Blockbuster Double Dips In PayPal Account; Naturally, PayPal Does Nothing

Blockbuster debited Anthony’s PayPal account two days in a row for the same monthly plan. PayPal won’t help—they say it’s between Blockbuster and Anthony, offering further proof that PayPal is a great service only as long as nothing goes wrong.

Anthony writes:

Called both Blockbuster and PayPal this morning and of course one pointed the finger at the other for the double subscription charge. So here I am with two charges and no way to resolve the issue since Blockbuster does not see both charges in their system and PayPal says I need to contact Blockbuster for resolution.

[Note: we edited the above screenshot for space, but we did not remove any figures.]

Has anyone else had this problem with Blockbuster’s PayPal account agreement? It’s a small amount in this case, but that’s only because Anthony’s plan is the cheapest Blockbuster offers; they charged him the full subscription fee both times.


Edit Your Comment

  1. wcnghj says:

    The charge was made to a credit card, get a charge back from the credit card company.

  2. Morberis says:

    I’ve had something similar happen between me and a small business, Paypal sided with me refunded me my money and because return shipping was going to be more than the cost of the item they said I could keep the item unless the business wanted to pay for it to be shipped back – they never got back to paypal on that so I got to keep it.

    It was a case of the item being significantly different than advertised.

  3. junip says:

    Since paypal is the one taking the money from the card and giving it to Blockbuster, then they should be the ones to fix it. I once submitted a paypal claim over a bad ebay transaction that merited a refund that the seller wouldn’t give. Paypal reversed the transaction in that case, not the seller. Paypal should reverse this one as well.

  4. pmcpa2 says:

    If paypal is saying not our fault (and it isn’t) and they aren’t doing anything, charge it back on your credit card. They will get their attention. I also take it you have contacted paypal via PHONE? Any time I ever had an issue and contacted them via phone, it was quickly resolved as soon as someone picked up the phone. I believe the call center was even in the USA!

    • macinjosh says:

      @pmcpa2: Yeah!

      I wanted a refund on a subscription via paypal. The seller never responded so I contacted paypal via the claim system. Seller responded and paypal sided with him. :( I tried to appeal it, and it was turned down.

      So then I called them, and without having to provide any evidence (which i was willing to do), Paypal gave me my money back.

  5. jaybeebrad says:

    Yes, I agree with WCNGHJ. If you contact and they refuse to arrange to refund the duplicate charge back to your paypal account, call the credit card company or bank that the money was withdrawn from by-way-of paypal, and dispute the charge.

  6. The FTC said they are planning on doing something about PayPal in 2027 – when they find out what PayPal is. First they have to figure out these new things called electronic mail addresses.

  7. laserjobs says:

    Since he used a credit card (smart) do a chargeback and cancel your subscription a few days before the next payment date

  8. TheSpatulaOfLove says:

    I must give the obligatory blame the consumer schpiel:

    Strike 1: Subscribed to Blockbuster service
    Strike 2: Used PayPal
    Strike 3: …Got an ARM loan through Countrywide for more house than he could afford? (giggle)

    Seriously, though – haven’t we learned over and over the evils of PayPal disputes and Blockbuster bumbling? In this case, I agree with other posters to do a chargeback through his credit card company.

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

    What’s the problem? A chat on the phone won’t resolve anything. PayPal has a formal dispute process.
    Just file an Unauthorized Activity Claim with PayPal.
    Paypal will contact the Seller to respond.
    If the Seller does not dispute or does not reply then you get the money back.


  10. benh57 says:

    Chargeback may work, but most likely paypal will close your account in retailiation. So take any money out first.

    That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I closed mine when i first saw several years ago.

  11. Xerloq says:

    I’ve used the threat of charge back against paypal before. Since PayPal billed your card, they’re the ones stuck with the chargeback fees.

    I did this with a bad subscription. After working with the vendor to no avail, I contacted PayPal to start a dispute. When they said I’d be out my money 30 days while they investigated, I pointed out that Visa would give my money back that day, and if PayPal couldn’t do the same, I’d take it up with Visa and leave the problem between PayPal and the vendor.

    I didn’t really use ‘chargeback’ per se, but the PayPal rep got the gist, and quickly refunded my money while they did the investigation. This also happened with an eBay auction. I just did the chargeback with Visa, and PayPal contacted me the same day asking about the chargeback. I simply explained the case against the vendor and stated I didn’t want to mess with the 30-day waiting period.

