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posted on December 18, 2001 11:06:46 AM new
I recently (a couple of weeks ago) opened an account with PayPal to pay for some items I bought on auction. No problemo. Never had any problems before.

I bought a couple of items totalling a bit more than 800 dollars, and paid with PayPal. The sellers were told that they had the money, the items were delivered, and all was well.

THEN, out of the blue, I start getting complaints from my sellers! "Hey, what's the deal? Why have you reversed the payment? Are you trying to rip me off you !@(#)@#)@????" Obviously I haven't tried this -- I still have the items, my bank account is still debited, I thought all was well in wonderland.

So I check my PayPal account, and sure enough the account is restricted. I am told that I have to confirm my bank account to send money, confirm my credit card, and send faxed ID to lift the restriction. What a pain! Not only a pain, but why was this done AFTER supposedly sending the money and letting me complete the transactions? Couldn't they have held the payment and sent me an email FIRST? Why ruin my reputation in the process of their bureaucracy?

So, I do my best to placate my sellers. I return as many of the items as I can, and arrange to re-purchase the items if/when I can ever get PayPal straightened away.

Well, I jumped through PayPal's hoops, and still no lifting of the account restriction. Here's where the fun begins.

I start sending emails to PayPal, thinking ok, this is just some stupid bureaucratic mixup, it will be resolved in no time. WRONG! No confirmation that the emails were received (I can only send through their online form). No response. NOTHING. ZIP. Not a word.

So, I think -- I'll talk to a live human being. BZZZT! Just try to find a phone number to call on their website! It turns out that there is one buried in the "contact us" section of the PRIVACY area. If you click on the normal "contact us" button, you are redirected to -- you guessed it, a web-based email form.

Here's the kicker: all of this time, the money has been debited from my bank account! SO PayPal has close to a thousand dollars of my money, will not credit the sellers (so I can complete the transactions), will not refund my money (so I can just close the account and be done with it, having learned my lesson about PayPal), and will not even contact me to tell me what the holdup is or how long I should expect to wait. Heck, I would be THRILLED to even get an email that said "we've received your request and we're working on it." But no response!

I don't know what's left now. I'm going to call the "hidden" phone number and hope for the best, but if that doesn't work, what's next? Hire a lawyer? Call a newspaper? Talk to the FTC/Better Business Bureau?

Can anyone help me? At least give me some idea what to do next????

Thanks... and thanks for letting me vent.

-- Tom
posted on December 18, 2001 11:11:56 AM new

Can you please send me your account email address (damon@paypal.com)? I would like to have this issue looked at .

Account restrictions can occur for one of the reasons found in the terms of use.

Thank you for your patience. I also apologize for an inconvenience our security measures are creating for you.

posted on December 18, 2001 11:25:15 AM new
Damon, I have responded via email using the account registered with PayPal.

Thank you for replying, I was getting a bit frantic.

-- Tom

posted on December 18, 2001 07:46:12 PM new

I've re-faxed you the documents you asked for, to your personal fax number. Please let me know when you can verify these and un-restrict my account. Thanks!

-- Tom

posted on December 18, 2001 08:28:12 PM new

Thank you. I will get to the fax first thing in the morning.

Thank you for your patience.

posted on December 19, 2001 12:32:28 AM new
Damon, since I've returned the items to the sellers, I'd like to just reverse the charges. Two of the sellers have agreed to re-sell me the items, so I'll re-submit the payments once everything's cleared up.

I hope we can do this.


-- Tom
posted on December 19, 2001 01:40:58 PM new
Any luck? The account is still restricted.

posted on December 19, 2001 01:50:07 PM new

I have presented the information to account management, as they are the ones removing the restriction on the account.

posted on December 19, 2001 03:29:02 PM new
So, can you give me even a vague idea how long it will take? Or am I just up a creek again? All I want to know is approximately when I can expect to be able to use my PayPal account again to straighten up all the messed that I'm now dealing with.


posted on December 19, 2001 03:35:08 PM new

I would hope that it would be resolved today based on the information I provided. I am not aware of the current caseload, but I have escalated your case. The holidays add a tremendous strain to the workload, so I do apologize for the delay.

I appreciate your patience as this gets resolved.

posted on December 20, 2001 02:09:47 PM new

Another day, another day with a restricted PayPal account. Does it never end? I'd be patient if someone who was working on it could just give me a REAL estimate as to when it will be done.

I figure if it's not done today I'm pretty much back in the same boat I started in -- restricted account, my money held unavailable, and no real information about the how, when, and why my account will be unrestricted, or at least my money returned to me.

Word to the wise: NEVER, NEVER get your account restricted. Getting it UN-restricted is hell on Earth.

-- Tom

posted on January 2, 2002 11:54:40 PM new
Well, it's now going on a month and PayPal STILL won't either return my money or pay it to my sellers. I consider this money stolen at the present time and am researching how to go about using legal leverage to force PayPal to return it.

