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The Almighty Buck News

PayPal Preparing To Address Frozen Funds Policy 175

Posted by samzenpus
from the papers-please dept.
First time accepted submitter skywire writes "After years of forcing innocent customers to navigate a Kafkaesque process to unfreeze their funds, PayPal has announced that they are preparing major changes to alleviate the pain. From the article: 'The company routinely freezes funds for 21 days if it thinks there's a fraud risk, and its terms give it the right to extend the freeze for up to 180 days. To get access to their money, users are often asked to provide the kind of documentation that a product seller would have, like several months' worth of sales records. But if you're running a fundraiser or selling tickets to an upcoming conference, you don't have that paperwork. Even for those with extensive paper trails, the appeals process can take months to resolve. The Web is filled with enraged blog posts, websites like paypalsucks.com, and a Tumblr called "Conferences Burned by PayPal."'"
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PayPal Preparing To Address Frozen Funds Policy

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  • Need I say more? (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 21, 2013 @06:17PM (#42651521)

    >minor changes

  • Square (Score:5, Informative)

    by TechyImmigrant (175943) on Monday January 21, 2013 @06:37PM (#42651695) Journal

    Maybe they're feeling the heat of competition from square and feel the need to do something to stop the exodus.

    Our little business finds square a lot easier to deal with.

  • Alternatives (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 21, 2013 @06:40PM (#42651725)

    They're (Paypal) probably noticing the flood of payment alternatives. Stripe et al. come to mind...

  • by AK Marc (707885) on Monday January 21, 2013 @07:02PM (#42651893)
    The only nice thing about PayPal being a non-bank is that someone in the US can pay someone in the UK relatively easily. I moved out of the US, and for me to send myself money from my US accounts requires I show up in my bank, in person, to order the international transfer. They don't even honor their own terms of sending based on a fax. Banks are afraid of being the next HSBC.
  • Too late for us (Score:5, Informative)

    by tipo159 (1151047) on Monday January 21, 2013 @07:05PM (#42651917)

    I am involved with organizing a sporting event. This last year was our seventh running of the event. In previous years, the sanctioning body would collect the entry fee and send the events their portion. Because of some issues with the sanctioning body (not really set-up for credit card payment and slow payment to events), the system was switched to where events collected the entry fee.

    We decided to go with PayPal for most of the normal reasons folks go with PayPal. I had the PayPal-based payment system up on the event web site in a couple of hours. The first month of getting entry fee payments went fine and we could transfer the funds into the event's bank accounts (to cover pre-event costs like venue deposits and insurance).

    The trouble started at the end of the early entry period for the event (when entry fees increased). To avoid the increase in entry fees, almost everyone entered in the event who had not already done so, paid their entry fee on the same day. This triggered PayPal's fraud system and the event's PayPal account was locked. Although we had successfully run the event for the six prior years (with outside media coverage to prove it) and our paperwork was in order, PayPal decided that they would not give us access to the funds until after the event had run, "just in case the event was cancelled and the entry fees needed to be refunded".

    PayPal's actions were almost a self-fulfilling prophesy. Without access to the funds to cover pre-event costs, the event was almost cancelled. Luckily, between the entry fees collected before the PayPal account was locked, the entry fees that we collected directly after the account was locked and understanding vendors, we were able to cover the pre-event costs and the event was held.

    After successfully running the event, we contacted PayPal to get the account unlocked. At first, they wanted to make us wait six weeks. However, we pressed the point that we had bills that had to be paid and needed access to the funds ASAP. After an hour on the phone, they unlocked the funds and gave us access to the funds.

    Compared to some people that I have spoken with, we got off easy.

    I don't care what PayPal's new policy is. We are not putting our event at risk again by accepting payment via PayPal.

  • by raymorris (2726007) on Monday January 21, 2013 @07:24PM (#42652075)
    Indeed. With CC merchant accounts they don't automatically freeze an account full of funds based on automated heuristics. It's possible they do it rarely, but working closely with thousands of businesses, and having my own merchant accounts, I've never heard of it happening. I've had my Paypal account frozen before and I know at least a dozen other people who have.

