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"Paypal Sucks" - Comments

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I've had my own share of ebay/Paypal horror stories, and simply do not use them anymore. If you sell: get a merchant account. They are quite reasonable these days. If you buy: ask the seller if they accept MO's or checks. Several sellers are quite reasonable about that, especially if you have high feedback.

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For those who wonder, a "Merchant Account" allows a business to take credit cards. -rc

I have had a Paypal account for years, and never had a problem until about a year ago. I don't use Paypal very often, so I was stunned when several Paypal charges appeared on my online bank statement. Luckily I check my bank account often! I researched the company who had charged my account, and found it was a dating service based in France. Like I need a date in France! I called Paypal, and they apologized, and said they would make it right. It took an hour or so to convince them, but they eventually agreed. I also called my own personal bank (a credit union), and they were much more helpful. I told them that the charge was unauthorized, and they have agreed to not allow any more Paypal debits to be taken from my account without my permission. So I get better service from my credit union than Paypal. The credit union even credited my account instantly. Paypal took about 6 weeks to reimburse the CU, so hooray for the Credit Union! BOO to Paypal!

I recently had my first (regrettably, likely not my last) PayPal horror story. My uncle sent me a $1500 check for Xmas to buy the tablet PC of my choice (yes, my uncle rocks). As I am an artist, and the main purpose of this purchase was to get something that was well-suited to drawing and graphic arts, I did some research and discovered that the model almost universally regarded as ideal for those purposes costs a bit over $2k out of the box, but that refurbished models can be acquired for much less from the manufacturer's outlet store which is on eBay and only accepts PayPal. :-(

I had the money, so I did it. I knew I was going to pay at least $900 for the computer, so I transferred that amount to my PayPal account so it wouldn't "evaporate" from my bank account through small purchases. When I finally won an auction, it came to $956.62 in all. I was under the impression that PayPal would debit my bank account for $56.62, the difference between what I had and what I needed, and pay the seller.

No such luck. They repeatedly attempted to debit my account for $956.62, and sending me emails saying that I needed to repair the deficit in my account OF THAT AMOUNT. Note that the actual deficit was only $56.62, which would have gone through just fine -- there was a couple hundred dollars in the account when they started.

I transferred the difference into my PayPal account manually, and wrote off the NSF fee from the initial attempt as the price of my own stupidity for assuming PayPal would act rationally. The seller was paid, and I moved on to anticipating the arrival of my new computer, thinking the matter was over.

It wasn't. Somehow, righting the balance and paying the seller did not cancel the attempts to debit my account for almost a thousand dollars. My credit union was unable to challenge or reverse the charges, because they weren't actually going through, just bouncing and causing more and more NSF fees.

I called PayPal and eventually got someone to manually tell their system to stop trying, but not before they had drained my account of $100 in NSF fees. The credit union allows you one reversed NSF fee per year, which I used, but they won't reverse the other three without a letter from PayPal admitting that it was their error that caused the fees. Given the idiocy of the rest of the situation, I decided it wasn't worth the effort to try for that when I needed to be setting up my new computer and getting it online. I have yet to hear of anyone getting PayPal to admit wrongdoing without at least a lawsuit, and I had already lost enough time and money messing with them. Yech.

My wonderful experience with Paypal was when I had a separate account for them to draft from where my paycheck went in weekly, to cover my purchases that I may want to make with ebay. I had no problems for a couple of months, and then after several purchases made, money deducted, item received, I got notices from several sellers asking me WHY did I take back my money from their accounts!?!?! WHAT!?!?!? I IMMEDIATELY contacted them to ask what they were talking about and got told that Paypal had gone into THEIR accounts, and DEDUCTED my payment for the item! I THEN contacted my bank, and THEY told me of ALL THE DEDUCTIONS that were made by Paypal, until my account was EMPTY and THEN I was getting hit with OVERDRAFT FEES!!! What the heck?? I IMMEDIATELY had the bank freeze my account, told everyone I owed that a money order would be sent and had to then DOUBLE PAY for my items, because for some asinine reason, Paypal "had no idea" what I was talking about, and that now I owed THEM money!! Like HELL I do! Is what I told them. I DEMANDED they show me ALL OF MY TRANSACTIONS WITH THEM AND THEY REFUSED, only continuing to demand money that they claim I owe them. They can go rot in hell as far as I am concerned, because there will never again be a time when I allow ANY company like them access to my account! THAT was an experience straight from hell, and they can stay there! I got my bank overdrafts finally caught up, the sellers all paid and I will NEVER, EVER AGAIN USE ANY COMPANY for online purchases. If the person won't accept a postal money order, then I don't need that item. That lesson cost me a lot, but I have learned!

I had a PayPal account for occasional use when buying or selling on eBay. Everything worked fine for several years.

Then I noticed a $40 withdrawal on my bank statement for an online personal database search service. The money was transferred to my PayPal account to cover a charge on a "generated" credit card number, unique to that transaction.

