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Online Payment Processing Discussions concerning topics related to payment processing, such as merchant accounts, gateways, credit card processing options, PayPal, Google Checkout, 2Checkout, etc.


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Old 12-04-2014, 07:59 PM
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Paypal subscriptions

I have setup subscriptions on my site with PayPal. It works well most of the time. I manually set someone as active when a payment arrives. I press the week, month or year button and they are a member. But when a payment fails... And I'll explain with an example....

Bob starts a subscription on the 3rd for July. He pays monthly. I press the "month" button when he pays so he is a member until the 3rd of August. That day comes and paypal automatically take a payment. Now i press the month button again and they are a member until the 3rd of September. But this time the payment fails... Paypal try again 5 days later, so on the 8th of September (they've not been a member for those 5 days as I wouldn't know if they will pay or not) paypal try again and this time the payment is taken. Now what button do I press?

a) I could press the 1 month button, as they have now paid for membership until the 8th of October.
b) I could press the "member until 3rd of October" button, as that would have been the original date.

But if I did (a) the next payment will be 5 days before their membership runs out. Which could become a problem if it happens regularly, or particularly if they paid weekly instead (I have either option). At some point they may be paid up to several payment periods ahead. I could suspend their paypal subscription to let time 'catch up' or refund the proportion they've "overpaid". But that starts to get complex and I'd rather work on the site than work out partial refunds and subscription reinstatement days.

But with (b) it would mean people would not have had access, but would later go on to pay for that time period. They were not a member from the 3rd to the 8th but on the 8th they would pay for a month from the 3rd of September to the 3rd of October. Which may not be too bad for an annual subscription, but it would be a sixth of a monthly subscription or 5/7 days of a weekly subscription.

I've always treated the site as more of a hobby than a "business" so I don't like to rip people off, but I people missing payments gets a bit complex.

Any thoughts?
 
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Old 12-05-2014, 05:49 AM
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Not sure exactly what you are looking for here, but these are my thoughts.

If there is any discount for the monthly over a lessor subscription then using the initial date is not wrong in my mind as it is a renewal of a continuing obligation.

Unless the scripts require the use of member until for subscriptions, I would make my life simple and use the 1 month, year or week button all the time and it would be from the date I got paid.

Correctly written software can interact with the PP IPN and do all this automatically for you, so what you really have is a weak set of scripts.
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Old 12-08-2014, 01:48 AM
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Hi, thanks for the reply. I wonder if I might have explained badly. The site is home-made and I've been working on more important parts than automating the payments so at some point it will become automatic.

Maybe another example might help explain the problem. It's the 1st day of the year and someone sets up a subscription. They can be a free member if they want, they can use the site, but there are benefits to paying.

Day 1) Subscription paid until the 7th
I set them as a member until the 7th

Day 7) Automatic PP payment until the 14th
Set as member until 14th

Day 14) Auto payment fails

Day 19) Paypal re-try and manage to take payment
I set them as member until the (a: 26th)(b:21st)

Day 21) Paypay try to take next payment - but fail again.
Note it's only 2 days since I last actually got a payment

Day 26) Paypal re-try to take the payment - and manage
I set them as member until the (a:33rd)(b:28th)

Day 28 ) Paypay try to take payment and manage
Note it's only 2 days again
I now set them as a member until (a: 7 days from the 33rd day - ie day 40)(b:35th day)

Using option (a): by this point they are over a whole week/payment period ahead of their actual membership. If they stop at any point they will still be a member for 10 days from their last payment.

Using option (b): this follows more logic, but it means they've paid for 10 days when they've not been a member. I.e. on the 19th day they've now paid a whole weeks worth, but are only getting 2 of the 7 days before the next payment.

If only paypal had an option to always take 7 days after the last successful payment, not 7 days after the last time a payment was due.

And, like I said, maybe for a month - 5 days would seem less important. And certainly for an annual subscription, you'd not notice. But paying for a week and getting 2 days seems a great way to get subscriptions cancelled and negative reviews!

I'm not sure what I am after, either, I don't suppose there is an answer to the problem that would keep everyone happy.

Last edited by capturts; 12-08-2014 at 01:49 AM. Reason: lol 28 ) came out as 28)
 
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Old 12-10-2014, 12:52 AM
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To your original question - I would definitely go with 1)
 
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