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Stripe down for 4 hours (and counting) for all those with Stripe Tax enabled (stripe.com)
395 points by whyleym on Aug 22, 2022 | hide | past | favorite | 199 comments

Stripe has been pretty bad for us lately. Downtime yes, but also slashed our corporate card limits with no explanation and refused to restore them despite our bank writing letters supporting our position.

We've been with them for 10 years and their customer service is atrocious on this position, which is unfortunate since historically it's been quite good.

We went through the arduous process of switching our corporate credit card structure to Stripe away from another vendor, and we probably have to go back to the other vendor now. Starting to understand the anti-Stripe comments that pop up from various people on HN.

It seems like with a number of the high-growth startups, the client isn't really the client.

The real client is the VC who writes cheques and provides validation in increasing valuations. The "regular clients" are a raw material, to be converted into the service provided to VC.

Clearly, in the early days, you desperately need "regular clients" to prove yourself to the "VC clients". But eventually you earned your stripes and you can again care about valuation over revenue and profit, and consequently customer retention.

Add to it the SV dream of inventing a niche and monopolising it, and you care about your customers less still.

Isn’t it right and proper for management to serve ownership?

In much the same way that the cashier at McDonalds does what the manager instructs them too, yes. But if the goal of the manager is to get what they want at the expense of the customer, then the restaurant should fail. The same holds true with other businesses; the management serves the ownership, but the ownership should want the business to make the customers happy.

The issue isn't about what's "right and proper" - it's a risky decision to do business with a company with this business model. Even if it's not "wrong" it's better value for a business to work with other businesses that treat them as a valued customer and not as replaceable fodder to fund an unsustainable valuation.

If Stripe want to sacrifice customer experience to chase a higher valuation that's their prerogative. But their current investors better hope they can cut and run before the core business substantially declines.

If the best we can come up with is hierarchies of servitude we will end up with yet another destructive and oppressive system.

which is about where we're at, so

In a corporate structure, yes I would say so. Whether that is the best organizational method is another debate for another thread.

No, the right and proper management is to grow a business and make it sustainable and profitable long-term.

Your description is exactly how Capitalism goes late stage. Use the profits from the committed work and effort of employees to "buy back" stocks, depriving the company of reinvestments and growth. Jack up the share price, therefore increasing the lauded "shareholder value". Keep going until only a husk of the company is left, and peace out with walkaway money.

This is all great, for those with platinum parachutes and those that know what's going on. These are vulture capitalists, but they infiltrate a company first and then eat away at it from the inside.

This is how America lost GE and Boeing. They served "ownership" very well however.

Yes and no. No customers and no owner to serve soon.

At least you had a high limit for a while. I emailed support many times trying to get my low Stripe Corp Credit Card limit increased to no avail. After some time I had single bills larger than my limit, making the card useless. Ended up switching to another provider and now enjoying business points with a high limit. Sorry Stripe, I wanted to use you but you made it impossible.

I wish we never had a high limit. We went through painstaking transfers over to their Corp Card infrastructure and now have to switch to something else.

Because I have to switch to something else and they're completely incompetent / unwilling to work with us (not sure which one it is, but I think it's primarily the first one), we're gonna switch payment providers too. No reason to give them any business if they're going to make my dev team and managers do a shitload of work.

Is the fact that their cards tend to have lower limits a business "code smell" for lack of a better term? Does it say anything about Stripe's own financial standing, or perhaps they are just conservative compared to other creditors.

Possibly they're just incompetent - here's my update:


What's your new provider?

Mercury and Capital One

Might not be a popular opinion, but I’d guess that they’ve just de-risked a lot across the board. Fair chance we hit a real recession and if we do, people will be hitting those cards. Unfortunately it catches the solid clients too.

I’d guess Stripe has an exceptionally good view of what’s going on in the economy, worldwide.

No doubt. Very possible. Makes sense given the fact their model docked us 66% credit limit despite nothing changing in our financial health model outside of an LOC/cash switchover (which is a normal setup for ecom businesses).

Just wild that AMEX and other banks have zero issue giving us a limit 3-5x that (verified it today!) but Stripe can't. AMEX account rep is begging for us to come back. Just sucks since Stripe's invoicing integration is absolutely nails, and all third party ones I've used are horrible (special shout to SAP Concur for being the worst of all time).

> Just wild that AMEX and other banks have zero issue giving us a limit 3-5x that (verified it today!) but Stripe can't.

Probably because Stripe is about 50-60B in valuation lower than AMEX and AMEX is a bank with long history with the government so bailouts are probably a high possibility for them to play loose like that. Stripe not so much.

