This is a first for me. This morning I placed an order with a US online retailer in New Jersey: shopperswines.com. I had no issue submitting payment, and the system verified that they could ship to NY state (as some NJ retailers won't ship to NY thanks to NY's Attorney General). A few hours later I got an email status update: "Your order has been cancelled." No other explanation.

I called and they told me that it is illegal in the US to accept online payment for alcohol from non-US residents.

I said I've ordered from dozens of US wine retailers over the past 6 years and have never had this problem. He said "well, they're all breaking the law".

I asked if I could walk into his store and buy wine in person using my Canadian credit card. He said yes because they process those payments with their in-store payment system. The problem, he said, is that their online CC processing company says they cannot process foreign payments for alcohol. So I said I'd give him my CC info over the phone and he could process it on their in-store system. He refused, saying that if the wine was going to be shipped, the order MUST be placed via their website.

I think they need to find a new e-commerce payment processing company. But I'm curious if anyone knows if this is, in fact, the law in the US.

(As an aside, he said that it's also illegal for them to ship to NY state but they've found a workaround by using a third-party freight company out of NY. So just a little bit hypocritical.)

(And another aside: it just occurred to me that their URL is fitting. Shopper Swines.)

Original Post

I haven't had this problem as I'm not Canadian, but a somewhat similar experience as I live in Illinois.  I ordered online from an Illinois retailer and had them to ship to my office.  No problem, transaction went through and didn't think anything of it.  Important to note that Illinois does not allow out of state retailers to ship to Illinois.  But this was an Illinois transaction - should be no problem.  They called me the next day and told me they couldn't ship this wine to my office because it was in their St. Louis retail store, and Illinois won't allow Missouri retailers to ship to Illinois.  I asked her just to have the St. Louis location transfer it to the Illinois location, and then ship to me.  She said it can't be done, so I just told her to ship to a Wisconsin UPS store where we have a box for such purchases.  She calls me the next and tells me that they can't ship to PO Boxes.  I told her it's not a PO Box, but she won't budge.  I cancelled my order and got the same wine from a New Jersey retailer for less money.

Flickinger's has this issue. I had to send them a wire transfer for my order. It's not illegal to process the payment from a Canadian individual to my knowledge, just that their credit card processing service doesn't have it enabled (I assume it costs more to them).

Note that I wasn't even having the wine shipped out of state, it was being picked up in person by the esteemed AllRed and Domino who know them well!

 I’ve bought wine from a few retailers whose Online payment forms didn’t have a drop down for country, only listed in US states with no option to enter a Canadian province, and wouldn’t accept a Canadian postal code in the zip code field.  But I found with most of them that I could enter Toronto Ontario Canada and my postal code in the city field, and select New York in the state drop down and enter a New York postal code in that field, and the payment would go through without a problem.  As futronic said,  their payment system simply wasn’t set up to accept foreign addresses. But it would still process the payment. 

 Occasionally this wouldn’t work, so I would call in and they would process the payment manually. 

 I don’t know why this guy thinks it’s illegal, but he sure was adamant. “I’ve been in business for 20 years and I know the law.“😂

sunnylea57 posted:

The problem, he said, is that their online CC processing company says they cannot process foreign payments for alcohol.

So presumably their CC processing company would be fine with the transaction if you were buying something other than alcohol? 

I don't get it.  Why would the CC company care what the product was?

Strange behaviour I have never encountered before but sad if such law truly exists. Most of the retailers web forms can't handle Canadian purchasers but a quick phone call normally settles everything and both sides are happy. With the way things are going its hard not to feel like a drug dealer. Its just wine after all so give me a break.

otw posted:
sunnylea57 posted:

The problem, he said, is that their online CC processing company says they cannot process foreign payments for alcohol.

So presumably their CC processing company would be fine with the transaction if you were buying something other than alcohol? 

I don't get it.  Why would the CC company care what the product was?

Would having an account, or getting a CC from an American bank eliminate this problem?

It's not a credit card rule, or a federal law.  It could be a state law though in NJ.  It was just ruled unconstitutional along with all the other distributor/mafia instate vs out of state restrictions that had been enacted since 2005.  All those laws including the one the Capone Gang put in place in Illinois are still on the books though until challenged.

vinelouse posted:

Most of the retailers web forms can't handle Canadian purchasers but a quick phone call normally settles everything and both sides are happy. 

I just ordered a bunch of wine from Crush in NYC.  You'd think that they are a big-enough retailer to have a decent web site.

Indeed, they do recognise that there are other countries in the world.  And when you pull down the list of 'states' for Canada, it does show you the appropriate selection of provinces.  But then they demand that you give them an all-numeric zip code which I couldn't do.  So we had an impasse.  I phoned them and the person I spoke to said that they get all kinds of complaints about their web site.  So why don't they just fix it?

Nah, alot of retailers now utilize the square as a payment processor.

What it says with an international card is "This could be a fraudulent transaction" and it auto cancels the order with no explaination.  The retailer has to go into the payment processor and reinstate the charge and click "I accept responsibility for this charge" and alot of stores just don't care to.

I had it happen to me recently, and i had to show up in the store and the guy said, oh, this was a legit charge, and ran it through.

What you should have told them is that you hereby order them to accept your credit card.  

g-man posted:

What you should have told them is that you hereby order them to accept your credit card.  

I was on the phone for 10 minutes and tried every angle. The guy wasn’t going to budge from his position that it‘s illegal for foreigners to purchase wine online from US retailers. 

sunnylea57 posted:
g-man posted:

What you should have told them is that you hereby order them to accept your credit card.  

I was on the phone for 10 minutes and tried every angle. The guy wasn’t going to budge from his position that it‘s illegal for foreigners to purchase wine online from US retailers. 

rule #1 Gman is always right.  Rule #2 when gman is wrong see rule # 1

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