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Middle class problems - Tactical Ninja

Jul. 9th, 2013

09:54 am - Middle class problems

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Thing that gets up my nose: Paypal.

I mean yeah, it's a fast, convenient, easy way to pay. Thing is, it's a fast, convenient, easy way to pay that refused to process payments to Wikileaks. Remember that? Yeah, I hold grudges. Or, at least, I don't want to support an organisation that values the ability of governments to silence dissent over open communication. Whether it's possible to donate to the KKK through Paypal, I don't know. What I do know is that I cancelled my account when they stopped payments to Wikileaks and they've been trying to get me to sign up again ever since.

Never mind the complaints I hear from various folks about arbitrary holds put on accounts, privacy breaches, and general erosion of the rights of users over the years. I just don't want to support them.


However, sometimes you're not given an option - like when you buy something through a site that operates all its payment processing through Paypal. In those cases, I opt for the 'pay by credit card' option without signing up for an account.

Yes, I know, that is a compromise of my principle, and if I were truly walking my talk, I would choose not to buy the products from people that insist I use Paypal at all. I guess I'm not perfect. Sue me.

However, I draw the line at creating an account. I know it's not compulsory, because I have on several occasions just entered the appropriate information and it's been paid and that's good. But there are some sites that seem to have crossed off the option for 'just hold your nose and pay', which leaves Paypal free to use coercive methods to get you to sign up.

Top tip: I do not respond well to coercion.

Today's adventure - trying to buy a new phone case. You'd think it'd be easy, but my phone is old enough now that the market's moved on and my options are specialty shops that make custom ones, or shipping one in from overseas with associated postal costs. I thought I'd done OK finding a site called StillPerfection.co.nz. This site is one that allows you to create your own phone case. So I did. Vis:



I thought $20 wasn't bad for such a thing. Not a fancy design, but works for me. So anyway, all was good till it came to payment time. The shipping rate of $7.77NZ alerted me to the fact that this company is probably not actually in NZ. But I thought, what the hell, it's a nice phone case and it's still about the same price as any of the others (of reasonable quality) that I'd looked at. Then they had the Paypal option only for payment. It says 'select payment method' but there's only one thing to select. Hmmm, okaaay...

And then I get to the Paypal page and it's auto-entered my country as United States. I'm kind of used to this - pretty much all sites that aren't specifically NZ ones do this and yes it's annoying but I guess par for the course. However, when I went to change the country, the usual 'hold your nose and pay' form disappeared, and was replaced by 'create an account'. With no other options. I could either create an account or not pay for my item.

I chose not to pay, and instead opened a ticket with StillPerfection asking them to provide me with a suitable payment option. Last time I did this was with a company in Australia, explaining my stance on Wikileaks, and they happily emailed me and sorted something else out. I am hoping this company will too - or at least adjust their Paypal settings to allow me to pay without signing up. Because if that's my only option, they'll lose my business.

And, I noticed that the ticket time, which was 9:15am NZ time, was 5:15am Some Other Country time. And when I looked at the World Clock, I discovered that that particular time step places the company with the NZ domain name, right smack in the middle of China. So I don't have a lot of hope for getting a satisfactory response from these guys. You never know, it's a pretty professional looking website - but IME dealing with odd requests from a tiny country that's nowhere on a global scale is very low priority for these kinds of online businesses.

I love how even a company based in China treats the United States as the default.


Anyway, having made a long story long, the upshot is that I still don't have a phone case on its way. Not exactly a life and death situation, but a niggle just the same. I found a site in Australia, but they only ship to Australia. Everything on Fishpond is a) ugly and b) 'ships from Asian supplier'. I have nothing against Asian suppliers, but I was kind of hoping to find something closer to home. My current case is a knock-off, and it doesn't fit right which is why it broke so quickly.

So, where can I get a phone case that doesn't insist I'm in the US or demand I sign up for Paypal to pay for it, and actually fits my phone?

The burning question of the day, clearly.

Comments:

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From:rivet
Date:July 8th, 2013 10:06 pm (UTC)
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It doesn't address the larger problem, but you can have it shipped to me and I can bring it to you when I come next month.
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From:tatjna
Date:July 8th, 2013 10:57 pm (UTC)
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Excellent, thank you. I will probably take you up on that if this site doesn't come through.
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From:ivonava
Date:July 9th, 2013 03:10 pm (UTC)
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Or I can happily send you something from Australia. Easy.
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From:t_c_da
Date:July 8th, 2013 10:19 pm (UTC)
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I love how even a company based in China treats the United States as the default.

Particularly when they've set it up with a .nz domain name, or at least registered a .nz name to look as if they're Kiwi based...
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[User Picture]
From:tatjna
Date:July 8th, 2013 10:58 pm (UTC)
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I guess they forgot the other bits.
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:July 8th, 2013 10:22 pm (UTC)
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The amusing thing is that it's pretty easy to customise a site to the geography the client's IP address is associated with, even without it also being a NZ domain name.
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From:tatjna
Date:July 8th, 2013 10:58 pm (UTC)
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Seriously. If they'd got it right they could have stung me for postage and I'd be all good with it because I'd be feeling all catered to and like my business was actually important.
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From:caycos
Date:July 9th, 2013 03:38 am (UTC)
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Etsy has all the phone cases..
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From:damnitnicole
Date:July 9th, 2013 04:04 am (UTC)
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Try Bitcoin?
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From:meathiel
Date:July 9th, 2013 07:01 am (UTC)
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As I usually order all my stuff from Amazon I've never really thought about this ...
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From:tatjna
Date:July 15th, 2013 03:50 am (UTC)
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I ended up going with Amazon. The problem for us with them is that of the 4 things I put in my cart, only one will ship to my country, and it was ridiculously expensive. By that point I didn't care any more and just coughed up the dough.
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From:ms_hecubus
Date:July 10th, 2013 03:12 am (UTC)
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Paypal blows and is expensive if you're a seller, but it's just about the only way I can take payments on eBay. :(
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From:wildilocks
Date:July 14th, 2013 12:10 pm (UTC)
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Have you looked into Paymate? They have been going for a long time and are building their business in AU and NZ based on low-fee mobile payment solutions for small businesses who don't sell enough to justify the exhorbitant eftpos rental fees. They look like they are finally growing a little and are accepted by an increasing number of eBay sellers in AU and possibly elsewhere...not 100% a solution but it's even worth asking a business if they would consider adding it as a payment option. I've accepted Paymate for about 8 years but only had a couple of sales through it, but that may change in future.
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From:tatjna
Date:July 15th, 2013 03:49 am (UTC)
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That's a good point. Folks won't start using alternatives unless customers ask for them. It's nice to know there is one that I can suggest when I email folks now. Thank you!
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From:wildilocks
Date:July 15th, 2013 09:26 pm (UTC)
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You are welcome!

As an added bonus, my phone was stolen last week and I was just reinstalling the app on my new one for the mobile payment system, and noticed it got a review from James Maddock on the Google Play store, he is using it for his massage business here in Melbourne, lol! So it's also Maddock-Approved.
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From:tatjna
Date:July 15th, 2013 09:32 pm (UTC)
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Maddock approval makes everything better!
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