PayPal Error Stymies One Laptop Per Child Shipments

Tired of repeatedly hearing that his One Laptop Per Child was on the way, PC World’s Harry McCracken called OLPC and was surprised to discover that the charity didn’t have his mailing address on file. Apparently, PayPal passed McCracken’s payment to OLPC without providing his address.

On January 17th, my colleague Matthew Newton poked his head into my office. He’d also donated, and was also impatiently waiting for his XO. He told me that he’d just spent an hour on the phone with OLPC customer service, and had been told that they didn’t have his shipping address, as a result of some glitch relating to the fact he’d paid via PayPal.

I too had paid with PayPal…but I didn’t have an hour to spare. So I checked the “Track Your Order” link and entered my e-mail address and tracking number. That sent me to a page saying I’d probably received my XO, with…confusingly…a link to a page that it said would let me track my order. I clicked on that link, and got a page not found error.

Today, I happened to be in the office early, so I called OLPC support and turned on my speakerphone. Thirty-five minutes later, the call rang through to a rep. Who told me that they didn’t have a mailing address for me. (Like Matthew, I paid via PayPal.)

I gave him the address and asked when I might expect the laptop. He told me that OLPC doesn’t tell them when machines are going out…but that I might have good news in February. I’ll believe it when I see it.

This snafu has two parents. PayPal’s mistake is surprising since they proudly boast of their ability to confirm an address for most credit card payments. Still, where was OLPC’s customer support? Why would OLPC send out emails reassuring donors that their little bundles of charity were on the way, instead of contacting Give One Get One participants who didn’t have a listed mailing address? Maybe they’ll get around to that in February.

Where the Heck is my OLPC XO Laptop? [PC World]
(Photo: fumi)