Friday, January 28, 2011

accepting credit cards and back to identity theft......

Good gravy, I am ready to move to Canada if I only had an identity!

Still not taking credit cards but now own $1,000 worth of equipment.
After a week of frustration boy do I have a ton of information I will now pass on to anyone who reads this blog.

Take your Square:    https://squareup.com/  and toss it out the window.
If you cannot talk to a real person on the end of the phone delete it from your memory banks, your hard drive and your iPhone!  Tweeting your  personal financial information is not a good idea on any level.  Akin to "tweeting" from the decks of the Titanic.  I would not deal with this company for love nor money, make that the other way around.

As some of you know I have been going through identity theft for about 10 years now.  Some years are good, other years I would like to forget.  Like 2003, the year I was arrested at gun point in my studio by our local police dept. for stealing cars.  I asked the cop;  Does this look like chop shop to you?  I don't use speed dial anymore because you need a few phone numbers memorized when they haul you off to the hoosegow.
Hi Honey, Mommy is in jail, could you find your Dad......... oh yeah that was a great phone call!  Eight hours later everybody figured out they had the wrong girl and I was released.  The cop said; "We knew we had the wrong person cuz everybody was asking for Jack Daniels, oxycotin, or cigarettes and you wanted a Starbuck's Caramel Macchiato Grande'.

2011 is starting out like one I might want to forget.  I thought I wanted to play with the big boys on the Fine Craft Circuit.  Applied to shows with fees over $1,000 and even got accepted.  After letting $2400.00 of pots walk out of the booth in Chicago with the promise;  check's in the mail, I knew I needed to accept credit cards.

To play with the big boys one needs a booth:

ProPanels:           $1500.00
Flooring:             $  350.00
Lighting:             $  367.00
show fees to date:  $3,000.00
jury fees:             $240.00  (love - hate relationship I pay for)
trailer to haul booth around:    $1500.00
(I won't even get into electrical hook ups at shows, labor unions, hotel expenses, photography, license and, and, and I think I will just pin hundred dollar bills to my jacket and let them fall off where needed)

I left the credit card applications for my last task as I had a feeling it would go like this, well not exactly like this but I knew there would be a hitch.

After reviewing all the information on the web and various websites, blogs and artist social networks I settled on the Square.  I needed an iPad and a device.  I can do that!
Go to Verizon get:  iPad and MiFi hook up:    $670.00 plus $20 per month for 2 years, would you rather have my first born?
Home:  download "Square" app......... APPLICATION DENIED.  delete app and reload again,  DITTO.
Google App support for Square:  one must tweet......  Google YouTube and teach myself to tweet.
I tweeted for seven days until I sprouted feathers, they never answered.  According to Square when you delete your app from your iPad all information is deleted from their site.  No way to know but I sure hope so or I will be getting another new Social Security number.

Also found out I had to sync my new iPad with my Mac computer to get the MiFi vz access manager loaded.  My mac did not have the proper operating level.  I needed 10.6 OS X.  I had 10.4 neanderthal.  So I screen chatted with Yolanda at Apple and found out I need the boxed set of iLife, iWork, and OS X Snow Leopard ........ $129.00.  You really should increase your Gigs the apple support person said.
Great, just another GB or two.  Give me two because sky's the limit!  Oh we don't make those anymore.  Hey!!! My computer is fine, works great, not a problem since I bought it and I know what all the buttons mean.  Yolanda what do you suggest, oh we can't suggest other companies, Goodbye and please take our survey.
Now what........ find another website that still makes stone age memory cards.
I screen chat with James at:  http://eshop.macsales.com/  if you have a mac go to this website!!!
they even have tutorial videos to walk you through basic repairs!  Order one 2 gig memory card.... another $100.00.  But I will have 3 GIGS of memory, at 2 a.m. this is HUGE!

Oh look there is a window open and money is just flying out along with the monkeys!

I vented my frustration on Art Fair Insiders  http://www.artfairinsiders.com/  (great website!)
While on the forum Dann Jackson told me to go to another company as they had the same deal.
"Intuit" or http://gopayment.com/   I screen chatted with Ashley for several minutes and she explained how things worked and what equipment I needed.  Of course the iPad was not on the top of list and they would prefer a cell phone but an Ipod touch would also work.  Back to screen chatting with Dorothy at Apple......  Dorothy says; "you would love the iPhone and they come out 2/3 right here on the website!" Don't have one, don't want one and do not want a contract with a monthly bill for something I am going to use a maximum of 6 times a year.  I was emailed a transcript of our screen chat and I had time to think it over.  Back to the GoPayment people and find out the iPad will work.
To set up an account you simply had to call a number and WOW a real person answered the phone!  The process was quick, simple and very well explained.  It was explained I would receive three emails (hey.... is this like three wishes?)  The second email would have me set up a log in account.  The third was a survey. Got it....... I love these people......... I thought!!!

