I am a single mother of 4 children that decided to use my
last $2000 to start a business online. I am not able to get a job due to many
factors, and I have a business with fantastic potential. Well, that all fell
apart when I decided to try using Stripe, who took $450 of my $2000 and ruined
my business before it could even get off the ground.
I was reluctant to try Stripe payment processing because of
all of the negative reviews I have read. Let me tell you, if you are
considering opening an account with Stripe, please believe that they will most
likely rip you off, lie to you about account status, and take your money. This
is a new company in the financial world that clearly is trying to lure
customers in with promises of instant approval, only to take your money and
close your account with no warning. And if you are an honest business person
who ships orders quickly like me, then you will also be out for the cost of the
product you shipped to your customers.
So here are the details of my story to back up my claims:
March 1, 2013
I sign up for Stripe and provide standard information. Confirm email address. Because of the bad reviews I have read I decide to wait a few days before implementing Stripe.
March 4, 2013
I send follow up email:
I signed up last week and I wanted to check to see if the account was fully
active and ready to begin processing payments. Can you please tell me if I am
fully approved? The account is under email@example.com.
Stripe response from same day (from Naomi):
Your account is fully active from the time you activate it so you're good to go with us :-)
All the best, -Naomi
I reply the same day to double check because of the bad reviews I have read. I wanted to make certain that I
could begin charging customers. I write:
Thanks but I thought there was an underwriting process..? I just want to make sure there
will not be any issues once we start charging out customers because I have read
some bad reviews and it spooked me a little bit. Thanks for the quick
response by the way!
Stripe response same day (from Naomi):
No problem :-)
We reserve the right to review your account at any time, but you can take payments immediately once you activate your account:
If you click the link you will also read Stripe claim:
It takes just a few minutes to activate your account by
providing some basic information about you and your business. Once you've
activated your account, you can begin running real charges immediately.
At this point I feel that enough time has gone by, with assurances from the staff that I can begin charging customers.
March 5, 2013
First succesful order charged using Stripe. I notice that Stripe automatically charges the
customer instead of Authorizing and then later capturing the funds. I am by
the book and am concerned so I again reach out to Stripe:
I do have a question though because I see that the customer was charged right away. I double checked our shop
setting in Shopify admin and we have the option checked to "Authorize
Only". We do not want to actually charge the customer until the product
ships which is best practice. I do not see any settings in the Stripe admin to change this. Any ideas...?
Stripe doesn't actually allow authorizations so that setting in Shopify won't work with us.
Hmmm, okay this sounds kind of strange and phishy to me. I wonder why.
There would be two more orders to go through for a total of $450. I purchase the products from my suppliers to
fulfill the orders. I am trusting at this point that I will see my money from Stripe in 7 days (as they promise).
March 5 & 6, 2013
All 3 orders were shipped to customers and are in various stages of delivery.
Customers are provided tracking numbers, everything seems good, until
Received email from Stripe on March 7 (from Lucy)
Unfortunately we won't be able to help out with payments for openboxsavings.com,
as our banking partners prohibit us from helping with payments associated with
a business we've had to reject previously.
Sadly we have no flexibility here. It's frustrating for us to have to turn away businesses, but in this case our hands our tied.
Weird. I think that maybe they accidentally sent me this email or just made a mistake. So I reply:
I never applied before, what do you mean?
Stripe reply (from Maria):
Thanks for your email and I am sorry about this situation.
Unfortunately, you account was associated with several we have previously had to reject in one or more ways.
This might not be 100% accurate, but our banking partners require that we
follow these security procedures. You will have to find another way in which to accept payments from your users.
All the best, good luck on your business,
I like the part where she says This might not be 100% accurate and how I am wished All the best, good luck on your business. I cant help but think she is writing that in a sarcastic tone
because she knows that luck is the only thing that can save me at this point.
My response (to Maria)
What about the few charges that were made and the balance in the account? I have already paid for the goods and
shipped the orders (I have tracking numbers if you need).
