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The Ramblings of a Damaged Mind
Some people...
I participate in the PayPalSucks Forums for a few reasons - to see what people like/dislike about payment systems when I'm developing things for Pay Cash, to answer the general questions that come up that I can, to pick up on potential marketing angles, to name drop Pay Cash for people looking for a payment alternative (I'm quite open about working here), and, to a small degree, for amusement.

But, I tell you, a lot of the people there are fucking morons. They blame PayPal for their own idiocy. Yes, PayPal has had many issues, including severe customer relations and support problems (as a PayPal employee told me at their conference last week they used to act in a "guilty until proved innocent" manner when it came to suspected fraud and this has built them a bad rep in several circles for locking innocent accounts). But *most* of the people complaining brought it on themselves. They got defrauded by some buyer/seller and they're actually pissed off than PayPal 'let' the scammer defraud them and/or that PayPal dared take their money away to cover a charge back. I'd be dumbstruck by that if my opinion of the general populace weren't already pretty low.

So you sold something to a random buyer. You didn't follow PayPal's rules to use their Seller Protection Program. The shipment went through, but then the charge is challenged and canceled. So the consumer's credit card company reversed the charges to PayPal - of course PayPal is going to turn around and take the money back from you! They're not going to just suck it up, dumbass. A lot of these people even admit that they thought there was something odd going on, but they *still* want PayPal to bail them out. If you knowingly shipping to an address different than the one on the account, if the buyer was acting squirrelly about providing details, those should be red flags. Expecting PayPal, or any payment provider, to be omniscient and able to stop all fraud is ridiculous.

A lot of these people have never read PayPal's user agreement and are *shocked* to find out they're not magically covered. And then they go on to call PayPal evil, illegal, a giant scam, etc. Fairly idiotic, vitriolic babbling. Yes you agreed to use their service, you didn't avail yourself of the available seller protection, you didn't even bother to get tracking or insurance on the shipment, and you got scammed. Welcome to reality, it is a harsh teacher. I especially love the people who claim to have sold things like $7,500 plasma TVs, taken a PayPal payment, and then shipped the TV without insurance or tracking. WTF? Either they're lying or they're a danger to the gene pool.

Commerce isn't 100% safe - 'e' or not. Physical stores get 'shrinkage', and they also suffer from bounced and forged checks, stolen credit cards, etc. Going online isn't going to magically make all the bad people go away. It is all about risk management (man, I've been using that phrase a lot lately). PayPal offers some protection with their Seller Protection, but you have to follow their rules to be covered. If you can't/won't, then you either have to suck up the greater risk or use some other payment system. The only real way to not risk a chargeback is to NOT take credit - accept cash or cash equivalents only. Like a money order or cashier's check - or, yes, Pay Cash. But charging forward and taking the risk and then blowing your stack when you roll snake eyes is just being a baby. And blaming PayPal for it is just fucking stupid.

I am: exasperated
Current Media: Information Society: Where the I Divides

(Deleted comment)
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: July 2nd, 2004 04:17 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
What functions in particular do you mean? They actually have a lot of products and services, and some of those are actually provided by Providian or GE Capital.
carocrow From: carocrow Date: July 2nd, 2004 03:54 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
I've been on eBay (and used PayPal) for years without any issues at all. I've also had fairly prompt and decent customer service from both, although I recently had a big pain in the ass from eBay pulling a watch auction because I put "Rolex style" in the header and someone complained (I suspect one of those idiot power sellers). There is a precedent for calling something -style and it doesn't misrepresent anything. But nevermind. So far so good on all points, I find PayPal useful as a payment method though of course I'd rather have money orders and not pay the 3%.
eryn_ From: eryn_ Date: July 2nd, 2004 04:45 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
I don't like PayPal. They don't have the aura of trustworthy-ness. And periodically I hear horror stories from other people. That was enough to keep me from doing business with them.

Rumors of PayPal freezing accounts for censorship reasons reminded me that cash says: "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private" and there is a reason it says that. PayPal converts money into something that might be worthless if they change their minds. Not a risk to take with someone who appears untrustworthy and most everyone appears to hate. (Possibly that is like PDAs, you never hear about the people who love their PDAs, just the growling when something fails, so PDAs seem to have an enormous failure rate.)
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: July 2nd, 2004 05:06 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
Let me put it this way - PayPal moves nearly USD$5 billion a *quarter* and they have over 45 million registered accounts.