    The chargeback process is still slanted toward the buyer, but the buyer has to fill out and mail or fax paperwork, not just click a button on a web page. That reduces BS chargebacks. More importantly, that chargeback affects only the one transaction; they don't freeze thousands of dollars of unrelated funds. CC processors only freeze the account after MANY complaints from buyers. Partly, that's because they do the anti-fraud work upfront, when you apply to open the account. That takes a couple of weeks.
  • Average Joe (Score:4, Informative)

    by englishstudent (1638477) on Monday January 21, 2013 @07:30PM (#42652133)
    I believe that the average Joe can now accept credit payments using 2CO https://www.2checkout.com/ [2checkout.com]
  • Blind lead the blind (Score:3, Informative)

    by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Monday January 21, 2013 @07:35PM (#42652179) Homepage Journal
    What better word would you use for cases where people follow rather than thinking for themselves, like a sheep circle [dailymail.co.uk] or an ant mill [wikipedia.org]?
  • Not going back (Score:5, Informative)

    by JohnnyBGod (1088549) on Monday January 21, 2013 @07:55PM (#42652335)

    Honestly, I've given up on Paypal. Back in 2009, I've had my account frozen due to using many credit cards. Since I didn't have a job, I (thought I) couldn't get an actual credit card, and used a service in my country that generates temporary credit card numbers, valid for a month and with a set credit limit*. Well, Paypal didn't like that I used more than (IIRC) 15 credit cards in X time, so they blocked my account. I've since learned that Paypal e-mail support is where messages go to die, and, through site revisions, has become almost impossible to find. So, to resolve my problem, I had to call an Irish number, where this lady basically told me "No credit card, no dice". So then silly me goes and gets an actual credit card and calls again. "Looks good. It should be OK, now" - someone else says. It isn't. The next call: "OK, reset the password from your main computer". a) My main computer was a laptop which died in the middle of this process, and I've told them this, and b) What's the point of being on the web if you're requiring people to do something from a set computer? I've reset the password and the account is still blocked, so I've given up. Luckily, I only lost a little money in this process, but I've been finding that living without PayPal is easier than I thought.

    * For the curious, https://www.mbnet.pt/ [mbnet.pt]

  • Re:Too late for us (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday January 21, 2013 @08:08PM (#42652421)

    Just tack on a PayPal "processing fee" for anyone that wants to use that method.

    Paypal terms of use forbid surcharges specifically for paypal transactions. You might be able to get away with a discount for other payment methods (I don't know for sure), that is the way people traditionally got around similar rules for credit cards - a cash discount rather than a credit card fee.

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Monday January 21, 2013 @10:05PM (#42653125) Homepage Journal

    For many many many products you can get assigned an ASIN

    And for many many many products you can't without first getting a UPC, EAN, or ISBN. The information is in a help file on Amazon, which is available only to logged-in subscribers to an Amazon seller account. I'm not at work right now and thus lack access to my employer's seller account at the moment. Do you have an Amazon seller account? If so, do you want me to look up the citation for which categories absolutely require a UPC, EAN, or ISBN?

  • by OolimPhon (1120895) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @06:56AM (#42655319)

    Make a note of it folks - the UK fax number for PayPal is 011-44-8707-303-196.

    ...and that number is a premium-rate number in the UK. Okay, perhaps your fax won't take very long to transmit but I bet that you'll pay a big chunk to send it... especially from overseas.

    Bastards.

  • by jago25_98 (566531) <jago25_98&hotmail,com> on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @08:04AM (#42655589) Homepage Journal

    The problem with Paypal is that they are heavily linked into ebay, certainly in France and the UK where Paypal has to be accepted and is very hard to avoid using.

    I've looked hard at ways to use ebay without Paypal but can see no way even for someone such as myself who would sacrifice 50% less sales in order to use a competitor to Paypal. Ebay in turn is very dominant for goods in the UK, a first port of call for any cheap goods from HongKong or used goods especially.

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