Psystar: We're legit, but our merchant gateway dropped us

Psystar: We're legit, but our merchant gateway dropped us

Summary: This Psystar meets Mac clone saga gets more curious by the minute. Psystar, which has received a ton of press for offering Mac clones loaded with OS X, said it's not a sham.


This Psystar meets Mac clone saga gets more curious by the minute. Psystar, which has received a ton of press for offering Mac clones loaded with OS X, said it's not a sham. Instead, the company notes that its merchant gateway "dropped the ball on us and refused to process any more transactions from the company."

Here's the statement:

We're in the process of moving to a new location which is now listed on our contact page. The first new address posted (10481) was in error and our correct address is 10475 NW 28th Street. PSYSTAR was, prior to this past week, not ready to handle the enormous production capacity demanded by the online community. Due to the incredible response we have now expanded to a larger commercial unit to handle the supplies and assembly of Open Computers. THANK YOU for all of your orders.

Midday yesterday our store was not receiving any orders. This was due to the fact that our merchant gateway, Powerpay, dropped the ball on us and refused to process any more transactions from our company. We have reverted to Paypal until we can find a high-volume merchant. Apparently Powerpay was not ready to handle the community's demand for Open Computing.

If you're experiencing problems with our online store then please send a detailed e-mail to support@psystar.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it that will include the following facts about the computer that you're trying use our website with:

* Operating System

* Web Browser and version

* any error messages that you may receive

Due to the wave of orders for Open Computers coming through there is currently a 10 to 12 day build time for all products.

Is this company (all resources) run by high school kids? How about taking Visa like most legit vendors?

In any case, I'd steer clear from this mess until Psystar proves itself. I've been seduced by a sham $150 laptop before and know the drill with faux vendors.

Update:'s Tom Krazit has the following quote from PowerPay:

Louisa Deluca, vice president of loss prevention for Powerpay, said on Thursday that her company dropped Psystar because it violated the terms of its agreement with Powerpay. She declined to cite specific violations, but said "there are plenty of reasons why we shut the account off. We did not know that's what he was selling, we learned that yesterday."

So I see some folks disagree with my take on Psystar, but here's the point: When a payment processing outfit cuts you off all of a sudden it may raise a few alarm bells--especially when no one has heard of this outfit until a few a days ago. Maybe Psystar is the next HP or Apple, but I'd rather let you trusting souls be the guinea pigs before I pay up for a Mac clone. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. If Psystar ships a few hundred thousands of these pups then buy away. But right now this outfit sounds risky to me.

Update 2: The Psystar store seems to be working and I've gone through the checkout process without pulling the trigger. Anyone want to go for it?

Update 3: I placed an order, but just when I was about to seal the deal for $604 with shipping I got the following bug.


Go figure. The damn pulldown menu won't work.

Update 4: Richard Koman has a long statement from PowerPay's CEO on the matter. Also see:

Topics: Software, Apple, Collaboration, Hardware, Operating Systems

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Re: Visa

    Its my understanding that they were a small company before that did local IT work. Now they have grown a huge amount basically overnight. I am sure they will plan on getting a credit card setup, however, that does not happen over night. You have to apply, be approved, and then wait for the machine to show up, then wait for it to be activated. Give the guys a break, sheesh.
    • Um, a commercial web portal

      will handle all that for you. Not buying it. These guys are a
      • uhm.. did you read the article???

        I was responding to Larry's response asking why they don't accept Visa themselves after they got dumped yesterday. Try reading before you make some comment...
    • 48 hours

      We can get a merchant account setup in 48 hours through any number of transaction providers once we send in our data (Bank numbers, location, ect)

      It not that hard at all.
  • RE: Psystar: We're legit, but our merchant gateway dropped us

    I really hope this isn't a sham. I'd love to run OS X on the cheap. I still have hope that they are going to build these systems but will not purchase one until the reviews are in and people have actually gotten their orders delivered.
    Loverock Davidson
  • Hype!

    Sounds like a lot of business hype. "This guy with a gun to my head saying, 'Give me all your money or I'll kill you!' -- He's not a PROBLEM, he's a CHALLENGE and this is really an OPPORTUNITY in disguise!" Yeah, right!

    The truth is that apparently commercial vendors are catching on the Psystar is heading for some serious legal problems and they don't want to be dragged along.
    • Charge Backs and Legalities

      The payment processor pulled out due to charge backs. This limits the liability for the payment processor. This way they will not need to deal with trying to get the money back to the customer, or getting money back from the seller. Being a third party gateway has some major consequences in a questionable situation.

      Payment processors will only stick with a client as long as the client is in a good way. As soon as a problem or issue occurs, they will usually pull the plug.

      There are payment processors that are willing to take some risks (it sounds like Pystars company was not). Often, these processors are not compatible with the e-commerce gateway software. Custom configuration will need to be accomplished in this case. At times, people use out of the box software, with no ability to change the needed settings.

