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 match too.)

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 understand.

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:

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 Order Status 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.