PayPal – the rise of a shitty company

I just got an e-mail from PayPal saying that my PayPal account has been disabled:

We have reason to believe that your account was accessed by a third party. We have limited access to sensitive PayPal account features in case your account has been accessed by an unauthorised third party.

It smells like a phishing attempt, but it’s not. There are no links in the mail, and when I log on to PayPal (by typing the PayPal URL into my browser bar) it does indeed say my account has been disabled.

It’s curious for a couple of reasons though:

  • I don’t hand my password out to anybody, so the only way my account could have been accessed by a third party is if PayPal has been hacked.
  • They claim that PayPal has "limited access to sensitive PayPal account features" which, frankly, makes no sense whatsoever.

I’d ask PayPal customer service to explain what’s going on but – based on past experience and their policy of not answering e-mails in "an effort to assist me as quickly and efficiently as possible" – that would be a singularly ineffective way of getting an answer. So I’m not even going to try.

Does anybody else know what’s up?

I’ll probably just cancel my PayPal account. If they’ll let me.

How can such a shitty company be so successful?

8 responses to “PayPal – the rise of a shitty company”

  1. Paul says:

    Being a monopoly, and Paypal certainly is, means never having to say sorry or even bother with their customers.
    Just like Comcast.

  2. I had the same thing happen, so I’ll be interested to hear if there are any answers.

  3. Mike K. says:

    We were using PayPal’s CC payment gateway a few years ago. Suddenly, one of our customers’ card was being declined, with a cryptic error code.
    We called and talked to the fine folks at PayPal, who explained that their security algorithms determined that the transaction was fraudulent. We explained that it was not, and asked what we could do to get the transaction to go through. They explained that we could try to re-submit the transaction, but they could not tell us, the merchant, what criteria they used to determine that the transaction was fraudulent. They also mentioned that submitting the same transaction again would likely result in it being flagged as fraudulent again.
    A few days later, most of our customers’ cards were being declined with the same cryptic error. Again, we called and asked, and they rambled on about their incredible fraud detection algorithms. So I asked the obvious question: “What are we doing that is causing your fraud detection to generate these *false positives*, and what can we do to prevent this?” They explained that they could not explain anything, for reasons of security.
    Then I explained that unless we could get simple CC transactions to go through their gateway, we could not use their service. They did not change their tune and lost us as a merchant.

  4. William Valencia says:

    I remember the world before paypal (and ebay). There was no way of carrying out small overseas transactions: a forex transaction would get me a $15 fee.
    This is what kick Paypal off – small person-to-person cash transactions. Of course you can’t do _that_ any more.
    And there’s still no way Visa would consider a one-transaction-a-month merchant.
    So Paypal rules. Absolutely.
    Unfortunately anyone big enough to take them on would be more likely just to buy them – so much easier and infinitely more profitable.

  5. Pat says:

    Shitty company, but they let the little man hook into international electronic money transfers.
    Fortunately now they finally have a few competitors. But this kind of financial stuff is all about trust, so the small competitors aren’t a palatable alternative.
    So they have a monopoly and, like Paul says, they treat their customers like shit.

  6. Ebay – that’s the ONLY reason.

  7. Cliff McCollum says:

    Neil, perhaps this would make an interesting topic of conversation at the conference? “What ideas are so compelling that your business will be successful despite your best attempts to ruin it?”

  8. Brandon Crotts says:

    Now that eBay is moving to 100% electronic payments, ProPay is now an eBay payment option. We are a is a secure payment option and our whole goal is to make the checkout experience easier and more efficient for both buyers and sellers.
    We are really excited about teaming up with eBay and hope that you will consider us, especially if you are not satisfied with your experience with PayPal.
    Brandon Crotts
    Product Manager