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Member
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎08-18-2011

Selling an online product/service: order tracking, liabilities and tax

[ Edited ]

Hello,


I am currently the lead developer for an online business where we sell subscription (access) to a private section of a website. Simply put, to access the private content the viewer must register an account and pay a one-time fee. Our website is in ASP.Net and we use the standard asp membership and roles for managing the access, so it's just a matter of adding an extra payment step in our registration process before it succeeds. 


Since we are selling an online product/service, want to handle payment via a single billing page, and may want to be able to adjust the price on a per-user basis based on supplied promotional codes / multiple licenses in the future, we figured using a direct gateway is a better idea than a complete eCommerce solution (such as Volusion) which either takes us away from our website, or provides extra features we do not need such as a product catalog, shipping manager, shopping cart etc.

 

Thus, we are looking at Authorize.Net with Direct Post Method or SIM to simply add an extra payment page during our registration process and use the response to either complete or cancel the registration. I already read through much of the documentation and searched the forums, getting a good grasp on the technical workings of the system, but am still a bit unclear about order tracking, liability and taxes:


1) I understand Authorize.Net keeps a record of all orders and their statuses which can be accessed through the merchant panel. Could we rely on this for tax purposes, refunds, business analysis, and the such, or should we keep track of all the records on our end as well? 


2) In case of potential fraud attempts, chargebacks, or other payment errors/disputes, who would be liable for potential damages - us or Authorize.Net? Note we are NOT storing any customer credit card info on our end and not planning to use CIM either. 


3) Looking at the API reference it looks like the Tax order fields go along other shipping-related fields. However, since we have an online product, we never do any shipping. How should we calculate and keep track of taxes? Does standard sales tax apply? Should we use the customer's billing address for state tax calculation? Does the API provide any functions to help calculate the tax, or do we have to figure that all on our end before processing the order? And if we do store the tax value but no other shipping info, would it still process and record it fine, or show an error / discard the tax field because the remaining shipping fields are empty? 


If anyone else has used Authorize.Net for a similar, online product/service and can share his/her experiences, that would be extremely useful. 


Thank you in advance for your help,

- Jakub

Posts: 1,609
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Registered: ‎06-23-2011

Re: Selling an online product/service: order tracking, liabilities and tax

[ Edited ]

Dang, I must have missed the part where you said no CIM. You can ignore this, but I'm leaving it here for anyone else.

-------------------------------

 

Why not just set up a secure form on your site and then charge them internally using CIM? I think DPM is for one-time charges, though I could be wrong, and SIM is on Authorize.net, not your own site.

 

As for specifics - with CIM, you can set up a customer profile with as little as just a credit card billing profile, I believe, and then for the charge you just pass the total amount of the charge - any additional fields for tax (use billing address) and shipping are for informational purposes and don't actually add to the charge amount. Then you test for success / fail and give them back the appropriate error message or success page. I personally prefer to keep customers on my site because it looks a bit more impressive, and if you're doing subscriptions, you essentially have a choice between SIM (on Authorize.net), CIM, or ARB (more complicated to implement, can't do the first charge immediately and requires AIM for that).

Member
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎08-18-2011

Re: Selling an online product/service: order tracking, liabilities and tax

[ Edited ]

Sorry if I was a bit confusing, although we have our users register, this is a one-time payment, not a recurring one. Thus DPS or SIM would be sufficient. 

 

I do agree DPS is more "professional" but considering you can customize the payment page to have your own style and logo, and most people do not actively look at their browser URL, I don't think it's such a bad solution. My primary concern is legal liability - with SIM, everything is handled by the gateway and, unlike DPS which is still prone to some cross browser hacks, there is no way we can really be responsible for any breach of customer's sensitive data.

Administrator
Posts: 591
Registered: ‎08-21-2009

Re: Selling an online product/service: order tracking, liabilities and tax

1) Authorize.Net will store the information that you send us with the transaction and make it available for viewing and download.  The only information not available will be the the secure details such as the card number and expiration date.  We also will not store any "merchant defined fields" you send us that are not defined by our API.

 

2) This is actually outside the scope of what Authorize.Net handles for you.  We provide the gateway services, but we aren't the ones who actually underwrite you and we are completely unaware of any disputed charges.  This is a question that you would want to refer to whoever ends up providing your merchant services account.

 

3) We do not provide any direct functionality for calculating tax.  It is up to you as the merchnat to determine the appropriate tax amount, include it in the sales amount, and identify it with the tax field.  I am not sure exactly what gave you the impression that tax was stored a s a part of the shipping information, it is an independant field and can definitely be collected separately from shipping details.

Member
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎08-18-2011

Re: Selling an online product/service: order tracking, liabilities and tax

Thank you for the response Trevor, that answers my questions perfectly!

 

- Jakub