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Posted May 22, 2009 8:00 PM | Permalink
PayPal *has* competitors, but they're probably not as good as PayPal. I joined one called GreenZap, and I don't use that account at all, anymore. Even though this a rant on PayPal, I'll explain why I don't use GreenZap.
I'll make it simple. GreenZap charges a fee to do just about anything, except sending money. They charge you to move money into and out of the account, and they'll even charge you $20 to get verified. There's some benefits to being verified, but they didn't explain that it was $20 until *after* I did it. Fortunately, I was able to get my money back.
In response to Shylah, Sonora, CA:
First off, the bank shouldn't have cleared those transactions once the account was closed. I would have been pissed at that right off the bat.
Second, the problem could have been avoided if you changed the bank account information to the new account. (I don't like to do that, either.)
Third, I don't bank *anywhere* that has overdraft fees higher then $30. Going above $25 is pushing it.
I know Paypal has competitors. That's why I said they need strong competitors -- someone good enough to actually be attractive to use. -rc
Jeremy; Sedro Woolley, WA |
May 26, 2009
Paypal charged me for getting a refund on an item that the buyer decided not to sell!
That was after they slugged the seller for fees on my transaction. Greedy sods.
Elizabeth, Australia |
May 26, 2009
Ok, I don't think this is anywhere near as bad as some of the stories I've read here.
Recently I got several notices from Paypal (I'm pretty sure it was Paypal, but generated on an asian based server) although the notices were in asian characters my built in e-mail translator told me that two different charges had been made on my account, one for $200 and one for $300.
This came as quite a surprise as I hadn't even logged on to that account for almost a year. I immediately reported them as possible phishing mails, ran a deep system security scan and logged onto my Paypal account where I found that actual charges had been made to my account. I reported the transactions as fraudulent, closed as many payment sources as possible (You aren't allowed to close a source with a pending transaction. It would make sense to me to be able to close it to new transactions at least.) and waited.
Because I read these mails and acted within minutes I was able to transfer funds to prevent an overdraft, but it was still weeks before the money was returned. In the meantime I contacted Paypal directly and asked how my security could have been breached.
I have never had a live virus on my computer, I don't use e-mail links to contact any website I do business with, I only use typed urls and had not contacted Paypal in months. I am aware of what constitutes a secure password and always use them. In short I am very security conscious and computer savvy. No one got into my account using anything they got from my computer.
Paypal's representative told me that the account was probably cracked using a random cracking program and offered to sell me a hardware security key for 5 dollars. In the end my cost was three weeks interest on $500 and a $5 security key.
I still don't entirely trust Paypal. My problem is this: Judging by the facts that neither my password nor any account preferences were changed and the notices I received were generated in an Asian language, I highly doubt that my account was ever really cracked. I suspect that the security problem occurred on their end. I think it much more likely that someone with access to internal Paypal systems looked up accounts that had been inactive for a long time, but still had valid payment sources and posted charges on those sources, they also insured that the notices would be generated in a language that the account holders would be unlikely to understand in an effort to forestall the discovery of their thefts.
It also seems strange to me that Paypal 'confirmed' that the notices that first alerted me to the situation were 'spoofs'. Those were the only notices I ever received that the transactions had occurred, and in retrospect they had to have been generated by Paypal. In the end this didn't cause me much real harm, but I am very concerned by the questions it raises concerning the security of Paypal accounts and the honesty of Paypal itself regarding what really happened.
Crystal; Albany, OR |
May 26, 2009
Has anyone thought that any competitor to Paypal could be just as bad, if not worse? People wanted bidville to surpass ebay, then Google checkout, not realising that the whole reason ebay and Paypal are allowed to get away with what they can is because YOU, the people, MADE THEM what they are. If you want to make another monster, keep pushing for Google to be bigger than ebay and paypal, and they will be...and then be just as bad. It's NOT about competition. Both companies (and they own each other, so it's one company) have competition, but as long as the general populace thinks "auctions" means "ebay" and "wrestling" means "WWE" and "online payments" means "paypal" then people will always sign up, because, you know, your horror stories are just because everyone here is basically dishonest and has done something wrong, and that will NEVER happen to ME!
Get real, people. Paypal doesn't need competition, they need regulations. They're basically a merchant account that acts as a third party processor to you, and makes sure to afford you the most minimal protection they can, so they make money. The larger the business gets, the more they rely on outsourcing, because it's all about saving money, and labour in India is cheap. Do they understand English? No. Who cares? They're cheap, tho! Do they solve your problems? No. Who cares, they're cheap! Do they send robot replies to you? Sure do! They're cheap.
Paypal has been sued so many times, its not even funny. For a publicly traded company, it's surprising how Paypal gets away with what they do, but as long as they are profitable, it's likely that investors don't care about their unethical and illegal actions, and probably don't read that much into it. More than likely, investors buy into the company because it's a good investment, not because they are the best company out there.
Paypal acts the same in every situation...screw you as long as it makes them money, and find a way to make sure they are "right" every time. They rely on the fact that your losses are less than hiring a lawyer and filing suit. Once someone files suit and does not settle, and does not agree to a confidential agreement, and publicly embarrasses the company and exposes their practices, then maybe they will clean up their act, but for now, it's not a priority. The people that are "screwed" will still use them (and I've seen people who lose a LOT of money still use them, and one poster here admits to still using them!) and when ebay requires you to use them, unless you can accept credit on your own (because paypal is verified as being very safe! It's the safest option! No third party is needed to tell you how safe it is! Ebay will be the first to tell you it is safe, since they own it!), so new users will use paypal, and for every one person who leaves for good, I can guarantee 10 new users will sign on, so there is no reason for Paypal to change their ways.
