A Message About Inventory, Backorders, and Credit Card Payments
Our business too has been affected by the pandemic, as is our supplier’s ability to provide us with the items that our customers need to run their own businesses.
We are still feeling the effects of Import and Domestic factory closures on many key items that you need to run your business. All our suppliers have been affected by a reduced capacity to manufacture products, the disruption in the supply of materials they need to manufacture their products, and by restrictions on shipments to our Distribution Centers.
Unfortunately, it will still take some time for the supply to be delivered to our Distribution Centers and to catch up with the demand on the impacted items.
In an effort to ensure you receive the items you ordered, we may ship your items from multiple Distribution Centers, which may result in more than one delivery of your order.
We thank you for your support, flexibility, and your business. We will be updating the availability status for any Out of Stock items on the website on a daily basis. Please always feel free to contact our customer service representatives with questions.
Action items that we are taking:
- We are working closely with factories to get product expedited as they get up to full manufacturing capacity
- We are developing back-up sources for products where possible
- Customer Care Reps at our Call Center have been provided with recommended alternative items where possible
- We have increased the level of our product purchase forecasts to include extra safety stock on many of the key items
If you choose to backorder an item that is out of stock
We will accept backorders on item totals over $20.
The expected delivery date is stated on the website, but that date is an estimate, the actual delivery date may be different depending on the manufacturer’s ability to produce the item.
When you pay for a back order item by Credit Card, your Credit Card company will Authorize the purchase and create a Authorization Hold on funds.
What is an Authorization Hold?
An Authorization Hold is a hold put on an amount equal to your purchase, pending authorization. Also known as card authorizations or pre-authorizations, merchants can use authorization holds to temporarily lock the funds for a particular transaction, ensuring they actually get paid for purchases made via credit or debit card when the products ship to you.
Completing a payment card transaction involves two steps: 1) authorizing the purchase and 2) settling the transaction. The authorization process doesn’t transfer funds from the cardholder to the merchant. It’s simply the bank’s way of telling the merchant that the funds for a purchase exist.
When a customer pays with a credit or debit card, the merchant contacts the cardholder’s issuing bank and requests an authorization code.
When the authorization request is approved, the merchant can simply wait for the account to be settled. However, merchants also have the option of placing an authorization hold on the cardholder’s account. This hold temporarily decreases the consumer’s available Credit Card limit or available funds for a Debit Card in anticipation of completing the transaction.
How Do Authorization Holds Work?
- You place your order, and select Credit Card as your payment option.
- Your issuing bank puts a hold on the amount of funds or available credit equal to your purchase.
- Once the product is shipped, completing the transaction, the sale is complete and the transaction is submitted for settling.
- The temporary hold is released.
- The cost of your purchase is transferred from your account to pay for the purchase.
If the process was that immediate, there would be no need for authorization holds. The actual transferring of funds only happens after we have shipped your products and submitted the transactions for payment.
Without an authorization hold, an unscrupulous customer could theoretically make a purchase, then drive straight to an ATM and withdraw all the money in an account or close their credit card account. In that case, we would never received payment for the products and would be defrauded. With a pre-auth in place, however, the money on hold can’t be touched until either the account is settled or the time limit runs out.
The time limit for authorization holds is 7 days, but if the item is on back order the Authorization is automatically renewed.
Why do we use Authorization Holds?
There are multiple reasons for us to use authorization holds, and they all deal with building a better business.
The major card schemes don’t charge interchange fees (or MDR) until after a transaction is authorized and the money is transferred from the customer’s account. In many cases, processors don’t assess discount rate fees for pre-authorizations (although the flat transaction rate will normally still apply).
There’s always the possibility that an order has to be delayed or can’t ship at all due to a delay in the manufacturer’s ability to deliver the product. Using authorization holds can also prevent the need to issue refunds. If an order is canceled before the transaction has been settled, the funds are simply released from hold.
Using authorization holds are also a defense against chargebacks. While it’s important to settle transactions quickly, using a pre-auth gives us a window in which to validate charges and look for potential fraud. As long as the funds for a transaction are held but not settled, the cardholder can’t dispute the transaction or issue a credit or Debit card chargeback Fraudsters can’t engage in “cybershoplifting” by filing chargebacks on purchases made using stolen credit cards.
Can Authorization Holds Go Wrong?
Authorization holds present a lot of advantages for merchants, but there are some potential pitfalls to avoid. For starters, they can be confusing, especially in the area of hold times.
All of the parties involved—merchants, banks, and card schemes—set outside time limits on how long a hold can last. Not every merchant will have the same rules, and issuers can have different rules for different types of sales. Hold times can even be different for debit vs. credit cards.
This may be confusing for merchants, but it’s even more so for consumers, who only see that their funds are inaccessible. They’re most likely to blame merchants for holding onto their money, when in reality, merchants don’t see any of the hold money—just the actual invoice amount. Of course, that doesn’t keep banks from passing the blame on to them when cardholders complain.