PayPal Keeps Freelancer's Pay 'Under Review' Because They Feel Like It

Kate works as a freelance something-or-other, and uses PayPal to bill her clients. She received a $2,000 deposit from a client after a period without working, and needs the money to pay bills right now. Because her client didn’t have a verified PayPal account and was using identity theft protection, his original payment got flagged as fraudulent. A new payment has been stuck in PayPal limbo: not fraudulent, but alsonot not released to Kate, and seemingly no one at PayPal is able to help her. Update: The issue has been resolved.

She writes:

As a freelancer, I do most of my billing through PayPal. I had just landed a large, $6800 client, after a two month long dry spell. With bills mounting and savings running out, I was quite happy, got a contract signed, and billed the first 1/3 of the balance as a deposit.

My client made the payment, and PayPal marked it as ‘under review’ because the client was an unverified PayPal user. The client used Lifelock, and for that reason, PayPal decided the payment was fraudulent.

After confirming this with PayPal (CSR A.), I called my client, told him I would re-invoice him, and that he would need to call PayPal and verify his account/payment. He agreed, and I proceeded to re-invoice him.

My client made his payment, and PayPal again put a hold on it. My client called and confirmed his identity with PayPal, and then I called PayPal to confirm this, speaking with CSR B. B. assured me that this was correct, and that the payment would be released in 24 hours.

30 hours later, the payment is still under review. I ask my client to call PayPal to see what the problem is, and he is told that it is a problem with MY account. WTF PayPal?!?
Calling YET AGAIN, CSR C. apologizes to me, and says that he is sorry my client recieved ‘misinformation’…and that the payment can take up to 48 hours to be reviewed.
48 hours go by…I call again. CSR D. tells me that it will ‘definitely be released today, I can see from the notes that there is no fraud on either side’…you know what doesn’t happen? The payment isn’t released. It’s still pending.

So now, I’m supposed to start work, my client is annoyed, I’m pretty close to being tapped out, AND I’m supposed to leave for a conference on Saturday, for which I will have NO money, because PayPal can’t get its decision together. I’ve had nearly 5 different answers from different supervisors/CSRs, and I’m sick of it. They have said that they know the payment isn’t fraudulent…but they won’t release it?! Please help, Consumerist.

Time to take things up above the call center floor. Metaphorically speaking. Call or e-mail every potentially relevant address on our Big List of Secret PayPal Contact information.

Update, 10:00 AM:

FYI–I’m a web designer, and, miracle of miracles, when I pointed a PayPal Supervisor to this post….20 minutes later, the issue is resolved!

Funny how that works.