PayPal Bans You For Life, Won’t Tell You Why

During his misspent youth, Jake’s PayPal account was frozen. He tells Consumerist that it was due to “suspicious activity” that he knew nothing about and that Paypal/eBay never identified. He was never able to prove his identity to their satisfaction, and PayPal apparently didn’t want a no-good ruffian like him as a customer. Even if they never told him what it was he did that was no good. Half a decade later, as a responsible adult with a real job and a good credit score, he bought something on eBay and set up a new PayPal account to pay for it. Not so fast, Jake! They shut down this account, too, and blocked his credit cards from use on eBay…and still won’t tell him why.

He sent this e-mail to some contact addresses he found at PayPal, and copied Consumerist.

Hi All,

My name’s Jake [Last name] and I’ve just gotten off the phone with PayPal customer service telling me that I, as a person, am no longer allowed to be a customer with PayPal and was given very little information as to why, other than the opinion that I “posed a risk.” I have used PayPal for a very long time, probably about six years; however, there was a very large gap in the middle of that.

Several years ago, I had a PayPal account that had regular activity through eBay (account: [Gmail address]). I stopped using it for a while to focus on my studies, and when I decided to make another purchase on eBay, they froze the account due to suspicious activity. That’s all well and good, I understand that. However, when I made every attempt to rectify this and verify the identity, I was told “We no longer want you as a customer” and was not told why. I tried to get SOME kind of reason out of my PayPal representative, but their lips were sealed.

So I stopped using PayPal.

Fast forward to May 28, 2012, nearly six years later. I’ve moved across the country, gotten a new job and basically started an entirely new life. I’ve got excellent credit and a well-paying job and I decide to make a new PayPal account to make a purchase online (account: [Me.com address]).

All is well and good until today, June 12, 2012. My account is frozen in the middle of the night with no warning and my funds are withheld from me. I received no emails or notifications. I find out that I’ve been frozen when I try to make a payment to a seller on eBay. Again, I try to take all the steps necessary to unfreeze the account and prove my identity. I call customer service and am once again told that my account has been frozen due to suspicious activity. When I asked to speak to a manager, the representative hung up on me. I call back and immediately ask to speak to a manager and am refused. They will not escalate my claim. I try and speak reasonably with the (different) representative, but they are rude and unhelpful to me. I am, however, told that my new account has been frozen because it is linked to my old account.

I implore you to find one instance in which either of these accounts did anything fraudulent or posed any kind of risk to PayPal. All I’ve ever done is use the service as it was intended and it upsets me that I have not only been denied the ability to use the service, but the fact that I have never once been given sufficient evidence that I ever posed an actual risk.

In a world like ours, where e-commerce is so important, it is almost vital to be able to send and receive money online. It is wrong of PayPal to deny me service. It is wrong of PayPal to not provide sufficient evidence of my wrongs. It is wrong for PayPal to not try to help their users.

I very much hope to hear back from anyone concerning this matter. I would love for some kind of action to be taken, because I have received nothing but grief from every other attempt of contact.

Jake

Comments

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  1. HomerSimpson says:

    He actually should be THRILLED to be banned by the Borg!

    We should all be so lucky!

  2. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    On one hand, Paypal has done this many times for no discernable, or idiotic, reasons.

    On the other hand, Jake says he’s “started a new life” and that indicates he may not have been a very responsible person at one time – and Paypal may have had to deal with this.

    I wonder what was going on.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      Stop using your brain and just accept as fact
      what is written like a good Consumerist reader.

    • TBGBoodler says:

      I think “start a new life” means “graduated from college, moved across the country and got a grownup job.”

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      I think new life means that while he didn’t care and gave up 6 years ago, he would really like to be able to use paypal now.

    • Jawaka says:

      This was my first thought as well.

      People rarely admit when they get suspended for things that are their own fault.

  3. Benanov says:

    I stopped using PayPal. The amount of money I could be spending on things (but can’t as that’s the only form of payment) is quite substantial, but let me tell you it definitely helps me save.

  4. lvixen says:

    No matter what he did as a youth or an adult for that matter. Since it’s concerning “HIS” finance, shouldn’t they have to tell him what the reasoning is for his being blocked? PayPal may not be the best thing but it is kind of important for some. It seems weirdness abounds with them lately. The whole big deal with Regretsy and their charity work, the account being frozen for getting too much money quickly. I think they need to look at their policies more closely. I hope this gets resolved for him. Is there legal action he could take I wonder?

