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: [ 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.