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PayPal has been hit with a class-action lawsuit by members who claim the online payment
company froze their funds without their prior knowledge. The complaint also stems in part
from difficulties that some members had in contacting PayPal to straighten out allegedly false
charges. The suit seeks unspecified monetary damages and calls for PayPal to change its
If the information management and the internal business mechanisms and process of a PKI Certification Authority (such as PayPal, Verisign, et al) can not be trusted, then how can that CA be trusted to manage safe and secure transactions?
Given the great advances in low cost, realtime Point-to-Point encryptions systems, supporting smart cards and most bio interfaces, it seems, if the market awakens to the possiblities, the days of the PKI CAs are numbered.
I used PayPal.Com for 2 years. In this time, I racked up over $5000.00 USD.
One day, out of the blue, my web hosting company's money was frozen. It took 6 days to find their phone number, then, when i called them, they hung up on me 19 times, cussed me out twice, and refused to give me my money, saying I was not the owner of the account.
I provided them with ALL possible documents, including photo copies of my DL License, Military ID Card, My social security card, birth certificate, and mush more, and THEY STILL WOULD NOT give me my money.
The reason they do this? Simple. If you watch the stock market, you know that they "mysteriously" gained $70,000,000 in worth. they were using the frozen assets to boost their stocks.
Federal crime? Yes!
Immoral and unethical? Double YES!
Does anyone have recent information about the Class Actions pending against Paypal? Paypal recently froze my account for no reason other than what they called "suspicious transactions," which would probably be $3000 that I transferred in from one checking account and then out to another. Not a violation of the user agreement in any way, and both accounts were verified accounts.
They asked for driver's license and copies of recent statements, which I provided. They then asked for more proof, which I also provided. And then more proof, including things which had already been provided. There is only $100 involved, and -- if they follow the user agreement -- it would automatically be refunded at the end of six months, so I have not been willing to meet the most recent demand, which is for a letter on bank letterhead signed by a bank officer verifying that I sign on the account. However, doing the research, I found that many other users have experienced similar problems, often involving much larger sums, enough to perhaps indicate some manipulation of asset levels, i.e., pumping the books, which is a characteristic of businesses about to collapse or seeking acquisition. I'm left with a serious mistrust of Paypal, since they interpret the user agreement to allow them to seize funds whenever they like, with very little recourse available to the user; we were about to add Paypal to our list of payment methods. Now, no way will we do this; we already accept credit cards, so who needs the aggravation? (Yes, I have called customer service, more than once. What a waste of time!)
PayPal does not abide by Federal Banking and Credit Rules at the present. If you wish to use your legal right to cancel a purchase made through any of your credit cards, they freeze your account and do not allow you to continue using your PayPal account, and will not cancel it or release (or erase) your private credit card information, until you REIMBURSE PAYPAL for the transaction amount you have canceled, which is a direct violation of Federal Laws on Banking and Credit Card usage. I filed a complaint with the Feds but never heard a word because the fraud was only for a $60 charge falsely debited from one of my credit card accounts. When PayPal refused to cancel the charge after over one month, I notified my Credit Card issuer, and they canceled it. THAT IS A NO-NO AT PAYPAL AND THEY FREEZE YOUR ACCOUNT AND REFUSE TO CANCEL THE ACCOUNT OR RELEASE OR ERASE YOUR PRIVATE CREDIT CARD INFORMATION, CHECK IT OUT, IT IS FRAUD.
Attention admins and board members,
My reason for writing this is NOT to get you to abandon these boards, but to bring people together. Paypal realizes that as long as there are 50 - 100 of these boards on the net, people will remain divided. My goal is to UNITE. I ask for your input as to how we can both keep these boards active and also band together as ONE group. In my discussions with a paypal exec. a year and a half ago, they started wanting to make a deal when I told them I was going to e-mail some 9000 people. They have grown considerably since then. 9000 people don't scare them anymore. 900,000 will. If you realize that paypal boasts 15 million customers, their own SEC filing states only 3 million business (or paying) accounts. Most of you make up a good share of those business accounts and can have a big impact on them. Getting out to the rest of those 3 mil will make paypal pay attention. I have set up a group in yahoo, groups.yahoo.com/group/nopal-paypal/ for the purpose of getting your comments as well as chatting about this.
Please join and give your input and support. Don't stop supporting these boards as they are vital to keeping the pressure on.
wow..... I use paypal all the time and haven't had any problems whatsoever. Of course, I'm not doing the volume you are. Sorry you're going through that. I plan on dumping them at the first sign of trouble, but that has yet to happen. In the meantime, it's just a very easy alternative when collecting money from customers.
I have been observing the frozen account and charge back mayhem since my company was affected by unlawful allegations that have sent my life upside down since this time last year. If you have not read article on Paypal in Smart Money, June 2002 issue I suggest obtaining a copy.
Paypal claims to not be a bank or financial institution whereas they hold account balances for users just as a bank. They call themselves an "online payment service". Bidpay and Payingfast are an online payment service. They accept payments from buying parties and send "payments" to the selling party. They do not have option to hold balances nor any type of accounting systems. Just accept and send payments. That's an "online payment service".