Here's the skinny. PayPal refuses to lift the restriction on my accounts. I say accounts because a while ago I had opened a different PayPal account to buy some other items, then promptly forgot the username and password.

I received an email stating that the reasons the accounts were restricted was because I had opened two accounts. This is interesting because I was originally told that the account was restricted because PayPal suspected fraudulent activity. This change of story makes me suspect that they are just casting about for delaying tactics and hoping that I will just write off the 800+ dollars that they stole from me. Not this guy. I have the money, the time, and the wherewithal to sue to get what is mine returned.

Now, PayPal wants me to send my identification -- DL, bank statement, utility bill -- a THIRD time (sent it once to billing and once to Damon) so they can CONSIDER closing my account. Personally I don't give a tinker's damn whether they close the account or keep it open and restricted forever -- I WANT MY MONEY BACK. I have the bank statements to prove that PayPal withdrew the money about four weeks ago, and I know that I can get the sellers to testify that they never received it (heck, even the PayPal records -- which I have been copying down to cover just such an eventuality -- show that the money was never sent). Basically PayPal just took the money from my account -- and kept it.

This was the last straw. Clearly I am being given some kind of runaround. Whether this is due to a truly inept administrative system and complaints department or an actual bad-faith negotiation (IE, they intentionally took my money and have no intent of returning it promptly), I have no clue. But I don't care and I want the money back.

Damon, this is your chance to shine. Can you clear this up?

-- Tom


I have sent this information to you, and I have sent it to Damon Billian. I do not intend to send this information to you a third time. You know who I am; this is nothing more than a delay tactic. Are you hoping I will just get frustrated and forget about the 800+ dollars that you owe me?

What I am being told here is "we aren't going to give you back your money" and "we aren't going to pay it to the sellers, either". This is theft, pure and simple. You won't let me use my account, but you won't close it and return the money you have fraudulently taken from me either.

I want an ETA as to when my money will be returned or when the money you have already withdrawn will be sent to the sellers. Personally, I don't care if you close my account, leave it open, or leave it permanently restricted as long as MY MONEY IS RETURNED and I never again have to do have any interaction with PayPal.

Please respond immediately with this information so that I am not forced to retain legal counsel.


xxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxx

PS: Damon, can you help out here? I just want my money back. I don't want to have to sue PayPal, but it's looking like I will have no other choices.


Date: Wed, 02 Jan 2002 15:55:26 -0800
To: "xxx xxxxxx" <xxxxxxxxx@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: Restricted Webform: fr-saa (KMM16115375V10323L0KM)
From: "webform@paypal.com" <webform@paypal.com> | Block Address | Add to Address Book
Reply-to: "webform@paypal.com" <webform@paypal.com>

Dear Mr. xxxxxx,

We apologize for any inconvenience to you. We are unable to close your
account, per your request, at this time. Your account is currently
restricted and until such time as it is unrestricted, we will be unable
comply with your request.

In order to remove this restriction, please send, via fax
Attention: Account Review - PREV), the following information:

1. A copy of your current Drivers License
2. A copy of your most recent bank account statement
3. A copy of this email

Please allow up to 5 business days for us to review your information.
appreciate your business, and look forward to servicing all of your

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us

PayPal Account Review Department

posted on January 3, 2002 08:43:18 AM new
What it sounds like here is you had every right to open a second account since you couldn't access the first one. Even if you did have two accounts against their terms of service, PayPal has no right to keep your money. I would suggest waiting another day (maybe till Friday at 5 PM) and if it is not resolved by then, I would go to your bank and see if you can reverse every single payment that is currently locked up in your PayPal account. You will probably need to fill out an affidavit if your bank will let you do this. Some banks won't, but generally banks will try to work with you if you have a problem.

posted on January 3, 2002 08:23:42 PM new
Hi prothe113,

I am aware that a representative has tried to contact you to resolve this. Have you called them back? There was a simple question about the documentation presented, as well as differing information on the accounts. In addition, I am wondering why you do did not go through the password recovery process when you had an access issue?

You are not going to lose any money, but you will have to work with the party that called you to resolve the restriction issue.

posted on January 4, 2002 10:59:06 AM new

I've been out of town frequently lately and haven't been able to check my voicemail as much as I'd like. So, phone is not my preferred method of communication. BUT, that being said, I will check in with my voicemail and see if your rep left a number this time (last time you admonished me to answer the phone, there was no message left, so nobody to call back).

To answer your questions about account discrepancies: in August of this year, I moved. Apparently this massive, unheard-of event was what triggered red flags in the first place. Washington State does not require me to get a new Driver's License immediately stating my new address, and since this is a huge hassle to get a new license (have you SEEN the lines at the Washington DoL??) I haven't bothered. You'll note that every piece of information or communication sent to PayPal has had one of two addresses on it -- my old and new address. If there was some way of verifying with the post office that a change of address was submitted from my old address to my new address, I'd encourage your account reps to investigate this.