    Sure they might close your account, but that would be a blessing IMHO. My account wasn’t canceled, but YMMV.

  12. glater says:

    It’s worth a single post stating clearly that, should you file a chargeback with your credit card against paypal, paypal is *extremely likely* to retaliate by closing your account. That seems to be the rule across the board.

    Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is entirely up to you, but it would be good to have an idea that that’s coming ahead of time, should you ever want to use paypal again.

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

    The OP should go thru PayPal’s Unauthorized Activity Claim process before even thinking of a chargeback.

  14. closed_account says:

    Due to multiple horrific experiences with paypal I will not allot them to have any of my information. This includes not shopping at merchants that only accept paypal.

  15. gavni says:

    I haven’t had problems with blockbuster, but I have had problems with Paypal. I bought a bunch of paypal gift cards at my supermarket, and I just couldn’t use them. Multiple calls to customer service wouldn’t work.

    I sent Paypal a 93A consumer protection demand letter. Under Massachusetts law, if you send a letter that follows a specific format demanding compensation for deceptive business practices, they are liable for treble damages plus attorneys fees.

    Anyway, about two weeks later, I got a paypal credit, from paypal, for the full amount of the gift cards I couldn’t use, just over $400.

    – Gavin

  16. GoVegan says:

    I never had any problems with blockbuster but Paypal is a joke. They advertise their buyer protection plan as a great service but you are really at their mercy when you file a claim. I tried to make a claim once for an item I never received and Paypal basically told me tough luck as the seller says they sent it and we are not taking any more action to refund your money.

  17. Cliff_Donner says:

    Consumerist, thank you for hitting this Paypal story — and keep hitting them hard! Paypal continues to want to sell themselves as being as secure as a bank, but they are not! So far, they have evaded falling under many of the jurisdictions that regular banks fall under. They may try to mimic the protections that a real FDIC-insured bank offers, but in reality, it’s all at their discretion.

  18. ChelseaCosta says:


    Is right. Since the funds were ultimately debited from your Credit
    Card the best resolution is to contact your credit card company and
    advise them of the double authorization.D

  19. Alereon says:

    To make sure the warnings are clear: Do not attempt a chargeback against a Paypal transaction if you value your account. Paypal will close your account, seize the money from any other bank or card accounts you had linked, and send you to collections for any remaining balance. You will never be able to use Paypal again. As Ebay continues to aggressively work to make Paypal the only payment method allowed on Ebay, this will become an increasingly serious impact.

    On that note, we really do need the government to step in and start regulating Paypal like the bank it is. And Ebay should probably be popped for anti-trust violations for their efforts to make Paypal the only method of payment accepted on Ebay.

    • GirlCat says:

      @Alereon: Do you think it would it make any difference to complain to your credit card company if PayPal closes your account in retaliation for a charge back? Not necessarily expecting the cc company to get your account reopened, but more This is the way this vendor is treating your customers.

  20. sam-i-am says:

    Go get your money’s worth at your local blockbuster store in the form of a brick through their front window.

  21. Onouris says:

    And the alternative for ebay users IS? :(

  22. winstonthorne says:

    Wait…Blockbuster is still in business? Huh. Imagine that.

  23. cashmerewhore says:

    I’ve made this complaint about paypal to consumerist before. They offer absolutely no protection if you happen to use your paypal mastercard (I have a debit card from paypal linked to my account so I don’t need to wait for funds to deposit to my bank). I had an issue with a store advertising a BOGO sale and not honoring it, refusing to refund me the items which should have been free, and then paypal offered no protection for a chargeback.

    I definitely use the debit card less now. Unfortunately eBay is going paypal only soon, so I’ve still got to accept it. I do not recommend their debit card or setting any subscriptions to come out of a paypal account.

  24. danep says:

    I feel like I’m some sort of freak, because I’ve used Paypal for years now without any issues. I even got them to reverse charges when someone sold me a counterfeit electronics item on eBay.

    The way I see it, Paypal is just one more buffer between you and unscrupulous merchants. They can’t take away any of the protection your credit card already offers – as others here have pointed out, if Paypal doesn’t listen move on to your CC company. But they can stop those merchants from ever seeing your credit card info, which is DEFINITELY a good thing, and more often than not they’ll come to your defense in the first place.

