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Posted May 22, 2009 8:00 PM | Permalink
I hardly know where to start! I will try to make it as short and sweet as I can, but that won't be easy. Let's see - there was the first time about 2 years ago. I was a DIE HARD Paypal fan and didn't understand why anyone would complain about them... then I found out for myself. Paypal got some kind of a "hiccup" and double-debited my bank account for every one of my eBay purchases that week. May not sound like much to most people, but I LOVE eBay and bought a lot of things that week. The purchases amounted to several hundred dollars which was DOUBLED when the charges came out of my bank. I didn't HAVE that big of a cushion in the account to protect me in case of a large error like that, so all of my bills bounced before I realized anything was wrong. (Why would I worry, anyway? They told me that Paypal is PERFECTLY safe and NEVER makes mistakes.) I contacted Paypal and they were happy to put the money back – but REFUSED to pay for the overdraft charges they had cost me at the bank. Now, wait a minute! The error was THEIRS. I shouldn't have to pay for it. I spoke to customer service reps, their supervisors, the supervisors' supervisors all the way from here to India. (Literally – most with such broken English that I wasn't even sure they understood what I was saying.) They put the amount in error back into my account – but it was eaten up with more overdraft charges as all the bills tried to come through again. It was like an avalanche that just would NOT STOP.
The bank finally advised me to get a letter from Paypal indicating what had happened and they would reverse the overdraft charges and get everything cleared up. Paypal refused to put anything in writing admitting their error. That isn't their "policy" to do something like that, I was told. I finally had to close my bank account (which I had in good standing for YEARS prior to that), pay the overdraft charges out of my own pocket and open a new bank account just to get straightened out again. At the time we closed it, the balance was more than $700 OVERDRAWN!!!!! That doesn't count the NSF fees I had to pay on all of the bills that never did clear the account.
Wait – it gets BETTER! After that Paypal started trying to debit the account again (apparently the error hadn't been fixed and their computer thought it hadn't been paid) but since the account was closed, they were refused. I started getting messages from the sellers I had done business with asking me what happened. Apparently Paypal took the money I had paid them back OUT of their accounts (thinking my payments had bounced). So, they froze my Paypal account and started sending me BILLS through the mail. Somehow the records got all turned around at their end to indicate that now I owed THEM money because the bank wouldn't let them debit again (for money they had already been paid, anyway). I swore I would NEVER use Paypal again. Bunch of crooks! I shopped on eBay with money orders and checks for 2 years.
Then eBay started this new rule some months ago where sellers may ONLY accept Paypal payments – no more checks and money orders. I wasn't happy about it, but didn't want to stop shopping on eBay. I LOVE eBay! So, I thought what happened before might be an isolated incident – a freak occurrence that would never happen again. I tried to open another Paypal account. By now I have a different bank account, a different address and even a different phone number. They still made the connection, though. They sent me an email basically saying "You can have another account once you pay us hundreds of dollars that you owe from a previous account." I decided not to fight it out with them again this time. Too much trouble and I'm not that young anymore. I filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and told them I think Paypal is violating the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and shouldn't be allowed to enforce their "Paypal only" rule. We'll see if anything happens. In the meantime, I wish Paypal worked like they are supposed to work. If they really WERE what they advertise themselves to be, they would be incredible instead of the nightmare that is reality.
Melanee Hemet, CA |
May 22, 2009
I'm happy to use Google Checkout when businesses offer it. I've had my own issues with PayPal. I bought a collection of web site templates and software, which upon inspection had copyright notices, and I was able to confirm with one of the copyright owners that the merchant had no right to sell this. I complained to PayPal that the merchant was breaking the law and that he was selling stolen merchandise. PayPal's sole criteria for whether to reverse the charge was: "was the merchandise delivered?" Despite the fact that it was illegal for him to sell it and it would be illegal for me to use it, they sided with the thief and let him keep the money. I even appealed it and they sided with him. I was flabbergasted.
The only reason I use Paypal is because sometimes they're the only game in town. But, seriously, the feds should totally clamp down on them.
Tom, Washington |
May 22, 2009
I don't know why you are carping about PayPal specifically when there are virtually no companies in the United States with anything resembling decent customer service. I have no complaint about PayPal's service and I have been using them long before eBay bought them out.
On the other hand, as you said, companies like PayPal need competitors. Without competition major companies have so many customers that they do not give a shit about losing a few thousand patrons here and there. Perhaps, the new Google roll-out will provide PayPal with a slap in the face. If Paypal does not shape up soon then they might find themselves holding the short end of the stick.
It matters not to me who I do business with as long as they treat me well if I have a problem.
The idea here, John, is to call out companies when they've done something specific to earn the rag. Yeah, I have a lifetime of potential material. -rc
John, Texas |
May 22, 2009
It IS unbelievable!
What happened to you with Paypal's customer service is EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED TO ME! I sent in a question that was never really answered; I just got a stupid form letter three times.
Then they sent me a survey to ask how my customer service was, and well, I answered -- IT SUCKED!
They stopped replying, and I NEVER got an answer to my question.
I was planning to use Paypal to pay for some stateside bills (I'm in Japan) but after that, no way! I'm actually looking into getting a credit card in Japan, in spite of all the issues with credit card fees, etc., rather than content with Paypal's customer service again. (Yes, this isn't the first time this has happened, either.)
Paypal wins for terrible customer service -- they just don't give you answers! I quit World of Warcraft for similar reasons... and I refuse to keep giving my money to companies that indicate they don't CARE.