AMEX and other banks probably have the Fed on Speed dial to get that bailout money

While Stripe is big, they have not been around long enough to have built up the "To big to fail" government crony status of larger, longer lived companies so stripe would likely be allowed to fail where other companies will never have to pay for their miscalculations

Sorry for the issues here—could you email me at edwin@stripe.com?

We did that last time you offered and never heard back.

I've had the same experience with Edwin. When I published an article critical of Stripe that reached the front page of HN,[0] he was very helpful and set up a direct phone call for us to talk. Edwin said many times on the call that if I ever ran into a situation where I seemed to be getting the runaround from Stripe support, I could contact him to get things unstuck.

A month later, I ran into an issue where the Stripe API contradicted the API documentation. I contacted support, and support told me that it's intended behavior for the API to violate its own documentation. I emailed Edwin since that seemed like the exact scenario he volunteered to help with, and he didn't respond. I followed up a week later, and he didn't respond.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22936818

Well, I'll respond if and when I hear something. I've gotten a confirmation response email from Edwin at the very least.

Update: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=32558191#32558635

Ah, sorry, may have missed it—could you forward and put your HN username in the subject?

This is not a serious way to run a business. Unless ypu’re google.

Letting customers slip through the cracks of the traditional support channels is a bad indicator obviously, but what's the problem with keeping an eye on social media channels in addition to the traditional channels? Why is that not a "serious way to run a business"?

Why is that not a "serious way to run a business"?

Rather than trying to solve the problem of "customers having serious problems", listening to HN and replying here says "we only really care about people being critical of our product in public; we don't actually care about the underlying issue people are criticising us about." It's not real support if Joe Random can't access it without knowing the secret formula.

Support-by-HN-replies is theatre, even if it works sometimes.

I'm not really suggesting Stripe are guilty of this. Stripe support has actually been fine for me in the past.

Because it's too easy to be bad at that as well. Just look at the thread where "Edwin" (I use quotes because it may or may not actually be Edwin) says "sorry, hit me up" and then the repsonse is "bitch, we did but you never replied back" (emphasis mine, but it was there if you read between the lines).

Now, "Edwin" looks even more pathetic and bot like

Here's a thought: treat your customers better so you don't have to do damage control when one of your customers finds a big enough audience.

For every person who gets an HN post/comment with traction, there's a thousand people with no voice or platform just as fucked over or more.

Why is complaining on HN necessary to get proper customer support?

Because otherwise you have no leverage. If you go through proper channels your request for help will sit rotting in a queue until someone decides to pick up the ticket.

If you complain loudly and publicly in a popular forum, everyone’s opinion of the company will degrade the longer your cries go visibly unanswered, so it requires immediate attention. Your request gets elevated to critical.

As someone who worked as front-line support and turned into the authority who's asked to resolve complex cases, this is nonsense. They aren't playing Tetris ignoring the queue. It's more likely the front-line staff are overwhelmed and/or don't know how to cut through the corporate hoops/politics to find and deliver the fix, and/or too shy/embarrassed to admit ignorance and having to pass it to the higher-ups for someone who knows how to fix things. It's more likely going in circles because they want to resolve it within their levels without having to escalate it.

> They aren't playing Tetris ignoring the queue.

Nobody said that.

> likely the front-line staff are overwhelmed

Which means that the company knowingly and intentionally decided to skimp on support, or have other policies which lead to their staff being overwhelmed.

> don't know how to cut through the corporate hoops/politics to find and deliver the fix

Which means the corporation decided to skimp on their training and or efforts to streamline the issue resolution.

> and/or too shy/embarrassed to admit ignorance and having to pass it to the higher-ups for someone who knows how to fix things

Same as above.

> It's more likely going in circles because they want to resolve it within their levels without having to escalate it.

And why is that? Ah yes, because the company knowingly and intentionally set the incentives as such.

I don’t have a problem with the front line support. They are just humans like you and me. But I will have zero pitty on companies who under allocate resources to their problems and then try to hide behind their overworked support line as some meat shield.

Posting on a popular forum seems to short-circuit all that and get actual results probably because it starts making some executive squirm.

If I'm running a business and losing money because your service is fubar I really don't give a damn that you're all too busy or too ignorant to solve the problem. I'm going to do what I know works and that's basically blast over HN/Twitter/Reddit that your service sucks and has been broke for X duration.

You're right that a customer shouldn't care the staff are too busy or too ignorant. You're also right in how complaining online short-circuits all that to actually receive help. I continuously advocate for the presence of path to higher levels and short-circuits! But it isn't always "the employee of company X responded to me on HN because my post made an executive squirm!" Some people just care and willing to lend a hand in cases where they can help.

> Some people just care and willing to lend a hand in cases where they can help.

Why don't they (whoever at the company is in a position to make a difference) care before there is bad publicity? It's either incompetence or indifference. krisoft left another comment already that explains it quite well. There is little - if any - reason to give Stripe the benefit of the doubt here, and there are a lot of reasons to believe it's intentional.