Currently I (the chief officer of my company) am involved in a criminal case on felony charges caused by unlawful charge backs and "frozen funds" on an e-commerce project from 2001.
Operating a small business that started my home, I became intrigued by Ebay after reading several of small business expanding to new markets worldwide with not much money invested. Being a broker, buying from numerous suppliers, this concept was ideal for a company to expand without much overhead. My first encounter with Paypal was over a transaction for $990 from a new customer who had purchased something with a credit card since I did not yet have a merchant account. My buyer set up an account and sent payment. Due to delay on artwork approvals from buyer the order was completed two weeks later than normal. For a week or so the buyer was a bit nervous and simply inquired about making a charge back. Paypal had deducted the $990 from my account and says to issue a valid confirmation that the order was delivered. I provide this for them when the order is shipped two weeks from my buyer's inquiry to them of the transaction. They had not received anything back from Paypal. Their order was delivered and the buyer was fine at this point. I faxed and snail mailed a copy of the airway bill to Paypal as proof of delivery. They told me all was OK and that I'd be credited the $990. To date nothing has been done regarding this matter. I would have assumed that perhaps it may have taken 30-60 days and was too busy at the time, figuring that since I sent proof and the buyer's contact number to validate it I'd be okay.
That was only the beginning of the nightmares. In March, my company began running auctions through Ebay. Sales had increased from 3 a day to 100 per day in less than 4 weeks. I decided to invest the money I had saved at the time into hiring a communications center and several other subcontractors to handle email replies, phone inquiries, shipping, packaging, and accounting. It had appeared to happen overnight. My company's Paypal had several thousands in reserve everyday. Product demand was beyond my purchasing power on inventory so I began buying products on net 30 terms established with my overseas suppliers. There were some bumpy roads the first few weeks but for a while all seemed bliss.
Everything snowballed when one buyer (who turned out to be a minor using his parents Visa without authorization) demanded we send product within 2 days or else.... With this not being our company's policy we assumed the matter was not something to show concern towards and that the buyer was just very anxious to get their order. The buyer (who had both, an Ebay and Paypal account) contacted several of our newer buyers with invalid accusations. This buyer and several other buyers that recently sent payments via Paypal, contacted Paypal based on what was said in the one speculative email from the anxious buyer. Some of the payment transactions were not even a day old (as our order policy was 4-7 working days for standard delivery). Despite all of this Paypal charged back the orders from buyers, deducted the remaining amount from the Paypal balance, and the rest from the Visa linked to the account. All of this with no notification at all until after the funds were deducted. Fixing the mess was even worse. With several of the orders already shipped, some in processing with our shipper, others that came in within the past 24 hours, we were left dealing with a customer service nightmare. Some of the buyers had complaints from buyers that purchased a day or so before them, so on, and so on. When Paypal was contacted they tell me that if I send them delivery confirmation for each complaint that they will credit the funds. Just when there appeared to show hope towards vanquishing the matter and taking $12k that was lost on shipped goods that were charged back on the chin I figured this was only normal when dealing in high volumes. Almost two weeks later in early June 2001, Paypal put a "freeze" on my company's Paypal account, deducting the remaining amount from the Paypal account, reversing a recent ACH transfer to my corporate account, pulling my Paypal account balance almost $10,000 in the negative, maxing out the credit card on the account, and deducting thousands from my checking account. I had halted all new auction listings and took a week to try to untangle the web previously created. Despite my company's efforts to resolve matters our Ebay account was soon suspended due to the same buyers filing complaints after getting emails from other buyers that were contacted by the first "mad" customer (who at that time had long had their order, thus leaving several hundreds unaware of their matter being resolved). My company's bills were stacking up fast. Ebay would not reinstate the account, so our sales volume from just a month before had came to a dead stop. The last few dozen buyers that had sent funds while the account was frozen (but still accepting incoming funds) or sent fund transfer a day or so before were left with no explanation to where their funds were and why we had not shipped their orders. Can you imagine telling 60+ customers that their $200 or $300 is frozen in an account that is ours? I was contacted by police that were contacted by customers that had not received their order. The police were provided vague details of what really caused buyers not to receive orders. When Paypal did "payment reversals" on the several transactions our remained liable for problems. The fact is that they didn't give payments back to the customers when they charged back payment from our company. When we told the customers of this most said they did not request the charge back (only inquired about transaction protection after getting email slander), did not receive refunds from Paypal (even after 30-60 days and those few who did only received partial refund), and told the buyers that had reversed payments that we still had their money. We emailed payment reversal transaction numbers (from our account records) for the buyers to send to Paypal as proof. The buyers would reply back a day or so later with header such as "Liar" or "Thief". Some even were angered enough to contact the FBI, attorney general's office in a few states (including mine), and the Better Business Bureau. By August 2002 I no longer could afford the customer service center services, more invoices became past due, hundreds of emails from mad customers, and not enough money to fix the problems that were at that point of out my control. My company had lost a deposit with a supplier, was forced to send back thousands of units received on net terms that we were unable to sell because of our eBay suspension. All of our corporate buyers that respected our company had now discontinued dealings with my company after catching wind of what happened. Everything went upside down in a matter of weeks. The police couldn't understand my behalf of the matter, threaten to file fraud charges if I did not fix the problems, and found my story totally unbelievable. Paypal would only send auto replies to my email inquiries.
