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I Don't Understand

PayPal really confuses me. Allow me to explain.

A few years ago, I purchased a thing on E-bay from a guy who insisted on payments through PayPal. I had a PayPal account, so that wasn't a problem, and I had recently 'verified' my account.

For those of you living under a rock who aren't familiar with what this means, it basically means that PayPal allows you to give them your bank routing information and account number and then they can directly deposit or withdraw money to your checking/savings account. The 'verification' is touted on their site to mean that a person is to be Intrinsically Trusted™ because they have a Real Bank Account.™ (They verify this by posting some ridiculously small transaction to your account and then taking it right back out. Like $.02 or something.)

So I was verified and the seller was verified. Perfect! Right?

For those of you who use PayPal, you know that PayPal really really really REALLY wants you to use your bank account to pay instead of your credit card. If you try to use the credit card, it groans at you about how much eeeeeeeaaaasierrrrrrrrrr it is to use your bank account. "Don't you want to use the bank account? Please? Use it. Come on! You know you want to. Use it. Use it. Use it." ad nauseam. Every time you make a payment not using the bank. And it sets your default to your bank account so that if you don't specifically change the payment to your credit card, it uses your bank account.

But it's all on the up-and-up, right? Because it's "verified," right?

So I won the auction and pay using PayPal. I caved to the endless wheedling of PayPal and used my bank account directly.

You've probably already guessed what happened. I paid, and there was never any email from the vendor. Repeated contact attempts came up nil. So I remembered PayPal's whole 'if you get defrauded, we'll handle it!' thing. They claimed that if you were cheated, they'd get your money back.

I filed the complaint. To make a long story very slightly shorter, PayPal said that although the guy was "verified" and therefore "trustworthy," the bank account he gave them had been closed, the email bounced, and that was it. Case closed, have a nice life, thank you very much.

I contacted them. Have you ever tried to contact PayPal? It's like Yahoo and Skype. You almost have to know the secret handshake and have "connections" <insert Godfather theme here> to get the right number.

Here's the insanity. They said that if I had used my credit card instead of my bank account to pay, I could have gotten my money back, because MasterCard would have refunded my money. But because I had foolishly used my bank account instead, I was completely, irrevocably out of luck. Money go bye-bye. Not only weren't they willing to lift a hand to help, they repeatedly implied that I was stupid to have used my bank account and not my credit card.

Yes, I pointed out that their site made it almost impossible not to use the bank account. Yes, I pointed out their own policy, which at the time was worded in such a way (it has since changed) as to imply that they would make good on claims like mine.

Deaf ears. Might as well have had a conversation with a potted plant. Actually, the potted plant would have been preferable because at least I wouldn't have gotten so angry talking to it.

To this day, I've left the unresolved conflict open. I refuse to close it.

I have also not bought anything on E-bay since then. And I canceled my "verification" and deleted the bank account. PayPal bitched at me on every step of the process. I was making it harder on myself and vendors! Why was I being unreasonable? Verification is sooooo goooooooood!

I bring all this up because I had to "verify" recently to transfer some funds from PayPal to my checking account.

And I have encountered the exact same nonsense once again. The default payment is set to bank account, and you can't change it. If you forget, funds come out of your bank, and there's no recourse if you get cheated by a vendor. None. Nada. Zilch.

I don't get it. I mean I get it: they're greedy bastards who don't care about the customers they claim to serve, and only care about the corporate accounts they have. I get that part. And I guess I get that they've somehow managed—in spite of all their flaws—to become one of the most "trusted" "banks" out there for handling online transactions. I use them all the time, but only via credit card.

I just don't get how we allow them to get away with treating us like dirt. I guess they look sexy in that wife-beater.

Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  


( 4 hisses — Hiss at me! )
Nov. 18th, 2010 05:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you for confirming that I am, in fact, right in my decision to not ever give them my bank account info. If they ever make good on the threat of a CC payment limit cap, I'll simply stop using them.
Nov. 18th, 2010 05:21 pm (UTC)
And now you understand their business model.
Nov. 18th, 2010 05:22 pm (UTC)
I hate those bastards, too. I recently sold something on ebay, which is something I have not done in many, many years, and the buyer paid with paypal. And paypal held my funds for a month and would not release them in case the buyer filed a complaint. Even though I did everything exactly per paypal's guidelines, provided shipping tracking numbers, proof of receipt by buyer, etc... They screw both buyers and sellers.
Nov. 19th, 2010 09:40 pm (UTC)

It's policies and interactions like this that cause us to use phrases like "multi-state killing spree".
( 4 hisses — Hiss at me! )

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