What I am about to tell you is a true story. All the information has been documented on my end and is verifiable with my lawyer.
How it all started
It was a typical day in the office. I was digging through my usual clutter of information when a dropshipping website fell into my lap. Being an entrepreneur, I looked into it. I had tested the idea out before, but it didn’t pan out (some Nigerian scammer tried to buy it and pay nothing). I thought I could try it out again and see what became of it, perhaps the whole Nigerian scammer picture was out of the issue now that Ebay had “toughened” security.
I signed up, found a product to list on Ebay and put up the auction. Everything went on as normal.
Things are looking up
People started visiting the auction I had listed, and began bidding. The price started rising and I felt confident that it would go well. That’s when I should’ve cut off the auction. I didn’t listen to my gut.
The price eventually landed to within $50 of the retail price of the product I was selling, then the auction ended. The auction sold and soon after I noticed the payment in my paypal account. At this point, I was running around with joy because nothing was going wrong! It was a good day in my book, little did I know of the doom hanging on the horizon.
After The Sale
The payment was pending in my account until Paypal had notification of my shipping number. Ok, no problem I thought. I went through the checkout process with the dropshipping company and eagerly awaited the shipping number they would send me. The auction sold on a Friday, so I expected at least a couple days until they could supply me with the number. I contacted the buyer so that they were aware of this as well.
Paypal Saves The Day
Sunday. Two days after the auction. Doom struck, but not from who you may expect. I was going about my usual day when I noticed an email from Paypal. The email said,
A review of recent transactions indicates that you might have received a
payment that the PayPal account holder did not authorize.
We recommend that you not ship the item until our investigation is
complete. If you’ve already shipped the item, please log in and let us know
where you shipped it.
We have placed a temporary hold on the funds until we complete our
I contacted Paypal regarding this, but they gave me the run around. Within a day my account was closed via an “executive decision” by Paypal because I was too much of a “risk” for them. Too much of a risk?!?! HEY PAYPAL, I’VE BEEN A LOYAL CUSTOMER SINCE YOU FIRST CAME OUT!!! You wanna talk about betrayal, this was it. Great job Paypal, save me from absolutely nothing.
Oh, here’s the kicker, the dropshipping order was mixed in with my Paypal account too, so I was out of MY OWN MONEY, they were holding that money as well. I was able to refund the buyer of the item and notify them that I wasn’t able to send them the item as Paypal had closed my account for no reason. The buyer understood and agreed with me, so we were fine on that end. Paypal on the other end? Things were just about to get a whole lot hotter.
The Bubble Pops
Ok, so Paypal saw something they didn’t like, fine by me. Closing my account and refunding the buyer? I guess it was ok. Not being able to use Paypal ever again for any of my payments? That hurt. Not being able to run my online business and get money for work I’ve done? That burned. Almost literally. Paypal holding onto MY MONEY for no reason whatsoever??! That was the kicker that did them in.
I snapped. At that time, I was in Oklahoma City for some TESOL training for a trip I would be taking to Taiwan within the month. My life virtually came to a halt and this problem needed to be fixed immediately.
I called Paypal up and tried to fix it on my own. Paypal’s response to my plea? “You’re too much of a risk.” “We don’t know what is going on” (when I verbaitum explained my side of the story). “That money in your account is not your money, we have to hold on to it in case there are “any refunds” (whatever the heck that means).” “We can’t change anything, that’s our policy.”
Then I brought in the big guns. I brought my parents into this and we spent the next hour on the phone with a “manager” of Paypal customer service. It got heated pretty fast. Paypal did the classic balking maneuver and hid behind their “policies etched into marble”. This was gross what Paypal was doing to an honest person with an honest problem and we would not stand for it. The call ended as follows,
Us: This is the last straw, I have done nothing wrong. Since you seem to be incapable of anything remotely close to customer service and there is no one we can talk to directly to solve this problem, we are going to take legal action. I am going to call my lawyer as soon as this call ends. See you in court.
Us: [Hung up and dialed the lawyer]
I also brought my bank into this whole problem and reported the charge on my account as fraud. My bank went to work immediately. From talking to the bank, we heard of some other horror stories like ours with Paypal as well.
We searched online for some answers while awaiting a response from our lawyer, who was going to look into some cases for us, and found some websites (About Paypal). The stories we read made us realize we weren’t alone, Paypal had screwed thousands of normal, honest, hard-working people as well. This wasn’t the first time and most definitely wouldn’t be the last of Paypal’s stunts. Read some here. Here are some more stories.
Luckily our bank pulled through on us and we got the money back into our account within the week. How did Paypal respond to a big bank sitting on them? Here’s their email response:
You recently attempted to transfer funds from your bank account to your PayPal account.
Your bank declined the funds transfer on Jul. 23, 2010.
While this transaction had already been identified as unauthorized, the payment process was already underway and could not be stopped. If you have any questions about why this transfer was declined, please contact your bank.
Classic. Turn tail and run away like the wimps you are. Pretend there is nothing wrong and that the “bank” was the problem. Also notice how the “payment was underway and could not be stopped” when I had repeatedly hammered them about returning MY MONEY back to me until I pulled my bank into this situation.
What I’ve Learned
Don’t ever, EVER trust Paypal (or eBay for that matter). Everything that I had linked in my Paypal account has been deleted. They will never have access to any of my financial information or accounts. They have betrayed my trust for the last time. I am done with Paypal forever. If they want to see me ever again, it will be in the courtroom in front of a judge. Paypal has a stinking dung heap worth of sins to atone for, I’m just one of their many horror stories. I may just be the spear that pricks the armor and unleashes the flood, but so be it. Paypal needs to be held responsible for this until they have atoned for what they have done. Get this, according to Paypal policies,
We can close your account at any time and for any reason whatsoever.
Whatever money you have in your account when we close it is ours.
We can hold that money for up to six months and there is nothing you can do about it.
Any access to your financial accounts is permanent, and we can charge it at anytime.
Think I’m lying? Go check the policies for yourself. Wanna get scared out of your freaking mind about how much power they wield over you? Go ahead and read the policies and listen to the stories. After you return to your body, I can guarantee you will disconnect everything from Paypal and run to the hills. That is my hope after telling you my tale.
Want to know the even scarier part? Paypal is responsible for 70% if not 80% of all sales on the internet.
Paypal, if you are even listening and if you even CARE, know this. You have betrayed my trust and thousands of others as well. Your efforts to quell the “Nigerian scammers” isn’t working. It is hitting loyal customers and evangelists who have had accounts with you for years.
Because of that, I will NEVER. EVER. EVER. use, recommend, or listen to anything you have to say for the rest of your miserable existence as a company.
Your customer service is the worst I’ve ever had.
Communication between departments is a failure.
Hiding behind your “policies” is a failed excuse at showing that you care. Your policies are only for the good of your employees and board of directors, ensuring that you get “your” money.
If you truly CARED about your customers, you would move heaven and earth to make sure they have what they need and do everything in your power to rectify their problem, even if that means going outside of your bounds *ahem* policies *ahem*.
But because of that, I will not be satisfied until every single brick of your pathetic excuse of a company is torn down, examined, and BURNED.
I will see you in court.
What About You?
How should you respond to this relentless hammering of a company?
If I were you, and had half a brain to take action, I would close my account with Paypal immediately and look for someone else to use.
I’d also leave a comment thanking the author who wrote this article for enduring hellfire for no reason and for telling his story for the world to hear.
Finally, I’d share this article with my friends and encourage them to do the same.