How We Got Our Stripe Account Back

Updated on June 05, 2017

We all make mistakes. We’re just a small hosting startup yet we make mistakes every now and then, I can imagine how hard it can be to look after hundreds of thousands of customers. That, though, is not an excuse, you have to be proactive and if you make a mistake you better own up to it and learn from it.

That’s exactly what Stripe did and I’m happy to say that we got our account reactivated and a lot of friendly people from the company reached out to us and made sure we don’t feel left behind. I even had the chance to chat with Patrick Collison, co-founder of Stripe and Andy Young, head of Stripe’s UK division. These guys are building a company that is valued well over a billion dollars yet still took the time to contact us personally, now that’s exemplary customer care.

When you’re dealing with a lot of clients you have to have a (high) level of automation otherwise you’d have to operate a customer support team so large that it could fill a city. Automation is never perfect and as someone who spent five years in the search engine optimization (SEO) business I’m no stranger to getting screwed by an algorithm.

In Google’s case we were used to not being able to reach out to anyone and our only option was to dust ourselves off and start over. However I don’t expect the same from a company that we are a paying customer of. That’s what hurts the most in my opinion: not being able to get help for your problems and the lack of communication from your business partner.

Takeaway

If you’re dealing with customers directly, customer care is everything, even more so in the modern days of social media. Stripe is not the only payment processor online and just like they grew up in the shadows of PayPal (which didn’t provide adequate customer support and made it really hard for developers to integrate their services) they can be knocked out by a current or future competitor that may provide better support and/or a better product at the same pricing levels. In today’s all connected world giants are rising and falling every day.

It’s a fact that bad news and bad reviews spread much faster than good ones. You have to monitor social media as much as you can. The discussion about your brand is happening whether you like it or not, the only choice you have is to join or look the other way and pretend that social media doesn’t exist. Now if you’d like to build a longterm business it’s not really a choice.

In order to a startup to succeed, in my opinion you have to have three things: meritorious support, one of best products (or services) in your niche and competitive pricing.

Customer support is everything though. It is possible that the founders and the management didn’t even know about the issues customer face when trying to reach the support team. Or that overnight, immediate account closures happen at all. It’s important to directly ask your clients for feedback every now and then and work together with them to make your product better.

The industry Kinsta is in (web hosting) is infamous for abysmal customer care. I guess in the old days it was easy to put together an okay(ish) server box and put as many clients on it as possible, take their money and when they complained you made them feel like they aren’t really entitled for any support because the service is so cheap.

Even though Kinsta provides the best web hosting performance among all of our current competitors, that’s only 10% of the recipe to success. I’d say added value (backups, security, custom admin features, etc.) is another 10% and the other 80% is customer support. Everyone who knows Linux can put together a hosting server, some of them can even build outstanding servers, but if they don’t provide fanatical support (I hope RackSpace won’t sue us for using their trademarked term…) it’s simply not enough.

As I wrote in my previous post we really like Stripe. As the lead developer of our team I’d say it’s the best thing that happened to online payments since PayPal. They made a mistake, maybe a tiny one for them, but a huge one for us and when I called them out on it they owned up to it and did everything in their power to fix it. I’m happy to call them a business partner.

This article was written by Mark Gavalda

Mark has many years of experience leading teams in the fields of marketing, web design and development. As a dev guy he used his WP expertise to collect the know-hows of creating a reliable and customer friendly hosting company to satisfy the increasing demand of clients. He is an urban cyclist and autodidact who never stops learning new skills.

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  1. Gravatar for this comment's author
    afroniquely | shae November 16, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    Good to see they finally gave you all back your account, however it’s rather sad and alarming that it took a post questioning their work ethics/if they care for them to even notice what the issue is and then choose to resolve it. It kinda reads as though they only stepped in to fix this because they are being bashed/called out for their wrong doing.

    Overall though, it’s good at least that they took the time to try to make amends. Lesson from all this, it should never matter how big a company/person gets, they should always have time to give good customer service (a lesson I constantly need to remind myself of also).

    1. Gravatar for this comment's author
      Mark Gavalda November 17, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      Very well said, Shae :) Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Gravatar for this comment's author
    Kris February 22, 2015 at 4:54 am

    Mark, good read man. How hard was it to implement the 3rd party fraud systems? Also are you still using the 3rd party ones or are you using something from stripe? (maybe they’ve implemented something since)

    Also I think there might be a typo, “In order to a startup to succeed” I think maybe you wanted to write “In order for a startup to succeed”.