I called PayPal, and they asked me a bunch of questions and determined that someone must have hacked into my account to generate that transaction. They refunded the money and corrected the charges.

At this point you may wonder why I'm cranky about this, because PayPal fixed the problem immediately and it appears not to be their fault. However, I generate a unique email address any time I provide one online. I had a unique email address for PayPal which I had never provided *anywhere* else and my password was unique too (and the password was not stored anywhere; it was only available in my head). The unique email address had a computer-generated random string of nine numbers and letters, so it could not be easily guessed.

If someone was able to hack into my account, that means something about PayPal's security is lacking. I don't know if it was an inside job or poor security which allowed outsiders to hack their system. But because a friend of mine had almost the exact same thing happen to him a few months earlier I decided I am done with PayPal forever.

Goodbye and good riddance. PayPal sucks!

I know this isn't a story, but given the stories here and the actions mentioned, why don't we file criminal charges against PayPal? In several of these cases, there is obvious criminal negligence far beyond mere incompetence, and some stories amount to outright theft. Steal a million dollars from one person and you are rightfully locked up. Steal one dollar from a million people, and you are just as rich, just as guilty, and just as wrong.

Paypal was founded in California and the owners are American citizens. The FBI has jurisdiction. Who's with me?

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It is indeed just as wrong, but "we" can't file criminal charges, only prosecutors can. They have to see the problem and have reasonable assurance of a conviction before they go to work. Telling stories helps them decide whether or not there's a widespread problem or not. And PaypalSucks.com has been working on that for some time. Meanwhile, as I said, Paypal truly needs some good competition! -rc

I had the exact same experience with my Chase credit card. I was not allowed to dispute a charge within 30 days of the charge, but my payment was due before then, so I asked if I should pay the disputed charge in the meantime. They sent me instructions on how to dispute the charge. I told them no, that's not my question, here's my question again; they responded by deleting the dispute. This happened twice. Finally I wrote to say "I have asked this question four times and have never once gotten a straight answer. I am very disappointed in your customer service's inability to read what I wrote and respond accordingly." Their only response to that was "We're sorry this happened" -- without any attempt to finally, conclusively, answer my question. I cancelled my account. (Then they charged me a $60 fee for not paying the $40 disputed charge.)

Ironically, I had to call Chase a few times, and each time they offered me excellent customer service. Ditto for my other credit card companies.

I'm embroiled in a mess with PayPal as we speak. I have an account with Washington Mutual bank; I moved last Fall and the closest WaMu branch is about 45 minutes away. So I opened an account with a local bank and had my direct deposits and other goodies (including my primary account with PayPal) transferred to the new account. Then, I cleaned out WaMu in anticipation of closing the account.

A week later, I find three transactions (totaling $13.98) have been made on the now-empty WaMu account, which resulted in $100 in overdraft fees. When I complained to PayPal about it, they referred me to their TOS, which SUPPORTS my claim. I argued with them for two weeks before I gave up and decided to dispute the claim through WaMu.

Last week, I got an e-mail from PayPal telling me that my bank has declined these transactions (FALSE, my bank paid them and then charged me overdraft fees for them) and that I owe them $13.98.

Once this is cleared up and I'm able to close the WaMu account, I will also be closing my PayPal account and looking for another alternative. My amounts are really small compared to some of the horror stories I've read. Nevertheless, they'll never get another cent out of me.

I have a PayPal account for occasional eBay transactions, and I haven't had any problems YET, BUT one thing I had refused to do is link a bank account to it. If I want to buy something, I'll put the exact amount in there from a credit card at the time I need it. But I have a question to pose to all who read these comments. Many companies apparently try to keep their customer service on the cheap by having automated responders to answer emails based on key words or phrases (I suppose there are also real people who just skim over the email requests and assume it's the same questions over and over again and just automatically respond with the canned response, but I expect more often than not it's automated.) So here's the question: Does anybody know of a key word or phrase that would cause the auto-responder to kick the question out to a real person? And by the way, many of those "chat live online" customer service features are also auto-responders (ever hear of Eliza? Check Wikipedia). I usually check by sending a totally unrelated question or statement that would confuse a computer.

One of your commenters (Posted by: David, Finland | May 23, 2009 1:41 PM) acted like you were crazy to be upset by PayPal's substandard customer service and not being able to respond to YOUR customers with an easy solution to cancelling a subscription. Well, David, customer service is supposed to be just that CUSTOMER SERVICE and it actually USED to be quite good. Ever hear the saying "the CUSTOMER is ALWAYS RIGHT!"?

The instructions given to Randy were along the same lines and length of building an IKEA cabinet or assembling your child's bicycle at Christmas. Actually all he asked for was a single line (a link to a web-page) of instructions to send to his peeps. People don't want to have to follow 10 steps when all that is needed is one. And if it's PayPal's intention to make it as difficult as possible to cancel anything that brings in money (which is actually what it sounds like) then it SHOULD be the beginning of the end for them or, at the very least, the beginning of a very long lawsuit!

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(Read the article that everyone's commenting on.)