<09/30/2021 - Important Notification>
Problem & Impact
As you are aware, the cannabis industry is highly regulated by constantly changing policies and is often subjected to rules that don’t apply to most businesses.
As of 10.1.21, all Treez customers who use SMS for notifications, verification, and confirmation are at risk of being liable for heavy fines. This is because T-Mobile and its subsidiaries will be enacting a new policy for all SMS providers which consists of leveraging fines for any outbound SMS which is deemed a SHAFT violation, which includes cannabis-related communication. Each violation (meaning each text message) deemed in violation of SHAFT will be subject to a $10,000 fine. Depending on the number of violations, this could cost anywhere between $10k and $100k each month. We can expect other leading carriers such as Verizon, AT&T, and others to follow suit, applying similar regulations and fines in the coming months. Click here to read more about this issue and the T-Mobile Policy changes.
At Treez, our job is to help protect our customers from changing regulations that would cause liability and financial risk, even when that requires some functionality loss, to ensure compliance. For this reason, as of 10.01.21 Treez will be deactivating SMS capabilities for all Treez customers.
The following SMS notification capabilities will be deprecated from the Treez system:
- Order Fulfillment Notifications - Used for order status
- Two-Factor Verification - Used for eCommerce user sign-up and password resets
- Config Page > eCommerce > Hold Order notifications
- SMS Digital Receipts
We are working diligently to replace our SMS capabilities with email notifications and address email filtering challenges as soon as possible.
What about Stronghold ACH Online Payments?
- Stronghold & Treez are still working on the implications of ACH and sending out SMS
- If you have Treez eCommerce, please reference the workflow below to allow payments through an embedded button on your online menu.
Beyond enabling email notifications, we are investigating other potential viable solutions that will help improve communications between retailers and their consumers using the Treez system. We will keep you updated on our findings.
Addressing Workflow Impact
Although disabling SMS protects your business from potential heavy fines, this will no doubt impact your business workflows and transparency with your customers. Here is some best practice guidance to work around these impacts:
- Treez Solution For ACH and Treez eCommerce
Treez Solution For ACH and Treez eCommerce
ACH Online payments will not be available via text message (SMS) as of 10.1.21. If you are using TreezPay ACH and you also use Treez eCommcerce for your online ordering, you can enable embedded ACH payments into your Treez eCommerce menu without needing to send Paylinks via SMS.
NOTE: You must already have a Stronghold ACH account. If you do not have a Stronghold ACH account already, you will not be able to use the ACH embedded flow.
Step 1: Navigate to Configuration > Config Page > Point of Sale > Payment Types > Payment Provider Settings
Step 2: Verify the following information is entered into each field
- ACH - Set to “STRONGHOLD”
- API URL - https://api.strongholdpay.com
- JS Library URL - https://api.strongholdpay.com/v2/js
- Publishable API Key - Check your Stronghold Merchant Portal to confirm this value
- Make sure to use/verify the key that includes “pk_live”
- Secret API Key - Check your Stronghold Merchant portal to confirm this value
- Make sure to use/verify the key that includes “sk_live”
- Environment Type - Set to “Live”
- Enabled - Is toggled ON (Toggle to the right)
- Integrated - Is toggled ON (Toggle to the right)
- Stronghold Ecommerce ACH - Is toggled ON (Toggle to the right)
Step 3: Click the “Save” button.
TIP: Embedded ACH payment should now be available on your Tree eCommerce menu through a button labeled “Checkout & Pay Now” by default. For further customization, take a look at the steps below.
Customizing Your ACH Prepayment Button Verbiage
Step 1: Navigate to Configuration > Config Page > eCommerce > Display Preferences
Step 2: In the “Online Prepayment Checkout Button'' field, enter your customized button text that will show to your customer. By default, this field will say “CHECKOUT & PAY LATER”.
Customizing Your eCommerce Thank you Page Verbiage
Step 1: Navigate to Configuration > Config Page > eCommerce > Checkout
Step 2: In the “Ecommerce Thank You Message” section, update the text to be displayed to your customer once they have completed their order. It may be a good idea to remind customers that they will not receive SMS notifications about their orders using this text field.
TIP: We have provided an example message template below:
Message template: You will NOT receive SMS texts. To check the order status click the 3 lines in the upper left corner, go to Orders, your recent order and Track Order.
NOTE: This field will auto save after you update, once you click out of the field. You will see a “Saved” message in the upper right corner of your screen once the save is complete. There is a 150 character limit.
Treez Solution for Resetting Passwords on Treez eCommerce
Setting or resetting a customer's eCommerce password can be done via the customer profile within Customer Management. The steps below can be used to set up a new customer or reset an existing customer's password. When setting up a new customer, ensure their Phone number has been entered into their Treez customer profile.
NOTE: If a customer calls your dispensary regarding a password reset be sure to verify their identity before proceeding with the following steps. It is important to verify their identity as updating their password in this way and providing the caller with a password will allow them access to an eCommerce account which may contain documents linked to their Treez profile such as copies of a driver's license and/or medical documents.
Step 1: Navigate to Customer > Customer Management
Step 2: Use the search box in customer management to search for the customer by their Phone Number. To change the search parameter, use the drop-down selector.
