Toll-free outages lead to credit card nightmares for Parker businesses

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Parker area retail businesses have been having issues running credit cards at one of the busiest times in the year, leading to customer frustration and headaches for employees, and it all appears to be due to outages affecting toll-free phone numbers.

Parker Live spoke to two area restaurant owners about the issue, which they say has resulted in chaos during the peak holiday period. Lawny Reese-Caracci, who runs Crossroads and Bobby D’s Diner, says it’s been happening intermittently for almost 3 weeks.

“We have our service through Frontier, and our system uses an 800 number to run cards,” Lawny said. “It’s not the card company, it’s the phone service. Lately, we’ll start in the morning and it’ll be good for a while, and then after an hour it’ll quit working. At the worst times it’ll be 80 percent down.”

Each time a card is swiped using a dial-up credit card machine, the landline-based system will dial an 800 number and perform the transaction. If the number can’t be reached for any reason, the machine cannot complete the transaction and the credit card will not be processed. Systems using internet-based machines are not affected by this issue.

Candi Scott says the issue has created havoc and lost business at Strokes Steakhouse, her restaurant on the Parker Strip.

“There are no toll-free lines,” Candi said. “It’s very sporadic. There’ll just be a fast busy signal. And even at home when I try it, the number can’t be reached. It’s working this morning, but Saturday it was out all day.”

Candi added that she has spoken to banks, bars and other restaurants in the Parker area who all have the same issue. Strokes is now offering 10 percent off all meals through Christmas for customers using cash or checks.

Parker Live believes the issue may lie with the older, long-distance phone infrastructure serving the area, installed originally by Verizon. Frontier now manages the landline service to customers, but the outages also affect Suddenlink VOIP service as it uses the same basic infrastructure.

Are you having this problem? Have you talked to your phone provider about it? Let us know.

3 comments

  1. Same issue in Seattle area! We changed to internet machines. Problems solved.

  2. Dial up credit card systems are outdated. Most of the Telco was not installed by Verizon or GTE and they both did little to improve or maintain local systems. Service went down hill with GTE and it was worse with VZ.
    My suggestion to any business is to get away from dial up credit card services. As far as loosing business, you can always go the paper trail as a back up….so loosing business is very odd.
    My system I am on works fine and has two routes out of the area and I have experienced none of the issues mentioned.

  3. Ray Cornelius

    I use my internet through Suddenlink. I hooked my machine direct ethernet and it approves in 1-2 seconds. No dialing wait. You may be able to do this through Frontier if there is an ethernet jack on the modem.

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