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PayPal Freezes Hurricane Relief Account 635

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the good-guys-always-finish-last dept.
logan5 writes "SomethingAwful's forum denizens, on the call of site admin Richard "Lowtax" Kyanka, raised over $20,000 dollars to be donated to the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. This was done via a PayPal donation link, and PayPal has now frozen the account on a twofold basis: one, that there have been reports of "suspicious behavior" from the "buyers," and two, that no shipping records have been provided for the donations." Since so many users are asking for it, SomethingAwful has provided a link for those wishing to still make donations to the Red Cross in the meantime.
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PayPal Freezes Hurricane Relief Account

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  • by Novanix (656269) * on Sunday September 04, 2005 @02:37AM (#13474920) Homepage
    You hate dealing with them the more you have to deal with them. Sadly this is not the first case of paypal outrageousness. They will happily do what they want and often may take money, they do not follow any real guidelines and you are often left out in the cold without them helping you. Sadly there is not a whole lot one can do when you run into bad luck. Unfortunately it can be hard to transfer money with others, and so you are left forced to deal with paypal. For a whole bunch of bad stories just visit one of the many sites like http://www.paypalsucks.com/ [paypalsucks.com] .
    • by Krach42 (227798) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @02:45AM (#13474968) Homepage Journal
      One of my friends had a PayPal Visa card. He says that if he paid for a meal on his PayPal Visa, and left a tip, that paypal would end up automatically denying the payment.

      Not his fault, he's willing to pay the amount. PayPal is being the jerk and not paying.

      Sure, this worked occationally in my friend's favor (he avoided it, because it felt wrong to him.) But PayPal was ripping on the restaurants.
      • by man_of_mr_e (217855) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @03:01AM (#13475046)
        Well, this is actually somewhat understandable (somewhat). What likely happened is that the restaurant authorized a payment of $x.xx and then when you added on the tip, it came out to a different value that was authorized. PayPal likely saw this as either an attempt to fraudulently overcharge the account, or they simply had a policy of only paying transactions as they were authorized.

        This has actually become a problem for banks. It's really easy for unscrupulous merchants to add on charges after the fact, and most people really don't keep track of their receipts so they don't notice.

        I've seen lots of places that have started requiring you to fill in the amount of the tip before the transaction is authorized. I assume this is because of stricter regulations by the payment processors.
        • by Harker (96598)
          I've seen lots of places that have started requiring you to fill in the amount of the tip before the transaction is authorized. I assume this is because of stricter regulations by the payment processors.


          Personally, I'd prefer this. I've not had any problems so far, but who knows what an unscrupulous restaraunt employee might do, given the chance.

          I pay tips with cash whenever possible, so there's no way for the management to track it.

          H.
          • by Haeleth (414428) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @06:14AM (#13475636) Journal
            I pay tips with cash whenever possible, so there's no way for the management to track it.

            God YES. If you want the money to go to the staff who you're trying to reward with your tip, you give them cash, and do it quietly. If you just want to line their managers' pockets even further, go ahead and use your card.

            See this [dol.gov] if you don't believe me. Federal minimum wage is about $5/hr, except for employees who receive tips, in which case the employer can cut the "direct" wage as low as two fucking dollars an hour. They have to actually pay them the $5/hour, of course, but by making $3 of each $5 come out of tips, they basically make sure that the employee isn't actually going to benefit at all from your generosity - unless you're an unusually high tipper, they're just going to get $5/hr whether you tip them or not.

            Nice one, government. Way to motivate low earners.
            • by Krach42 (227798) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @06:42AM (#13475709) Homepage Journal
              This is kind of why I personally think that tipping is bullshit. Of course, I realize that these people require tips to make a living, so I leave a tip.

              But that doesn't change the fact that I think that waiters should be paid a real wage, and not have this bullshit run around them where their employers can do this.

              Have a slow night, and awesome. You just had a pay cut. Sure, you might have some good days where you earn quite a bit of money more than normal. But you're still being dicked by your employers.
              • by garett_spencley (193892) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @12:30PM (#13477444) Journal
                I've always wondered why more restaurants don't pay their waiters/waitresses more.