    • Hibyeman says:

      Maybe depends on if he got his money back from paypal i believe and here is part of the post “All is well and good until today, June 12, 2012. My account is frozen in the middle of the night with no warning and my funds are withheld from me.” did he get his money back is what i ask

    • bar_foo says:

      Why? Does a private company have an obligation to devote resources (employees’ time) to researching the reasons for a ban on a particular customer? Just as an independent store can put up a sign saying, “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone,” and is not compelled to serve any individual who walks in the door, PayPal can do the same. It’s probably counterproductive of them to do so, and it would be a problem if they systematically discriminated against certain groups, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here.

      • Jawaka says:

        This is truth.

        Paypal has no obligation to any of us. The only concern that I’d have is if Jake has a balance with them that he can no longer access or withdraw from them.

  5. AEN says:

    I’m pretty sure PayPal is a boderline criminal enterprise.

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      +1

    • longfeltwant says:

      Yeah. PayPal is just inside the border of the law, like Italy is just inside the border of America.

    • Kingsley says:

      Agree. I hear Paypal is squirming their way into point-of-sale transactions. They simply MUST have more accountability when that happens. Nothing I’ve heard ever is contrary to my impression that they are greedy thugs who hate people and ignore the complaints of the little people.

      • RvLeshrac says:

        As soon as they’re used at POS, they’ll be subject to federal regulations as a payment processor.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      There’s no borderline…they are criminals, pure and simple. I can’t even imagine how awful a person must be to work for PayPal/eBay.

    • Lyn Torden says:

      What? Are you saying they have gotten a lot better? Do you have proof of this?

  6. Blueskylaw says:

    “PayPal Bans You For Life, Won’t Tell You Why”

    Hopefully, if they ban a few thousand people every day, within a few years all of our problems regarding feebay/PayPal will be solved.

    • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

      Nah….PayPal will never ban the scammers, they make too much money off of them.

  7. Dano says:

    You are better off.

    Paypal is an horrible service, and their “guarantee” for buyers is a complete sham.

    Awhile back I bought a laptop in “great” condition, turned out to be virtually ruined. I requested Paypal intervene on my behalf because the seller refused to refund my money. Paypal told me if the seller listed the laptop in “great” condition, it must be in great condition. They refused to look at very detailed pictures I offered to send in, along with a copy of the listing.

    Luckily I had used my Amex card, and contested the purchase.

    I would say they could win Worst Company in America next year, but Bank of America is overdue.

  8. Bardiel says:

    I would have to go the route of a EECB and see if that helps.

    • a354174 says:

      It won’t. In fact. I have saved a letter they sent me in the mail. It happened to be a cease and desist from paypal because I EECB’d them for having the same issue as this guy, except mine was linked to some account that wasn’t mine.

    • Difdi says:

      I would have asked the CSR to either transfer me to their legal department or provide me with contact information for their Agent for Service of Process for my state.

      By law, they are required to publish the latter, and Bad Thingsâ„¢ can happen to a corporation that conceals that information.

  9. HomerSimpson says:

    “Borderline” ?!?

  10. BigHeadEd says:

    I was recently cleared by US Customs and Border Protection for Global Entry, and the process paled in comparison to what i went through recently getting PayPal to unfreeze my account after someone unsuccessfully attempted to add their email and access my account.

    • s25843 says:

      I found the GE approval process to be relatively easy because the customs guy I got really didn’t care. However,,, the NEXUS approval process was quite a bitch because the US Customs guy went over every ounce of travel I’ve ever done in my life

    • cowboyesfan says:

      What was your trick? They froze my account with $12 4 years ago.

  11. Clyde Barrow says:

    no-good ruffian? lol. As my mom would say, “wild and wooly and up to no good”.

  12. longfeltwant says:

    I’d love to say I completely avoid PayPal, but I don’t. I can say, though, that I only use PayPal for processing credit card purchases. I do not, and would not, receive money through PayPal.

  13. Sian says:

    There’s a reason I don’t link any accounts with any actual money in them to Paypal.

    That said they DO have a virtual monopoly on several fronts (especially ebay auction payments) so if you want to do that, you are all but forced to deal through them.

    That they operate as a bank but without being regulated as a bank must work up the real bankers into a froth.