    Lastly, I saw that Kinsta has a CDN. Is it inhouse or do you get it from another company?

    1. Gravatar for this comment's author
      Chema August 29, 2015 at 7:04 pm

      Hello Kris,

      I use http://garridodiaz.com/preventing-fraud-on-stripe/ Hope works to you ;)

  3. Gravatar for this comment's author
    Jungle Property March 29, 2015 at 11:26 am

    We had a bad experience with Stripe recently. We came at it with high expectations and signing up and creating our payment page was very easy and after taking just 2 payments we received an abrupt email (they use the word abrupt in the email) saying our account was suspended as we had been charging customers without their consent. We contacted both customers and they had not complained or experienced any known issues. We were left high and dry with no phone number to call and 10 days on none of our 3 emails have had a response. Has to be amongst the worst customer experience I have ever had anywhere which is saying something. I suspect Stripe started life with good intentions but with explosive growth forgot all about the customer I cannot believe a business can survive on ignoring customers?

  4. Gravatar for this comment's author
    Theukc Biz December 3, 2015 at 3:23 am

    We also signed up with Stripe early this year and had very high hopes and expectations. After processing a relatively low volume of sales we encountered 2 chargebacks. Both were fraudulent and one was refunded as soon as it was received. The other was challenged and lost. Stripe now decided to take all money, hold it in reserves without notice and has also advised that they can continue processing transactions but will close the account in a short period of time. Sure they can continue processing transactions, though what good would that do our business if they hold it in reserves?

    Both of the chargebacks were quite frankly bogus, as the customers received there tracking numbers, the addresses of billing and shipping were the same, the customer has ordered in the past and claimed he did not know where the charge came from.

    There are many processing companies out there but none like Stripe, or so we thought and there is a possibility that more competition arises in the future however our business is still going to suffer a blow in the short-run since customers still want there orders and there is no money going into the business. What is a company to do in a situation like this, when the processor decides to freeze your account without warning? They indicated afterwards that they do not accept dropship companies as this is against there policy, which is an assumption at the least as they have little insight into how we run our business, we do not rely on a dropship mechanism. They also indicated that they require approval from brand-name companies when our sales are all from non-branded merchandise. We dont know whats going on there but this holiday season is suppose to be full of happiness and success and should be one of the busiest times of the year.

    Well that sums up our experience for all you curious businesses out there.

    1. Gravatar for this comment's author
      tomzur December 3, 2015 at 1:46 pm

      Hi Theukc,

      Sorry to hear your situation I hope it will be resolved soon. Please keep us updated we are all curious!
      Cheers, Tom

      1. Gravatar for this comment's author
        Theukc Biz December 4, 2015 at 3:00 am

        I will definitely keep everyone posted. This should serve as a heads up on the company for anybody doing a quick cursory google search. I remember doing one earlier this year with nothing to find. I’m sure that its mostly small businesses that are using Stripe or are deciding whether Stripe would be a good choice. This could be detrimental for small businesses who are striving in today’s market.

  5. Gravatar for this comment's author
    Theukc Biz December 8, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Refer to our previous posts.

    Stripe has put a hold on our funds and suspended our account with no prior notice. We are fully compliant with their terms and conditions. You have been warned people. The business looks sketchy to begin with. Their initial support is great however goes downhill once you get 1 chargeback OR when they feel it is time to take your businesses profits! We spoke to a guy named Keith Briggs.

    Conclusion: Stay away. Unless you want to get robbed when the CEO and managers like to go on crack binges or need extra cash, same difference.

  6. Gravatar for this comment's author
    fergusga October 14, 2016 at 2:18 am

    Also just received an e-mail from Stripe today stating they are stopping our service. I am really disappointed as I like Stripe but the service is really poor. Since opening 3 weeks ago I have taken thousands of dollars worth of sales via PayPal and not a single issue but with Stripe a very small amount and already a single charge back. To reduce the risk with Stripe I changed to authorization only rather than capture and also added in fraud prevention via Subono which works great. I would have hoped that Stripe would have reached out and asked how they can help rather than just shut me down.

  7. Gravatar for this comment's author
    Alex May 12, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    I’d like to know: Were you using Stripe Connect or Stripe Payments?

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