3 Ways in Which PayPal Sucks

paypal sucksLet’s face it – PayPal is ubiquitous and is a necessary evil if you want to do business online. Yes, there are alternatives, most prominently Google Checkout, however the fact remains that PayPal is the king of online payments. Here are three ways that PayPal sucks and what you can potentially do about the problems:

PayPal Holds Payments

This happened to me once and made my life positively miserable. My mother tried to send me some money via PayPal when I was overseas. I was in a dire situation economically at the time and we decided that PayPal was the fastest way to get me some money so I could get out a jam (I was using my PayPal debit card to withdraw cash overseas).

PayPal, in their infinite wisdom decided that the transaction looked suspicious and held the transaction. The money was held for several weeks until they finally refunded it to my mother. Meanwhile, she ended up having to spend the money to send me cash via Western Union instead (which was a royal pain the neck, since there was only one place in that city which could receive Western Union payments).

How to Get Around It

Sadly, this is one of those issues which you can’t get around, at least not completely. The two solutions are first, not to rely on PayPal for emergencies. Second, if there is an issue, click on “Contact Us” and go through their system until it lets you talk to a human being.

By calling instead of using their online service, you can usually get these things resolved (that’s how I got the problem resolved – I called them, then had my mother call them. Ultimately, after lots of arguing, they refunded the money to my mother).

Dispute Resolution

This is another area which is a common complaint for online merchants and frequently leads to people saying that PayPal sucks. In essence, PayPal’s dispute resolution program is opaque. They don’t provide you with the tools you need to really understand why they make a decision that they make and often, they’ll hold your money while making a decision.

How to Get Around It

I dealt with this kind of problem as well, a number of years ago when I bought a cell phone. It turned out to have a defective battery which didn’t hold a charge at all (the seller never mentioned this in his ad on eBay). PayPal took his side in the dispute, claiming that it wasn’t a substantial difference from what was described.

As with other problems, I found that calling PayPal rather than using the online system is the way to go. I called and made my point, then demanded a supervisor. Once I got a supervisor on the phone, I was able to get them to admit that I had a point and they refunded my money.

Of course, most of us have the problem in reverse. Again however, I find that the best way to resolve problems is to talk to people. Call the guy who has initiated the dispute and try to work it out. Or call PayPal and make your own case.

PayPal Fees

Finally, many people complain about PayPal fees, which are charged regardless of the funding source on business accounts. While it makes sense that you have to pay the fees for credit card charges, transfer from bank account and from PayPal balance shouldn’t incur such fees.

How to Get Around It

Sadly, you can’t. You can use a personal PayPal account for certain payments and you can use Mass Pay to pay people who work for you (it costs a lot less than using regular PayPal services), but sadly, by and large, I don’t have a good way to get around this. All you can do about this is to lament that PayPal sucks…

7 thoughts on “3 Ways in Which PayPal Sucks

  1. I definitely think you’re right. I have had some issues with PayPal before, however, they are the universal payment-method of online transactions so I feel like I am stuck.

  2. Exactly. I don’t really like some of the heavy handedness that PayPal exhibits, but sadly, I don’t have much choice since most of my clients like to use it.

  3. Thank you for sharing this info. I wish I had read some of the stories, I have been reading before I did business with PayPal. My story seems rather benign compared to many. I do not plan to use PayPal any longer, for my own reasons but the sharing of the many stories that I have read this evening has reinforced my not using them.

    I bought something form ebay that arrived broken. The seller would not respond to my emails. So I contacted PayPal, “we” are supposed to have “buyer’s protection” for things that arrive substantially different than advertised. (I think broken is as about as different as one can get, short of maybe an empty box.)
    Anyway, I filed a dispute and the seller finely offered credit for about half of what I spent. I did not except. But PayPal “strongly encouraged” me to take the credit. When I questioned their intent behind the words, they finely approved refund.

    I then asked if I could be refunded for the return shipping. I got an email that told me “not to worry” to file a claim with the Resolution Center once the package was resent to the seller. (I received to emails total that indicated that the return shipping would be refunded.)

