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A bungled upgrade at UK payment processing firm Protx left thousands of online merchants unable to take payments on Wednesday.

Reg readers reported that they've being unable to process payments since 0600 BST at a result of the SNAFU. Two report being unable to reach the firm by either phone or email in an attempt to resolve the problem.

"Protx have attempted to roll out their update today with disastrous effect – they’ve been down since 6am this morning and we’re unable to process any payments, along with lots of other people," reports Reg reader James.

He's far from alone. A thread on the Protx support forum on the issue features more than 300 comments, many from users frustrated about the outage. Reg reader Gareth criticised the handling of the upgrade as "shambolic". The delayed upgrade - originally due to be applied in June - involves changes in the processing of Maestro cards, and a new system for handling delayed settlement of transactions.

Reg reader Paul was among those caught out by Wednesday's outage: "We are unable to process orders and this is costing us thousands in revenue. "Protx have turned off their support phone lines," he added.

Reg reader Garry said that he warned Protx of potential problems with the upgrade on Tuesday - before it went live.

"They should have known this before, because I'd already told them yesterday that our testing of the new system had shown it to be faulty, but they didn't bother to reply," he said.

"I contacted my merchant provider, Barclays, who incredibly haven't been able to get a reply from Protx themselves either, and are very angry about it, as everyone is complaining to them. There is no mention of the fault on the Protx website, they don't reply to emails, and calls just stay forever in a queue."

The firm is yet to respond to our repeated requests for commen. Although the firm told the BBC that its service was back online by 1430 BST a number of users are continuing to experience problems, according to emails from Reg readers and comments on its forums.

Protx, a Sage subsidiary that's one of the largest payment service in the UK, processes credit and debit card payments for more than 10,000 online and mail order businesses. ®

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