Officially Pulling the Plug on 2Checkout
AgoraCart has had a long standing partnership with 2Checkout ( 2CO ) since roughly 2002. 2Checkout was one of the first 5 payment processing solutions integrated into AgoraCart. 2Checkout has also been listed on our payment gateway partners page or similar lists for over 15 years.
However as of October 24, 2019, 2Checkout will no longer be supported, endorsed, nor recommended. In fact if we had an official black-list of payment processing services, they might find themselves on it. This is a sad announcement for us here at AgoraCart, but after using their control panel interface, doing some research of on what happened to the 2Ccheckout we once knew, and an extremely frustrating set of encounters with their support and underwriting/risk departments, we decided to pull the plug officially on our end.
Why We No Longer Want to Deal with 2Checkout:
While updating the payment gateways pages for the updated Agoracart.com site design that emphasizes the new Route 66 version, we were confirming our referral links to 2Checkout and found they seemed to be ignored and routed to their homepage instead of where we remembered the link going. So logins into their partner and merchant portals were attempted, but no record of us existed. In fact the last email we got from them was in late 2014. So it was assumed the account had been purged or deactivated. More on this later.
A new account was created. In haste we just picked a type of account so we could get a new partner ID not realizing they had a specific account for that purpose. It was also found that we could not change the account type nor move forward in any fashion without submitting a full application including copies of drivers licenses (or other photo ID), company documents that proved existence, SSNs or TINs, etc on every single owner and the company itself. So contact was made with their support department asking to become a partner, or switch our account to one that would handle that function.
A few hours later, we received a polite email saying that Agoracart was not on their supported software list and did not have any documentation on how to setup AgoraCart. This was puzzling since was had indicated we were AgoraCart and the response totally missed the issue about partnership updates. It was suggested that their application and all of our personal info be provided so they could review and activate our account and then they could help with the issue further. That threw up a lot of red flags. Our response back to them indicated that again we were AgoraCart, not someone looking to use it, and just looking to make sure our partner IDs and links were going to get some sort of "credit" for referring people to their services. The response back indicated that the support agent could not help us further but could escalate the support ticket to the the folks that handle partners. That course of action was then agreed to by us. Shortly afterwards, the ticket status was updated and noted that it would be escalated to the proper department. Then it got interesting, a few minutes after that update, we got notice that the support ticket had been closed and noted as solved. One minute after the closed ticket notice, we got another email asking us to review the exchange with tech support. Needless to say, a bad review and a bit of frustration was expressed.
While waiting to see if anything came of our inquiry or feedback, the application was updated but not completed except the most sensitive portions), and a fake product added and then saved for later. After reflecting on the security issues and the need to send over all the personal information, we felt it best to just delete the account and maybe try directly with their partner team. The request was then made via their tech support tickets to delete our newly created account. This is when it went sideways real fast. The underwriting and risk team contacted us shortly after our deletion request and said our account application was rejected, along with a link to a list of the types of businesses they prohibit. The list includes things like hate groups, illegal activities and along with discouraged businesses in gambling, travel, gift cards, etc. Totally frustrated with that notice, a response was sent asking why they would claim we are some nefarious business and not suitable to have an account just minutes after asking for the account and data to be deleted. The deletion was asked for again. A little while later, we got yet another notice that they are entitled by the GDPR (EU privacy regulations) to keep our data for 5 years as they have a legitimate interest in our data. That was the last straw. The deletion was asked for again, and indicated that the account was not even activated nor completely filled out. Shortly there after, the new support ticket was closed.
Overall, the experience was awful. So some mor investigation was performed. It was found out that 2Checkout was no longer a US company but a brand under AvanGate, who provides the tech support behind 2Checkout, who also acquired 2Checkout in April 2017. AvanGate was then swallowed up by an very large investment firm with some impressive exits/holdings in 2018. Both of these events served as an indicator as to why our partnership and accounts had mysteriously disappeared on their end: We were small potatoes in the scheme of their exit strategies and was cut out somewhere in the shuffle. We also found other small companies that had their accounts mysteriously closed for unexplained reasons as well. After finding many others struggling with 2Checkout, it cemented the decision to pull the plug on our end as well and not attempt any further relations with 2Checkout.
After all is said and done, we can no longer recommend 2Checkout to AgoraCart users based on our experiences with them the past few days. They require you to enter very specific product data that is a hassle to provide, making it not very ideal as a payment solution when you have more than a handful of products. But the biggest red flag is that you have to provide copies of government issued photo IDs, and copies of documents proving your business existence to a firm now located in the EU area with no recourse nor certainty that all that sensitive data is protected (Sorry but the GDPR is crap), at least if you are based in the US because you are not protected by the GDPR. The best practice is to provide that info after you are sure you want to do business with another company, but in this case their processes insist they be provided beforehand, which we find suspect or not well thought out. It could be careless to engage a company that insists on having your ID info upfront before thy will assist you. PayPal, Stripe, iTransact, Authorize.Net, eWay, NMI, and a lot of others are much easier to work with even on their worst days compared to the recent 2Checkout experience we had. So maybe it is for the best we had to pull the plug on our end as well. It just sucks to see a good company turn into a beast that is very hard to work with, including the apathy shown to those they deal with.
You should treat your visitors, users, customers, partners etc as the valuable assets they are or can be, even when you find it may not be a fit for the both of you. Something we must improve on as well.