"Paypal Sucks"

by Randy Cassingham

PaypalSucks.com's version of the 'Paypal Certified' shieldSome people really hate Paypal. I have a love-hate relationship with them: I love that it's easy and secure to move money around online without having to type in credit card numbers on a site with dubious security. I hate that Paypal tries to dodge federal regulation by insisting it's not a bank, when it probably really is. Indeed, their customer service is very bank like -- it sucks!

I haven't had any horror stories with them, but there are so many horror stories about Paypal that there's a popular web site called Paypal Sucks that's helping press a lawsuit against the eBay-owned company.

Juan Zamora probably would say that "Paypal sucks". The Spokane, Washington, man pulled into a gas station and used his Paypal-issued debit card to buy fuel. He knew he had $90 in his Paypal account -- more than enough to fill his '94 Camero.

After putting in $26 worth of go-juice, he went on his way. But Paypal debited his account not $26, not the entire $90 he had in his account, but $81,400,836,908. He found out because Paypal left him a voicemail message asking him to confirm the transaction.

Yeah, gas prices are up, but not that much!

"That's a B, as in billions!" an astounded Zamora told the local newspaper, the Tri-City Herald in Kennewick.

Worried that Paypal would drain his other bank accounts to cover the "overdraft", Zamora called Paypal customer service. That was probably a mistake.

"Somebody from a foreign country who spoke in broken English argued with me for 10 to 15 minutes," Zamora said. The customer service rep actually asked him, "Did you get the gas?" he said. Well yeah, but not that much gas! "Like I had to prove that I didn't pump $81,400,836,908 in gas!"

It got cleared up, apparently without Zamora having to make up the difference.

(Source)

Paypal customer service gave me the runaround recently too.

Readers can buy upgraded subscriptions to my weekly This is True weird-news newsletter. If they don't want to have to bother with renewals every year, I have an auto-renewal button that sets up a "recurring" annual subscription using Paypal. That's cool: I don't have to send them renewal notices, and they don't have to bother doing anything to renew every year.

But now and then people need to cancel their subscription, and they often write to me for directions on how to cancel. I used to have a link to Paypal's help system that gave them directions -- they set up the subscription, and it's easy for them to cancel it, but it's sometimes hard to find exactly where to find that cancel link.

That was great -- until Paypal changed their help system, which broke the link. So I went searching for the new one, and absolutely could not find it. Their help system now uses dynamic URLs: it uses the "session ID" to keep the context, which means I can't give someone a URL, they have to drill down the help menus themselves to find the information. Not very helpful!

So I clicked on the "Contact Us" button and asked Paypal: what's a link that I can give to my subscribers so they can cancel their subscriptions?

Here's my message:

Subject: How do I link to an answer? Additional Information: You have a nice help page, "solutionId=#####", which tells people how to cancel a recurring subscription. But the link to it is ridiculously huge, with a session-id and more garbage embedded. I want to be able to link people to pull it right up WITHOUT it having to wrap in an e-mail. Please provide a link I can actually USE for this purpose to reduce my AND YOUR support loads. Thanks.

And sure enough, in due course I got a reply:

Dear Randy Cassingham,

Thanks for contacting PayPal. My name is Carolyn and I appreciate the opportunity to assist you with your questions.

You can cancel your subscription through your PayPal history log. Here's how:

  1. Go to the PayPal website and log in to your account.
  2. Click "History" at the top of the page.
  3. Select "Subscriptions" from the Show menu.
  4. Check the "From" box, then change the date to when your subscription started.
  5. Click "Search."
  6. Click "Details" on the subscription you want to cancel. Be sure to click the transaction titled "Subscription Creation" and not a payment transaction.
  7. Click "Cancel Subscription."

If your subscription period is over, the following cancellation message will be posted "Subscription Completion." Additional subscription payments will not be taken from your PayPal account unless you renew or start a new subscription with a seller or service.

Here's more information:

  • If you need a refund for your subscription, please contact the seller or service.
  • You must cancel the subscription at least one day before the scheduled date of the next payment to avoid a charge.
  • If you cancel a subscription on the day of a scheduled payment, the payment might still be sent.

It is my pleasure to assist you. Thank you for choosing PayPal.

Sincerely,
Carolyn
Merchant Solutions
PayPal, an eBay Company

Notice anything? Yeah: they're telling me how to cancel "my" subscription. I don't have one! See, I don't have to pay for my own newsletter. They saw "how to cancel subscription" and replied with a boilerplate reply to get on with their day. It didn't answer my question at all. So I replied:

This doesn't answer my question AT ALL. How do I ***LINK*** to this information to help my customers?!

Two days later I got the reply:

Dear Randy Cassingham,

Thank you for taking the time to write to us with your concerns. I apologize for the difficulty you've experienced. I will try my best to assist you with your inquiries.

In regard to your query, I believed what you're trying to point out is that you wanted to set up a subscription wherein you can send automatic payments to your customers. If that's the case, please see details below on how you can do that.

To use the button designer, your web browser must be JavaScript enabled.

  1. Go to the PayPal website and log in to your account.
  2. Click "Merchant Services" at the top of the page.
  3. Click "Subscribe" under Create Buttons.
  4. Enter your information to customize the button to your needs.
  5. Click "Create Button."
  6. Click "Select Code" to select the button code.
  7. Copy and paste the button code into your own web page code.

Note: After creating your first button, click "Go to My saved buttons" and bookmark this page for easy access to your saved buttons.