  14. CrazyEyed says:

    Someone had accessed my paypal account fraudulently. Tried to withdrawl money from my linked bank account as was probably going to revisit later to try and move the money. Only I didn’t have enough in my account that the fraudster tried to withdrawl. Even paypal identified the activity as likelihood of fraudulent activity before I called them to discuss what the deal was after receiving an email alert from paypal about the withdrawl. When I was on the phone with PayPal they said they had already flagged the account but kept asking me questions like “have you given your password away”, blah blah, insinuating I was to blame to cover their asses.

    I still today feel their security was breached and they didn’t want to take blame for it as I hadn’t even used my paypal account in years. I couldn’t even get them to try and reverse the transaction even though it was requested through their system. Paypal does a great job of letting you sort out the problems they cause. I simply had to call my bank, wait for the transaction to overdrdaft or NSF and then have my own bank deal with the problem. PayPal was NOT helpful at all. Luckily my bank was. I had to go without access to my own bank account for a couple days while they reversed the charges because they had to let it through but I was more thankful not to lose the money I did have in my account. PayPal can suck it. I deleted my bank account from PayPal and as soon as the NSF went through and I had an active balance with my bank account, I immediately closed my PayPal account. Never using them again. Ironically, it was BOA that was helpful and attentative to my situation and gave me realistic expectation of timeframes.

  15. donjumpsuit says:

    This is no big surprise as it happened to me, the exact same thing. The reason was suspicious activity with my bank account. I can’t figure out how they know about what is going on with my bank account, but it was probably suspicious that I was spending money.

    Anyway I absolutely blame the OP. If he/she is listening. WHY THE FFFF did you link your old account to your new one? We have a word for people like you, but it’s not politically correct to say anymore. Good luck trying to make sense of anything in the corporate world!

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      I read it a little differently, but since they didn’t clarify it’s hard to know for sure.

      I think Paypal is the one that linked the two together, not the OP. Either he uses the same bank account number, or even just the same name.

  16. dolemite says:

    Of the few people I know that have used Ebay/Paypal to sell things, they’ve both been ripped off. Funds frozen, charges reversed, etc. I de-linked my checking account and have no money in my paypal account. It’s a shame, because Ebay used to be great, 10 years ago.

  17. dosdelon says:

    I’d say they did the boy a favor.

  18. Pete the Geek says:

    Due to stories like this, I stopped using PayPal for many years, and stopped using EBay when PayPal became the only option. Unfortunately, just about every online shop – particularly the small niche shops – are now using PayPal exclusively. Ignoring PayPal issues is NOT an option as long as there are no alternative services. Perhaps there is local (US?) law that can be used to force them to give him a reason and an opportunity to fix it? It is obvious that shaming is ineffective on PayPal leadership.

    • Sassenach says:

      I’m in the process of building a website for a local organization that wants to sell items out of its gift shop online. I showed them the options for payment; Paypal was the one that was familiar to them, but after I explained the problems people have with it, I convinced them to use the alternative. One niche business at a time…..

    • HomerSimpson says:

      “Laws kill jobs and make job creators cry!”

  19. dullard says:

    A few years ago someone opened a PayPal account using one of our checking accounts. We closed the checking account and opened a new one. PayPal returned our money in short order. Although I found them easy to deal with at that time, I have read too many horror stories about PayPal. In my opinion they are not worth it. If I have to use PayPal to buy an item, I won’t buy it.

  20. jaybeebrad says:

    There’s one flaw in your story. You say you registered the new account to MAKE PURCHASES on ebay. Then you say that your “funds are withheld from you.” The only time paypal withholds funds is when you have RECEIVED a payment from someone; either because you are brand new ebay user (in which case the funds are held for 21 days or until the buyer confirms the shipment was received,) or because someone filed a complaint about something they sent you money for.

    You have to have money in the account in order to have funds held, and I find it hard to believe you deposited money into your paypal account and THEN tried to use that money to make a payment (as opposed to just registering a credit card and then paying directly from it.)

    Something doesn’t add up here and I call shenanigans…

    • jaybeebrad says:

      Also…he says they won’t tell him why, but they did tell him why. For some reason they consider him a risk and he is unable to establish his identity to them within their parameters. He just doesn’t like that answer.

      • Rainicorn with baby bats says:

        +1

      • Keith is checking the Best Buy receipt of a breastfeeding mother (for tips!) says:

        “We consider you a risk” is not an answer. Well, okay, technically it is an answer but it is a useless, completely unacceptable answer. A real answer must justify WHY he is considered a risk. You’re reaching pretty hard to blame the OP here.

        • kobresia says:

          Almost nobody in the financial sector, including “real” banks, will tell you exactly why. At the most, they will say, “Here, have a free credit report on us!”

