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About: Rob Reid

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Posted: Wednesday Feb 13th, 2013 at 1:47 am #41596
Rob Reid
Username: RobReid


I asked Paypal this question and it seems that it is up to the member to add a new card, validate it (with the payments into the bank account) and then edit their profile and then any existing subscriptions they may have (e.g the one to my site using s2 member) and update their subscription to use the new funding source.

It seems they cannot update subscriptions automatically to use a new funding source. Therefore I am guessing s2 member will just send a “failed payment” IPN message and they will be demoted on the site. I did ask about offering a parameter that could be set at registration time that would allow subscriptions to automatically follow onto new funding sources when cards expire but it seems they cannot do it.

Also I asked for an FAQ answer, video or “how to guide” on doing this so I can show it to my site users but it seems they don’t have one. I will post the full answer from their support team below as apparently it is a “good question” LOL

The whole thread (back to front obviously!) is below

Discussion Thread
Response Via Email(Graham) – 02/11/2013 06:30 AM
Hi Rob,

Those are good questions and suggestions. I am not sure if there is a document or video out there concerning how to go in an update the funding source for a subscription. I mainly deal with integrations related issues, not the buyer facing side.

The best way to resolve the issue would be to wait for the failed payment notices from PayPal (IPNs). At that point you can send a message to the customer to have them contact PayPal, or at least look at their PayPal account. We can’t tell you why it failed because that has to do with privacy regulations regarding their accounts.

When the cards are expiring we do send them notifications about 45 days before they expire and they are prompted when they log in. When adding a new card there is no delay except if the card was used on another account previously. That would be the only time it needs to be validated, banks will take 3-5 business days to validate if we are not able to validate immediately. But all of these time frames will fall in the 5 days we wait to retry and then a second 5 days if the second attempt fails.

Also we can’t assume that when a new card is added that they want to have the subscriptions use that card. Many times people have multiple sources on their account. We will not know which one they want to use for that subscription, especially since we don’t have to have the primary funding source the primary for the subscriptions.

So I understand the frustration involved with the subscriptions not completing due to an invalid funding source, but there is only so much we can do to help the customer and that is already being done.


Customer By Email (Rob Reid) – 02/10/2013 11:25 AM

Thanks for your reply.

Obviously this behaviour can cause sites that run on membership payments a lot of issues.

Therefore I am wondering what the best way around it is for both the customer and the business/web site?

Is the only option to ensure customers know that it’s “their responsibility” to read warning emails from you that their card is about to expire and then:
-Add a new card
-Verify it (which can take time due to the payments to the account which need verification)
-Edit their current subscription profile and change the funding source to use this new card.

Is that right?

Or is there another way?

If not are my steps correct and is there an FAQ document or video on PayPal which my sites could point to that would help my members through this process?

Many of my site members are not very technologically literate and usually believe they have been “stitched up” or “scammed” when their access stops due to failed payments because of expired or changed cards.

Maybe you should consider a subscription button parameter that when set would allow members signing up to have uninterrupted payments so that when a card is replaced due to expiring all the members existing subscriptions are passed on to the new card.

Or you could send an IPN message to the site telling us that the members card will expire in 30/60 days and then we could inform the member ourselves that they need to add a new funding source and move subscriptions over.

Anymore advice on the best way to help members handle the process of changing cards and not losing existing subscriptions would be much appreciated.



Sent from my iPhone

On 8 Feb 2013, at 22:49, “PayPal Merchant Technical Support” wrote:


Response Via Email(Graham) – 02/08/2013 02:49 PM
Hello Rob Reid,

I can appreciate the concern with the profiles canceling due to a card expiring.

That is a good question, by the way. When the funding sources on an account expire we can’t switch to another funding source, we can’t assume that they want the transactions to come of of another card or bank account. Because of this customers have to go into their individual profiles that have been created through their account and update the funding sources for that profile.

You would only get an IPN when transactions are not processing due to an issue with an account for example, when a payment has failed.

Thank you for contacting PayPal Merchant Technical Support. This ticket will remain pending for the next 7 days, if you have no further questions please reply and we will close this ticket.

Merchant Technical Support
PayPal an eBay Company

Auto-Response – 01/29/2013 02:25 AM
Incident has been successfully submitted to PayPal MTS.