Greg (Chicago) |
May 26, 2009
I work for a company that sells secondhand laptops on ebay, so I have plenty of horror stories to share. (Plus, my job involves working with the ebay/paypal API, so I could tell you even more stories of stupidity from that, but that's a different story.) One unprovable point to start things off: Have you ever noticed how many different names you get on their useless customer service emails? It seems both plausible and likely that the names are simply drawn at random from a pool of first names, and have no significance at all.
Paypal is in business for itself. They do not care about the customer (neither the buyer nor the seller), and they will quite happily back-charge something without giving the money to the original buyer. There was a time when, due to a complaint from a trollish buyer, Paypal decided that this ebay seller (who, I might add, had something like 4,000 positive feedback and almost no negatives) was not legitimate, and began backcharging recent transactions - after the items had been sent. My boss contacted these customers about it, but apparently they had not even received the money. Paypal had simply taken it all. I can't remember how this one ended up being resolved, but it was a mess.
Another incident involved a backcharge from an annoyed customer (by the way, if you're ever annoyed with an ebay seller, PLEASE contact them directly before you put a complaint through the system - it's so much easier to clear up, that way!) that came through after the paypal account had been emptied. Since there were insufficient funds in the account for the chargeback, Paypal locked the account... and a locked account cannot receive payments. The account was, say, $100 in the red... and Paypal, in their wisdom, decided that the most efficient way to fix this is to refuse to accept a $400 payment. My boss had to post them a money order before they'd unlock the account and let it accept payments again. Stupid!
Regarding the requirement that ebay listings accept paypal, incidentally: They tried that first here in Australia, and people were up in arms about it; and the ACCC (the anti-monopoly watchdog) told ebay "No". It *is* possible to fight these things - take the case up with the government watchdogs, and things CAN be changed. However, I totally agree that the real solution is for Paypal to get a real competitor.
Chris (Melbourne, AU) |
May 26, 2009
I love PayPal. I've used it for years and never had any problems. But... I do not have my PayPal account linked to a bank account or a debit account. I have a PayPal-issued Master Card credit card, and I use that card for all PayPal payments (I can use it as a regular Master Card also). The Pay Pal add-in works great. No complaints.
George, Dallas |
May 26, 2009
Way back when, Paypal wouldn't even allow me to sign up because my mailing address and bank weren't located in the same country. I've heard rumors that they've fixed that now, but I have no inclination to even bother again.
R, Jerusalem, Israel |
Jun 1, 2009
A little known gotcha about PayPal is that it will not allow someone to make a purchase over $2,500 with their credit card UNLESS they also provide their bank account info. And this is a LIFETIME CAP on that card! So even even smaller purchases that cumulatively add up to $2,500 will trigger the lock-down on any further purchases with that card through PayPal. Forever. Why? If the card company (Visa, MC, whatever) approves the charge why does PayPal insist on making you enter your bank account info?
My wife owns a tour company and we used to use PayPal to invoice customers. That worked fine for clients that had PayPal accounts, but the ones that didn't kept coming back to us that PayPal was not accepting their cards unless they entered their bank account info. Many of these folks did not want to have their bank account info in yet another place on the web where hackers cold potentially steal it. So after REPEATED calls to PayPal and the usual round of clueless customer reps (i.e. beyond the boilerplate answers), we finally found person who admitted the cap. I even called back a few days later to confirm this and it was.
Randy you said what PayPal needs is a competitor, well there is one. One that if they choose to, could mount a huge threat to PayPal's market share. Google Checkout is coming up to speed fast. In addition to the shopping cart stuff they also have a function to email payment requests, and it is sooo much simpler for the payee to use! You just click on a link, enter you CC info, submit and you are done! They match PayPal's rates as well. We are so much better off from a customer experience perspective with the Google functionality!
So there are alternatives out there and as long as there are I will never use PayPal again.
Michael (San Jose, CA) |
Jun 3, 2009
I have 2 paypal accounts, one that accepts credit cards and one that doesn't. I do that because I sell so little stuff on eBay that I don't feel the need to pay them twice on every transaction (eBay fee + paypal fee). This worked fine for years. But apparently sometime in the last year they changed the TOS. Now in order to accept paypal for an auction I have to take all forms of payment. And since eBayers are too stupid to read my payment instructions, which clearly state if you insist on using a credit card please contact me first and I'll tell you what paypal account to send payment too. Instead 2 out of the 4 auctions I've done in the last year they just sent credit card payments. Paypal wouldn't even let me decline the payment. So they were stuck in limbo for 30 days and then got cancelled automatically. And then of course the morons who failed to read the instructions blame me and refuse to send alternate payment once theirs got refunded.
And eBay knows their product sucks, thats why they won't take google checkout. Because they know if they did paypal would be out of business within a year. Hell they're already losing websites. Sure you can still pay with paypal and placed like buy.com but since you can also use Google, why would you?
Paypal keeps messing up when I make payments, too. If I try to pay by credit card it spits out an error 9 times out of 10. I've contacted customer service, who were about as helpful as they were for Randy. But when I use my bank account I don't have any problems. If it wasn't just a computer system I'd swear its holding a grudge about me not taking credit cards.
Craig - Minneapolis, MN |
Jun 8, 2009
I forgot to mention that now paypal keeps messing up when I make payments. If I try to pay by credit card it spits out an error 9 times out of 10. I've contacted customer service, who were about as helpful as they were for Randy. But when I use my bank account I don't have any problems. If it wasn't just a computer system I'd swear its holding a grudge about me not taking credit cards.
(Read the article that everyone's commenting on.)