          I would say that this is likely due to the way people start begging, promising they know how to handle money now, the institution is somehow discriminating (against what, stupid people who can’t be trusted with money?), or getting belligerent, blaming the institution for being wrong. That’s why they generally don’t give anyone a concrete reason for the rejection that someone can push back against, they just offer some vague reasons and provide a credit report so folks can figure out what’s wrong (and maybe get it corrected) for themselves.

          If it’s any indication of what may be going-on with this unfortunate former Paypal customer, I just bought something on eBay recently. The seller was apparently in college, and blew-off shipping my item for a little over a week since it was towards the end of the semester. Then he responded and said he’d “ship it next week”. After another week with no word, I had to file a claim with Paypal because he stopped responding to emails. Then, just days before the claim was about to close automatically on its 10 or 14-day schedule (since he never responded to it), he emails and says that shipping “cost too much” and that he wasn’t going to ship the item at all.

          Gee, thanks. What a dumbass. Being irresponsible, accepting money and blowing-off shipping the goods because a seller entered into commitments he or she couldn’t keep due to other obligations (study, moving out of the dorms, vacation) is probably going to catch-up with him, too. Paypal definitely does not look upon that sort of thing favorably. If “Jake” did something similar when he was less responsible in college, that’s probably why he’s having trouble with Paypal now. It takes a while to live down a bad reputation when it comes to money, since nobody wants to lose theirs.

        • jaybeebrad says:

          You may find it unacceptable based on your own standards, but legally it is more than acceptable. They don’t have any obligation to expand on the answer.

  21. Scooby111 says:

    I have a similar problem with USAA. Of course, I ran up my credit card with them 12 years ago and ended up declaring bankruptcy after my divorce. They won’t do business with me for 10 years. I don’t blame them at all.

  22. trixare4kids says:

    Last year I had some use my paypal account to buy a year subscription to a gaming site. I knew it wasn’t me and, after changing my password, immediately called paypal about the fraudulent activity.

    I felt like I was in an alternate universe – the Paypal Rep INSISTED that I must have signed up for the site or someone in my house or that somehow how I was to blame. No matter how many times I explained the fact that I live alone, he just couldn’t get it. Did I have children? No. Did anyone else use my computer? No. Could a friend have used my computer? No. Am I SURE I didn’t do it and don’t remember? WTF? I’m not schizophrenic, I would KNOW if I signed up for a year long subscription to a gaming site. And since I’d never even heard of the site, nor do I play games, no no no no no no. Did I give my password to someone else? A thousand times, NO!! Also, even if my hypothetical (and non-existent) child or friend had done it, it’s STILL a fraudulent transaction, unauthorized be ME, the account holder whose $49.95 was taken. In the end, he simply said, “There’s nothing I can do for you.”

    Are you kidding me? Okay. Yeah. No. This is not happening. I hung up, called my bank, told THEM it was fraud and they reversed the charge from PayPal on the spot. After that I removed my bank account from Paypal and use it strictly with a credit card. I wish I didn’t have to deal with them, but I do.

    • CrazyEyed says:

      Similar situation happened to me. I sitll believe they have security flaws because someone accessed my paypal account to try and make a fraudulent withdrawl (because my bank account was linked). When I called them, they tried to act like I was to blame on some level when I hadn’t used the account in years. They pretty much told me I had to take it up with my own bank. Luckily my bank was helpful and I got it sorted out but as soon as everything was A-OK, I de-linked my checking account and closed PayPal. I was NEVER use PayPal or Ebay again. I will not support any business that doesn’t take your privacy and security seriously.

    • verymegan says:

      haha all those excuses reminded me of being charged a bag fee by Delta to fly from Santa Barbara to Orlando, and a bag fee to fly from LAX to Orlando, on flights that were in the air at the same time. The Delta rep said that it was most likely that I had stopped in early at the Santa Barbara airport, paid for someone else’s bag fee, forgotten about it, driven to LAX, and gotten on my own plane. If that hadn’t been the case, then I must have actually been on both flights at once.

      Really. They said that.

  23. Coffee says:

    I have a Paypal account, just in case ebay has the last box of widgets on earth and I need a widget to fix my iron lung or some shit. Barring that, I will never, ever use them, even if they’re the more convenient option. There’s a reason they’re in the final four of the WCIA contest each year, ya’all.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      I’ve been looking for an Iron Lung for years!!! Tell you what, i’ll send you a check for $10,000, you cash it and send me $1,000 via PayPal so that I can pay the shippers with it and you keep $9,000 for the lung.