Step 3: Once in the customer's profile, click "Reset Password"
Step 4: Enter a temporary password, then confirm the password by entering it again in the second box.
Step 5: Click the Reset Password button to save the new password.
Step 6: Advise the customer to refresh their browser and log in to Treez eCommerce using the new password you just entered for them.
Step 7: Advise the Customer they can reset their password to one of their own choosing for security now that they are logged in by navigating the menu and clicking Account.
Step 8: Once in the account menu, select "Change Password".
Step 9: In the popup box, enter the current password (this is the password you just set for them and was used to login), then enter their new desired password and confirm the new password.
Step 10: Click the "Save" button to save the new password.
Treez Solution to Update/Status of Customer's Orders
SMS updates and status of customer orders are disabled in order to protect our customers from heavy fines. It becomes a manual process to notify your customers of updates or status changes to their orders. Treez recommends using email only:
Note: Video has no audio - Email Update/Status Changes video:
- Have your email program of choice open
- Have the template resource open on your computer for quick reference
- Create several draft emails staged with your preferred templated language ready to go for best efficiency
- Have fulfillment dashboard open in 1 tab of your browser
- Have the SellTreez Saved Sales page opened in a second tab in your browser
- When a new order comes in through fulfillment
- Click on the order to open it
- Double click the order number to highlight it and ctrl+c to copy it to your clipboard
- Paste into email subject of one of your templated draft emails
- Go to the SellTreez Saved Sales page and search the order number
- Click the order to open it
- Click the Edit button at the bottom of the screen
- Click the customer name bubble in the top left corner to slide out the customer details card
- Double click the customer's email to highlight and ctrl+c to copy it to your clipboard
- Click back to the draft email you have staged
- Paste the customer's email into the receipts field
- Update anything necessary in the email template and click send
Permanent Fix & Timeline
Due to this announcement, Treez is developing an email solution to replace SMS notifications. When available, we will enable this functionality for all Treez customers to limit further disruptions in your customer communications.
Treez continues to be diligent in providing communications and agile in delivering solutions that address changing industry regulations.
Why can Stronghold send text messages and Treez Can’t?
Due to the characteristics of Stronghold’s business being outside of the cannabis industry, and the purely financial transactional nature of the communications, they are able to register with the carriers and use short codes for SMS interactions.
Why haven’t we heard about this from Flowhub, LL, Greenbits, Etc…?
This change in policy impacts all cannabis industry companies equally, however every company is responding to this at their own discretion. At Treez we are dedicated to taking every precaution necessary to reduce risk and protect our customers' business. Our proactive response with this communication and by deprecating our SMS capabilities from the Treez system was what we believe to be the only truly safe way to protect our customers. Other software vendors may be taking alternative approaches to address this issue, which are inherently risky and will become increasingly exposed as these changes in policy are enforced by the carriers. Fines could be enforceable on the operator as well.
Why isn’t Alpine IQ impacted by this?
Like some other technology vendors within the cannabis space, Alpine IQ is using a creative work-around to address the policy changes - however, in our risk assessment, this was not a path that Treez reviewed as a viable solution.
When will you have a solution in place?
Within the next 3-4 weeks Treez will have an email solution in place for all notifications, validations and confirmations. Beyond enabling email notifications, we are investigating other potential viable solutions that will help improve communications between retailers and their consumers using the Treez system. We will keep you updated on our findings.
Why has it taken Treez so long to communicate this to their customers?
This is a rapidly changing situation with TMobile, its subsidiaries and service providers like Twillio. We have been actively monitoring the situation while exploring viable solutions and consulting with our legal council over the past few weeks. There was a high possibility that TMobile would postpone the enforcement of their policy changes along with postponing the increase in fees, however we were made aware this week they will proceed with policy changes from 10.1.21.
Why are we just finding out about this now?
We do our best to provide proactive communications with our customers with as much notice as possible. Given the severity of impact from the deprecation of SMS capabilities within Treez, we needed to ensure that this change was absolutely necessary at this time. Communications from TMobile and service providers such as Twillio around the full impact of this issue as it applies to our specific types of SMS communications with the Cannabis industry has not been clear. Based on what we learned this week, we needed to act fast to protect our customers.
Why didn't you provide us with more lead time?
We understand that the loss of the SMS functionality has a potentially huge impact on the communications with your customers around their online orders. We don't take that lightly and have pursued every avenue possible to avoid depreciating such impactful functionality to the success of your sales. Based on our research and legal council we made the urgent decision to proceed now to protect your business from the liability of these penalties from TMobile, its subsidiaries and service providers.
Why can't you just block out all TMobile customers from receiving SMS notifications?
We did explore the options of blocking all TMobile and its subsidiaries such as Sprint from receiving SMS messages from our service, however we decided against it as we did not feel that this would be a graceful experience for your customers who are on those networks to be excluded, we are already seeing other carriers like ATT following suit and taking a more aggressive stance, service providers such as Twillio are leaning in to this and becoming more stringent on regulations. The only way to be sure we protect your business is to disable SMS notifications from the Treez system.