Merchants Without Y2K Fix May Double Bill

Consumer credit cards have been getting double-billed by merchants that failed to upgrade to Y2K-compliant versions of CyberCash Inc.'s payment processing software.

CyberCash executive vice president Chuck Riegel said the company began posting information about the year 2000 issue on its Web site in December 1998 and mailed postcards to registered users of its ICVerify, NetVerify, PCVerify and EZCharge software.

Some retailers apparently missed those notices, particularly if they bought the software through a reseller.

The extent of consumers and retailers impacted by the problem is difficult to determine, but CyberCash's Riegel claimed the problem is "limited."

Visa International spokesman Russ Yarrow said his company typically monitors for instances of double billing. He said the company typically processes 100 million transactions per day and sees 3,000 double billings. As a result of the CyberCash problem, he said the instances of double transactions have roughly doubled to 6,000 per day.

"It's primarily confined to smaller merchants with smaller purchases," Yarrow said.

Rudy Socha, president of WildlifeCollectibles.com, based in Lorraine, Ohio, said he didn't receive notification from CyberCash or Dydacomp Development Corp., the reseller that sold him ICVerify in conjunction with Dydacomp's Mail Order Manager software.

Dydacomp couldn't be reached for comment.

"Cybercash told me that they sent out notices to their resellers, and the reseller I purchased it from, Dydacomp, informed me that he didn't receive the notice and therefore didn't pass any Y2K notices to his customers," Socha said.

Socha said he hasn't been able to correct the problem yet because the CyberCash fix didn't work and he has yet to receive an updated fix. He noted that CyberCash's technical support lines were busy last week, and he wasn't able to get through to leave a voice mail message until Friday. On Sunday, Socha reached a contract-employee customer service representative. "I was informed that none of their technical support people were available on the weekend," Socha said.

CyberCash said the Y2K-compliant upgrades can be downloaded from its Web site or obtained through its service line at 1-800-900-6133.

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