When the cost of getting a new customer is the same or less than the cost of dealing with a problematic existing customer, they will become very indifferent. They do not care.

As someone who has worked front-line support: large companies like Stripe purposefully don't create paths in the customer support scripts for resolving issues they don't want to. They're not stupid or blind, they listen to the calls and know these issues crop up. They don't care. Having support staff deal with weird/unusual problems is expensive, more expensive than just having those customers put up with it, or go away and become someone else's problem.

Don't blame minimum wage earners for barriers intentionally thrown up by management to reduce labor costs.

> Don't blame minimum wage earners

If that's directed at me, I am not blaming anyone. Chill. I'm saying it's a human thing.

I understand this position but after going from support-intensive startup to FAANG, the difference is scale subtly tipping the balance in small ways.

There's no equivalent for "overhearing a customer problem" at FAANG scale.

It would be dramatically inefficient for software engineers / product managers / those implementing functionality to triage all support tickets.

About 0.5% of support tickets are interesting enough to be a case study the way this user has offered. At both large and small scale.

> at FAANG scale and it would be dramatically inefficient for software engineers / product managers / those implementing functionality to triage all support tickets

In other words, human labor would be too costly. It not a FAANG thing either, the government does it just as well as most other big entities that are betting they can let some problems slip through without too much loss.

Not too costly, just cuts into CxO salary, shareholders value and stuff. The line must go up!

There, trivially, aren't enough software engineers on the planet to assign one to every incoming support inquiry.

Not all problems require software engineers. Just having someone to filter the appropriate problem to the appropriate person is sufficient. For example,

> but also slashed our corporate card limits with no explanation and refused to restore them despite our bank writing letters supporting our position.

Even a response stating “we do not have the capacity to resolve your issue” is acceptable.

Getting black holed or wasting hours of customers’ time in phone trees and getting passed around is not acceptable.

While I agree with your comment I'm not sure how I would feel receiving such a message as a paying customer.

Would you feel better being passed around for hours, with the same result? If they can't solve the issue, I would rather know it early and move on.

I think the admiral asked a rhetorical question.


"Top Gun: Maverick" reference.

Why do people expect everyone to understand their film references?

That's like asking why people don't explain jokes. You get it or you don't. Not everything is meant for you.

It’s a filtering mechanism. If you get it, you’re a cool guy worth talking to. If not, maybe bugger off.

I'm happy to tell anyone who thinks this way that THEY should bugger off.

A random movie reference can be expected to not caught by anyone more than 10 years different from you in age, or who is from a different culture. You will also miss some mavericks like me who really don't care much about a lot of popular culture.

If you value matching on those criteria over, say, knowing about something interesting, then I'm happy to ignore you.

Given the tone of your post, it is clear the original filtering mechanism was sufficient.

Apparently so. If your idea of good conversation is endlessly repeating the same nostalgic popular culture references, then you've discovered that you don't want to talk to me, and I've discovered that I don't want to talk to you. We've both come to conclusions that make our lives better.

But that begs the question of why you'd bother seeking out a forum whose entire purpose is conversations that you're apparently not interested in. Why not seek out like-minded people whose conversational interests match yours more closely?

I understand most references that are posted on this forum. Perhaps it is you who is out of place. Are you even aware that references are being made? Perhaps not, how could you be? You don’t know what you don’t know.

I'm in https://news.ycombinator.com/leaders. If I don't belong here, a lot of people are rather confused.

Given the films you're comfortable judging people on not having memorized, I'm glad you're self-selecting yourself away from people too!

Cool people watch mainstream commercial cinema?

...it's not even a good, or properly aged, film!

HN, you're getting weird.

Because that’s 90% of reason why tech startups are profitable. Not by having better product than competition, but buy gutting customer support, which is super expensive AND doesn’t scale.

And it works until it doesn’t.


Would OP please consider updating this thread with the outcome of the email exchange. Seems too easy to pop into every complaint thread and act busy. Would love to know if your problem is actually resolved

Update (can't edit the OP):

Edwin reached out to me but their team can't override their faulty algorithm apparently. Other banks/payment providers have no issue giving us 3-5x the limit Stripe slashed us to, but they can't. Root cause is the fact that Stripe fundamentally doesn't understand eCommerce / cyclical LOCs in their algorithms apparently as our business hasn't changed meaningfully regarding effective cash positions.

Fairly surprising Stripe doesn't understand how to evaluate financial positions correctly. Oh well.

Yes, I will certainly do so.

Please also let us know if you found a better alternative.

I would but that is likely to come months down the road - I doubt this thread will be remembered by then! Still I'll figure out how to get that info out.

Are processors like Square any better?

