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Roboblog

Forget anonymity, realize what your real problem is

April 2013

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U: Wouldn't it be fair if merchants simply set lower prices and surcharge customers who pay with credit card?

SKrobot: It would. Unfortunately it is illegal.

Credit card lobby is extremely powerful. They influence legislation process for decades. In the United States federal law prohibited surcharges on card transactions. That law expired in 1984, but a number of states have since enacted laws that continue to outlaw the practice. California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maine, New York, Oklahoma, and Texas have laws against surcharges.

It looks like the legislation protects consumer rights but in reality it prevents customer to see the unfolded price with third party cost details.

For example, New York merchants who would like to give customer more information and display price components, including card processing costs, violate state law which is a criminal offense, punishable by a $500 fine and up to one year of imprisonment.

In the United Kingdom the No Discrimination Rule "prohibits merchants from charging different prices to those who pay by credit card rather than by another means of payment".

Merchants are forced to pretend there is no such cost. It's a taboo imposed by law. Merchants have to incorporate a third party processing fee into the product cost, so even the customers who don't use credit cards pay that price. It is not only a monetary price. It's also a qualitative difference, because the barrier of entry eliminates from the marketplace the efficient and innovative small businesses which are not able to amortize the risk and cost of online payments.

U: Can't you educate customer to make them aware of the problem?

SKrobot: This is what we do here. There are many customers who are aware of how high price they pay for using credit cards and how big share goes to corrupted financial institutions. However the sad thing is that normally those customers still contribute to cover the cost of maintaining credit card industry because the fee is included in the final price of the product which, for simplicity and legal reasons, is the same for everyone, no matter how they pay. In SecurityKISS we think it's not fair, hence the massive discount for Bitcoin payments.

U: But with Bitcoin, does it mean that you can evade taxes and do money laundering?

SKrobot: Absolutely not. We pay taxes from Bitcoin transactions like from any other revenue. Money laundering is the process of concealing illicit sources of money to make it appear like legitimately earned money. For money laundering one has to have illicit source of money in the first place. Providing online security, privacy and anonymization services is not illegal (yet).

U: What worries me is that Bitcoin payments are irreversible and I can't claim back the payment if you don't fulfill the order.

SKrobot: SecurityKISS was founded in 2010 and is continually building trust and reputation among users. It is our greatest asset. We wouldn't risk our reputation by not fulfilling the order or by not refunding the payment if the customer is not satisfied. We understand that the merchant reputation becomes an issue in the Bitcoin landscape, so for your online store selection we suggest not to trust search engine results which can be easily manipulated but instead rely on your friends' recommendation. It's also the reason why we don't do any advertising.

U: So where can I get Bitcoins?

SKrobot: We prefer not to promote or endorse other websites. Do your own research. The matter of payments is very important because it affects your quality of life. You owe it some attention.

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