Kim, Japan |
May 22, 2009
Sounds like you're throwing down the gauntlet for people to set up to *be* a PayPal competitor! If I had the slightest inkling as to *how*, I'd do it! Since PayPal has a successful business model, it wouldn't be hard to prove that New Online Payment Company would be a success too. Even has a built-in customer base, ticked off PayPal ex-customers waiting for such a place to open! Perhaps this could be a way for you to make even more money and set it up! (Want a Canadian business partner? ;) )
I don't think of it as a gauntlet as much as encouragement. It's a big job, which is why we haven't seen any viable alternatives. Google's effort is a natural, but even that's not ready for prime time. -rc
David, Canada |
May 22, 2009
The only problem I've ever had was when I tried to buy a DVD years ago, and the next day got an email from eBay saying that seller had been booted and I should stop payment on the DVD. No other explanation. I tried to contact anyone at Paypal to stop any payment, but their policy was to not allow a dispute until a week or two had passed, and I could not find any way to contact a warm body at Paypal. After an hour or more of trying to get information from Paypal/eBay, I called my Capital One (they used to be very good, not as sure any more), and they were happy to cancel the payment. Ten minutes later, I'm all done.
I had read some of the horror stories about Paypal, so when they insisted I set a link to my bank account, I opened a separate account for only Paypal transactions - with a minimum balance for the transactions I planned on. I never had any real issues with them, but I ALWAYS make sure that I pay from my credit card, not directly from my bank account when I buy stuff. At least I have some level of fraud protection that involves talking to a live person (at least I hope it still works that way).
Tom, Arizona |
May 23, 2009
This number should connect anyone in the U.S. (or who can call with a U.S. caller ID #) to PayPal. I just tried it and as of the posting date, it works. It can take a while to get to a live operator, but I've done it many times: (888) 221-1161
As I noted in my report, the man with the $81.4 billion gasoline charge called Paypal, so yes, I know one can call them. The question is, will the person who answers be able to communicate (and be communicated with) clearly, and will they be able and willing to do something? That's a much-less-safe bet. -rc
Jeff, Riverside, Calif. |
May 23, 2009
My own PayPal horror story is a little different.
For years I have been selling items off of several websites using standard fixed-price PayPal buttons. Each website points at a different e-mail address registered with PayPal, so the user gets a confirmation from the correct domain name / website name when they buy. No problems here.
Then I started a Yahoo store, and to be able to accept PayPal there in a dynamic form, instead of fixed prices with one pre-designed button per item (It is a store where people can buy more that one item at a time), I had to "upgrade" my PayPal account from a Premium to a Business account. When I did that, suddenly all buttons were showing up as the business name, not the ones they were originally supposed to be. According to PayPal, that's the way the business account works, and no, I couldn't have a second separate account to work around this issue.
Of course my sales on my other websites dropped dramatically when people started seeing some store name they never heard of so they were abandoning their purchases in droves. I went from selling 5-10 items a week to zero.
My only choice is to drop PayPal from the Yahoo store completely and have them roll back the "upgrade" to the premier account. Meanwhile, I lose most of my business from the Yahoo store because the premier account only allows fixed priced buttons, one item per button, and that's not compatible with a Yahoo store. A full 80% of my sales there are from people who prefer to use PayPal instead of their credit cards.
Of course I went sixteen rounds with sixteen different broken-English $2 a day customer service reps in India who couldn't grasp the concept, and even the "mid-level manager" couldn't figure out what the problem was.
Thanks, PayPal. I really needed my income cut nearly in half.
Wayne, USA |
May 23, 2009
"Paypal Buyer Protection" -- What a joke!
I made the mistake of buying a used motherboard for my laptop on Ebay, and used Paypal to take advantage of their supposed buyer protection. My mobo arrived and it wasn't as listed. In fact, it didn't work and didn't include the processor that was supposed to be included.
I used Ebay/Paypal for all of my communications with the seller so there would be a paper trail.
After not being able to negotiatie the refund of my money and getting the product back to the seller, I asked Paypal to intercede. We agreed that I would ship the mobo back with delivery tracking and that I would then get a refund. I did as instructed, and sent Paypal the tracking number. The idiot at Paypal who entered the tracking number entered it wrong, then closed out my case because I had given them a bogus number. I appealed and they reopened my case. The idiots again entered my tracking number wrong (several times) and finally because the item had been delivered, the tracking number dropped out of the system. I had to get the Post Office to send me a notice saying the item had been delivered back to the seller, which I forwarded to Paypal. This whole process took several weeks, and included Ebay sending me things saying I should have used Paypal's Buyer Protection to safeguard my purchase.
When they finally DID get their act together, it was to tell me that they would ASK the seller to refund my money, but that they couldn't MAKE him do it. They ended with, "Next time, use Paypal Buyer Protection."
That was a year ago, and guess how much of my money I've seen or how many times I've heard from the seller?
Michael in Anaheim |
May 23, 2009
Randy, I do understand why you are upset at PayPal for not being able to answer a simple enough question. Or at least at not being clear enough to just send you an URL or say that they do not have one....
BUT, They did send you the full instructions that anyone would need to cancel a subscription. You could just post that info in place of the URL. It is not quite what you asked for but it serves the same purpose. I am not defending PayPal's inability to be direct and satisfactorily answer you, but I also think you might grant that they did supply the necessary information any subscriber would need to unsubscribe.
Even though they never answered the question, they did give me instructions for canceling "my" subscription. I can pass those along, since the instructions work -- for now. When might they change? I have no idea, and Paypal may not either. That's why I want a URL for a page that they maintain, so that it is always up-to-date. Instead, they're essentially asking me to maintain instructions for their site, which is not reasonable. -rc
David, Finland |
May 23, 2009
(Read the article that everyone's commenting on.)