      EVERYBODY WINS!!!

  24. maxamus2 says:

    Everyone keeps posting he is “better off”. But just try to buy/sell on eBay without PayPal.

    • dolemite says:

      I used to use Ebay all the time. Now Amazon has taken their place. The prices on Ebay are only slightly lower, and with Amazon I don’t have to use Paypal, so I know the chances of getting ripped off are low.

  25. PLATTWORX says:

    This is yet another reason the FDIC screwed up royally when they voted the Paypal was NOT a “bank” and did not have to following established banking laws years ago.

    It is shocking to me that someone, even the new Consumer Protection Bureau has not taken some action to force payment to reveal reasons for account closures, etc. They can’t let Paypal continue to operate like the “wild West” when they are now signing agreements to be a method of payment at brick and mortar merchants. Frustrating.

    I have used Paypal to buy and sell on eBay for over a decade. I recently went to ADD money to my account from my bank account to Paypal (I was making a purchase for someone and it sounded good at the time). I received a message saying they needed to “further confirm my identity” and in order to do so they were demanding:

    1. A copy of my social security card.
    2. A copy of a pay stub showing my social security number.
    3. Any other ID which showed my social security number.

    I can use my account for everything OTHER than adding funds from the very account I have withdrawn to for years. However, if I want to add money (I never will again!) they want a copy of my SS card or a pay stub?? Do they really think I am going to hand over those documents to some third party?

    So far, I have not “resolved the issue” as I don’t need to add funds anymore, but am reminded of it each time I log in. Ugh!

    • Snapdragon says:

      I didn’t think it was legal for a company to require you to hand over your SSN… especially one that is not a bank…

  26. Anna Kossua says:

    This didn’t happen to me, but they did “ban” my bank card (don’t remember if was a debit or credit card) way back when I first signed up.

    There was some problem with the 3rd party service they were using to verify people’s 3-digit verification number on the back of my card. It kept saying that number was incorrect and for me to re-enter. They let me retry so many times before the system rejected it. When I called Paypal to find out what’s wrong, they told me that story about their 3rd party verification guys’ system being messed up and doing this to a lot of people. Even so, they said they have no way to reverse it, so I can never use that card on the site again.

    What sucked was that was my only card at the time, and I was trying to buy a Christmas present charity gift. (Little girl wanted a doll that wasn’t available in the stores at that time, so I found one on eBay.) Fortunately, that was back when eBay would take different forms of payment, so I found another money-sending site that worked.

  27. deadandy says:

    I’m not condoning PayPal’s action (they suck and I haven’t done business with them in years) but aren’t businesses allowed to say they don’t want to do business with anyone for any reason? As long as it’s not discriminatory? I don’t think they need to explain themselves.

  28. Quaix says:

    Paypal did this to me. I signed up for it back when it was offering $5 to sign up and never used it again. Fast forward many, many years later and I find my Paypal account suspended. Curious, I contact support and find out that Paypal policies have changed, and since I didn’t agree to them (first time I heard about it) they suspended my account.

    I go through their process of agreeing to policy changes and they reactivate my account. Good? Well, few months later it’s suspended again. Sigh. I gave up. I really didn’t want to deal with it.

    Goodbye Paypal, hello bitcoins.

  29. balderdashed says:

    Why does he believe any business has an obligation to accept him as a customer, or to explain its unwillingness to do so? That’s absurd (except for a few cases, such as those involving the Fair Credit Reporting Act). His account of his PayPal relationship suggests that PayPal may well have its reasons based on his past behavior, but even if he’d been a model citizen since birth, so what? Actually, this reminds me of the equally infuriating behavior of some companies, who insist that I tell them why I no longer want a business relationship. Sorry, I don’t have to tell you squat. Then some silly customer service rep (for a cable company, insurance firm, etc.) suggests I “have to” give her a reason. Perhaps this rejected PayPal customer should go to work for one of these places. His false sense of entitlement could come in handy.

  30. KyBash says:

    I’d been a PayPal customer for about a dozen years with no disputes, suspicious activity, or any other problem requiring their intervention.. Then they changed their policies so that people with certain disabilities can’t use their “service.”

    I miss it once in a great while, but every time I’ve had to shy away from a purchase because the only payment method was PayPal, I’ve ended up finding a better vendor elsewhere.

    Not using PayPal is slightly less aggravating than using them, and my money is safer.