    After about a week, I contacted PayPal to see if everything was finalized and if the moneys were being credited to my account, including the return shipping. I was sent another email in which, I was told that the return shipping was my responsibility.

    I know this doesn’t seem like much after all of the horror stories I have heard from others, but I am on Social Security and I just don’t have much money, let alone money I can waste. I had taken PayPal at their WORD that they would remembers me. And I am quite upset, that they did not, would not.

    Plus it is quite upsetting, that when I asked them to close my account and remove my credit card form their system, they indicated that I would lose the money in my account and if I ask to have it sent to my checking, they charged to do so.

    In my opinion they are protecting the seller that they don’t want to lose the money that their sales generate. Ant to H*** with the buyer, we are after all just a sell or two a month, maybe. They point is that they did not keep their WORD to me, and I resent it. It is unfair and unjustified!

    1. Yeah, unfortunately it’s been a long standing policy at PayPal that shipping is never refunded. This creates a problem because some of the sellers on eBay sell for a dollar and then charge $30 in shipping as I recall (it’s been a while since I bought there, so they may have changed the policies).

  4. The PayPal experience I was recently subjected to is an travesty of natural justice, transparency, and fair business practice, and the incompetent actions subsequently taken by PayPal employees has destroyed all trust I had in PayPal as a supposed reliable and reasonable financial service provider.

    To wit, PayPal held up a very simple, perfectly legitimate, and low value financial transaction without reason and without offering me an explanation. The funds were coming from my own credit card (ie: not funds held or managed on my behalf by PayPal), yet PayPal would provide no information to me – the owner of the funds and the initiator of the transaction. This transaction was guaranteed by my Credit Card provider and in this regard PayPal was but an intermediary or agent. PayPal had no right and no authority to intervene without consultation and explanation. PayPal is my servant in such transactions yet, in affect you held me to financial ransom by acting like a master.

    Immediately after I initiated the transaction PayPal reported to me (ie: the buyer) that the transaction had concluded successfully — yet, at the same time, PayPal reported to the recipient of the funds (ie: the seller) that the transfer had not been successful and would be ‘held pending’ for up to 24 hours while it was ‘investigated’.

    PayPal also advised the seller with out informing me and without my consent that the seller should not despatch goods I had already contracted in writing to buy. In affect this destroyed all trust between the seller and I, and caused the seller to believe I was trying to defraud them. In this regard, an initial legal opinion is that I have just grounds for launching a case for defamation of character since PayPal provided me no means to offer an explanation or to redeem my good character in the eyes of the seller.

    The direct actions subsequently taken by PayPal employees in this matter I believe also warrants a full internal investigation within PayPal – including the fact that PayPal employees refused to escalate my complaint to an appropriate level of authority within the company, or to connect me with either the PayPal Fraud department or the PayPal Complaints department despite repeated and insistent requests. Nor would PayPal provide any explanation which would enable me to take remedial action on my own behalf.

    As for the quality of service provided, the PayPal employee I dealt with clearly did not have the authority or the ability to satisfactorily explain or resolve the issue, yet they steadfastly refused to refer me to an appropriate level of authority within the company that would enable the issue, what ever the cause, to be examined and resolved in a timely manner such that the purchase transaction was not unreasonably delayed. This has resulted in damage to my reputation as a buyer, delayed delivery of goods I have paid for by up to a week, and cause additional financial impost.

    In short PAYPAL REALLY SUCK … so let the buyer beware, but not of the seller but the intermediary.

    1. And sadly, there is nothing much you can do about it. PayPal definitely needs more government oversight to ensure that they can’t try to play games like this with their customers. Unfortunately, even if you want to drop them, you can’t really get away from them completely.

  5. You guys should Blacklist PayPal on http://blacklistapp.co/ and leverage your voice to get heard and impact accordingly.
    There’s so much people pissed off by PayPal and eBay, today people have the power to react and express themselves on the bad brand experiences and those they dislike.
    Blacklist is there for individuals to speak up and leverage their reach!

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