The Website Payments Standard Integration Guide is a comprehensive manual that includes instructions for incorporating PayPal payments into a merchant's website. Included in the guide is information relating to:

  • Buy Now Buttons
  • Donation Buttons
  • PayPal's Shopping Cart
  • Custom Payment Pages
  • Instant Payment Notification (IPN)
  • Auto Return
  • Payment Data Transfer (PDT)
  • Multi-User Access
  • Contact Telephone Number
  • Shipping, Handling and Tax

Here's how to locate the Website Payments Integration Guide:

  1. Go to the PayPal website.
  2. Click "Products & Services" at the top of the page.
  3. Click "Website Payments Standard" under Ways to get paid.
  4. Click "Website Payments Standard Integration Guide (PDF)."

I would like to let you know that you are valuable to us, and it is always my priority to help you resolve your concern. If you do feel that this information is not enough, please do not hesitate to email us back or call us at 1-888-221-1161 so we can assist you directly.

Sincerely,
Almira
PayPal Consumer Support
PayPal, an eBay Company

Translation: "Oh, our first assumption wasn't the answer to your question? Let us assume something else that had nothing to do with your question."

I replied again:

NO. Can't you just READ my original message rather than just guess what it's about and sending ridiculous boilerplate replies that don't even come close to the topic?

I want a LINK that I can give to my customers that tells THEM how to cancel recurring subscriptions. Your stupid "help" system throws all sorts of "Session ID" garbage on links that don't work when removed. I need a CLEAR and PERMANENT link that won't break in e-mail which I can send to users who need help.

I may as well have been talking to a wall. In fact, I was. Another two days for their reply:

Dear Randy Cassingham,

Thank you for taking the time to write to us with your concerns. I am happy to assist you further.

I am sorry for the inconvenience that this has caused you. Actually the buyer cancel this subscription on their PayPal account. Please forward this information to your buyers.

You can cancel your subscription through your PayPal history log. Here's how:

  1. Go to the PayPal website and log in to your account.
  2. Click "History" at the top of the page.
  3. Select "Subscriptions" from the Show menu.
  4. Check the "From" box, then change the date to when your subscription started.
  5. Click "Search."
  6. Click "Details" on the subscription you want to cancel. Be sure to click the transaction titled "Subscription Creation" and not a payment transaction.
  7. Click "Cancel Subscription."

If your subscription period is over, the following cancellation message will be posted "Subscription Completion." Additional subscription payments will not be taken from your PayPal account unless you renew or start a new subscription with a seller or service.

Here's more information:

  • If you need a refund for your subscription, please contact the seller or service.
  • You must cancel the subscription at least one day before the scheduled date of the next payment to avoid a charge.
  • If you cancel a subscription on the day of a scheduled payment, the payment might still be sent.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us again.

Sincerely,
Jonnalyn
PayPal Consumer Support
PayPal, an eBay Company

Un-freaking-believeable! They can't just say they don't have a URL? I replied:

Incredible.

A URL. I want a URL with instructions. You can't provide a URL? I've asked what, FIVE TIMES now for a URL and you can't provide that? And you call it "help"? Unbelievable!

They were apparently even more pissy than I was -- there was no reply from Paypal's "customer service".

I'll tell you what Paypal needs. No, I'm not going to say "account managers" or "better customer support" or even "smart customer support".

No, what Paypal needs is a strong competitor.

Feel free to tell your Paypal horror story using the Comments form.

>:-(

Randy Cassingham is the publisher of This is True, the curator of the popular joke site, Jumbo Joke, and is the founder of Cranky Customer.



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Comments

I went to delete my paypal account and guess what? You can't delete it for 45 days AFTER your last purchase. So even though my last purchase was November 22, as of December 6 I cannot close my account. The guy on the phone told me I would have to WAIT until January 6.

So ridiculous.

Yet another reason I am going to cancel my account.

---

I don't see anything odd about this: if someone bought something from you, keeping the account open protects them in case of dispute. I'm actually surprised it's not 60 or 90 days. If you bought someone from someone else, it protects you. Chill. -rc

I've been a paypal user for 10 years with no problems till took 728.95 out of my account. to pay for a camera that someone in NJ sent to Hong Kong. that i never bought but i happened to catch it before my bank took it out completly. Thanks to online banking . First finding the phone number to paypal took ahwhile, then getting through all the computer options i findly talked to a real Customer servise person. Who said that the security problem had been fixed and they will refund. i told them that i didn't have the 728 in there at the moment so my bank just bounced it. paypal said "Great, Sorry for the Inconvenance , My bank didn't even charge a NSF fee. Should have been the end of the story.... but 8 days later a debit for the 728.95 came through and this time it cleared. Causing all my other bills to bounce!! i called PP again. they said... Well when a transaction doesn't clear it automaticly gets sent back through... 3 times! So they allowed a Known Fraudulent transaction to continue when we had it stopped. Needless to say my bank isn't as understanding this time... im filling out forms and all kinds od stuff. PP said it was automated and they couldn't stop it.. But they could have told me it was going to happen and we could've stopped it. Morons

Please also be aware that once you have authorized a vendor purchase the vendor is allowed to adjust or add on to the purchase total for the next 30 days. This provision was intended to assist in making purchases where the shipping would have to be determined at the actual shipping time and the vendor could then add this to the purchase amount. This however actually allows the vendor to put more charges on your purchase including their errors. This happened when a vendor had accounting issues and they overcharged me. When I contacted Paypal and described what happened including that I had documentation showing how much I have approved Paypal explained that in their system there isn't anything to protect the paypal member. They make money from billing funds for vendors and this is who they protect. Even though ownership may be different from ebay (who started Paypal) these days this is still the same as ebay where the sellers are always protected and preferred. Buyers Beware - Paypal has some dangers to you in their system!!!

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