Possibly. I'm still angry at Square because I emailed them repeatedly 10+ years ago telling them to add gateway processing (which they didn't have), and they took forever. Stripe's business shouldn't even exist. Square had a head start and should have just made a payment gateway/API and eaten their lunch. They absolutely had an internal API, quite obviously, so not productizing it and letting a whole new business in Stripe come around and launch that product and crush them was absurd.

I've used Square's on-premises processing for minor stuff like a side business of mine, but nothing too serious. Their fees aren't too good; they're comparable to Stripe but Stripe's ecosystem for developers is far better.

If/when we switch, we'll probably just go to a bare bones payment processor that is much cheaper than Stripe with less support.

That's pretty funny in hindsight.

> If/when we switch, we'll probably just go to a bare bones payment processor that is much cheaper than Stripe with less support.

Also what we're considering right about now

Even I can see the humor in it. You are right!

I hate to switch off Stripe, but the premium I'm paying is theoretically for better support and developer-friendly actions. I'm not getting that right now, so... why am I paying a premium?

Years ago their customer service slashed our rates because of our increased volume and even pc himself reached out to me about a technical matter (and the company was not small). Over the last year the customer service has gone to complete shit in our experience and the rates are still uncompetitively high. Frustrating.

Anecdotally: I've been looking to get answers from Stripe, about fees-related questions that either make my proposed use viable or unviable, and I've received nothing but copied & pasted email replies, a week+ later (or not at all), which essentially ignore what I've asked. Incredibly frustrating.

When I mention the experience to friends, they joke that I have Stockholm Syndrome; to want to continue pursuing them, despite their complete disregard.

Yeah that's sad. I asked for a fee reduction 2 years into our relationship, and they said no because of XYZ but if we hit revenue targets ABC that they'd re-evaluate.

About a year later, we hit revenue targets ABC, I waited a month (just for systems to catch up) and emailed them. We had a good discussion about a rate cut and they knocked their fees down as they promised.

I emailed in 3-4 years after that and asked for a rate cut as our revenues had gone up by about 10x, and they said they could not, but provided explanations on why because of high international processing, high AMEX/Discover processing, etc. Totally cool, I understood that and appreciated the detailed email. Wasn't disappointed at all.

I tried back a year or so later when our revenues shot up but got the same message more or less, but still personalized. Again, I had to try, but also, not unhappy.

And since all of those excellent customer service responses - many of which did not go my way, which is not how I rate interactions - it's been awful. The corporate card team refuses to answer questions or even apologize for their insane limit cuts. They presumably are hiding behind bullshit KYC/AML justifications for their actions or protecting their algorithmic decisions in order to provide us zero actionable customer support with no personalization. It's embarrassing.

Who are you looking at switching to? I'm also starting to evaluate alternatives to Stripe.

I don't want to drop any names here because we're in the exploratory phase, haven't even started negotiations with anyone yet. But there are alternatives that are quite a bit cheaper that offer fewer frills.

Humorously enough we needed a sales tax solution, and Stripe Tax is vastly outgunned by its competitors, possibly leading to the layoffs in its department. It is a significantly inferior product to Avalara, which is the leading product in the space.

you should definitely check out the merchant of record model. Funnily enough, I work in the payments space and this is a use case we see all the time - as businesses start scale and hit tax thresholds, they start implementing even more tools to handle this on top of their existing payment stack.

Instead, perhaps consider a billing platform that handles payments, subscriptions and sales tax all in one. With the merchant of record model, you remove the need to worry about sales tax altogether, the payment provider does so on your behalf (including liability if there is a miscalculation). Shoot me an email if you want any more info nick.read @paddle.com, happy to provide more info

There are a lot of alternatives: Checkout.com, Adyen, are the most tech forward I’ve found.

Yeah that's tech for you! E4X was a ES standard, but Mozilla dropped it in 2014, then FB pick it and made JSX and now that is the defacto "Front-End" development.

You're better off with Adyen.

OT: I just went through Adyen's prohibited businesses. Why does every major payment processor prohibit vendors of adult toys from using their payment services?

I mean, those aren't even high risk businesses. Credit card fraud usually happens when you offer high priced electronics. Chargebacks usually happen when you sell digital goods like templates, ebooks, videos etc.

You need a merchant account from a high-risk processor, combined with a generic gateway like Authorize.Net. (Don't use their built in processor) The all in one solutions like Stripe or Adyen are convenient but they aren't what high-risk industries need.

Yes, but how are adult toy sellers "high risk"?

High chargeback rate when one partner won't fess up to spending $300 at Bob's House'O'Dildos?

Because shipping 6 dildos to Texas can put you in jail.


The US federal overturn of the Texas law was based around Roe v Wade which has itself been overturned so the Texas law is now back in action.

