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E-bay and Pay-pal. Co-conspirators In Harassment!
Proof Positive (Feedback)
I'm Not Charlie Sheen
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Do you remember the book, Catch-22? You know, the one by Joseph Heller; the one we were all supposed to read in high school. Supposed to. I didn’t. I got tired of people telling me what I was supposed to enjoy reading.
Well, I’ve found myself in a catch-22 of my own.
I’ve been using Ebay and Paypal since 1999. I have a 100% positive feedback score and have never had any problems with my transactions. Oh, sure, in 2000 I did have an Internet/e-mail outage that caused me to delay in sending an item for several days, but when I was able to access the Web again, I made it right and the buyer understood. Still, that was 11 years ago.
Now, though, Paypal is telling me that I am being punished. They are holding my transaction funds for up to 21 days before I have access to them. This has created the catch-22 of which I am relating to you.
Let’s take a look at the first e-mail they sent (brackets are mine):
We're writing to let you know about a change to your PayPal account.
Starting 11/29/2011, money from payments you receive will be placed in a pending balance for up to 21 days. By doing this, we're making sure that there's enough money in your account to cover potential refunds or claims [this has NEVER been a problem—I have no refund requests, claims or disputes].
Even though you can't access the money right away [so that you can’t buy postage], please ship orders quickly and communicate with your customers [for what—to tell them why I can’t ship their items?]. After 21 days, you can withdraw money from each payment as long as the customer hasn't filed a dispute, chargeback, claim, return, or reversal [of course, by this time they would have filed a dispute because I can’t use the money in my account to send their items!].
The money may be available sooner if:
1.We can confirm that the item was delivered [even though it can’t be sent as to be delivered].
2.Your buyer leaves positive feedback [which won’t happen because I can’t send their items]. (Applies only to eBay items)
This change isn't necessarily permanent [they only seem to want it to last until my Ebay account is irretrievably damaged] . We'll review your account every 35 days and re-evaluate if we should continue to hold your payments. If we decide to stop holding payments, we'll email you to let you know [even though my reputation would be completely ruined by the end of that period].
Why are my payments being held? [On the phone, they told me I hadn’t sold enough items in the last six months. So they haven’t made enough money off of me (remember, Ebay owns Paypal now and they charge for listings, take a 7 to 13% cut of your sale and then Paypal charges you to receive a payment for the item you sold).]
We reviewed your account and determined that there's a relatively higher than average risk of future transaction issues (such as claims, or chargebacks, or payment reversals) [12 years with NO claims, chargebacks or payment reversals does not seem to make ANYONE a high risk]. We understand that it may be inconvenient to have your payments temporarily held but please know that we didn't make this decision lightly [yes, they did—a computer told them to do it and they blindly followed its instructions].
Before deciding to hold payments, we consider many factors. These factors include account and transaction activity [all perfect], the rate of customer disputes [none], the type of business a seller runs [there it is—not enough money being made to make Paypal or Ebay happy], average delivery timeframes [always on time], customer satisfaction [100%], performance and history [both perfect].
Questions? Let us know [I did, and they told me they couldn’t change anything because the computers were in charge—at least that was the gist of it.]
We understand you’d like to have immediate access to the money you receive [yeah, so I can send the items in question] and we’re here to answer your questions about this change to your account.
End of message.
It’s amazing that a big company like Paypal or Ebay would take such foolish steps in a world that is just waiting to sue big companies for such fiduciary torts.
After contacting Paypal, they told me I had to convince Ebay to remove the hold. Ebay told me I had to go to Paypal to have THEM remove the restriction. Paypal then tried to send me back to Ebay and, when I tried to get a three-way call going as the Ebay representative suggested, they simply told me that there was nothing they could do.
I contacted them again and again about the problem and they failed to remove the restrictions from the account.
Then they retaliated. They began to hold ALL incoming funds and requiring me to pay for postage from my bank account.
Well, since I am currently unemployed again, that is impossible. So now I am completely incapable of sending the items I have sold and Paypal refuses to free up any of the money until I send the items sold (you know, all that stuff highlighted in the brackets above).
Here’s what they wrote:
Your funds are pending - please process this order [with what?]
You received a payment from ****** ******* [yes, which includes the money I’m supposed to use for postage].
This money is being temporarily held in your pending balance. It will be held for up to 21 days. While it's being held, it won't be available for withdrawal [waiting to see how quickly the buyers will give negative feedback because I can’t send their items?].
We'll move the money to your available balance after 21 days as long as your buyer hasn't reported a problem [of course they will report a problem since I can’t send their items]. It may be available sooner if we can confirm that the item was delivered or, if this is an eBay item, your buyer leaves positive feedback [both impossibilities because the money for postage is being held in limbo].
To get access to this money more quickly, please process this order right away and communicate with your customers early and often [can you see how this repetitive stupidity has gotten to be so enraging?].
Amount (pending): $14.95 USD
Transaction ID: *****************
Buyer's email: ************@yahoo.com
Ship to address: ****** *********
14220 ********* ***
Charlotte, 28277 United States
We recommend that you:
Log in and go to the Transaction Details page to see if you're eligible for seller protection on this payment
Ship to the buyer's address on the Transaction Details page
Use a shipping service that offers signature confirmation
Save all tracking information or other proof of shipment
Let your buyer know their item shipped by adding tracking information on the Transaction Details page
End of Message.
I am at the end of my rope with this stupidity. I have been forced to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and I have taken my fight to Twitter and Facebook (you can friend me or follow me and I will keep you updated. Twitter: rgnestle https://twitter.com/#!/rgnestle and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rgnestle ) I have even had to resort to threatening legal action since they keep telling me that there is nothing they can do to remove the restrictions.
I guess that brings us to another book that we were told to read in high school: 1984. The computers are in charge. Big Brother rules the roost. We can’t do anything unless the computers tell us we can.
Even the supervisors tried to tell me that there was nothing they could do about the restrictions on the account.
I had them forward my complaint to their legal department and I am looking into a lawyer that would like to get rich suing these companies for their unwarranted and harassing policies.
If you know someone, send me a message. I would love to consult with them.
It reminds me of the incident this year where Bank of America foreclosed on a man’s house. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/06/06/bank-america-pays-florida-couple-in-mistaken-foreclosure-case/
Just as Paypal and Ebay have done, BOA failed to verify their information before punishing an innocent party. Now it’s time for them to pay if they don’t correct the problem.
I have begun an Internet campaign, which I aluded to earlier, to tell everyone about their foolish activities and to get them to fix the problem so I can send my items to the people whom purchased them.
I know some personalities in the news industry and will be contacting them if the issue is not resolved. The lawyers will be the last resort.
First I will approach The Problem Solvers to see if they can get any reaction. Then, if that doesn’t do the trick, I will approach the news anchors to whom I am acquainted at CBS, FOX, and ABC.
If having their misdeeds exposed in public isn’t enough, that’s when the lawyers come in. I believe that lawyers are the last resort, but a powerful one.
It is a sad day when this kind of exersion must be expended just to get a little justice, but it is so common in today’s world.
Big business has gotten to the point that they think they can do anything and without a care for the people they hurt as long as they get their money in the end. (Watch the documentary The Corporation. You'll see what I mean.)
Help me get a little justice here. If you have time, contact Ebay and Paypal and tell them to stop their stupidity. Tell them to stop punishing people who have only done good on their Websites. Tell them they can’t take advantage of the people that use their services if they want those people to continue using their services. A thousand quick postcard to their offices (addresses below) would to wonders in keeping this from happening to anyone else.
Thank you for reading!
Paypal Customer Service: (888) 221-1161 4am-10pm Mon-Fri and 6am-8pm Sat and Sun
P.O. Box 45950
Omaha, NE 68145
Ebay Customer Service: (866) 540-3229 5am-10pm 7 days a week
2145 Hamilton Avenue
San Jose, California 95125