                The waiters / waitresses are often the only people to deal directly with the customers. Therefore, it would make sense to pay them generously. Better wages for the employees means happier employees and better service for the customers which directly translates into better business.

                I'm not in the restaurant business so I might be missing something very important .. but if I ran a restaurant one of the most important points in my business plan would be to pay my waiters / waitresses more than minimum wage.. even though the law allows me to pay them less. I would have no trouble finding decent help... and my customers would be happier because my employees are happier.
            • by PortWineBoy (587071) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @09:22AM (#13476401)
              I've worked in many restaraunts and I've never had a manager steal my tips, credit card or otherwise. I made quite a bit of money waiting tables even @ $2/hr + tips. I don't this this rate of pay is really an issue. I don't understand how you belive waitstaff makes only $5/hr with tips? Are you using some sort of anecdotal information for this? A waiters tips are his tips. There is no offset with the hourly wage, nor in any place I know of or have worked in does management take most of your tips away and give you back $3/hr. Waiters are not low wage earners. Yea the benefits are usually nonexistant and the job certainly isn't any dream vacation, but I certainly made more than $5/hr.
      • by skold (912410)
        Aside from a PayPal logo on the front, the PayPal Visa card has nothing to do with PayPal. It's issued by Providian, and they manage the card according to their own rules.
    • by John Seminal (698722) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @02:54AM (#13475015) Journal
      A friend of mine sold stuff on ebay. He had a perfect record, nobody complained.

      One day, he went to his paypal account, and it was locked.

      My friend did not worry, he did nothing wrong. So he sent an email to paypal asking for details. He got back something saying "his account was being reviewed". My friend asked when the funds would be released, and paypal did not respond.

      6 weeks passed, and paypal kept his money frozen.

      Finally, my friend went to get a lawyer, and had him send a letter to paypal. His funds were released the next week.

      He sent another email and letter to paypal asking what caused the account to be frozen in the begenning. He got no response. To this day, he does not know why paypal did what they did.

      It is nice to have a company to protect people. But the company should say why they take actions. If paypal believed my friend did something wrong, why not tell him, and ask for a response? Why keep everything secret, and keep the account frozen??

    • I don't tip because society says I gotta. I tip when somebody deserves a tip. When somebody really puts forth an effort, they deserve a little something extra. But this tipping automatically, that shit's for the birds. As far as I'm concerned, they're just doin their job.

      Look, I ordered coffee. Now we've been here a long fuckin time, and she's only filled my cup three times. When I order coffee, I want it filled six times.

      These ladies aren't starvin to death. They make minimum wage. When I worked for mini
  • No good deed... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ari_j (90255) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @02:37AM (#13474922)
    No good deed shall go unpunished. I really don't like Paypal, for this and many other reasons. What ever happened to e-Gold?
  • Great job, PayPal. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stick_Fig (740331) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @02:38AM (#13474923) Homepage
    Now you have a PR nightmare on your hands.
    • by ottffssent (18387) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @02:55AM (#13475018)
      They've done this sort of thing before. Often. To big and small. And yet, they're still raking in the dough. A quick search for "paypal sucks" brings up a quarter million or so pissed-off ex-paypal users.

      As always, don't keep money at paypal that you can't afford to lose.
      • by Nasarius (593729)
        As always, don't keep money at paypal that you can't afford to lose.

        Yeah. After hearing all the stories about people who got screwed, who in their right mind would treat PayPal like a bank account? As soon as you receive the money, withdraw it to a real bank account. Then, if you're paranoid, transfer it to your savings account that PayPal doesn't know about.

  • by scrain (43626) * on Sunday September 04, 2005 @02:38AM (#13474924)
    While I haven't contributed to the fund in question, paypal's amazing ability to decide when and where to steal money for their own reasons is amazing. I really hope some attorney general takes them to task for this one.
    • Hmmm, so this site called Something Awful which is new suddenly gets a bunch of money. I think it works something like this;

      1. Spend years developing a following for a humor site.

      2. Wait like a spider for a national disaster (I think effects the actual SA servers)

      3. Create a relief fund and your loyal patrons donate money.

      4. ???????