They have an extemely high user satisfaction level overall - but they also have a lot of very loud disgruntled users. Some of that is PayPal's own fault - in the early days they were so focused on preventing fraud that they tended to treat any user with suspicious activity like a criminal and made them jump through lots of hoops just to prove they were legit. They've mostly changed that now, but they're still working on customer service issues.

But a lot of it is because people don't read what they agree to so they get scammed either buying or selling and for some reason they expect PayPal to give them their money back as a buyer, or let them keep the money as a seller. That just doesn't make sense. PayPal actually will do that, to a degree, if you follow their Buyer or Seller Protection programs - but a lot of people don't follow the rules. But these people blame PayPal and run around the next telling anyone who will listen how evil they are.

Then there are the conspiracy theorists who claim PayPal is just one big scam and they make all their money by 'freezing' innocent accounts. Uh, yeah... right. I love it when these same people pimp for other payment companies like StormPay or FirePay, which are fishy at best (the guy behind StormPay was tied to an MLM scam), or other sites which were/are outright scams "They promise they're better than PayPal! PayPal sucks! Use this site instead, they roxx0r!" Then a couple of months later the same people are saying "Hwy, what happened to Site X? They closed down and all my money is gone!"

I don't know of PayPal blocking anything for censorship reasons. They do not handle payment for adult goods, online gambling, etc. But that's not a moral issue, it is a business issue. The majority of the fraud cases PayPal had to deal with came from those market segments. After analyzing where they're greatest fraud exposure was they decided the returns on those segments of the market weren't worth it, so they dropped them. Talking to people at PayPal dropping those areas killed something like 90% of their fraud rate, for a much lower percentage of their business. It was all about cutting their losses.

PayPal certainly isn't a perfect company, but I don't really see a good reason to not use them. There are precautions I'd take depending on the level of business being done, but fewer than 1% of their users will ever have any trouble. And most of those users will have it cleared up fairly painlessly - and usually users have done something to get the hairy eyeball. Sure, innocent users get caught in the net sometimes - but if they follow the rules in the user agreement and work with PayPal to clear things up it is rare that any real harm is done.

And I say this while working for a PayPal competitor. What's bad for PayPal is often good for us - people still look for payment systems, and if they fear PayPal they may use Pay Cash. But it bothers my sense of justice I suppose to see so many people making false accusations against them. They have real issues, sure - the problem is those don't get any real attention amidst the din.
eryn_ From: eryn_ Date: July 2nd, 2004 07:03 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
I don't often have a need to do online shopping with small companies. Just about the only things I can see that I would want PayPal for are donations to various sites I would like to support. Most of those end up finding a way for people to mail checks.

I agree with you that the negative reputation they have is probably exaggerated and due to stupid-user error. I read through their policies, restrictions, promises, etc. and decided I did not want to deal with them. Which is exactly what you're upset that other people aren't doing. You don't care that people don't like it, just that they don't like it for reasons they should have known about in advance if they weren't braindead.
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: July 2nd, 2004 07:05 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
Pretty much. If you don't like the terms, don't use the service. That's cool. But people who bitch about the terms after agreeing to them and using the service just need a cluestick.
fallenpegasus From: fallenpegasus Date: July 2nd, 2004 07:17 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
They *still* lock accounts on accusation or appeal, and then take months and months to "get around" to sending a check for the stored balance.

The artist of "Sexy Losers" is right now stuck in that bind.

I would be red-eyed homocidal, "kill the suits and burn down their office building" angry, in his place.
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: July 2nd, 2004 07:25 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
OK - I love Sexy Losers and I think Hard is a great artist. But PayPal clearly states that you shouldn't use them for anything adult. That probably applies to taking donations for an adult comic.

They will restrict an account if they receive complaints or are notified of any violation of their terms. They'll lock the funds until they can complete the investigation - but if there is no real fraud the funds will be released. If credit cards are involved - ie, someone issues a chargeback against a payment - then it can take several months because you generally have a *minimum* of 60 days just for the CC company.

If I were him I'd be looking to replace PayPal - but he still has the donation button up.