From the article: “According to Section 43.23 of the Texas penal code, although it doesn’t clearly state dildos, the law still regulates the possession of ‘obscene devices’”

liberal propaganda derived from an SNL skit.

The Forbidden Fruit raid from 1989 was real. I recommend doing some research so that you are not so embarassingly ignorant.

Here a starting point: https://www.austinchronicle.com/features/2000-08-11/78186/


Do you have a recommendation for a middle layer for making pretty checkout flows via the API? Authorize.net is what we use - but their API is tough.

I'd love to see a Stripe style wrapper around Authorize, but I don't think it exists. Just thankful we can use JSON now instead of their XML API.

I've wondered about this, too. The simple and unhelpful answer is because banks/CC companies are conservative and consider them high risk. So why is that? I've been able to find two factors: 1) associated (correctly or not) with the sex industry, which is taboo, possibly regulated or outright illegal. 2) high rate of chargebacks. Factors leading to high chargebacks could include no returns allowed and taboo/shame. Imagine an insecure partner finds a charge on a CC and the other partner claims they didn't purchase it, leading to a chargeback to support the lie.

Here is one of the better articles I found: https://instabill.com/do-adult-toys-fall-into-the-high-risk-...

The credit card networks have brand protection clauses in their operating procedures.

They likely don’t actually prohibit adult toys specifically but payment processors can be conservative in fear of having major disruptions from the networks.

Stripe's rules don't even make sense on this - OnlyFans uses Stripe somehow

Their offering perfectly fit the bill for what we needed, but they turned us away; citing a requirement of transacting €5M per year, despite us needing a payment handler /for launch/.

That’s sad. We integrated Adyen like 5-6 years ago and this requirement was nowhere to be found. All I remember was their SDKs are difficult to integrate.

That's the main one we're investigating. You have good things to say?

No, neither for merchants nor for developers.

Better in what way? I personally would never use a Square product (I feel the entire org has major ethical issues) however other players in this space include Braintree, Amazon Payments and a host of 3rd parties - although 3rd parties are discontinuing internet based direct gateway access such as CardConnect.

I'm curious what ethical issues you have with Square, but are fine with Amazon Payments.

Square has more ethical issues than Amazon?

PayPal owns BrainTree now

How hard is it to switch payment provider? And in particular, how hard is it to get corporate cards from banks? No offending, just curious the reason behind all this.

That totally depends on the new provider. One of the nice things about Stripe was their APIs and SDKs were so easy to use. As a solo dev, I was able to spin up a site in a very short amount of time.

If the new provider has less features/ease-of-use, then you have to start from square one on integration. If you have a team, then maybe not as big of a burden as being a solo dev.

Didn't they just fire a bunch of people working on a tax product?


TLDR: Stripe bought TaxJar last year, to help customers “automatically calculate, report and file sales taxes”. ~25% of TaxJars employees let go this July, when Stripe's valuation dropped 28%.

Switched to Paddle earlier this year for other reasons, glad I'm not affected by this. Paddle is not as pleasant to work with as Stripe from a dev perspective but it also handles so much more that what I need to integrate is tiny compared to Stripe.

We tried to use Paddle for our company but back when we were trialling them they didn't even have a dev environment (their suggestion was to create free products in production mode and use those to test dev/staging).

At that point I nope'd out of there and moved to Stripe.

Looks like they do now have a separate sandbox system similar to other payment services.


But elsewhere they also still seem to recommend doing things involving your production site for testing purposes. That seems like it's probably a bad idea that could be risky if anything goes wrong and possibly mess up things like reporting and compliance even if everything "works".

I've been using their sandbox environment quite successfully for the last few months. Their main competitor, FastSpring, doesn't have a sandbox yet.

There's another interesting competitor that uses Stripe: https://getrevin.com. Their pricing is cheaper than Paddle, making them the cheapest I've seen so far. Not sure if they're any good, though.

Just looked at fastspring. Their pricing page is horrendous: https://fastspring.com/pricing/

I want to get some idea of how much it's going to cost but they dance around the issue completely.

All they do is recommend jumping on a call, which judging by the language on their site, will sound alot like talking to a stereotypical used car salesman.

If it goes down though, you're up s's creek without Paddle ;)

We're switching ACH to Dwolla since it's far cheaper. The 1.25% for the new ACH 2.0 for faster payouts (which we require) is outrageously priced. It basically cut our revenue in half overnight once we got out of the beta for it.

Paddle's API is pretty poor (you can't GET a subscription and see when it expires!?? only available via a once-only webhook). But worth it for the merchant-of-record thing Stripe refuses to do.

Oh that is rough! It looks they do offer you historic events on a different endpoint but it's curious that every endpoint seems to be a POST


Looks expensive, though. 5% + 50¢

Not really. It's an apples to oranges comparison.

