Freedom of speech is one thing, but when businesses who represent a building block of the economy such as payment processing decide to take a stand, it can end with limits that might surprise some Americans.
Intuit, the parent company of small business accounting staple Quickbooks, recently came under fire for reportedly refusing to process payments to gun-related stores. The dollars reverted to the shopper after the sale was deemed “completed”, leaving the store owners scrambling to retrieve funds from customers who thought they had completed the sale. There have been a variety of bizarre automatic refunds including some for t-shirts, coffee mugs and even a gun safety course.
Unfortunately, what should be a crazy reason for the payments to not be processed was simply par for the course for Intuit.
The accounting and transactional giant claimed that they were simply enforcing a long-standing rule that required store owners to process cards directly and only when the owner of the card was in their store. Sales for guns that included the shopper calling in with a credit card number or the gun store owner keying in the card were later reversed.
It would perhaps have been better to have the sales negated immediately to limit confusion, but that was not the case. Intuit claims that this is a functionality baked into the QuickBooks payment processing system, and admits that the experience is not ideal for either shoppers or store owners.
The companies whose operations were interrupted without notice didn’t feel that this was simply a matter of course. The kerfuffle kicked off a week-long backpedaling from Intuit as they attempted to wiggle out of the allegations that they were judging their customers’ use of firearms.
Instead, Intuit noted that any items that are regulated by state or federal law are under the same tenets as gun sales. These industries include everything from pharmaceuticals to tobacco, weapons and firearms as well as pets. Shops may use QuickBooks to process these restricted payments, they simply must have a customer present to physically swipe the card before it can be accepted. It is still unclear how many small businesses were negatively impacted by these recent events and over the past several years by the restrictive policies.
As Intuit reaches out to customers who were “inconvenienced” by the need to track down customers who made a purchase, yet didn’t have to pay, shop owners are livid at the situation and ready to make a change to their accounting software.
As an American company, it’s shocking that Intuit is putting barriers in the way of the ability of law-abiding individuals to sell and purchase firearms with digital methods such as credit or debit cards. These processing difficulties will not be resolved, but shop owners now know to be aware and wary — and always scan the card personally when someone purchases a gun in their shop.
~ Ready to Fire News