I’m too young to die from a PayPal induced heart attack!
Yesterday was going pretty well. I had finished the research and sent out the Trading Tips email. I had a late lunch and was replying to a few emails. I was intending to save my trading for later in the evening.
Then I had an email from Paypal.
“We’re initiating closure of your Paypal account”
Yeah, of course you are. I get a lot of spam emails from them that go to an email account that isn’t associated with a Paypal Account. It was a few seconds before I realised that I was in the email account that WAS linked to my Paypal account. I opened the email and felt sick.
Following our review, we’ve permanently limited your account as we detected that this account was engaged in activity intended to deceive PayPal and its customers. You’ll no longer be able to use PayPal account.
Based on this decision, if applicable, you’re no longer eligible for Seller Protection as per our User Agreement. This will apply to all existing and future cases you receive.
I am very certain that I do nothing that could be seen as deceiving Paypal or its customers. “You’ll no longer be able to use Paypal account”. Thats the sort of grammar that you find in a spam email isn’t it?
If you have money in your PayPal balance, we’ll hold it for up to 180 days.
WHAT?? At the time, I had around £600 in the account. I logged into the account and saw a message confirming that my account was limited. I tried to withdraw the £600 but wasn’t allowed to.
OK, NOW I’m worried, stressed and pissed off. My brain was going at 100 mph. This can’t be right. I have done nothing wrong. I can’t take any payments until I get this sorted. What if I can’t get it sorted? The word “permanently” in the email didn’t sound promising.
I found the customer service number and called them. Quite a long wait to get through. When someone did pick up they sounded Spanish. The quality of the line was terrible. I explained why I was calling. Due to a mix of the poor line and his poor English (still a thousand times better than my Spanish) it wasn’t easy to make out everything he said but I got that the emails had been sent automatically and should not have been. He said something about getting an email from Paypal in 3 days, which didn’t make much sense. I asked him to confirm that my account was NOT going to be closed, which he did.
So that made be feel a little better but the account was still limited. That meant no one could pay for my services. Practically all my non trading income comes via Paypal. So while I am thinking about what to do next, I am also thinking about alternatives to Paypal in case I am not able to get the account back.
I went on Google to try to find a solution from people that may have been in the same situation. There were cases where this had happened and a few that claimed to have got their accounts back, but the majority were complaining that you can’t get a response from Paypal and speaking to them on the phone was a waste of time.
“If you speak to customer service, they just tell you what you want to hear to get rid of you. They’re not interested and once they decide to close your account there is nothing you can do”.
Maybe Spanish Guy had been doing that to me!
There was talk of people getting accounts limited and shut down due to abusing the friends and family option when sending money to avoid paying fees. Apparently, Paypal are really trying to clamp down on this. It isn’t something that I do as I rarely send money via Paypal. I had received the occasional payment this way if a Paypal subscription had failed. Surely that is something for the sender to be punished for, rather than the receiver.
I spoke to a couple of people to ask if they had had any recent issues with Paypal and they had not.
If I have a problem with a company’s service, I find that their Twitter team are usually a very good way of getting things sorted. So, I went to their customer service account and sent a message asking for help. They replied very quickly and gave a link that I could use to email customer service for specific account queries. I gave them a try.
I went to the link and typed a message explaining that it must be a mistake and that as a long-standing customer I should be told specifically what I was supposed to have done wrong. I got a very fast reply. Within a couple of minutes. When I thought about it later, it was clearly a bad sign. If a human had replied, it would have taken a lot longer for them to deal with all the customer emails that I am sure they receive. These were automated emails.
The reply said that their decision was final, and any money owed would be taken from my balance.
I don’t owe anything! I replied to this message asking again for specific reasons for closing the account. Anther very quick reply came back saying that,
Dear Paul Shires,
We appreciate your interest in PayPal. Unfortunately, our decision to close your account is final.
PayPal reserves the right to close any account reported to be involved in possible fraudulent or high risk behaviour. In the event of a dispute, PayPal will seek to recover the funds from you by debiting your PayPal balance. If the funds from your PayPal balance are insufficient, PayPal reserves the right to collect your debt to PayPal by any other legal means.
If you have money in your PayPal balance, we will hold it for up to 180 days. After that period, we will email you with information on how to access your funds.
In order to protect the integrity of the PayPal service, we cannot disclose the specific criteria that we sometimes use to limit access to accounts.
For more information on reasons why we might limit access to accounts, please refer to the ‘Closing Accounts and Limiting Account Access’ section of our User Agreement. You can find the User Agreement for PayPal Service by clicking ‘Legal Agreements’ at the bottom of any PayPal page.
We regret any inconvenience this may cause.
PayPal Account Review Department
“We regret any inconvenience this may cause.”. Bullshit.
I needed to speak to someone. I called the number that I tried earlier. This time I got through to a lady with an Irish accent. Again, I explained why I was calling. I told her that I was sure I had done nothing wrong.
She had a quick look at my account and told me that they were having a problem with an automated process that was sending out these emails and applying limitations to accounts. She confirmed that I had done nothing wrong. Apparently, she had started her shift a couple of hours earlier and almost every call was for a similar issue.
Whilst this has not taken you very long to read, all this spanned several hours. The feeling of relief was intense to the extent that as I was thanking her for her help, I could hear my voice cracking a little. That’s not like me at all. Losing the Paypal account would be a huge issue. Sure, there are alternatives, and this has prompted me to look into those alternatives, but most people want to use Paypal when purchasing online. You get protection as a buyer.
It was late in the evening when I finally had an email to tell me that full access to my account had been restored. By that time my brain was in no state to be trading.