For one thing Paddle is a merchant of record so it's more like "outsource your entire payment system including all the processing of different payment methods and the global tax admin". For a lot of businesses, particularly smaller ones with international sales, that is going to be an attractive option compared to services like Stripe even at this price point.

For another thing Stripe has introduced so many extras that bump up their cut now that some types of business will end up paying quite a bit more than the analogous headline rate. So even if it were an apples to apples comparison the difference on the bottom line still wouldn't be as wide as it might first appear for those merchants.

Thanks for the explanation, I missed the tax and other benefits at first glance. I don't have those tax complications personally but I do see the value now.

Having a checkout bundled with paypal/apple pay/card is pretty compelling however.

Wanted to jump on this thread as I actually work in this space and wanted to clear some things up. Another thing with tax solutions added to your stack, is that they purely calculate what you owe, leaving you liable incase there is a miscalculation. Its still up to you to pay this to the relevant authorities.

Paddle handle it all + take full liability. Shoot me a email nick.read @paddle.com if you want a little more info :)

Just curious, how don't you have those tax complications?

Not selling internationally perhaps? If you're only selling to customers in the same place then taxes are often much simpler. You might even be exempt from your country's whole sales tax system until you're big enough to cross a threshold.

I'm referring to the international sales. We only sell within the US, state taxes are relatively easy

You must have quite the setup to calculate state, county, and local taxes.

Most online sellers don't have to handle that themselves, whether they're selling physical goods (your shopping cart like Shopify or WooCommerce will do all the sales tax calculations), or services (most locales don't tax them, and you have to get pretty big to worry about establishing economic nexus in places that do).

They offer merchant of record services, which essentially means you can sell worldwide without worrying about tax issues.

I have contemplated Stripe vs Paddle couple of months ago. But ultimately chose to stay with Stripe and deal with tax complexities when there is sizable revenue.

They also do more AFAIK.

It costs real money to provide real support.


Except the extra cost here is on the wrong side of the equation: it's on the variable side.

So yes, CTO's should "pay real money to get real support," but that only makes sense if the costs don't scale with every dollar of revenue.

A 5% fee is basically impossible to pay for anything that's not software (90%+) margins. Ecommerce, for example, has about 5%-10% net margins. 2%, net, extra payment processing fees is huge.

To be fair Paddle explicitly says that they are a payment solutions platform for SaaS companies

Heard lots of similar stories i.e. for small businesses who can live without stripe's cool APIs, paddle is the way to go to avoid vat/gst/sales tax compliance headache

the type of payment service they offer (merchant of record) is very underappreciated.

Paddle is a bit of a joke tbh, you can’t even create a coupon for a subscription with a trial

They also randomly removed domain approval for some days without even sending any notification

They will also take you VAT if user inputs his VAT number but you have “VAT included in price” option enabled

I'm sure Paddle uses Stripe under the hood though

The issue started 5h47m ago for us. The Stripe status page is unreliable like everyone's else status page. The Stripe API returns "An unknown error occurred". The only source of information has been Twitter but it is not very credible - 3 hours ago, Stripe tweeted that the issue has been fixed just to find an avalanche of counter replies.

(Think you mixed up some tweets here—you may have seen a recovery tweet about an unrelated issue. This is the canonical thread to follow: https://twitter.com/stripestatus/status/1561809071061155841.)

Did they not fire a large portion of the teams behind the tax team (acquired company)?

Ahh yes actually, the story was posted here too. It would be especially interesting if this is a case of employee retaliation

It doesn’t need to be employee retaliation but it can totally be a part of the system that goes down and the person that knew that system well is gone.

plausible; good idea to pay out a healthy retainer along with severance package to a few of people with the most experience/capabilities in the system. much cheaper than an outage

A temporary stop-gap solution for this (if you are using Stripe Checkout) is to disable tax calculation.


    session = stripe.checkout.Session.create(
        automatic_tax={'enabled': False},
            'price': price,
            'quantity': quantity

Annoyingly, I thought about doing this a few minutes into the outage and then said: "Nah... they'll fix it pretty quickly".

Five hours later I finally made the change. UGH.

Edwin from Stripe here. Just to be totally clear, only a very small fraction of Stripe’s userbase is impacted by this. That said, Stripe being unavailable for even a single user is very concerning for us, and we’re fixing things as rapidly as we can. Follow this thread for updates: https://twitter.com/stripestatus/status/1561809071061155841.

>Stripe being unavailable for even a single user is very concerning for us

And yet when my website's card payments were abruptly disabled because some opaque ML algorithm decided one of my transactions was fraudulent (in spite of the customer's own insistence that it was genuine), you wouldn't even respond to my emails.