Customer By Web Form (Rob Reid) – 01/29/2013 02:25 AM
I have written a custom API integration with PayPal using subscriptions however we constantly run in to issues where a members card expires and then their subscription is cancelled and the only way to get them back on the site is to remove them from our site and ask them to re-subscribe.

Can I ask what the default behaviour is when a PayPal subscriber with recurring payments allows their card to expire.

If they manage to change the card on their account before it expires will all subscriptions carry on as normal – without interruption?

Should I tell members to do something to ensure they are not taken off the site if they allow their card to expire?

Do you send a specific IPN notification message when a card is about to expire?

I just want to strengthen my system so that members subscriptions are not interrupted if their card expires at any point.

Any links or help would be much appreciated.

Posted: Monday Feb 11th, 2013 at 3:37 am #41395
Rob Reid
Username: RobReid


Yes what happens if the card that the member had attached to their PayPal account when they joined as a member (say for a year) expires on PayPal after 6 months.

Their profile and any attached subscriptions on PayPal would be linked to that funding source.

If that funding source suddenly disappears OR is replaced with a new funding source because their card has expired during the length of any subscription and they managed to put a new card onto PayPal before the expiry date (or next scheduled payment) then would everything carry on as normal or would it cause problems?

I know that when a card expires on PayPal you have to add a new card, wait for PayPal to take small amounts of money out of your account and then verify them before you can use any new card. Therefore what would happen to that members subscription on my website if they do that. Is the subscription tied to the card OR their PayPal account and would they have do anything to ensure payments carry on as normal during any transition from an old card to a new card.

Would the subscription to my website automatically be swapped over onto their new card and carry on as normal OR would there just be a failed payment and the member would have to re-subscribe (losing 6 months of their subscription – if they had subscribed for a year) ?

I know from another site we have had problems where people have let their cards expire and then complain when they are taken off OR are asked to re-subscribe.

It makes it very difficult if they have paid for a year and then their card expires after 9 months and 4 days as you would have to handle the fact that you wouldn’t have a 2 month 28 day subscription they could be downgraded to.

What do other people do in these cases?

What is the behaviour of the plugin?

And how should I handle it if the plugin doesn’t?

Thanks for your help.

Posted: Thursday Feb 7th, 2013 at 8:18 am #41025
Rob Reid
Username: RobReid

Does anybody have any advice on this?

it would be really helpful if you do.

Posted: Tuesday Oct 9th, 2012 at 1:07 am #27845
Rob Reid
Username: RobReid

Follow up

I have a few more of the same kind of issue so I am wondering if people are trying to do the old Paypal scam of buying something and then asking for a refund from PayPal straight away in the hope of the seller either sending out the item (ebay etc) or a website plugin like S2 member giving access through the IPN message and then getting free access to the site.

It hasn’t happened yet (as in the money does seem to get taken from their account and put in to my own) but the last couple of people who signed up to a weeks trial at £5 have all had the same details e.g

9 Oct 2012	 	Recurring Payment From	 Goldrelics	Completed	Details Recurring Payment From Goldrelics 42837055KT565380N	Issue refund 	£5.00 GBP
9 Oct 2012	 	Recurring Payment From	 Goldrelics	Expired	Details Recurring Payment From Goldrelics 	 	...
9 Oct 2012	 	Recurring Payment From	 Goldrelics	Created	Details Recurring Payment From Goldrelics 	 	...
5 Oct 2012	 	Recurring Payment From	 Chrysostomos Palantzas	Completed	Details Recurring Payment From Chrysostomos Palantzas 8J9750773N6075636	Issue refund 	£5.00 GBP
5 Oct 2012	 	Recurring Payment From	 Chrysostomos Palantzas	Expired	Details Recurring Payment From Chrysostomos Palantzas 	 	...
5 Oct 2012	 	Recurring Payment From	 Chrysostomos Palantzas	Created	Details Recurring Payment From Chrysostomos Palantzas 	 

The reason I set up my week trial at £5 as a subscription/recurring payment and not a “buy now” button was because I have had experience on other websites of scammers trying this method to gain free access to websites and for some reason (I may be wrong) but I think Paypal treats subscriptions (even if they don’t recur) differently from Buy Now buttons when it comes to cancellations. It certainly doesn’t log the members status as CANCELLED in PAYPAL.

Are people trying to scam me and failing (and if so good) OR is there something going on with this EXPIRED status.

Also I am getting cancellation notifications from Paypal in my inbox BEFORE the “You received a payment” email which seems strange.

