When it works, which is most the time, PayPal is a very useful system. When it fails, especially when they completely suspend an account, it is a tremendous failure with no alternative and not real idea why. This is a story of the latter.
- Earlier in 2021 (maybe late 2020) I set up a new PayPal account to move some consulting Billings out of my personal account. Having used PayPal for more than a decade, I’ve been mostly happy with the service and didn’t think anything about setting up another one. In addition to my personal account, I have one for another business and manage a couple for non-profits I work with. Rarely have any issues and those few have gotten resolved fairly quickly.
- Mid-June 2021 - First billing and some issues are turned up. A typo in the email setting for the domain used for the account resulted in setup messages being bounced to PayPal. After contacting them to confirm the issue, the mail record for the domain tfpkiii.com was fixed and the confirmation emails from PayPal were answered. The first invoice from the account was sent and all seemed to be working.
- June 27 2021 - The first billing is processed - YEAH! Log in later to transfer cash to the associated bank account (a savings account at Wells Fargo) and find:
- Contact PP customer service to find out why. No Satisfactory Answer. PP Customer Service says they will look into it and get a (never heard back from that rep). Said she would see what was going on and contact me in a few days with more detail. Still waiting for that call. One thing mentioned in the call was that the funds may be available by July 15th. Maybe earlier if acknowledged by the sender.
- The sender, a long time client and friend, contacted PayPal as well. He did what he could to confirm receipt of services/product (PP is really screwed up when it comes to services billing). Did not make a difference - we were told that it would still be July 15 before the funds would be available to move from my PayPal account. Sigh.
- July 15 comes - almost a month from the original transaction. The funds are there and there are no other obligations on them - this was the first transaction on the PayPal account. Hazzah! It now says the funds are available. So I attempt the transfer and up pops the image in the header! My assumption is that it something isn't up-to-date yet, so I spend a few days repeating the same steps with the same results.
- The following week I call them and told, no the funds are frozen for 180 days! What!! No amount of discussion gets any further with the message the funds aren't moving.
- A couple days later, 7/27/2021, the client/friend who sent the money calls them to see if that will help. The following day we call together and get as far as something call Limitations Department. After another explanation of what happened, the PP rep in that department said "Would you like to initiate a refund?" Both my client and I were on the line and said, would that take care of the issue? Yes, she assured us and made no mention that the refund wouldn't be from the origin amount. The plan was the funds would be returned to my client who would then arrange the payment through another route.
- The next day, 7/28/2021, I get a notice from my bank, Wells Fargo, that I have a $35 penalty for an attempted overdraft withdrawal. What!!! I get PP back on the phone where I'm told that because the funds are frozen, they were attempting to generate the refund from the Wells Fargo bank account. The associate Wells account was an old savings account which did not hold much so the $1000 transfer resulted in an overdraft charge. It was not clear what PP would do now. Calling Wells, we decided the best case was to cancel this account, which I didn't use much in any case. That was done.
- The last contact with PayPal was more than distasteful. The rep on the phone said that the refund was already processed and out of their hands. I asked the PP rep to speak to a supervisor. After waiting on hold for over 15 minutes the rep returned saying no supervisor was currently available and may I should try again later! This is nonsense...
So sits the status of a single use on an new account with no explanation of why. The correspondent of the only transaction - my client - has already tried to clear it with PayPal. There are no other transaction and no obligations on the account. There is no obligation on the funds except PayPal enforcing some unexplained transgression on my part. My funds are stuck for 5 more months with no explanation and no justification.
Beware when using PayPal, they don't care about you...