If you want a no-bullshit payment processor that actually gives a fuck about their customers, try pinpayments.com.

Hm, we respond to emails, so I wonder what broke here. If you're still interested in narrowing down what happened to that transaction, could you email me at edwin@stripe.com?

It was 3 or 4 years ago now, and I've moved provider to Pin Payments with absolutely no regrets.

Double checked my inbox and confirmed exactly what happened (it was in Jan 2019).

- The algorithm flagged a transaction, which led to the whole account being blocked and the buyer being refunded (which confused the heck out of them, as they didn't file any complaints).

- I was sent a link to a form to fill in so the account could be verified and reinstated, but due to a computer bug it simply lead to a 404 page.

- I contacted support@stripe.com to ask where we could go from there, radio silence. I remember looking for a phone support number at the time too, but it didn't seem to exist.

While I do understand that IT failures happen, payment processing is critical infrastructure for small business owners and this level of support is/was unacceptable.

> we respond to emails

Edwin, I’ve seen dozens of claims of Stripe simply ignoring complaints to support@stripe.com, a few in this very thread.

You even fess up to dropping one personally in this thread:


This is totally par for the course for Stripe - how on earth can you say that quote in good faith?

Edwin never said they respond to all emails. Just that sometimes they do respond. To at least one. Once.

> Hm, we respond to emails, so

A week ago, I emailed nkohari in regards to an issue with an API Stripe has repeatedly suggested to me via the dashboard. This is after previously being invited to email documentation questions on a previous HN thread. No replies have arrived yet.

I'll forward that email to you, also (assuming that by "we", you mean Stripe as opposed to a tax-specific team).

Seems like if you have tax collection on you’re gonna have a bad time, which is our situation.

I’m surprised only a small fraction of Stripe customers collect sales taxes.

Possibly only a small fraction use Stripe Tax to automatically calculate it. If you're selling internationally it's woefully incomplete, so often not that useful.

You regularly post on HN to claim you're addressing people's problems with Stripe, but they then regularly post later to indicate that you've done nothing. Same with patio11. What's going on over there, guys? Are you being held hostage?

Exactly this, it’s for show to indicate what a cool down to earth company Stripe is.

It's incredibly powerful damage control for the times it gets on HN's radar.

Just saying "contact me" will cover for awhile, until people start mentioning that you never get back or never get anything fixed ...

Hopefully by then you've IPO'd and exited.

I'm sorry for being the jerk, could you share some threads that proves your claim? Thank you.

Do you have any medium for such updates available to those who aren’t on Twitter?

Thank you

We haven't been able to process any new payments for the past 4 hours due to this issue which seems to be causing many others issues - see https://twitter.com/stripestatus/status/1561780140270501888

willing to bet that 99.999% uptime is just static text, because 5+ hours out of 2190 hours is not 99.999%

From @koopajah on discord: "We don't really drop nines if one specific feature is having issues". Pretty convenient payment processing is just a "feature" of a payment infrastructure SaaS

This is a bullshit and untenable position. This “one specific feature” takes out the core feature. Shameful, deceitful and reputation tarnishing position.

To be fair, it only takes out the core feature for people using Stripe Tax, which is apparently a small fraction of customers.

In a OKR culture, the way to make your KR good is to add lots of useless and very simple microservices, which are always up, so the overall metric is 100%.

If your KRs are the uptimes of your simple microservices, you're not in an OKR culture.

I guess 99.999% uptime is no longer an engineer's well-earned badge of honor at Stripe. Now it's just sales puffery, like a LOWEST PRICES IN THE CITY!! sign at a discount store.

Sorry, but true class isn't just elegant rectangles decorated by various subtle shades of gray sans serif.

Hate it when companies do it. It should be the min of the availabilities of your APIs.

a.k.a. "my probed availability ignores user journeys that are actually an important part of my product"

the service doesn’t look to be down for everyone.

if their status is a percentage of requests, then a relatively small number of 500s compared to a big total volume will be tiny, even if ongoing.

Stripe has only existed for 2190 hours? /s

It is not static text. Calcuated automatically.

It's disingenuous to report "partial degradation" as "uptime" when some customers are unable to process any payments.

Yes, you either need to have a per-customer uptime number (that is visible to those customers) or you have one unified uptime number that takes a hit if any customers experience downtime. You can't have it both ways.

Why can't you maintain and report an average uptime across all service usage? So if you have an outage that affects 1% of traffic it moves your figure 1/10th as one on 10% of traffic?

That's what I'd expect a reported number to be, since that's what a client experiences on average.

Same issue, customers notify us before hearing anything from Stripe. 4 hours of no payment processing really hurts

How does Stripe compare with Avalara for tax handling?

