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I use PayPal frequently; at least once per day on average. About ten pecent of my business payments are made through PayPal.

On Saturday my account was restricted. Without any notice whatever, I could not make payments.

PayPal sent me an email saying they had some security concerns and asking me follow a procedure to regain access to my account.

I logged in and entered a new password and two security questions. Up to this point the process was inconvenient, but nothing more.

Then it asked me upload or fax a utility account or government ID showing my registered PayPal address.

That’s when it became a major problem.

As far as I can gather, this happened because I had logged in to my account and made a payment from a computer I do not normally use. Either that or PayPal has a programme which randomly takes a wrecking ball to its customers’ acccounts.

Think about when a client make might make a payment from a computer he does not normally use. When he’s on holiday, perhaps. Or on a business trip. Or away from home for some other reason. Just the sort of circumstances when obtaining, scanning and emailing utility accounts is going to be impossible. That’s when PayPal demands you produce them, and won’t let you use your account until you do. Good thinking, PayPal!

However, my problem was different. Like thousands of other businesses, my registered PayPal address is a delivery address; my physical location. No normal mail, utility accounts or anything else, comes to that address, it all goes to our PO box. So what am I meant to do?

After I had logged in to my account, I used the ‘contact us’ link on the PayPal website to send a message describing the problem and asking that it be fixed. No response.

Twenty-four hours later I hit the ‘contact us’ link again and sent another message. No response.

Another twenty-four hours later, and I still have not heard from them.

This is extremely poor customer service.

Apart from that, I cannot understand how a business like PayPal could have so little understanding of its clients’ needs. We are encouraged to rely on PayPal as a safe, reliable, always available payment method. But if your account can simply be stopped without warning, then PayPal cannot be relied on.

I understand the need for security measures.

But surely, if PayPal thinks an unauthorised transaction might have been made, the easiest thing for both PayPal and client would be to send the client an email asking him or her to check. If the situation is so dire that an account must be closed down immediately (using a different computer from usual certainly does not come into this category), wouldn’t a responsible business do everything possible to help a client get her account back as soon as possible?

Apparently not.

PayPal problems update:

Fours days later, four messages to PayPal, still no response. Still can’t use my account. This is a mixture of monumental dumbness (see above) and an appalling disinterest in customer service.

If there were any other realistic option I would dump Paypal in a second.

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