Response (from Maria)
I am sorry for the trouble, but you will have to find alternative forms of payment from those customers. There is nothing we can do.
All the best,
Okay wonderful, so first you cancel my account after I made certain the account was okay to begin charging
customers. I dont have any alternative payment methods except if the customer
mails me a check. I am sure they are going to get right on that (after they
have already received their product). And wouldnt that sound incredibly scammy
for me to contact my customers and ask for a check? I give that about a 1:1000
chance of actually getting paid.
What?! You mean you are keeping my money? You have got to be kidding me!!
Response (from Maria)
Thank you for your email and sorry for the confusion.
We are not keeping your money. We are refunding each payment to your customers.
All the best, good luck on your business,
Wouldnt it be a good idea to inform your clients in the first our hands are tied email to explain that the customers are being refunded? I mean, do I really need to inquire about this
and dig up the information. At this point time is of the essence because if
what Stripe says is true and they are refunding my customers, then I am now up
against the clock to try and locate these shipments before they get delivered.
They also do not acknowledge the fact that I have tracking numbers, nor do they seem to care. I still have no idea how I am going to handle this situation and my choices are to either have the product delivered and beg for a check to be sent in the mail, or try to stop the shipment before delivery, then make arrangements to ship the product
back to the supplier. In this case, the customer will not receive their merchandise, and unlike Stripe, I care. So I guess my only option is to let the product deliver and hope to get paid.
So will they have already seen the refund on their statement? Because obviously they
are not going to pay me with any other method if the charges are still showing
on their statements. Do you have proof that the refunds have happened?
Your process is completely backwards and Stripe is causing unecessary problems. You should never tell someone that they are approved and good to start charging, wait until charges are made, and then cancel/refund orders when goods have already been shipped. Clearly it is an attempt to lure in honest business people with an 'instant approval' which really is not instant. I double checked before starting to charge customers with your company and was reassured.
Don't tell vendors they are approved if they are not. You really have no clue on your side how much havoc this creates.
Do I get a response? Nope.
So, if any others have a similar experience then I recommend writing about it. I am leaving my contact information for an attorney who is investigating a class action lawsuit against Stripe. These business practices are detrimental to small businesses like myself. As I mentioned in the beginning, I had only a couple thousand dollars to try and get this business going. I feel like it coould have provided enough money for my entire family to get by. But now, I have had 25% of this money taken from me, and have also spent 2 days trying to rectify this mess. I dont know if my business will make it now, because I need to pay my supplier for the goods before I ship products out.
In my opinion the root cause of all of this is that Stripe is trying to gain business from Paypal. They are trying to streamline the setup process and make it faster than Paypal. In my case, Stripe is pre-integrated with Shopify and the setup process was very simple. But, this is a deceitful advertising and business practice that Stripe is
doing. They are willing to wreak havoc after the fact and cancel customers if
it means that they can quickly sign up thousands of unsuspecting new customers.
My final email to Stripe:
As I mentioned before I will be posting on the websites I mentioned and will
certainly email you links once posted. I will also place comments on blogs with
this same topic and attach myself to any civil or class action lawsuit (believe
me it is coming if there isn't one already). Shame on your company for poor
business practices, you are truly showing that you are rookies in the world of
financial business practices. As you can read, I am well spoken and will share
my story with the world. I hope to pursuade as many people as I possibly can to
not use your services and I truly hope that can translate into thousands of
dollars in lost business for Stripe.
Stripe Enemy #1
If Stripe were a responsible business, then they would take your application, process it for however long it takes (3-5 days maybe?) and then give you a response. But because they are greedy and sneaky, they tell you that your account is fully active from the time you activate. For me this was March 1, 2013. I am just thankful that I
was smart enough to trust the other reviewers out there to not jump in so fast.
If I had starying charging my customers right away, then Stripe would have
taken all $2000 from me and I would be completely broke and shut down for good.
If you are a lawyer who is considering legal action against Stripe, then please contact me at
firstname.lastname@example.org. If this email address can not be posted, then reply to me in the comment section and I will find you.