Survey arrived, I filled it out with glowing approval!

Second email arrived before I finished the survey.  YOU ARE DENIED AS YOU HAVE GIVEN A FALSE SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER. ACCOUNT DENIED!  The equivalent of getting a howler from a financial institution.  My heart sank......... BUT!

In my initial phone conversation they gave me a 24/7 hotline for problems.  Yup, this was a problem.
Robin answered the phone and listened to my tale of woe.  Can you hold the line, we never had this happen before.  I understand and I held the line.  A breathless Robin came back on the line quite a few minutes later, he had to run and get answers on another floor.  Ok, I like this kid, he really wants to help me.  The explanation made me sick!

Intuit uses a Experian Credit and I quote:  "A World of Insight"   I have notorized documents from the Social Security office stating I had a new SSN and had alerted all the credit companies in October of 2003.  It's really good I am somewhat of an organized pack rat because I kept every piece of correspondence since this mess started in 1999.  For some reason Experian reverted to my old SSN and declared my new number was fictitious.
Here we go.......... Press one for English.  Experian has a Catch 22.  If you need to talk to an agent please have a current credit report number at the ready to key in.  You must have a report from the last 90 days.  Go back to the beginning and get a credit report; key in new SSN....... you have entered a fictitious SSN, do not pass go, do not collect $200.  Just for fun I tried my old SSN...... worked like a charm even though the Social Security office destroyed it in 2003.  Someone is out there still using it and by the way good job because you have pretty good credit.

Call GoPayment folks back because I had to ask......... If I entered my old defunct SSN would I have been approved?
Why Yes, that would have worked.  Kill me...........

And on another great note,  I can use my iPad with the GoPayment folks!  They are sending a free scanner.
And on another great note, while I was typing this blog I have been approved!!

I might have to send the whole company a case of mugs!!

If you see me in Naples Art Festival the end of Feb. or at Craft Boston the end of March, please
whip out your credit card!!

Oh and just for the record; Butch left for Chicago just about the time I started my journey today.
He arrived, checked into his hotel and had seen half the boat show.....
I am still sorting through the paperwork.........

Cash is still king and maybe a selling $20 mugs at the farmers markets was really the way to go.........

will let you know in a month........

tonight:  jerking my memory card and loading my new mac software....... stay tuned campers!

4 comments:

Theresa Yondo said...

Sandy,
This is crazy. I can't believe the identity theft is still following you around.
Best wishes for a very successful show.
T-

madpotter1 said...

Got an email from Experian late last night and sounds like this going to be around for quite awhile longer. LOL, it was such a warm and personal letter. Good to be in the studio and have all this done. Thanx:)

Josephus said...

I have a nationally recognized, close friend/potter who sold wholesale/retail at all ACC sponsored shows, including Boston, for decades and since about 5 years ago quit doing such shows entirely. He hates ACC now.

When I told him that I was about to embark on such sales he discouraged me. He said that the ACC became greedy and over time began to accept more and more participants rather than limit the numbers. Therefore the "piece of the pie" that each participant made became smaller and smaller. There are a limited number buyers at these events and with a greater number of participants each participant sells less. Of course the ACC makes more due to the increasing number of participants.

With all the fees and associated costs, as described in your blog post, the return was not worth the effort. He has since begun to develop another sales model as well as branching off into web site development in order to make ends meet.

Although he encourages me to get a CC account, I've avoided it. He's had the same account with his local bank for almost 30 years and it works for him. Times have changed and it's not possible to do the same today with the same ease he did it back then. I can't justify the prohibitive costs of such nor the hassle and time of setting it up re: your experience.

I take only checks or cash. I'm still in the process of developing a sales model that works for me and is as local/regional as possible. No travel, no CC accounts, more time in the studio, less hair pulling.

madpotter1 said...

Josephus......... you are a wise man.

The area I live and work in is pretty depressed at the moment and Chicago was a breath of fresh air. The buying public was very educated and not one person asked if I would come down on my prices.

I know if I am going to pay my bills this year I will need to branch out. As I look through all the show postings I am starting to think some of the smaller shows with good attendance is a better way to go.

I too stayed away from the ACC shows and heard the same reports. The show in Boston is with The Society of Arts and Craft; Craft Boston. I am sure I will have learned a great deal by the end of the year.........

There is that learning curve again :-)

Best of luck to you!

You know one other thought...... I worked at farmers markets last year and found so many folks carried a credit card but not enough cash to buy a honey pot or mug. If I had had the CC there I think my sales would have been better. I am finding not many want to carry cash anymore.