.com actually managed to get through to a customer service rep (many people press random numbers in hopes of reaching a real extension). Titan gives a brief account of the experience:

Titan: Is there a manager there that I can speak to regarding my account? I’ve emailed to no avail and I’ve called and no one could or would help.

Rep: Yeah, don’t call. It won’t do any good. Just keep emailing and answer the questions that they sent you.

Titan: I already answered the questions. I’ve emailed about 4 times this week. I’m not getting answers and nothing on the website describes the hold on a swiped transaction. I guess I’ll just need to keep calling back to find someone that can help me…..

Rep: seriously, this is the customer service department. We can’t help you with your account and it won’t do you any good to call here.

It looks like Square isn’t squaring up. Hopefully with all of the money they are making, for the sake of their customers, they can get a phone system and hire some technical support sometime soon.

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