the affordable art service

Payments Procedure

When buying items listed on Comuniart, the status of the order items in the shopping cart go through the following stages:

1. INITIAL: Purchase is underway but not confirmed. This 'reserves'
the item so someone else cannot buy it, but does not commit the user
to anything. If they cancel payment at this stage, the order item is
2. ORDERED: The user has paid and this has been confirmed. Our
payment service provider processes the transaction and items go to an
ORDERED state only if they tell us that the payment went through OK.
Each individual item on sale has an associated currency; purchases are
made in that currency and our payment service provider handles currency
conversions if required. The buyer is charged immediately. The payment
is held in Comuniart’s account until payment to the seller becomes DUE.
3. SHIPPED: The seller ships the ORDERED item to the address
provided by the buyer. They log onto Comuniart and change the items
status to SHIPPED.

Returns and Cancellations Policy

If there are any problems with the order, the status of order items will fall into one or more of the following:

* BACKORDERED: A seller may have given an incorrect indication of
  available quantity of an item and can set an ORDERED item to a state
  of BACKORDERED if they need to spend time sourcing something. If
  the buyer is not happy to wait, they can cancel the order and will receive
  a full refund.
* GONE: A seller may have given an incorrect indication of available
  quantity of an item and can set an ORDERED item to a state of GONE
  if they are unable to fulfil the order. The buyer will receive a full refund
  for the cost of the item. The refund is processed in the currency of the item
  that was being sold. This may mean that a buyer with a bank account in a
  different currency from the sold item may lose or gain money if exchange
  rates have fluctuated significantly since the initial purchase.
* CANCELLED: If a user decides they do not want an item they can cancel
  it, but only if it is in an ORDERED or BACKORDERED state. SHIPPED
  items cannot be cancelled, only returned. Refunds are processed for
  cancelled items in the same way as for the GONE state above.
* RETURNING: If a buyer receives an item and dislikes it they can return
  it within a configurable returns time window or ‘cooling period’ which is
  taken from the precise time when a given order item enters the SHIPPED
  state. The buyer can only set a RETURNING state for SHIPPED items. On
  Comuniart, the returns window is currently configured for 17 days (a nominal
  14 day cooling period with an additional 3 days shipping allowance) beginning
   when the item is SHIPPED. If the buyer returns an item, they must pay for                           
   return shipping fees.

* RETURNED: When a seller receives a RETURNING item they set the
   order item status to RETURNED. Refunds are processed at this point and
   handled in the same way as for the GONE status above.
The above describes order items, the payments for which are held in Comuniart’s account until payments to sellers become DUE.

Payment Groups

Payment groups exist to record and deliver the commission paid to the sellers. After initial payments to Comuniart are made, there may be subsequent refunds due to items being unavailable (GONE above), returned (RETURNING and RETURNED above) or cancelled before being shipped (CANCELLED above), therefore payment groups go through the following stages so that customers can be easily refunded and sellers paid their correct amounts.

Payments to sellers go through the following stages:
1. INITIAL: Related to INITIAL state order items. Payments in this state
are merely local database records with no external financial implications.
2. PENDING: Related to completed orders. Payments are held in a PENDING
state until the returns window (see RETURNING above) has expired. Once
the returns item has expired, an associated order item cannot be returned,
cancelled etc. so the purchase is finalised and the payment becomes DUE.
There are still no external financial implications.
3. DUE: A pending payment related to an order has become due as described
above for the PENDING state. The site administrator will now see that
payments are due in their control panel view. Mass payment for a collected
series of due payments now becomes possible. This is done via our payment
service provider: a CSV file describing the payments which the administrator
exports from their own company web site. The administrator makes the mass
payments by uploading the CSV file to the payments service providers site,
then tells their own company web site which payments succeeded or failed
(usually, either all succeed or all fail).
  Our payment service provider will transfer money to sellers at the point of
  mass payment through their site. Prior to this, any money received due to
  customer orders will be being held Comuniart’s account.
  4. PAID: An administrator completed a mass payment session and marked
  this payment as paid. This stops the payment from showing up in future
  mass payment sessions. Note that this is again a local database record
  issue as all external financial exchanges happened during the mass payment
  session conducted on our payment service provider’s web site.
For any given currency of sale, groups of payments are recorded; one buyer may have a shopping cart containing items in several currencies – payment groups would be made for each currency involved.