      5. Paypal profit.

      Ok, so a sudden $20k boost in a account should really really send up flags. However SA is not a porn site created last week. Where is their brains?????
  • i hate paypal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by silverkniveshotmail. (713965) * <everettpf3&gmail,com> on Sunday September 04, 2005 @02:38AM (#13474926) Journal
    this is fucking bullshit!
    Paypal: Where the fuck is my $50 going now? What the fuck is this shit!?

    Oh, and the article leaves out that we donated this $22,000 in about seven hours, and lowtax was giving people free shit for doing it out of his own pocket, which was the reason he wasn't just linking the red cross. SA is down from the hurricane (http://www.livejournal.com/users/interdictor/ [slashdot.org]) so there was no option to use their own credit card system.

    I am never using paypal again.
    • copy and paste snafu. I don't know how it happened quite like that though. http://www.livejournal.com/users/interdictor [livejournal.com]
    • Lowtax can give the money to the red-cross in 180 days!
      • by scrain (43626) *
        Naah.. the whole 180 thing is a lie to get you to wait 'til they've managed to misappropriate your money somewhere.

        Other people have waited the time and magically... no money. Not like that was a surprise.
        • Paypal is Smart (Score:3, Interesting)

          by TiggertheMad (556308)
          Naah.. the whole 180 thing is a lie to get you to wait 'til they've managed to misappropriate your money somewhere.

          They don't need to misappropriate the money to profit from the 180 day time period. Just by having a large sum of money for a given period of time allows you to make short term investments and such.

          Imagine you are an e-bank. You have 100k in your vaults that people have given you as say escrow for ebay transactions. You have 5k incomming each day, and 5k outgoing each day. If you impose
    • Re:i hate paypal (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DrEldarion (114072) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @02:46AM (#13474973)
      It's okay, we'll all go take pictures of their corporate HQ or something.

      Seriously, though, this is bullshit. I was (am) honestly proud to be a member of a community that was raising over $3,000 PER HOUR to help the hurricane victims, and Paypal couldn't be arsed to spend 10 seconds looking into the issue instead of just shutting it down. They're notoriously hard to communicate with as well, so this is just going to put further delays on things.

      Thanks, Paypal, and a big Fuck You.
      • Why did you use Paypal? Why didn't you find some other merchant service? Why didn't you tell the guy to do this? Seriously, you know what Paypal is like, yet you all chose to pay money to them willingly.
      • Re:i hate paypal (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Flakeloaf (321975)
        How they have avoided serious investigation for so long eludes me. Any other individual who abused a trust and hend onto the property of another person with no reason and no explanation, regardless of the terms of their AUP (the likes of which grow more toothless with each passing year) would be incarcerated.

        Even if they did release the funds, their initial action and the profit they gained from collecting for charity - yes, their computer may not know but the person reviewing the file sure as hell ought t
  • by yoduh (548937) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @02:38AM (#13474928)
    they locked my personal account AND My relief account. Got $4,000 in two days to give to a few members on the site who had their houses flooded out. I've been working with Paypal. I took off notice about a percentage going to the redcross - and they want all my tax info. I'd post the site but I dont want to see the site get ./'ed
    • I ran a donation for the PearPC legal fund against Maui X-Stream (it was on slashdot)

      I collected about $1k in a few days, and PayPal calls me up while I'm trying to sleep, and they're like: "Did you know that you have had a large amount of money going into your account?" I'm like "Yeah, last I checked it was exactly this balance..." "Are you done asking me stupid questions now?"
  • by Zork the Almighty (599344) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @02:39AM (#13474930) Journal
    1) allow people to open accounts
    2) collect donations for disaster relief
    3) SIEZE MONEY
    4) Profit!

    Remember people, PayPal is not a bank!
  • What a surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jrockway (229604) * <jon-nospam@jrock.us> on Sunday September 04, 2005 @02:39AM (#13474932) Homepage Journal
    Just when I thought PayPal might be worth doing business with, this. They must have a world class PR department over there -- "Hey guys. Everyone thinks we're evil." "Oh, I know, let's freeze the donations for the Katrina victims. Everyone will think we're great after that."

