An Open Letter to EBS Payment Gateway

Dear ebs,

So you are a payment gateway “service” provider in India. You provide the service of transparent online payment collection between parties. You also claim to be startup/smb friendly. My experience has proved to be polar opposite and it seems unlikely to change.

Let me explain my predicament.

The trouble started right from the pre-integration stage. The deadlines for service activation were missed thrice. Your executives were of no help and kept repeating the standard trained responses. I had to literally beg, request and shout at your president to get the platform live after 3 weeks of delay. Time lost, opportunity lost, real cash burnt while my team waits for platform to go live. If not your customers, if not your field troops, at least respect your key employees who end up facing the brunt.

One ordeal over.

I understand the reason for flagging a payment and it’s something we have to live with. I am sure you understand the importance of cash flow in your business, no wonder why your executives called me day in and out to close the deal. But I wonder if you understand the importance of cash flow in your customer’s business. You flag the payments for longer than 48 hours at times, with no reason given. And the captured payments takes atrociously long to hit the bank. Kindly understand that bad debt kills a business and small players are most susceptible to this threat.

We don’t raise flags each time the payment is delayed now. But, it’s an ordeal each time nonetheless.

The third ordeal and the deal-breaker

Your systems are wonderfully automated, great! They are so wonderfully designed that a payment will be automatically cancelled after 12 days of flagging. Only emails will be sent to the client and if for some reason he cannot access the account, sorry rahega boss! What makes this even more ridiculous is, there is ONLY Email support. The reason for this is “we cannot respond to all calls and issues” as repeatedly told to me by your Sr Customer care executive in a rather carefree tone. Excuse me, why are you in business?

THE INCIDENT: A customer made a payment with wrong permanent address but correct billing address. The payment was flagged. The payment remained flagged for more than 48 hours but since it has become a common thing by now, not much heed was paid to it. Raising a support ticket every time is time expensive. To our surprise the payment was cancelled after 12-14 days. Apparently, two mails were sent to our official email account in this 12-14 days but since the account was not accessible the mails went unnoticed. I have some simple questions:

1. Why do you take contact numbers if you won’t use it to convey business critical information?

2. Informing every client about every flagged transaction is difficult (read: expensive), I understand; but shouldn’t you inform the client about critical things like payment cancelation? Your brilliantly designed automated system can send a sms or two at least?

3. When you charge 3.75% per transaction what are your liabilities? You are providing me a “service” of felicitating online transaction, if I am correct.

I particularly found your executives carefree about transactional responsibility for the client. As if it really doesn’t matter to them if the payment is getting flagged, cancelled or whatever happens to them. I asked your executive to send me at least an official mail from EBS, which I can then show to my customer and try to recover the lost payment. It was outright refused.

I am trusting you with the most important part of my ecommerce business. Handling transactions. You are not doing a favour to me, you too are doing a business. And this is not the way I or anyone else or for that matter even you, will like it to happen. I am sure, I am not alone in this apathy.

Just like Indian politics, what options does an ecommerce entrepreneur have for payment gateway?

My customer is dilly-dallying and it is highly unlikely that payment will be recovered, not to mention the immense time and effort dollars wasted.

Yours Frustratingly,
Talvinder Singh
Founder & CEO
Tushky.com

[The views expressed in this article belong solely to the author and his experiences with the service provider]