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April 2019

Reaching the Tipping point

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By Jared Williams
Managing Director 
GOLF USA TEE TIME COALITION

We’ve all been there before. You make a purchase, receive goods or services and days later you login to check your bank account. Sometimes the charges are still pending, sometimes the card has been authorized. Most times, those goods and services are paid for and your card has been charged.

But what if it hasn’t been charged? We live in a digital age. And as with most technology, errors can and often do happen.

Some advice: Be very careful when declining training or any portion of the setup and installation of your software. It may be tied to a much more important function of your point-of-sale system or merchant processing provider.

An Arizona-based golf course owner and member of both the PGA of America and the NGCOA boards of directors recently fell victim to a bad batch of credit card transactions. Batch credit card processing is the practice of a merchant (golf course) processing all of its authorized credit card transactions for the day after the close of business or at a time determined by the credit card processor. Credit card batching can be done more often than once a day, but there is a fee for each request, so merchants tend to process batches once a day to minimize costs.

Augusta Ranch Golf Club in Mesa, Arizona, uses ETS as its merchant processor and EZLinks as its golf management system. Somehow, the golf course’s batch report revealed that a large number of credit card transactions either did not charge the cardholder for the actual amount of the purchase and/or failed to charge the card for any authorized gratuities that were added to the transaction after swiping the card. The transactions in question took place from Oct. 20 to Nov. 30 at the Scratch Pub & Grill, the course food and beverage component.

When the system was installed, EZLinks did not test whether or not the ETS credit card processing system was working properly, nor did EZLinks perform the standard implementation steps during the setup. The software didn’t indicate to the golf course that any errors had occurred when tips were not added to the authorized charges. Originally, neither EZLinks nor ETS took responsibility for the error. When Augusta Ranch became aware of the issue, EZLinks said the golf course owner’s decision to forego training also meant that EZLinks would not proceed with the standard implementation process which includes running tests. 
All in all, the blunder has cost Augusta Ranch about $10,000. Nevertheless, the course owner paid his employees the tips cardholders had authorized. The owner would now like for either EZLinks or ETS to take ownership of the issue and re-run the credit cards or make things right financially.

I am optimistic that EZLinks and/or ETS will find a way to make things right with this golf course owner. This is a small sum for the vendors, but this type of loss in revenue has real implications to golf courses. 

The Coalition wants to shine the light on things that happen in the online tee time distribution space and is most effective when it can regularly name vendors using customer feedback, whether positive or negative. Visit teetimecoalition.org/concerns to let us know about your experiences.

 


 

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