  25. sassbrown74 says:

    Paypal is clearly operating as a financial institution. Aren’t they subject to any kind of regulatory oversight? The feds ought to be on to this.

    • jetblack says:

      @drgmobile: As a former PayPal employee, I can tell you that they’ve exploited every loophole to prevent being labeled as a financial institution to avoid such regulation. They’re simply a ‘payment service.’

  26. Adisharr says:

    Blockbuster’s days are close to an end.

  27. kairi2 says:

    During a brief stint in college, years ago, I made money by selling my stuff on ebay. I used Paypal until one incident, when a lady bought a designer sweater off me and said she never received it. She chose not to purchase insurance, and I had a receipt showing that I shipped it, (not to mention 100% positive feedback) so the evidence was against her alleged claim, but Paypal took the money out of my account and gave it right back to her. After that I decided Paypal was better to use if you were a buyer.

    • bbb111 says:

      >…a lady bought a designer sweater off me and
      >said she never received it. She chose not to
      >purchase insurance, and I had a receipt showing
      >that I shipped it, (not to mention 100% positive
      >feedback) so the evidence was against her alleged
      >claim, but Paypal took the money out of my
      >account and gave it right back to her.

      Paypal requires you to have delivery confirmation to prove that the package was received by the buyer (you agreed to this when you signed up.)

      The problem is that Paypal has no way to know
      who to believe (100% feedback does not prove
      that the package was delivered – I bought something
      from a 100% feedback seller and never got it) Since you didn’t submit the proof that the package was delivered, Paypal sides with the buyer. Paypal was not a party to the refusal of insurance, so that is between you and the buyer – you are still bound by the Paypal rule of what is considered proof for the seller to defend a claim.

      When I sell on e-bay, I get a delivery confirmation (except on inexpensive items when I decide to take the risk myself).

  28. MrKlappstuhl says:

    Paypal sucks hard.
    Google for “ebay paypal problem” you will get horrible storries about paypal.

  29. GreatMoose says:

    I had to file a chargeback with my CC company just yesterday because paypal and ebay wouldn’t do anything about some merchandise i bought that I never received. We’ll see what happens.

  30. vladthepaler says:

    If paypal charged a credit card, dispute the charge via your credit card company.

  31. Panamapeter says:

    Closed my Paypal today.

  32. harvey_birdman_attorney_at_law says:

    Closing your paypal account is the only logical remedy. The company is a parasite, and we should choose not to do business with it.

    The way ebay is going, the vast majority of sellers are just fronts for businesses anyway. Don’t waste your time looking for a “bargain” on ebay, you won’t find anything you can’t find elsewhere on the internet.

  33. Eigtball says:

    This is why PayPal sucks big time. It would be much better to put thing like this on a credit card, which will in most cases help you when you have problems like this.

  34. jswilson64 says:

    Contact paypal and blockbuster. In writing. If neither of them will help, here’s what happened:

    You got double-charged for something, and the vendor refuses to refund. This is fraud. If you report it to your CC as such, it’ll get more attention than a simple dispute.

  35. BelladonnaGadgeteer says:

    I’ve been of the mind to cancel my Paypal account for some time, after being treated to some horror stories from friends about their strange and harmful business practices, and in fact started the process to close my account today. And what I mean by that, is that every time I get to the final step, the page mysteriously times out, and I cannot finish closing my account. Strange, no?

  36. kbarrett says:

    Losing your paypal account, and not being able to buy crap on ebay sounds like a feature, and not a bug.

    Spend or withdraw any funds in paypal.

    Remove any information about your checking account ( Oh Noes!!!111 you are “unverified” ).

    Close your paypal account and dispute the charge. Give the paypal people exactly one chance to fix it … but close the account anyway.

    Afterwards, ask the credit card bank to issue you a new CC account number.

  37. Petra says:

    A similar situation happened to me… double-charged my account for a shipping label I purchased, and then refused to pay it back or even acknowledge what they had done. When I disputed the case with Paypal however, I also included my correspondence with USPS and their emails detailing how they refused to help me. Paypal reversed the charges right away.

    I hear so many horror stories about Paypal…I’ve had nothing but good experiences with them, but now I’m wondering if I ought to knock on wood!