April 26 2012

PayPal and the End of a Long Love Affair

PayPal logoI have been a long time fan of PayPal – the online payment service owned by eBay – but all of that came to a screeching halt today.

Curious as to what my current balance was in PayPal, I logged into the site to see if all my bills for the month had been paid.  Due to the type of account I have, I also have a debit card with them that I love using as I receive a 1.5% cashback bonus.  My balance was healthy, but as I glanced through my transactions there was one that leaped out at me.  Somehow it claimed I had charged $88.29 to a Domino’s Pizza in Flushing, NY.  There are two immediate issues with this: I have never been to Flushing, NY and I never, ever eat Domino’s.

I called up PayPal immediately and was connected to an operator.  I told her the situation and she transferred me to the right department.  I went through the situation again and I will say they were very quick to assist with me putting the charge into contention.  As I feared they wanted me to cancel my card so they could issue me a new one, and while not thrilling, it was totally understandable.

And here is where we hit the snag: I was informed that it would take two to four weeks to issue me a replacement debit card.

PayPal customer serviceNow, I don’t know about you, but in general I expect to get a new card in this type of situation in no more than 48 hours.  I told the gentleman assisting me that the length of time was unacceptable, but he assured me it is usually closer to the two week estimate.  I told him, again, that it was unacceptable in this day and age and that most card companies can get a replacement to you in no more than 48 hours.  He said there was nothing he could do to speed up the process.  I went ahead and canceled my card so that a new one could be issued, but that was when I decided I couldn’t just let this pass by.

If you think about it, I would need to contact everyone I pay with that card and tell them to use a different form of payment for the next month, and then I’d have to go through that all over again when the new PayPal card arrived.  This is far from an optimal solution as I’m sure anyone can see.

With this in mind I decided to turn to Twitter, my favorite mode of communication in situations like this.  After a particularly frustrating situation with FedEx, I used Twitter to finally get some results, so there was no reason to think that I wouldn’t get similar results this time.  I sent my first tweet around 1 PM CST and here I am several hours later without a peep out of them.  Some of my 3,000+ followers joined in as well by re-tweeting me and adding their own comments, and that didn’t seem to motivate them either.

At 2:32 PM CST I informed them via Twitter that I was pulling all of the money out of my account.

I have long loved PayPal, and though there have been many stories of issues with the firm, I have always stood by them as I had never encountered any problems.  While this is the company policy as opposed to a problem, in 2012, taking two to four weeks to issue me a card that gives me immediate access to my money is inexcusable.  Yes, you can pay online without the card, but that doesn’t work quite as well when you’re at the gas pump.  It doesn’t work so well when you use the card to pay for the very server this site is on, or the Interner subscription I access my blog with.  I need a card to pay for things with that money and informing me that it could take up to a month to get me a new card?  No thank you.

So, after years of using my card for more transactions than I care to think about, my PayPal debit card and I are going to have to part ways.  From the sloth like speed with which new cards are issued to the complete non-acknowledgement of a customer complaining loudly, it’s time for us to break up.

And by the way, it is most definitely you and not me that caused the problems.

(screenshot of the offending transaction after the break)

PayPal transaction

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