Thanks for bringing this up for discussion (and for worrying about our side!) – it’s definitely worth us having a think about how we can make that less painful in general, especially as we scale! Even with the best will in the world, everyone misses something sometimes, and when there’s a lot of people, it’ll happen a lot in aggregate (even if every single person alone only messes up now and then).
One thing that Danny has talked about would be a “support subscription”, which would in part cover the support workerbee time and could also in part cover refund costs. I’m leery of a support subscription because I don’t want people to think they have to pay to talk to us – after all, we get a good deal of benefit from talking to users ourselves! So I don’t think it’s quite consistent with “upside-down support”, at least not if it’s compulsory. Maybe a voluntary support subscription? But that potentially leads to confusion like thinking you’d get better service if you subscribe (which I don’t think we’re set up to provide – we already give everyone the best, fastest service we can).
I’m under the impression that something like a “tip jar” might be a problem (for-profit companies can’t always legally take anything that looks like a donation). Plus, then the user might get the impression they can tip a specific workerbee, or that tips will go directly to workerbees, and 1) I don’t know if that’s doable and 2) if it was and we divided the tips between workerbees, then it wouldn’t answer the refund fee problem.
Setting the system up so that we do refunds less the portion Stripe wants to take in fees would probably be the neatest solution, but I’m not sure how users would feel about that. A lot of users do express that they’d gladly pay the fees, but at the very least we’d need to be transparent about that and clear that you won’t get the full amount back if something goes through to refund. I’d also want there to be a full refund version for when it’s an issue of support team coverage or something.
There was a suggestion recently about invoicing people so they only pay at the end of a week/month, which would also provide more opportunity to call not legit before it goes through, but I wonder about sting immediacy there.
Anyway, that’s what I’ve got so far, definitely eager to hear if other people have ideas!
(I steered away from offering ideas about how a specific user can prevent the issue on their side – I do it by ensuring derailment emails are prominent in my inbox, for example, but that works because I’m chronically online and in my inbox. For some others, receiving refunds as honey money and using honey money against derailments as well is an option that would work and wouldn’t cost Beeminder anything. But it’s so individual, and I don’t want to add to guilting any individual user!)