Don't get a job at a SaaS company if you want WLB, kiddos

Depends on the role. If you're a dev, yeah, maybe you're used to not having to answer to production issues, and joining a SaaS company.

If you're more on the infra/operations side, you're used to that stuff anyway.

What companies seemingly have such wlb?

whats the point of Stipe Tax anyway? they solve only the trivial part (calculating how much VAT is due for a transaction), while ignoring the hard part (actually paying the VAT to hundreds of tax offices in countries all around the world). despite only solving the trivial part that any developer can do in a day, they take another huge chunk of your revenue. seems like a bad deal.

Calculation is trivial if you are only operating in a single tax jurisdiction, maybe.

Tax calculation software handles all the different tax rates for product categories your business sells, changes in city/district/federal tax rates, brackets and min/max caps, sales tax holidays, etc. It costs money to maintain those databases.

Saying it can be done by any developer in a day is absurd.

Every Stripe issue invites a flood of complaints, which is fine, but... try Better Business Bureau. They have a tracking process, they keep score, they assign a grade.

By the way, Stripe responses to BBB complaints are hilarious [1]. Most of the ones I read close with an identical snippet of text dismissing the claim as "baseless", even when they admit they made a mistake. It's astonishingly inept and says a lot about the attitude toward the customer.

[1] https://www.bbb.org/us/ca/san-francisco/profile/payment-proc...

last time I did this, the business in question threatened with legal action and I realized BBB was NOT on the consumers side.

BBB gets money from businesses who pay for their accreditation, similar to how Yelp magically helps remove bad reviews when you pay for their services. It's a total conflict of interest. They are technically a non-profit, but that doesn't mean there execs aren't getting paid handsomely.

(I worked for Yelp for over eight years, knew large parts of the codebase, and never once saw any evidence that it was possible to pay to remove bad reviews.)

I also worked for Yelp as an eng, and I used to say the same thing until I personally had my negative review removed from a business page for a paying advertiser by the User Ops team

Did you search the codebase for calls to pay_to_remove_bad_reviews?

This issue has been preventing new subscriptions for our company since around 1pm PT. We’re seeing an error loading our origin address within Stripe Tax settings as well, which might be helpful for identifying the source of the problem.

Glad I didn't launch the finclout promotion on AppSumo last weekend.

Ever since patio11 pushed that dubious Stripe Atlas program that resulted in far more headache than worth (turns out Delaware is the crappiest state to incorporate) my trust in Stripe going downhill.

I think what really did it was that it took somebody a while back to post on HN about issues with Stripe regarding tax that jepordized his business to get the situation fixed.

I don't know but lately it seems like so much of YC's production is just pure garbage. From coinbase to ponzi metaverses to now Stripe screwing up like this.

If anybody has alternative to Stripe please reply here, been with Stripe for almost 7 years and looking to bounce.

> If anybody has alternative to Stripe please reply here, been with Stripe for almost 7 years and looking to bounce.

I still use what everyone used before Stripe: a "merchant account" from an ISO/MSP of a bank. Google "interchange plus merchant account" to find a hundred options. You pay some fixed markup over interchange rates set by the card networks, as low as 0.05% + $0.21 to charge a debit or check card for example. Quite a bit of savings over Stripe for most card mixes...

I used to recommend Spreedly to go with that, a payment gateway agnostic credit card vault so you can take your customers with you if you switch merchant accounts or payment gateways in the future, but they turned toxic over the years. Seemingly only care about enterprise customers, their sales/support team I've interacted with are useless, and they raised my subscription rate by over 30x without an ounce of empathy. I'm still trying to find time to replace them.

Said it elsewhere- do some research on Checkout.com

What made it a headache to incorporate in Delaware?

I incorporated in Delaware, had no issues. Likewise simple enough to close down the company when that sad day came.

I know that some Western states have better privacy laws, but those are designed for setting up tax shelters, not corporations you hope to scale.

just search on HN about patio11's Stripe Atlas and several blogs talking about how much of a headache delaware is compared to other states

Look into Paddle. They handle payments, subscriptions, sales tax + invoicing and you can set your business up from virtually anywhere in the world. They act as a merchant of record, meaning they don't just calculate the tax owed they pay it on your behalf too. So even if there is a miscalculation, nobodys business is jeopardised and Paddle take full liability :) Shoot me an email if you want to chat nick.read@ paddle.com

Don't know if it works for your use case but I've been pretty happy with cardknox

Is Wyoming better in that respect?

Still down it seems, Deliveroo payments are failing in Belgium.

Did they gave some kind of statement what might be the problem?

We recently contacted their sales team with intention to re-work pricing. We did not mention that in first mail and got immediate response. When we mentioned we want to negotiate pricing, noone has responded in months now.

Love Stripe.

But their record on de-platforming people for dubious reasons is not great.

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