The users are obviously cancelling straight away after buying and it seems I am keeping the money however the status doesn’t say “CANCELLED” in Paypal which I would expect instead it says “EXPIRED” and the help just says >> When you place an order: The transaction expired. Which isn’t too helpful.

I am not sure what is going on. I don’t mind scammers trying to scam me if they fail and get money taken out but I don’t want a situation where they succeed. I am wondering if it is a BOT that is doing the scraping & submitting as it all seems too fast for a human to do.

Has anyone else had similar issues?

Thanks for any help in advance.

Posted: Tuesday Oct 2nd, 2012 at 4:46 am #27178
Rob Reid
Username: RobReid


Well both times I had the money come through to my account – they just didn’t get the emails from the website so I had to create them manually.

Today I had someone else sign up with the same thing – e.g they paid and it shows EXPIRED as the Payment Status before COMPLETED e.g CREATED > EXPIRED > COMPLETED.

Have they replaced cancelled with EXPIRED?

The full details with name/email redacted is below

1 Oct 2012 Recurring Payment From XX Completed Details Recurring Payment From XX 11F01646P3492615U Issue refund £5.00 GBP
1 Oct 2012 Recurring Payment From XX Expired Details Recurring Payment From XX …
1 Oct 2012 Recurring Payment From XX Created Details Recurring Payment From XX

Payment Status: Completed

Seller Protection
Not Eligible

Protection for items not received
Transactions without a postal address aren’t eligible for seller protection. We recommend that you contact XXXX to make sure this payment was authorised. For more information, see our tips to sell securely.

We have no postal address on file.

Recurring Payment Received via -PayPal Express Checkout For: (ID11F01646P3492615U) View Details
You can see all of your recurring payments on the Recurring payments dashboard.

Buyer Information

Buyer Name:
Buyer Email:

Total amount:
£5.00 GBP
£5.00 GBP
Tax Amount:
£0.00 GBP
Postage Amount:
£0.00 GBP
Fee amount:
-£0.39 GBP
Net amount:
£4.61 GBP

Issue a refund

You have up to 60 days to refund the payment.

1 Oct 2012
12:00:00 BST

Payment type:

I don’t know if this will help but the person hasn’t complained although from looking at the transaction history the same 3 statuses are in the same order again AND he cancelled almost straight after signing up – I have put notes in the “How to Register” page telling people NOT to cancel their subscription until they receive all emails from the site in case the IPN message is not received before they cancel and prevents them logging in.

Thanks for your help


Posted: Wednesday Aug 15th, 2012 at 4:32 am #22056
Rob Reid
Username: RobReid

Yes seems so!

I also had an issue with the Jetpack plugin WordPress are pushing in that I added a “subscribe to posts” sidebar widget
but then found that all posts – including those with categories marked as “members only” were being sent out.

I removed the widget but it was still sending out posts.

I have de-activated it, then re-activated it and re-installed the latest version of WordPress and so far its been ok but I am left without the subscribe option so I am looking for a different plugin. I have seen the WP AutoResponder plugin and looking into it but I am wondering if S2member recommend anything?

Thanks for your help

Posted: Monday Aug 13th, 2012 at 11:30 pm #21946
Rob Reid
Username: RobReid

I think I have fixed it.

I had 4 membership levels 1-4 daily to yearly subscriptions.

In the category restriction section for each level I had put all the IDs of the categories I wanted to block.

Therefore when someone signed up for the monthly (3rd tier) they were not getting to see the category I was restricting because they didn’t belong to the 4th (yearly) tier.

I have moved all the IDs for all the categories down to tier/level one and now it seems to work with Super Cache on.

Thanks for your help! Ive been up all night trying to sort this and got work in an hour!

Posted: Monday Aug 13th, 2012 at 7:24 pm #21921
Rob Reid
Username: RobReid

Hi how do I turn off Object Caching?

Is that a WordPress or Super Cache setting as I cannot see it in Super Cache?

I am trying to restrict a category e.g “Members Info” that I have put in the main menu and added the category ID to the list of restricted IDs.

I tried in Super Cache the following
-not caching category pages
-not caching posts
-not caching posts with querystrings
-not serving super cache pages to known users
-turning it off altogether

But I was still getting problems. Obviously I want the site to run fast and I am using Widget Cache and a static homepage to help but I already have my first member complaining about not being able to access the content he should be able to.

Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)

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