I Know What You Did Last Week

Need to know how to spend an entirely unproductive week? Well, it all starts with PayPal. First open an account and try to put their buttons in your website. Talk about the world’s worst customer service. While trying to search for resolutions to my problem, I thought I had, but what I did find was a website called PayPal Sucks. Not wanting to give in to the negative vibe, I held my breath in hopes of seeing light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. 

Well, I am here to tell you PayPal is not what it is cracked up to be. They advertise that they are the solution for small merchants to accept credit cards, but they don’t tell the whole story.  We have had guests who have wanted to pay their fees by credit card, the very reason we take credit cards through PP is that we are too small for the bank to even sniff us let alone show any real interest. Getting deposits works fine. No problemo. Yet when they are sitting in front on our computer and want to cash in the rest of the chips, PP shouts “Hey what the hell do you think I am going to do with that credit card? Eat my plastic, fool! I ain’t taking none of your magnetic stripes.” 

After months of frustration with “Customer Service” I call PP again this Monday. The high school drop out that I am speaking with keeps repeating the same mantra. 

“There must be something wrong with the credit card used.” 
So I reiterate slowly one more time, like English is her fourth language and she has hearing problems besides. 

“We have had at least ten different people used sixteen different credit cards cumulatively and not one of them worked with PayPal.” 

To this she responded “You should have your guests contact their bank to see what is wrong with their cards.”

By this time, I had lost it and started shouting loudly enough to persuade Ron to unplug his earphones, tell Rachel Maddow there was an emergency in the living room, and come running to see if I were stabbing the computer monitor while trying to get at this woman I was Skype calling. 

In a deep breath baritone, I let loose with “If you had the critical thinking skills of a kindergartener with dyslexia, you would realize that it is statistically impossible for ten people with sixteen cards to all have problems with their bank at the same time unless the address for all of them is Riker’s Island.”

She informed me that I would need to contact Technical Support, BUT the only way to do so is to use their website, which has a secret URL, but first you have to travel down the Internet highway until you come to the yellow brick road and get further instructions from some kids called Hansel and Gretel.   

Finally, I get the tech support form to fill out. There are questions there I have no idea how to answer like in what country did the moon set last, while the sun was in a full eclipse in 2004? With a hope and a prayer, I sent the form through cyberspace. 

Nathan responded to any query, but with more questions. Of course, you could write a manual about your problem with their servicers, but they still “need more information to resolve your issue.”

I like the name Nathan, so I wrote him back. Nathan wrote me back and said he tested my buttons on the site and they are working fine. Then Nathan  joined that dark space with the comment “There must be something wrong with the credit card used.”  Damn Nathan, we were getting on so well and you had to screw it up. Again, I told him what I told Customer Non-Support, but I had to type it screaming since I could not get Nathan on the phone. They don’t give out those numbers. Nathan said they could only provide tech support to the UK customers, so was really doing me a favor by trying to help out. He gave me another number to call and a suggestion. 

With Nathan’s idea that the IP address for the computer is somehow triggering a fraud alert on PP, he suggested guests use a different computer. With my handy-dandy netbook, I ventured down to the café downstairs where WiFi is there for the taking. The code is london21 if you happen to be around. While my coffee was being prepared, I log onto our site and try to pay the balance on a non-existent reservation. DENIED!!! Nathan, if you read this, you own me the cost of my coffee.  

I called this Nathan-divined number, which was in Ireland. I needed a translator. My Skype call cost me 5 Euros, because I kept saying “Excuse me?” “Could you repeat that slower?” “Do you have anyone there who is accent free?” He was just as bad. I have to spell BudaBaB four times before he understood. British Council really has their work cut out for them in Ireland, trying to teach them English. By the time my Skypc credit ran out, Cearnaigh tells me that I have to call Business support, because he only handles the UK and Ireland

Well you can be assured that Nathan heard about this. If I could get my hands on Nathan I would squeeze my ill-fated Skype Euros out of his hide. Cearnaigh did give me a number for PayPal Hungary. As I dialed that number, I was certain I was going to need a translator to hold my microphone, while I was slicing on my wrists. OMG, the guy spoke English like I do, accent free. He made sympathetic noises why I went through the litany of complaints and attempts at resolutions.  When I stopped to wipe the tears from my eyes and take a drink so I would not dehydrate from all of the tears I have shed, he said I think I know what the problem is. 

Obviously, I had finally come across a philosophy major; this man was a thinker. Then he gave me the bad news. PayPal is country specific. You can use credit cards within your own country only. Once you leave your country, you cannot use your credit card on a PayPal site for security reasons. 

He provides an example, for instance, an Egyptian is home in Cairo watching some really hot porn on his illegally wired cable box and decides to buy the DVD from England. He is able to use his credit card on the PayPal site because he is in Cairo where his credit card was issued. But then, he is on a business trip to London and wants to get the sequel to his purchase. He enters his credit card number now from his London hotel room, but the card is now denied. This is because Egypt is a Muslim country and port is against their religion and there they have to worry about potential camel abuse, therefore, PayPal has to block the credit card.

I know people that have had easier times recouping from rabies than I am was having getting answers. This is all it took to make me happy. Someone who could confirm the fact that PayPal has limitation and is not an end-all for small merchants and in essence it really does suck. 

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