I love Skype and I write about it a lot, because I think it’s a great tool, especially for people in places where phone calls cost a lot. But those places tend to be developing countries where monopolies are powerful. Just those kind of places where credit card fraud is a problem. Like, say, Indonesia.
Which is why I think Skype has got to get its act together on accepting payments from places like Indonesia. It’s hard, sometimes impossible, to buy credit when in these places, and it doesn’t make good business sense. It’s also not nice to feel like a criminal to keep getting the following message:
Skype’s PR are very nice people and try to help, as do their tech support staff. But I hate to waste time trying to buy credit when it’s so, so easy to do the same thing when buying something off, say, Amazon. I can sympathise with small retailers unwilling to do business with anyone from an address where credit card fraud is a problem, but Skype is big enough, especially now it’s part of eBay, to set up systems that are flexible enough and smart enough to realise when they are dealing with a bona fide customer and a criminal.
After all, if a criminal does buy Skype Out credit with a stolen credit card, what is the worst that can happen before they’re found out? It’s going to take them a while to make €25.00 worth of phone calls. Almost 25 hours, actually, according to Skype. OK, I guess they may want to do that, but it strikes me as a somewhat bizarre crime: “Criminal steals SkypeOut credit, talks to mother for more than 24 hours. Mother, worn out by phone call, asks son to give self up to police”.