The Thieving Joker

Joke stolen from: The Thieving Joker

===================================================================== "My experience with PayPal: A Rant", or "How to make things as difficult as possible for your customers"

By the Thieving Joker =====================================================================

OK. I won an auction on E-Bay on Thursday, and planned on using the PayPal service to pay for it. For those of you that have not heard of it, they keep a credit card or bank account from you on file, and when you buy something from somebody set up to recieve PayPal payments, you just go to the PayPal site, enter the e-mail address of the person you are sending payment to, and the dollar amount. Doing it this way when you buy something on E-Bay makes sense because the seller gets the money right away, so they can ship the goods right away, instead of waiting for a cheque or money order in the mail before sending it.

Sounds simple right?

I signed up for the service a year or more ago. When you sign up, they give you a $5 credit to start with. I had used it once on a $4.90 auction, so I had never used it with a credit card. So after I won the auction, I tried to add my credit card. Problem #1. You can't use a credit card that does not have a U.S. billing address. So I send a note to their help address. By the next day, still no response from their help desk (in fact, I still have not heard from them as of Sunday night). So I track down their 800 number and call them. The person I talk to says they won't let me use a non-US credit card. I ask if that means I can't use their service at all then. She says I can create an "International" account. I get her to explain how to do it, then I hang up and try it.

Step 1, close my old account. I try that, and it tells me that it cannot close my account because I have a ten cent balance, because they can't refund it to a PO box, and because I don't have a credit card on file. Even though on the previous screen they state they will not refund less than $1.50 anyway). Aargh! I'm getting nowhere fast.

So I call their 800 number again. I explain the situation. Sorry. They can't close my account for me. How the hell can I close this account then, I ask. Just send the money to somebody she says. Hmmm. Hadn't thought of that.

OK. Step 1, version 2. I sent the dime payment to the seller of the item I am buying.

Step 2, close the account. Success this time. We're cooking now!

Step 3, open a new international account. Go though the whole open account form, and get to a line that has a very hard to read graphic that show 8 letters/numbers in a horrible to read font (kind of like army stencil letters), on a grid background. Pretty much impossible to tell the difference between a one and an L, or an O or a zero. And you are supposed to type this string in the box next to the graphic. What the hell is this for? In the end I had to refresh the page (to get a different graphic set of letters/numbers because I could not manage to type a match for the ones the first time).

Step 3, version 2, open a new international account. Go though the whole open account form again. This time I manage to type in the magical letters correctly. I'm soooo happy!

Step 4, add a credit card to the account. Fill out the form for that and submit it.

Step 5, check my email for confirmation notes. First one comes for the e-mail address confirmation. Click on the link and my e-mail is verified. Wahoo!

Step 6. E-mail about the credit card comes. Apparently I have to check my credit card statement to see some number printed on the item on my statement, and type that on the confirmation page. If they had said this was how it would work before I did this maybe I would have used a credit card that has web statement capabilities...

Step 7. Call my credit card company to see if they can tell me the number on the charge on my statement. No dice. Have to wait for my next print statement. In 6 weeks.

Step 8. Walk down to the bank and buy a money order and mail it.

I can understand the need for security on this kind of service, but there is no way it should be this damn difficult to use their service. Anybody out there think pissing off your customers is a good business practice?

If you've read this far though my rant. I'm amazed. Got any "I-can't believe-they're-that-stupid" stories you'd like to share? Doesn't have to be about PayPal. Could be about anybody. Write to mailto: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and let me hear it. If I find it funny (or outstandingly pathetic), maybe I'll publish it in the Thieving Joker list later this week.

Ahhh! I feel better now that is off my chest.