    Absolutely amazing. I hope Google uses this as an opportunity to launch GMoney or whatever they're calling it.

    BTW, good spelling /. editors. `Aweful', you could say.
    • Obviously (Score:3, Interesting)

      by autopr0n (534291)
      It was done by computer. But what's weird is that with $22,000 at stake they couldn't even be bothered to double-check. I mean, I'd understand automated shutdowns of $50 accounts, but, they already made $520 off of these donations. Why not spend $10 of that to doublecheck before shutting it down!?
  • by doormat (63648) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @02:41AM (#13474943) Homepage Journal
    Fuck You Paypal. If there is ever a reason never to use your service again, this is it. May Google open up an online payment system and wipe you off the face of the planet.
  • Hmm.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 04, 2005 @02:41AM (#13474944)
    I sense a little anger here...

    I loathe your wretched, vile, disgusting, bloated waste of a company with every last fibre of my body. You're a grotesque, swollen parasite whose existence hinges solely on the lack of competition.

    Yes, definitely a little anger showing through.

    Seriously, don't use PayPal for important stuff. I haven't read their terms lately (it's like, what, 30 pages long), but I wouldn't be surprised if they can shut him down because of his "offensive" web site, or because he used copyrighted screen shots on his page, or because he mocked and disparaged PayPal, or left the dash out of his zip+4 code, or pretty much anything else that they feel like.
  • I wonder if this is related to the PayPal emails I've been receiving recently regarding suspicious activity on my account. From what I understand, Paypal does not have various safeguards that can help keep fraud to a minimum, unlike banks which are required by law to have these protections applied to all their transactions. Unfortunately, there really isn't an easier method of money transfers on the web than PayPal.

    Someone enterprising enough could probably come up with a good online payment system that isn't fraught with fraud. I could possibly not have to re-enable my account every other day when PayPal's automated fraud detection system finds something amiss with my account. I'd switch in a heartbeat.

    Hopefully those poor people in New Orleans can get the money and supplies they need to rebuild. It's a sick tragedy what's going on down there. I've been through hurricanes before, but I've never seen anything as bad as this in a non-Third World country.
  • Coral Cache link (Score:5, Informative)

    by Deraj DeZine (726641) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @02:42AM (#13474947)
    Here's a Coral Cache link: Something Awful Paypal fiasco [nyud.net]

    I think this might be a good idea since Something Awful was hosted in New Orleans and their main servers are obviously not online at the moment, so that temporary site is probably going to be blown away soon.
  • Paypal Strikes Again (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Entertainment Watch (912398) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @02:42AM (#13474948) Homepage
    I totally agree about Paypal being a horrible provider of payment services. They are more then glad to take your 3% of each transaction as their fee, yet their service is horrible.

    I had issues with them a few times now, from transactions on eBay and other transactions as well, one of which was never resolved and that money is gone forever. Thankfully the amount was insignificant, but it was more the point of the matter I guess, in that Paypal was useless in helping me resolve things, and basically DID NOT CARE and their "Buyer Protection" crap, is 100% useless.

    I understand they want to work on preventing fraud, yet they need to be more careful about things, and take a better look at the situation, before just automatically locking a user's account such as this, and then having those funds useless.

    You CAN call them up, and after being tossed around a few times, FINALLY get an agent that can assist you, but that usually is not until you act really pissed off (most of the time you don't have to act, you get pissed off at them hanging up on you, giving you the run-around, and such...) and then you finally get helped.

    I wonder if all of us Slashdot citizens would unite and write hate mail to Paypal, if that would help in getting them to finally change their ways, and FIX the customer service NIGHTMARE that they run...

    Good luck SomethingAwful! We are all behind you!

    • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @02:46AM (#13474971)
      I cancelled both my eBay and PayPal accounts, and put SomethingAwful in the comments field. I suggest other people do the same.
      • by mp3phish (747341) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @03:15AM (#13475113)
        "I think typing "I, for one" is redundant and annoying. Stop it."

        BTW: when someone says "for one" after "I" he is typically implying that there are other people who he is referring to, and he is just one of them. So while it may be redundant in that it repeats the implicit singular noun, its implications run much deeper and the true meaning of the sentence would not be the same without the "for one" part.
      • Good job.
        I cancelled my accounts with these scumbags as soon as I read about this ~12:30AM Eastern.
        As a previous poster suggested, hopefully Google Wallet will turn out to be more than hype and bury these assholes.

    • I wonder if all of us Slashdot citizens would unite and write hate mail to Paypal

      Right. Because the best way to improve a sector isn't to start a competing, better business - it's to whinge to the incumbent monopoly as loudly as possible.
  • by RyanFenton (230700) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @02:43AM (#13474954)
    While I can understand some system in place to reactively deal with potential scams, ESPECIALLY given such a huge disaster as the whole gulf coast... I agree that the way PayPal has implimented their automatic system is rather, well, awful.

    SomethingAwful has a lot of (crazy) enemies - it's not surprising that they would get a lot of gadflies out there submitting complaints, even at the cost of relief money going to flood victims. And I agree - if there was any sign of a scam going on, someone should have called to verify the events, or had a better way of cutting the account than leaving everyone's money in limbo.

    In the meantime, SomethingAwful really should join another site's charity link, and work to resolve this in a way that gets those funds ultimately to that place.

    One example: Amazon's Hurricane relief page off of Google [amazon.com]

    Ryan Fenton
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 04, 2005 @02:45AM (#13474965)
    I urge anyone with links to the media to let them know about this, submit it to your local paper, and even to the nationals. Let your local radio know, write an email to paypal threatening to close your paypal account and never use them again, the more bad press the quicker it will get resolved and they'll be under scrutiny for a while.
  • Conventional media (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SleepyHappyDoc (813919) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @02:50AM (#13474997)
    They'd love this story. Big company stealing from the poor hurricane victims. It's comedically evil, except it's real.
  • by The Jays (912400) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @03:07AM (#13475074)
    Something Awful is Somewhere Awful [somethingawful.com] After the plug was pulled on the popular somethingawful.com [livejournal.com], Richard "Lowtax" Kyanka of SomeThingAwful.com, hoping to focus the community's efforts on raising money for the Red Cross, in exchange for SomethingAwful.com merchandise, found his fundraising drive cancelled, by PayPal.com, when they shut down his account and stole the $20,000 dollars the members had raised for Hurricane Katrina. Everybody needs to see the complete insensitivity that PayPal has. They have no shame. They have taken money that was going to the Red Cross, used their policies against a fine internet community, and has stolen Hurricane Katrina fund money. This cannot go unpunished.
  • The only way is to get some attention outside the geek circles... as soon as the general public starts hearing about ebay (remember, paypal is owned by ebay now) wrapping up Katrina donations in red tape, SA will see some customer service.
  • EBay's Phone Number (Score:5, Informative)

    by MrNonchalant (767683) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @03:14AM (#13475101)
    I think it time we give PayPal's parent company an idea of what we think of their subsidiary. I'm willing to bet that if anybody with enough seniority gets ahold of this and recognizes it for the ticking PR time-bomb it is things could be set right.

    EBay's toll free investor line:
    1-866-696-3229
    or
    1-866-696-eBay

    Have fun.
  • by dtfinch (661405) * on Sunday September 04, 2005 @03:15AM (#13475114) Journal
    Whenever an account gets too big, they freeze it and pocket the money. They don't have to explain their reasons. They don't have to let you prove your innocence. They don't have to give anything back if you can prove it. And you agree not to sue them over it (probably not enforceable). It's all in their terms of service, and demonstrated in the thousands of horror stories you can find on the internet. I know people who have been hurt by them. I never have and never will trust PayPal with more money than I could afford to lose.
  • by Rakishi (759894) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @03:22AM (#13475137)
    Of course no one seems to have thought about WHY paypal canceled the account. I mean, they're an "evil corporation" cause SA says so thus they must have done it for kicks.

    If this was a real donation scam account and paypal left it open I'm sure half of the posters would be screaming at paypal for NOT closing down the account.

    Maybe you should consider how many donation scams must have been setup by now. Also, you may wish to consider how unusual this method of donation is and that more likely than not it is used to scam people. Most websites simple have a giant link to Red Cross and tell people to donate, because it's easier and they don't lose 3% in fees. You know, the concept of all the money going to relief efforts and not corporate pockets. Of course it seems SA decided it needed credit or some such for the effort of its members. Also, Paypal really has no idea who SA is or how trustworthy they are so they can only look at the current actions which look mighty close to a scam site.
    • by Vellmont (569020) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @04:45AM (#13475418)

      Of course no one seems to have thought about WHY paypal canceled the account. I mean, they're an "evil corporation" cause SA says so thus they must have done it for kicks.


      Check out some of the other posts. I've heard terrible stories about Paypal screwing people over for years. With the number of stories I've heard (and the consistency) I think Paypal is a very poor company that seems to shut down accounts on a whim and rarely explain why. I'm sure they have a lot of problems with money laundering, etc, but there's just too many stories of innocent people getting burned by Paypal for there not to be something wrong with paypal itself. This isn't just an "evil corporation" story, it's a company with a long long track record of unscrupulous behaviour.
  • Usually (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UndyingShadow (867720) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @03:22AM (#13475141)
    I dont usually advocate this, but don't you think someone should SUE THE EVERLIVING SHIT out of paypal for pulling this crap.

    Hundreds of people clicked "give money to hurrican e victims via lowtax" I dont care if I click "give money to potato farmers for space baby" paypal shouldn't have the ability of lock accounts. They have no right to touch that money.

    Im sorry if I just blew a bunch of positive karma, this needed to be said, and with A VERY LOUD VOICE!
  • Deja Vu (Score:2, Informative)

    by kilox (774253)
    Didn't PayPal get a Class Action lawsuit on the basis of something similar recently?
  • by zutroy (542820) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @03:36AM (#13475195) Homepage
    I actually donated through Amazon's link before I noticed that Something Awful was taking donations. A few hours later, I checked my GMail account and saw that my donation had been denied. Turned out I used an old CC# by mistake. No big deal, and now I could donate through SA and get some free merchandise, too! But the SA page was showing that the account was closed. And now I'd like to donate, but I'd like to do it through SA. I want to do it this way because I'd like to inspire competition among net communities to see who can donate the most money. It's a great way to constructively use people's egotistical motivations, in my opinion. Wouldn't it be awesome if SA, Slashdot, Genmay, Fark, and all the other popular internet communities all tried to outdo each other in contributions? I guarantee this kind of competition would inspire tremendous giving.
  • by adwb (778985) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @03:40AM (#13475212) Homepage
    PayPal provides a service of transfering funds. PayPal is responsible for the money stored in their accounts. If someone starts accepting money for any purpose and PayPal deems it a suspicious activity it is in the interest of the account holders that PayPal investigate the situation. In this case an account growing at the rate of $3500 per hour is suspicious. If the owner of the account decides to run with the money PayPal is the only one left responsible. All the payers have every right to sue PayPal for not investigating unusual activity. Don't even get me started on PayPal charging fees for services rendered. They've already provided a fee-free method for donating to relief. Full disclosure: I have been a SomethingAwful fan for quite some time and believe that they were going to do the right thing. That still doesn't make PayPal a bad guy for being cautious.
    • Totally agree (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall (25149) *
      PayPal sure gets slammed a lot around here, but they are a business really inbetween a rock and a hard place. PayPal has hordes of people trying to scam them with stolen CC numbers, and I am also glad they err on the side of caution even if from time to time what they do is inconvienient.

      It doesn't help that when it comes to moeny, people get a lot more worked up at the drop of a hat.

      Hopefully they sort out this issue soon and free up the money to go to where it's supposed to.

      If you think PayPal is bad how
  • Update (Score:4, Informative)

    by Nehle (784297) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @11:51AM (#13477228) Journal
    http://forums.somethingawful.com/ [somethingawful.com]
    Paypal / Donation / Server Update 9/04/2005 - 10:07 AM - Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka

    I finally got ahold of a Paypal customer support person this morning (when I called last night, their automated "screw off" system told me they were closed for the night). I explained everything to her and she asked me to fax in a bunch of junk like my driver's license, statement from my bank account, statement from my credit card account, and various other things. I guess I should be lucky they didn't ask for DNA and sperm samples as well.

    I told them the only reason, and I repeat ONLY REASON I was using their service was to raise relief funds, and the representative made a comment along the lines of "well you can see how it's counter-productive to get this resolved when you're writing 'Paypal sucks' on your website." Gee lady, maybe the whole issue could've been resolved beforehand if your company actually gave a crap about their customers and made even the tiniest bit of effort to resolve things without immediately hitting the "off" switch like that one jerk from "Ghostbusters?" The representative herself was nice, and I don't have a problem with the people working there; I do, however, have a problem with their automated systems making arbitrary decisions without providing customers ANY time to rectify the situation without risking downtime / account closure. You don't run a business treating all your customers like criminals and making them prove they aren't.

    I'll be faxing in that information right now, so the money you donated to the Paypal fund WILL get to the Red Cross, but it all depends on the speed of the world-famous Paypal Complaint Appeals Department or whatever the hell they're called.

    On 9/4/05, Rokas Kirvelis norgin@gmail.com wrote:

    Instead of writing a fucking essay about PayPal how about you FUCKING CONTACT CUSTOMER SUPPORT like it told you to do? I wouldn't be fucking surprised if you photoshopped those pics (because text is so hard to photoshop) and took the money. You're not even doing anything to get the money back.

    Yeah, okay. Thanks again for the support, Internet.

    Still no ETA on when the servers and SA will be up again. No idea when we'll be able to get the servers and move them to another hosting facility either. Running a small business is awesome because, not only are you in charge of making sure a bunch of people get service and employees get paid, but you're constantly responsible for everything and you can't stop worrying about what will happen. At least your standard 9-to-5 job lets you leave work at your office when your shift is over; a small business is a boulder you carry around on your shoulders every hour of every day. Some days the boulder crushes you, and this past week has been a series of those days.

    My apologies to everybody.
  • by GoRK (10018) <johnl@bPLANCKlurbco.com minus physicist> on Sunday September 04, 2005 @12:29PM (#13477438) Homepage Journal
    While I do know that in many cases (and probably this one too) Paypal likes to be quite draconian, in this case I have to wonder if they didn't actually have a legitimate case against this particular account. After all, a friend of mine is also running a PayPal drive [writerscafe.net] and has accepted far MORE money (Over $35,000) into it than the SA account and has had no problems whatsoever with paypal. Of course not only does he publish the records of the donation money going to charity at the maximum rate that he can extract the money from the paypal account ($3,000/day), he has also filed large amounts of paperwork with both the charities and with paypal to stay above board with all of this. The last time that he did a donation drive, paypal even reimbursed 100% of the transaction and CC fees to him.

    Unfortunately, paypal makes this kind of a payment avenue and "tip jar" type donation system so easy for people to set up that most forget that there are a lot of complicated requirements when you start accepting and spending large amounts of money like this for the purposes of charitable donation. There are tax implications surrounding the money and requirements surrounding the donations for the donor, for the intermediary, for paypal, and for the charity. If you don't abide by them properly you're going to get shut down.

    I'm sure they are sincere, but the way SA operates kind of makes you think that they could easily have brought this on themselves -- going nuts about the Paypal freeze probably isn't the best thing to do to get it resolved either, but it's typical SA style. I hope for the sake of all the donors and the charities involved that at least for once the SA people act maturely in this dispute or else all that money will be sitting there for weeks while the SA forums go crazy with the typical threats of retaliation and the normal fare while nothing happens.
    • Follow up commentary:

      Looks like I was right. Lowtax completely went on a tyraid about it and as a result PayPal didn't want to work with him. The CSR even asked him why he would put up a whole article about how paypal sucks on the front page of his site and then expect them to help him. Paypal does suck in a lot of cases; Lowtax is correct in this case; Paypal ought to held to the same standards as banks and other financial institutions, etc. but as of right now they aren't a bank and when they have $30K of

Those who do things in a noble spirit of self-sacrifice are to be avoided at all costs. -- N. Alexander.

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