My less than desirable Shopify support experience

My less than desirable Shopify support experience

My wife, Erin has a Shopify store, Broomsticks & Twigs, and it has 2FA enabled to secure the website better. and I didn’t download the backup codes, clearly a failing of mine, I just expected Google Authenticator codes to transfer with her Google account like they did when my Pixel 4 XL had an unfortunate interaction with water. Anyway, Erin’s Google Pixel 5a had an LCD screen leak, making it useless, so we bought a Pixel 6a, but we just discovered that her 2FA codes for Shopify did not transfer, and without the recovery codes, we are reliant on Shopify support disabling 2FA so we can log in.

What is odd is that despite 2FA being enabled, we had been logging in just fine for more than 3 months, with the username and password, bypassing the 2FA requirement, but last Saturday when we were about to start a Facebook ad campaign, we found that it was suddenly asking for the authenticator code.

The first thing I’d like to address is the lack of support options provided by Shopify, your only option is seemingly live chat, at least if you cannot log into your account, and no way to chat with the accounts team directly. According to my research, you used to be able to call Shopify at (888) 746-7439, or email, but they moved to a callback system, which also seems to have been discontinued, at least for customers not logged in, the only option I can find on their website is live chat. This, in my opinion, is unacceptable for what is essentially a B2B (business-to-business) service.

Starting the saga, we reach out to support via live chat, our only option, not being logged in, last Saturday, August 12 and we explained the situation, the representative, Connie S said (in text form) that she had escalated our request to their accounts team, stating that they would be in contact as soon as they can. Moving forward to Tuesday, August 15, 2023, having not heard anything, I responded to the chat log email, as it states in the message “To add further comments, just reply to this email and you’ll hear from us soon!”, asking about the progress of our request, and if they needed further information to verify our identity and guess what, by today, Saturday, August 19, there was no response.

Erin reached out on Thursday, August 17, chatting with Carmela G, and was promised that the accounts team was “working on it right now”, and surprise, surprise, we are still locked out of our Shopify account, and we received no further correspondence at the time of writing this on Saturday, August 19.

Today, Saturday, I again reached out by live chat, chatting with Quennie B, explaining that we had been waiting a week, and there has been zero response from Shopify concerning our issue, expressing our frustration and dissatisfaction with the service we had received. I asked if it would be possible to chat with the accounts team directly, and was told that they were only available via their internal email system.

Continuing on, I asked the question is it common for requests to the accounts team to take more than a week to be completed? Quennie responded, yes, we have been getting a lot of requests concerning login issues. I also posed the question, can I cancel via live chat, hoping it might elicit a more urgent response, and she said she could cancel our store via chat, which is good to know. Quennie said that she had upgraded the request to urgent and that she would send me a separate email from the chat log, so I can email “directly” for updates, but this came from, so I’m not hopeful.

I’m not the only person experiencing this poor customer service situation, you can search Google, and you will read a similar story from many hundreds of people, this Shopify forum thread is very revealing.

Update (Aug, 29 2023): cutting our losses

Another 10 days have passed and there has been zero communication from Shopify. Erin contacted them again today via live chat, the only method of communication with support, and it was the same old story, your request is in the queue and we’ll be in contact as soon as we can. In the meantime, they have charged our credit card for another month of service. So we are cutting our losses, and canceling the card, to stop them from taking more money without providing the service. Yes, the website is online, but that is useless if we cannot log in to update it or review orders, commonly known as doing business.

It is unacceptable to have to wait an indeterminate amount of time to regain access to your account due to losing access to 2FA and the recovery codes. There should be an automated system to disable 2FA by providing information specific to the account, not the Shopify, we’ll get to you when we can mentality!

Update (Sep, 4 2023): Finally, an answer

After many weeks of waiting, we finally got a real response from Frank (Shopify), which reads as follows.

To disable Two-Step Authentication:

Step 1: visit this Secure Document Upload Form.
this form has also been sent via separate email.
Step 2: upload current photo ID for the account’s user.
government-issued, all edges visible, full colour. Please note we cannot accept scanned/photo copied images.
Step 3: upload a screenshot of the latest Shopify charge as shown on your credit/debit card statement.
image must show the date, charge amount and 8- or 9-digit invoice number. You can find this information from your online statements or transaction list.

Please only submit files via our Secure Document Upload Form.

documents attached via reply are redacted for security purposes.

Once the above steps are completed, verification will proceed, and I will follow-up to confirm receipt and next steps.

I have redacted the links, as it looks like a specific link for us to upload our documents. I informed Erin about this latest happening, and her response was meh, so I don’t know if she is going to continue with Shopify or not. My issue is that this could have all been resolved weeks ago, it seems like such a simple and logical process to regain access, but we kept on getting the same response, our accounts team are very busy and will get back to you as soon as possible, why could the regular support staff not have imparted this information, or even had this information as part of their online help system?

Update (Oct, 13 2023): Our decision

I decided to take a look at the self-hosted WooCommerce system based on WordPress, created by the same people who made WordPress, Automattic, and we are going with it. I have had more than a decade of experience with self-hosted WordPress installs on a personal and professional level, and WooCommerce is the same quality that I have come to expect from WordPress, with lots of online help and documentation to help you through the process of setting up WooCommerce, including their payment gateway, WooPayments. I even found a template that allowed me to hit the ground running, to get it up and working over a weekend. It’s a truly amazing piece of software for the bargain price of FREE!

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