  31. SpendorTheCheap says:

    Paypal Bans You For Life, Won’t Tell You Why. You Probably Know Why.

  32. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Marry a nice girl with a PayPal account.

  33. emyaeak says:

    My husband had this problem with eBay, not PayPal. They froze his account without warning or explanation and wouldn’t give it back no matter what he did. So he has been using mine ever since. I don’t understand it; obviously there was a reason, so they should be able to tell whoever can verify that they are indeed the person on the account. There should be redress. Gah, it makes me mad all these years later. *shakes fist*

  34. ScandalMgr says:

    Two reasons to never, ever use Paypal

    1) Denial of donation services to charitable groups doing political work that Paypal owners disagree with (Wikileaks)
    2) Alternative, superior services exist: https://www.dwolla.com/

  35. n0th1ng says:

    So whats the problem. He is acting like being able to use Paypal is some kind of benefit to himself. Fuck Ebay and Paypal.

  36. make7acs says:

    Yep me too, opened a PayPal account for the first time in my life about 3 weeks ago. Was using it for a client to pay me for development work. Soon as I sent the invoice, my account was immediately shut down and locked. Contacted them about it, refused to give me any explanation as to why it was locked. This was after confirming my bank account and having the account open for days. Spoke to a “manager” (pretty sure it was just another associate), and they gave me the same shpeal.

    Understand the idea of not releasing the information, if they explained the reasons why they banned people it would be ridiculously easy to get around it, however, as I’ve never had an account with them and ensured all of my personal information was correct (checked credit report), feel as if they just ban at the first sign of potential fraud. Maybe it was cause my first invoice generated was for $1000, not sure.

    At any rate, after they locked my account was unable to disconnect my bank account or cancel the account entirely. So now I just how a PayPal account forever opened in locked status that is connected to my bank account.

    Such a worthless service, really hope a better online payment solution is released soon.

  37. vicissitude says:

    Jake is *not* alone. eBay & Paypal do this exact thing on a regular basis. They also enjoy operating as a bank, without supposedly being a bank, with no rules, nobody regulating them and it’s a kind of closed market. Personally, I will never do business with eBay, or Paypal, ever again. They’ve lost all sense of reality over there and are as corrupt as any corporate business I’ve seen.

  38. T. Bone says:

    Ebay just blocked my account they said I buy too many low priced items. It took 18 phone calls to close the account. I closed my pay pal account too it took 15 calls to close pay pal. Ebay and pay pal are nothing but fraud. I now use Amazon and Craiglist with no fees.

  39. RedShirt says:

    “Half a decade later”

    Yeah because 5 years is SOOooo long… oh wait, no it’s not.

  40. Difdi says:

    I used to have a PayPal account. Theoretically, I suppose I still do, but I haven’t been able to access it in years.

    I changed banks a few years ago, and the debit card associated with the PayPal account was going to stop working. At the time, I used PayPal for a single newsletter subscription, and not much else.

    When I tried to login to update my payment information, my password didn’t work. So I figured I’d had a failure of memory and tried to reset it. The URL they emailed me to reset the password returned a 404 error. So I tried phoning them. The CSR was polite but firm. I needed to properly answer the security questions on my account, or he wouldn’t be able to help me.

    Fair enough. Except somehow, the questions he started asking me were irrelevant. They weren’t the ones on my account, and two out of three were things I simply COULD NOT answer. For example, I’ve never been married so the date of my wedding anniversary was a non-starter. Likewise, I’ve never owned a car, so I couldn’t tell him what the make and model of my first one was. Then he asked me for the debit card number of the card attached to the account, and I sighed in relief, finally something I could answer! Except…PayPal had no problems at all charging the card, but apparently the number on file didn’t match the number on the card. WTF?

    My favorite movie didn’t match, the bank account number the debit card draws on didn’t help, my mother’s maiden name was wrong, and so on and on and on.

    As near as I can tell, somehow my account got linked to some total stranger’s account, with my payment information and email address, but the other guy’s security questions and password. And my inability to answer someone else’s security questions convinced PayPal that I was trying social engineering on them. The call went down hill from there.

    So the card stopped working, my subscription payment bounced, and my account got locked. Since I can’t login to it, I guess I’ll just have to do without.

  41. PhilipCohen says:

    Problems with PreyPal?

    And, if anyone wants a demonstration of the utter unscrupulousness, indeed criminality, of eBay …

    “Shill Bidding Fraud on eBay: Case Study #5”

    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/forums/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=167554

    eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking