Paypal Is Down! The Evanescent Nature Of Your Money
It all started innocently enough. I wanted to send a small payment to a research subcontractor I use regularly. Usually all I do is log onto Paypal, click on their email address using the popup box, fill in the amount, send them a smiley in the message box and it's done. Magically the money pops out the other side and everyone is happy.
However, this time, the popup box was gone. The entire list of all the people I regularly pay through Paypal had vanished. Was this a new Paypal feature, perhaps to protect privacy... to keep the lists of email addresses from hackers... maybe, or maybe not. Regardless, I filled in the research subcontractor's email address manually, completed the transaction, and really didn't give it much thought.
The next day I had to send an invoice to a company that I've done some work for over the past few months. I invoice them regularly so I'd set up an invoice template. All I usually do is call up the invoice template, fill in the new amount and the details of the job completed and send it off.
That's where the Paypal train went off the rails.
When I selected the invoice template from the popup box and chose it to begin filling it out, I was taken to a Paypal page which said Click Here To Retry. And again. And again. And again. Lots of Click Here To Retry. No Invoice.
I tried a couple of hours later. And a couple of hours after that. Still Click Here To Retry... until you die.
I fired off a HELP letter to Paypal. They replied the next day with boilerplate:
I understand that you have a concern regarding difficulty using your invoicing tool as well as sending money. I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you. Let me help you with your concern.
We are aware of this issue and I sincerely regret the inconvenience it has caused you. Our technicians are working to resolve this matter. We appreciate your patience and understanding.
The email went on to instruct me how to send an invoice through the Request Money tab... which of course gets me right back to Click Here To Retry... Click Here To Retry... Click Here To Retry...
Of course the friendly Paypal emailer informed me that:
This is the best resolution that I could offer you right now. We appreciate your patience and understanding regarding this matter, and wish you continued success on PayPal. Rest assured that we are committed to making your experiences at PayPal pleasant and rewarding.
I'm soooooooooooooo glad that this was the best resolution they could offer. A resolution of nothing which was pleasant and rewarding and which ensures my continued success.
If my bank had pulled something like this on me, I'd be down at the branch at nine am sharp to give the manager an earful, and possibly pull out all my money in cash to deal with one of their competitors. However, the money that I have at the Bank Of Paypal allows me no manager that I can meet with, and it certainly allows me no way of pulling my cash out. All it allows me to do is to Click Here To Retry.
What a bunch of foolish idiots we all are to trust our money to a global bank that is not only unchartered, but unregulated by any government anywhere. Paypal has our money and we don't, and whenever they choose by intent or by "technical problem" to deny us of our money we can display "patience and understanding"... while we Click Here To Retry.
Paypal is a gargantuan financial ticking time bomb. When it finally goes off it will devastate many more customers than a hundred IndyMacs. You don't have to look far to find online forums filled with irate Paypal customers who have already lost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to Paypal's "policies" and their only recourse is to Click Here To Retry.
Paypal cannot be allowed to continue in its current form. I have already shown in Time to break up the Paypal & Ebay Monopoly how the payment service has metamorphosed from a convenient way to pay for a $20 Ebay purchase to a gigantic unregulated bank which operates in virtually every country in the world, and which holds the key to the total household income of innumerable families. The United States and other governments around the world have to step in and protect countless millions of their citizens from the dangers of Click Here To Retry.
The United States Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is the government agency which was set up at the height of the Great Depression in 1933 to provide to every depositor a firm, government-backed deposit insurance. This level of FDIC coverage guarantees any bank deposits in the United States for up to $100,000 per depositor. That is a guarantee which is legally assumed by the government of the United States of America. The FDIC has also set up the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) and Electronic Fund Transfers Act (EFTA) which apply to any bank transaction in the United States. The FCBA is set up to apply to "open end" credit accounts, along the lines of credit cards or revolving charge accounts that are found on department store cards. The EFTA is set up by the FDIC to regulate the transactions of electronic fund transfers through automated teller machines (ATMs) or debit cards along with any other point-of-sale debit transactions. The FDIC is very specific in that EFTA also applies to any other electronic banking transactions, and I quote: "...that can result in the withdrawal of cash from your bank account".
However, in the case of Paypal, where is my government's banking regulatory policies set up to protect me and my money? Where is my FDIC or similar government guarantee of deposit? Where is the FCBA and EFTA? Where is the transparent accountability? Where is the interest payment on my deposit balance? Heck... where's my deposit balance? Where's my cash?
Only Paypal knows. And all they're saying is: Click Here To Retry... Click Here To Retry... Click Here To Retry...