Jacques Mattheij

Technology, Coding and Business

PayPal robbed my bank account

PayPal has a pretty bad reputation when it comes to dealing with inbound payments that sit in your ‘paypal account’ pending withdrawal. It’s not unheard of that they freeze your account without provocation and only release the funds up to 6 months later (or not at all, in some cases).

Over the last weeks I’ve found that it can get worse. Fortunately the amount involved is not large enough to put me out of business but I’m definitely not pleased with what is happening here, they dropped one of my accounts briefly below zero without any reason to do so and banks just love it when an account without overdraft permission goes below 0 for a while.

Here is a copy of the transactions that this is all about:

On the paypal side it looks like this:

It all started when I paid a friend for work done for me through paypal, on the 6th of September. Paypal took the money out of the account (which has been ‘verified’), and all seemed well. 10 days later, on the 16th I transferred another 1,000 euros to the same person. Much to my surprise, about a half hour later, paypal reversed the charge, but the amount was paid in to the account of the recipient. Free money, or so it seemed :) I mailed their support and sure enough, on the 21st of September the money was taken out again, this time gone for good.

Then, in an unforeseen turn of events, the original 550 euros was booked back retroactively to the 6th of September. On the first of October (after another email) it was removed again. Finally, on the 2nd of October I paid $500 using paypal to another recipient and paypal wrote off 922,51, which is close to 1250 dollars!!

I wrote their support department again, with absolutely no response to date (that’s two weeks and counting). So, it seems that PayPal, instead of being your pal has now resorted to plugging the holes in their bookkeeping by taking random amounts from bank accounts, occasionally paying you back hoping you won’t notice the differences, in this case that difference is more or less exactly the 550 euros from the original transaction which now has been booked off twice.

Now, for me a BANK (which is what PayPal is here in Europe) should not be making mistakes, the fact that it is apparently happening with some regularity is cause for worry and their lack of communications are more worrying still.

Banks are institutions that you trust with your money and that you can rely on not to take money out of your account without an explicit order to do so.

I’ve worked for a bank myself, and I guarantee you that if such a thing had happened there that heads would have rolled. Besides that, even if the end amount on my bank account had been ok the way paypal books money out, back, and out again makes for a bookkeeping nightmare. Fortunately I don’t have a large number of PayPal transactions but they really ought to clean up their act.

If you have a PayPal account and you’ve given paypal access to that account be aware that this stuff is happening, and that PayPal does not think it worth their time to respond to your support requests, even after they’ve blatantly stolen from you.

We’ll see if - and when - it all gets sorted out.

Feedback and questions: http://twitter.com/jmattheij or jacques@mattheij.com