Friday, August 07, 2009

Why I hate PayPal

Many radio amateurs have a PayPal account. It's a convenient way to send and receive payments for equipment advertised on the web, and it's often the only way to pay for kits and components from QRP clubs and so on. When it works, it's great. But consider what can happen when something goes wrong.

Supposing that the person to whom you wish to send a payment makes a mistake when typing their email address. Or suppose that you mis-type it into PayPal yourself. You might think that PayPal would reject the transaction, with a message such as "This email address is not registered with us." But no. PayPal sends a message to that address saying "Someone has sent you cash. Please open an account with us to claim it." Meanwhile you and the person you are buying from both sit waiting for something to happen until one of you sends an email to the other to ask why nothing has.

If the address you sent the money to doesn't exist, PayPal doesn't detect this. And it allows 30 or 60 days for the recipient to open an account and claim the money. When you realize the error, you can cancel the transaction. But PayPal only allows you to cancel if the recipient doesn't claim the cash. So it "freezes" your money until the 30 or 60 days are up. That means that you have got to find the money from somewhere else to pay the seller, and then wait until PayPal gives you the original payment back.

If the address you mis-typed happens to be a real email address, then the recipient may think that it's their lucky day. You will then have to fight with them to get your money back. PayPal is an accident waiting to happen.

If you are the "lucky" recipient of mis-sent cash then you can still lose out. Someone once sent me $108 by mistake. It turned out to be someone I had once exchanged emails with, so I guess my address was in their auto-complete list next to the intended recipient and they picked it by mistake. I didn't turn on the computer for a couple of days so I didn't realize this had happened until after the sender panicked. They tried to stop the payment before I had the opportunity to simply refund it and as a result I was charged $15 by PayPal for processing a charge-back. My attempt to dispute this resulted in no more than a series of automated responses. PayPal "support" stinks.

I currently have an amount of money "frozen" in my account because it was sent by mistake to a non-existent address. I hate PayPal.


Anonymous said...

Maybeshould you better hate your typing mistakes !


Unknown said...

Actually it was the seller's mistake. Not that PayPal cares.

Ed N4EMG said...

Another thing that's bitten me is that I sometimes use my PayPal account to purchase items for work. Unless I'm completely boneheaded, I can't find a way to pay for items 100% with a credit card that I've registered with PayPal as long as I have a credit balance in my account (from items I've sold). They will deduct from my credit first, then charge the remainder to whatever means I designate.

Also, does anyone know how to transfer a credit on your PayPal account to pay towards your PayPal balance? Seems like that should be a logical option, but I can't find it for the life of me.

ayokoyama said...

I'm enjoying your blog always.
By the way, doesn't PayPal allow that someone sends money first and the recipient make account later?? I have such experience. I didn't need to ask a friend to make account in advance. Of course, I confirmed that the friend accepted PayPal payment in advance. I agree that it is better to have the option that PayPal warns when the recipient address is not registered.
In addition, to my best knowledge, Internet email delivery doesn't provide way that email sender exactly notices if the email address actually exists. It depends on the recipient email server configuration, unfortunately.

IW1AYD said...

Hi all,
I was lucky since now as I didn't had any of the pitfalls here described. But believe, after a life working inside Corporations I have had to learn day by day a terrible lesson: Business is Business. Customer care and other things doesn't mean nothing at all for any big Company or Corporation.
I remember when there was a TV spot made by Microsoft, just an example, but you could name it as you like. In this spot a guy was dancing in an open space saying words like "we could save a dime for any web transaction we will have". After two or more song replay a manager, coming from nowhere to to shut off the noise, was saying to the employee: "OK OK but why did you scream so loud". Than the employee with a big smile on the face sad to him "we have 100.000 web transactions in a hours for 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year ...". Suddenly also the manager understand the way or the dime and started dancing and quite screaming. That's the secret for the modern financial void economy, make small amount of money, well sometimes not so small, from zillions of atomized operations. Who had a problem from a single operation may be threatened as guilty in any case, there is no way to retrieve a logic controls of any operation that cost a dime and give a pound to the pseudo service furnishers.
To apply logic control or step control to any of this operation will be too costly. So those companies catch their Business also having not any kind of control over operations. This translate in all and more the pitfalls we could read here and elsewhere. And there are worst examples on the skins of everybody would have a little bit of loosened control, like developing countries and so on.
What have had the snake oil dimension now is bigger and bigger under the financial globalism, as centralized controls loose the power to act over the snake oil financial contents.
What we could do close all out PayPal account, yes it could be done. Tomorrow we will have a brand new PalPay company, that's all.
What we could have is a Global Customer care Authority, who will pay for those, as for UN agencies, the same Companies and Corporations that we are in need to be protected by.
There is a word to all this, but forget about.
We should talk about pitfalls as to make everyone knowledgeable about, but after all we will have only personal tools to act against those horrible monsters. We have to make the difference all together as usual.

I hope my ItalEnglish was readable and clear. We could still make a lot of fun with ours hobby. G4ILO, many thanks for this place.

73 Salvo iw1ayd

Eamon said...

I had a PayPal account for some time and then dumped it. When you decide to cancel the account they try to keep you as a customer so you have to be adamant.Similar reasons as given by the author.