How to handle a Risk Team escalation with Shopify Payments?

1 0 5

Hello Shopify Community,


Hope that everyone is doing well! I help run a small, textile and rug family business. We've had a brick-and-mortar presence for over 20 years and are well-known within the Atlanta community, along within the broader southeast. We decided about a year ago to migrate to Shopify from WooCommerce and we were unbelievably excited for this transition. Overall, the Shopify team has been great in providing resources that can allow for a somewhat smooth transition. However, I am very disappointed in the customer service and transparency that is provided by Shopify's Risk Team.


Given that we were looking to be a long-term, Shopify partner, we signed up for a three year subscription with Shopify and Shopify POS. For the past 6-8 months my developer and myself have been working tirelessly to build out our Shopify website and new data infrastructure.


I was setting up Shopify Payments for my business, but was having some network issues. So, I refreshed the page several times in hopes of speeding up the submission process. I believe that the page refreshing and additional data submissions threw a flag on our account. Disclaimer - this is my assumption for why my account was flagged and I may be wrong.


Soon after, I received a notification that stated something along the lines of, "Shopify Payments has been put on hold for your account." I continued filling out the information that I could at the time. A few days later, I received an email from the Risk Team that my business is no longer allowed to use Shopify Payments because "your business has been identified as presenting an elevated level of risk for customer disputes that we will be unable to support with Shopify Payments."


I was shocked to say the least. I quickly reviewed the types of businesses that are not supported by Shopify Payments. These are businesses that provide financial services, adult content, vitamins/minerals, hazardous materials, weapons, etc. I then searched for 8-10 other textile and rug businesses like mine and saw that they were all using Shopify Payments at their checkout. I promptly sent an email to the Risk Team to notify them of this ill-informed decision and that an AI program may have accidentally thrown a flag and that I'd appreciate another look into my case. The email I received back effectively told me, "Sorry our word is law and I can't help you." Nowhere was I informed of how my business presented an "elevated level of risk for customer disputes..." nor were any next steps outlined as to how I could potentially appeal this decision. 


This experience has been extremely disturbing. I specifically chose Shopify over BigCommerce because I wanted to reap the benefits of the full Shopify ecosystem (Shopify Ecomm, Shopify POS and Shopify Payments). For close to a year, we've worked tirelessly to build out our business on Shopify - only to have it be crushed by the Risk Team (and Stripe, I suppose). The Risk Team and the kind folks at the Shopify Support have told me that this isn't THAT big of a deal because I can use a third-party payment gateway with my Shopify website and Shopify POS. Sure, that may be true. But, I'm not getting the same low rates as I would have with Shopify Payments and I am not providing the same experience that my competitors are now providing. How so? Stats show that carts tend to be abandoned when users have to navigate to another website like PayPal to complete their transaction. That's in fact a selling point of Shopify Payments that was pitched to me by a Shopify Plus sales rep. Well... if I am now not providing the same competitive rates and if I'm not providing the same caliber of a checkout experience, then I am at a clear disadvantage. A disadvantage that may not even a drop in the bucket for Shopify, but that very seriously harms my ability to earn income and provide for myself and my family.


I want to reiterate that that the Shopify Support individuals have truly tried to help me, but their hands seem to be tied. All communication, next steps and decisions must come from the Risk Team. Want to phone someone to explain? They only accept email. Interested in escalating? They won't respond in a timely manner or provide adequate details. It has become apparent through this tragic experience that although Shopify claims to empower small businesses like mine, the reality is that we are simply collateral damage for these large corporations. Who cares if you really disrupt the ability of a small, family business to make an honest living if your company did US$2.929 billion in 2020. Shopify's ecosystem was supposed to be the key to recovering from the crushing weight of the pandemic. Guess not.


I have been seriously contemplating migrating to BigCommerce given everything that is going on. Perhaps being on a more open source platform is the way. I hope that by writing this, Shopify will realize that there is a serious problem in the way that it handles and communicates issues to clients via its Risk Team. There isn't transparency or trust in the process in my humble opinion. Lack of transparency + trust, along with centralization make for a risky recipe in the long-term.


If you are thinking of migrating to Shopify, please reflect on my story and see what the repercussions would be if something similar happened to you. Although the ecosystem is pretty incredible if you have Shopify Ecomm, Shopify POS and Shopify Payments, the leverage that Shopify will have over your business and the risk that accompanies it, may not be worth it. Each business is different, of course.


I hope that this post is helpful and leads to some change within Shopify. I hope to continue to use this platform and grow with it.


Thank you for taking the time to read this.


All the best,


Ali T.

Replies 4 (4)

3 0 0

Did you ever find a solutions? Shopify had really put a damper on my business income since they have stopped my store. I’m not able to fulfill orders and most recent, my website doesn’t exist!!! After paying hundreds for expensive themes and apps and other things for our store, they shut us down. The risk team has not been in contact and we have been waiting on this “special email” for over a month.  This is not a god look and I’m seriously considering getting an attorney involved.

Shopify Partner
3 0 0

We are now facing the exact same issue you have had, we directly replied the email and never heard a word since then. I wonder if you ever hear back from them? What is your solution to this? Using 3rd party payment gateway? 

Thank you!

8 0 2

hello, was your situation resolved, if so, how long did it take? i have same situation.

1 0 0

they don't reply, they will just keep giving a generic answer asking you to hold on