As to why I didn't recover the old account -- simple. Time. I was bidding on an auction -- a hot moving item that wouldn't be there in a day. Your account recovery process, IIRC, indicates that it may take multiple "business days" to complete, since the secret question that was asked of me (again, it's been a while, so this is IIRC) didn't match the correct answer. So, blithely unaware of the egregious error that I was making, I opened a new account (I used my yahoo mail address instead of my Hotmail address).

I agree that the change of address and me not always answering my home phone could make anyone suspicious, and I commend PayPal for taking the initiative to investigate my account. But things went wrong when, after investigating, and after I proved, again and again, that I am who I say I am, PayPal still refuses to change my account status or return my money. It has gone beyond a comedy of errors and now, in my mind, hovers dangerously near fraud. And not on my part...

It all seems like such a huge fuss -- it's not like I'm asking you to mail me a personal check; I just want the money held in limbo to be RETURNED TO THE ACCOUNTS FROM WHICH IT WAS WITHDRAWN. It was never paid out, so where exactly is the potential for fraud here that has PayPal so alarmed?

I'm going to give this one more try by calling the representative. If he or she can deal with me squarely and give me a FIRM ETA as to when my money will be returned, I will be satisfied and take no further action (aside from avoiding PayPal like the plague, in the future -- I've been burned and I've learned my lessons).

My next step is to go lodge a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. I've been told by several people now that this is the only thing that really motivates you folks to act, so I guess it's the next weapon in the arsenal.

Hopefully this time your account representative saw fit to leave a message with a return phone number.

-- Tom

posted on January 27, 2002 10:06:32 AM new
Please visit legalresult.com if one consider legal action to settle the dispute with paypal. We might be able to help. Thanxs

posted on February 6, 2002 07:50:29 PM new
I had my account restricted by PayPal.
Short synopsis:

Bought a laptop on Ebay -> was DOA -> returned item to seller -> no refund -> intiated dispute proceeding with PayPal -> PayPal finds in my favor, but refunds $0, citing lack of funds in seller's account -> I initiated chargeback dispute vs. Paypal through my credit card -> money refunded from PayPal -> PayPal retaliates by restricting my account, "until the chargeback $$$ are returned."

My dealings experience with the item seller was much better (and the seller was banned by Ebay for numerous complaints. Go figure)

Closing statements:
1. PayPal dispute investigation is BS
2. Don't expect a response to your e-mails.
3. Always use a credit card with PayPal, never your bank account or, better yet...
4. Stop using PayPal altogether.

Crystal ball: PayPal is another company that mistreats its customers and, if history is any indication, it will be subject to a rapid descent into economic oblivion. I say, good riddance

posted on February 6, 2002 08:05:29 PM new
And PayPal says they are the best out there. Give me a break. I see the same stories over and over again. Frozen accounts, horrible customer service, emails not being returned, buyers defrauded by dishonest sellers who are let go, sellers who shipped out product and watched PayPal give their money back to the buyer, PayPal representatives online trying to discredit former users. I personally don't know how they've been able to stay in business this long. PayPal has a lot to learn about being in business in America. Service your customers fairly and in a timely manner or be gone.

posted on February 6, 2002 08:14:00 PM new
Dmmmd, this isn't the only complaint I've seen about having PayPal restrict accounts and ask users to give PayPal the money back for the chargeback they filed. This violates their own TOS.

In section V. Rights, Obligations and Disclaimers of PayPal, subsection 3. Closing and Restricting Accounts, one of the reasons they might restrict an account is this:

"Initiation by a buyer of a reversal process through the buyer's issuing bank [*]without first pursuing the Buyer Complaint process described below.[*]"

In addition, the TOS states in section VII. Consumer Protection Programs, subsection 4. Credit Card Transactions:

"The Buyer Protection Policy does not replace or reduce any other consumer rights Users may have, including reversal rights that may be granted by a User's credit card issuer. PayPal is the merchant of record with respect to all credit card transactions through the PayPal service to purchase goods or services. As such, we afford customers the rights and privileges expected of a credit card transaction."

Damon, is this a policy of PayPal's, to violate their own terms of use by restricting accounts until the amount of a chargeback initiated by the buyer with their CC issuer is returned? Or is this just an honest mistake?

posted on February 7, 2002 03:58:29 AM new
i have soo much fun everyday reading the way paypal treats its customers gives me a smile every morning to see how a company can basically do what it wants and millions of people still use them!

posted on February 18, 2002 05:52:58 PM new
After seeing this I regret sending a customer a rather unpleasant note concerning a reversal which he claimed he didn't initiate. The worse part is not knowing if Paypal is doing the reversals or the customer? I can understand a customer doing it but I can not understand Paypal doing it automatically. I have really lost trust in Paypal.

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