      The best bet is to get a coalition of computer programmers and design the site right. In this case, it sounds like Psystar may know enough to get the job done. However, they are not capable of programming the system themselves.

      We do not know how many people are involved with the company. My guess is there are only two. This makes it very difficult for those two people to concentrate on all the areas that they should.

      The plan was probably to fail, as most likely they did not plan at all. It is evident they did not plan to have as many orders that came with the publicity.
  • Identity Theft Or Fraud

    The "new address" is for:

    Vipral Rubber Corp
    2750 NW 84TH AVE
    33122 -1926

    PH (305) 640-0330
    FX (305) 640-0310

    Face it, if you ordered one of these, your money is on the way to Nigeria or Russia or both.
    • Thats not their address...

      PsyStar Corporation
      10475 NW 28th St
      Doral, FL 33172

      Posted clearly on their website. Thats not their phone numbers either...
      • My Bad On The Addy

        Okay. Take the adress that Psystar SAYS is theirs. If you Google THAT ADDDRESS, you get listings for a company called "Vipal Rubber Company."
        • No way to say how often thats updated

          No telling if that rubber company is still in that location, unless we can get somebody that lives there to drive down and look. Which I am surprised has not happened yet.
          • Agreed...

            ... but given that this is the FOURTH address they've given the press in as many days? I called Vipal's numbers and they answered the phones as "Vipal." As soon as I started asking questions, they wanted to know who I was and what company I was with. Even though I found several internet listings with Vipal at that adddress, the guy on the phone said that Vipal "Had never been at" that address.
  • RE: Psystar: We're legit, but our merchant gateway dropped us

    Apple was started in a garage by some teenagers...why not at least give these guys a shot at legitimacy before shooting them down. Where are the people who still believe a small group of young entrepreneurs can build a successful company?
    • A different world

      It took a lot more of a commitment to start a company back then as opposed to today.
      Those guys at Apple that started in a garage where probally a lot more committed then many people are today.

      Now you just host a pretty web site at 9.99 a month and a payment portal, never having to meet anyone face to face.
      • so what kind of commitement would it take to star a major pc company today?

        not much of a commitment according to your view.
        • Different tools

          The internet was not the global market place it is today, these guys sold their ideas in meetings and board rooms, computer shows and kioks, door to door, expensive ads in national magazines.

          now it takes a pretty website and an online payment processor
          • You're overlooking a few things.

            Sure, it's quicker and, in some ways, easier now than it was then, but you're overlooking quite a few things. When Jobs and Woz started Apple, it was harder to get your name out there, but business itself was easier, particularly given the lack of competition. The very thing you proclaim makes it easier, also makes it infinitely more difficult. Sure, anybody can pop up a website and try to sell a product, but therein lies the rub. Anybody can do it. And, many have. The competition is seemingly infinite. The really successful ones still market the old way, or have you missed all the TV and print ads for the majors, including the "I'm a Mac. And, I'm a PC." ones from Apple?

            So, let's look at their product. If you buy a genuine Mac, you'll be getting the wooden spoon of the cutting edge of hardware. You'll get a nice OS, but the hardware itself is just about as middle of the road as you can find without visiting a thrift store. These guys are offering what we'd expect in a $400 PC. The basics, in a decent case, without a lot of fluff and flutter. It's a step up from Apple's offerings, but it's nothing special otherwise.

            The only thing that makes their product stand out is they've done some testing and found a good setup, or two, to allow the use of a modified (hacked) version of Apple's OS to run on it. Anybody can do it, if they've got the time, know-how, and patience. Still, nothing terribly special.

            Basically, they've discovered something that a lot of people want, that they can build at a price that a lot of people can afford. That's their gimmick, and it seems to be working well for them - so far. They are the Ronco of the computer world. Until the next Ronco shows up.
            Dr. John
          • overnight success

            ...then they posted a note about their company on the osx86 project wiki!!!
  • RE: Psystar: We're legit, but our merchant gateway dropped us

    I guess writers for ZDNet don't really understand the world of payment processing. As anyone with an online merchant account knows, such accounts have a maximum number of transactions and a maximum dollar volume tied to them. This is done to protect the processor from refund claims that the company can't meet.

    A sudden volume hit, such as experienced by Psystar, would undoubtedly bump their transactions beyond the contract limits causing their processor to shut them off.

    When such a situation occurs, switching to Paypal to pick up the slack is the only thing a vendor can do. And, just for clarity, Paypal accepts all major credit cards, including VISA, with NO Paypal account required.

    It's unfortunate that the author of this article clearly has no knowledge of Internet commerce whatsoever. Sounds like he might be a high school kid moonlighting as a tech writer.
    • As a consumer...

      I want to see a shopping cart and checkout systems with a bunch of options, Visa, Amex, PayPal, Google Checkout etc. You have a site here that's been down, changed addresses, didn't have a payment processor for a bit and no one has heard of it. I don't have to know the inner workings of an ecommerce store to say something is fishy. Go ahead order a few of these. And when you get them do reply so I'll know it's safe to get one myself.
      Larry Dignan