For ten years, Color Bakery and MyCart.net had an enduring, if not unusually uneasy, business relationship. When Color Bakery was first formed in 2006, just a little husband and wife art tile business, one of the first things we did was to establish a relationship with a bank so we could take major credit cards: Visa, Master, Discover, Amex. Our bank representative urged us strongly to work with MyCart.net. Knowing absolutely nothing about third party ecommerce sites, and trusting the bank rep (which I later learned was a liaison that made commissions on how many people he roped in for MyCart), we chose them in a state of ignorant bliss.
We worked with the liaison, which was a company that acted as a go-between with MyCart.net and the customer he brought in. (His name, and the name of his defunct company, escapes me) I worked with him a couple of years. He was a good guy, and his customer service was solid. When I had a problem with the ecommerce stores (there were three separate ecommerce stores, which took me years and blood and sweat to build, brick by brick with no help), he was there. From the start: there were always problems with coding and commands not executing properly, so I found myself calling on this liaison often for help. (We were charged for each store, we did not pay one flat fee). Then MyCart.net decided they didn’t want to pay this man commissions anymore, and locked him out. I didn’t have him as a buffer anymore, I had to deal with the company directly. I remember it as being a ruthless business move, but business nonetheless. I am no shrinking violet. I understand hard business decisions. I worked in corporate advertising for years in New York City. However, this was cold and abrupt and I felt sorry for the guy. He brought them a lot of business and how he was shut out in a Siberian cold with a quick slam of a door.
MyCart’s coding started out as obsolete. There were no batch uploads. No way to copy a product and tweak it for a new product addition. No store subcategories. No product tags. No social media links. It was a nightmare. Every product (they didn’t add tags and other nominal updates until they were already outdated coding) had to be entered individually. The system was so poorly written, a shop owner didn’t even have access to any files they uploaded. One of my sites was a vintage art download site, and I lost access to all my uploads because I had no access to their server. (They still have my artwork.)
All I had was a web interface. So when the internet matured and the coding became more sophisticated, and the browsers and operating systems changed to reflect these improvements, MyCart failed to update their store coding along with the rest of the world. This created problems for me. For example, my customers could no longer log in to their old accounts. I can’t tell you how many phone calls and emails I sent them in abject desperation. They always promised to look into it and fix it; they never did. More problems: customers couldn’t save their carts for later. They couldn’t check out: some people clicked “submit” with their orders and they were taken to a non-working page, or the page would hang indefinitely. Of course, these poor customers wrote to me in an understandable fury, and I would often put my head in my hands and cry in frustrated misery. MyCart.net also took an additional royalty from our sales. Have you ever heard of paying a monthly fee to an ecommerce store, and then they double-dip by taking what is tantamount to a royalty on sales? MyCart.did. I believe it was two percent. They took this money even though their coding and failure to fix it ensured we lost business, they took that money. And that was in addition to the very high fees they took and charged our credit card monthly for, fees that kept going higher and higher until my husband and I would question them about the discrepancies in pricing and then it would go back to normal for a while, and then they would slowly raise it again over time. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Let’s fast-forward five years. By this time, I was taking orders on the phone 99% of the time, because customers could not get the order to submit, couldn’t load their cart, couldn’t log in, etc. MyCart had an invoice system that was pretty easy to use. Just type in the order, enter the prices and it would automatically deliver the sum amount, and then automatically put it through to our credit card processor, Authorize.net. At least I was able to automate at least one part of the purchasing process, until my husband asked me why there was money missing from the orders. I contacted MyCart.net who admitted that they were taking a two percent additional “processing fee” from every gross sale. How, my husband said, did they know about sales that were being phoned in and directly logged on to Authorize.net directly, without using MyCart? Uh-oh. The invoices. They were taking money for sales their coding was too substandard to even expedite. So I lost the one little thing that made my life a little easier: the online invoice function.
I must have spoken to MyCart.net a thousand times, and emailed them a thousand more. When they returned my emails and calls (that was not a given, in the latter days they didn’t bother to acknowledge me as a sentient being), they would try to fix the problem, and they never did. The light bulb finally went on and I realized they could not fix the coding, that it was too obsolete as to be fixable. They would have to recode everything. I had to get out, but I looked at the gazillion products I had stretching among three stores, and I knew I could never build it again. But I had to get away from them, so I called my friend and IT guy, Josh. Josh has built a very sophisticated computer and storage network for our home business. I told him the situation, I told him he had to help me get away from these people. I gave him the password to my account and he got back to me in a few days. “I hate to tell you this, Mindy,” he said, “but there is no way to download the store databases. I tried every trick I know, and they used a specialized coding system that was written individually for them that makes it impossible to move or copy or save the data. I am so sorry.” He gave me some technical language detailing that I don’t remember, because there was a strong buzzing that had started in my ears. The dark truth stuck me: I was stuck with them. And they were stuck with me. At some point, I decided I wasn’t going quietly into that good night.
I must have left about ten messages across months and months before someone called me back. I knew they were avoiding me. Finally I got a callback. The upbeat and professional man I spoke to excitedly told me about their new system, their new server, new this, new that, blah blah. He assured me that the coming spring (2013) they will have fixed all the issues and moved everything to new server. No worries, everything was going to be fine and better than ever. Will they be able to move my stores, I asked, without me having to rebuild them? He gave me politician-style evasive answers, but he did assure me that they would be able to make it so I didn’t have to rebuild my stores. Even though I had a visceral knowledge this was a lie, to avoid a breakdown, I believed. I tried keeping the hope alive. The thought of rebuilding something that took me years to build was too muich to bear. I wouldn’t let myself think about it. So I slogged along, trying not to get upset when I would get the inevitable angry emails from frustrated customers, and taking orders on the phone when they called. The fact that people loved Color Bakery products enough to go through the *** of a MyCart.net experience and still want to do business with us was a humbling experience. I am still grateful to them, our wonderful customers.
At least, I told myself, the stores were up and running. Kind of. People could see the products, the photos of the tiles, the pricing. They could call me on the phone if they couldn’t get the store to work. But even that wouldn’t last.
One day I got an email from a regular customer. She asked me if the store was down. I checked. It was. All three were not just down, they were gone. They didn’t exist. They didn’t warn me, and they didn’t even give me a chance to try to back up my html data by taking screenshots. All the products, photos, descriptions: if I would have known they were deleting it, I would have taken pictures and downloaded copies. All of that work, gone. This was beyond venal. I was a loyal, paying customer for years, and they didn’t even bother to give me a heads up to back up what I could before they destroyed ten years worth of work. I have no words.
If what goes around comes around, MyCart.net will get their comeuppance. I can’t even think about what they did without my eyes watering. I need to move on and try to pick up the pieces, but for my own sense of right and wrong I have to tell the truth about what they did to me and my husband, and the baby we built together, Color Bakery.
Reason of review: Poor customer service.
Monetary Loss: $15000.
Preferred solution: full refund and all of my data.
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