Address Verification FAQ
If you are getting an "AVS mismatch" error when trying to
place an order in our online store, it means that the
billing address you entered did not match the address that your bank
has on file.
If you are sure that you typed the correct address, contact your
bank and make sure they have the correct address. (The zip code must
When you get an AVS mismatch error, it is possible that your bank
has placed a temporary hold on the funds for this order, but those
funds should be released after a short period of time. We assure you
that your card has not been charged. The money is still in your
account, not in ours.
This can be very confusing, because often the people who answer the
phones at the bank are not clear about this, and leave their customers
with the impression that their cards have been charged when they have
not, because they use banking terminology that most people don't
Hopefully an explanation of how online ordering works will clear
things up... When you place an online order through our secure server,
your bank does these things:
- Verify that sufficient funds are available.
- If so, place a "hold" on the amount of the transaction.
(This doesn't take the money out of your account, it just reserves
it. Banks call this "authorization".)
- Check that the address you entered matches;
- If the address matched, then transfer the money from
your account to our account. (This is where your card is actually
charged; banks call this "capture" or "settlement".)
- If the address did not match, then release the
"hold" on the funds that was made in step 2.
The problem is, some banks are stupid, and don't bother with step
5. So if you enter the wrong address, the "hold" on your money
remains in effect until it times out (it could be a day, it could be
a couple of weeks; it depends on your bank.) Please note that if
this happens, the money is still in your account! We don't
have it, you do! If you call your bank, and they tell you "yes,
there was a transaction yesterday", that's true: there was an
"authorization", but there was not a charge.
Again, if your address did not match, then we did not take your
money. Your bank will have a record of the fact that we checked, but
your money has not left your account.
(Obviously, banks should do steps 3 first: they should
check the address before putting a hold on the money, and not touch
the account at all if the address didn't match. But, they don't do
that. This is stupid of them, but that's just how they do it.)
If you're still unsure whether we've charged you, you can check
by going to our
page and entering your email address and credit card number to see
what orders we have on file for you. If there's nothing listed
there, then you were not charged.
Hopefully that explains matters. If you have any other
questions, feel free to contact us by mailing
or calling us at 415-626-4337.