Their investigations department contacted me in August. I almost was led to believe that they would come through after requesting I send them tracking numbers for orders. The request was unreasonable since only a small percentage of the several thousand orders we shipped had actually received charge backs, but I figured if they were willing to clear the issue, I'm more than willing to obtain them, and have them sent to them. About a month went by and no reply from Paypal. You would have thought my corporate insurance would have helped, but my claim was not covered under the policy.
In November I was arrested on a state warrant for felony charges for "Theft by Swindle". Get that; a business owner; never been in trouble with the law for anything but now I'm labeled a wanted con artist. I didn't know the warrant existed. Despite that, I spent almost 2 days in jail with $22,000 bail hanging over my head. I was finally released and issued a court appearance. A "wealthy" friend was willing to cover bail and I would have still been in there now. Over Paypal? Does this make sense to you? Well, the police thought it did. The matters had me stressed. I was borrowing money from relatives to pay rent. My got car repo'd. My company had several thousands in past due debt. I was behind on personal bills. My company had a horrible rating with the BBB and SOS. Legal fees to cover the case costs $10k + but I have no money. So I'm left hung to dry? Perhaps and perhaps not. Paypal had been contacted with court orders to release records and still did not provide sufficient data that would clear my name. I was forced to use a public defender after not having enough for the law office on the case to continue as my defense. Life has been hell since all of this. I used to live in a brand new townhome in a nice part of town, planning to buy a new home, and get married. Now I live in an attic in a rough side of town, no car, still thousands in debt, barely paying phone, childcare, and rent. There were times when I had only chilled water from the faucet and bread dated for sale by Feb 20 but preserved by the refrigerator (eating it in May). One night I ate a frost-bitten burrito. Sound funny to you? I'm not laughing. Perhaps one of the officers at Paypal is. I cannot understand how these guys can look at themselves in the mirror and go to bed at night thinking that there is some guy who nearly lost everything because of their negligence. The investigator on the case finally figured out that Paypal had charged back the funds and that my company or myself did not steal anyone's money. Why is this company still in operation? I'm at home. The landlord called me today because my rent is not paid. This has never happened to me until dealing with Paypal. And where is my $990 for the first order they charged back that I sent a tracking number for over a year ago? It really does not make sense. There is obviously something not viable with their operation but they still are in business. This is hard to believe. I have since contacted every congressman's office, every magazine, every major news reporter, the FTC, SEC, BBB, attorney general's office in Nebraska (and CA), and I suggest that anyone who has suffered even a fraction of what I have to take a stand. Forward this testimony to everyone who has been affected by this company and let them know they are not alone. Together we can see to it that this dot-com bully does not victimize small businesses or their customers ever again. This chaos must stop. Thank God I was strong enough to make it this long throughout the madness. I would never hope for what has happened to me for anyone or business. Their practices are highly unethical. I cannot see how they take pride in their investor relations reports. If they are profiting from the downfalls that they put small businesses into (that help make them who they are today), I find it hard to believe that they feel any sense of prosperity. Perhaps they thought I'd never come back. Check and mate!
The Living Dead
Join our yahoo club and help put a stop to this.
Yahoo! Groups :http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nopal-paypal/
Also visit www.suepaypal.org
Please be aware that this is our story but this is happening to tens of thousands of people, not just in Texas but all over the world.
On September 14,2000, I opened an account with Paypal. At that time it was for the purpose of transferring moneys to people or business programs I wanted to get into on the Internet. Somewhere around Oct. 15,2000 an Internet friend suggested that people were having trouble funding their egold accounts and it might be a business I might think about. As a semi retired businessman, because of a heart condition, I researched this and found that many of the people needing their gold accounts funded had paypal accounts also. Subsequently I opened an egold account and funded it with a thousand dollars. I started advertising on my web page that I could help people change their dollars into gold. Business started to move slowly until people realized that I made fast transactions through Paypal and was honest. My reputation grew rapidly and soon I was doing $200,000.00 a month in transactions with Paypal alone. Somewhere around Christmas I got a charge back notice saying that I was in receipt of potentially fraudulent funds. They "Paypal" asked for certain information in regard to the account named, which I provided. When I called they said it was under investigation. As time went on day by day these transactions kept coming in to the tune of over $20,000.00 worth of so-called fraudulent funds "stolen credit cards." My calls to Paypal only resulted in being passed from one clerk to another with no results. When I did finally get to middle management personnel all I received was a canned speech but no help. They"Paypal" accepted the credit cards and in return sent me a confirmation e-mail stating "you've got cash." The money was in their accounts and three to six weeks later Paypal is saying the accounts were no good. I checked some accounts and found this to be wrong. These people proved that Paypal had debited their accounts and had their monies.
In late January they gave me another support number to call saying I had a "red carpet" account, that way I could speak with management people, a week later they froze my account. This did not allow me to make any transactions but allowed people to make deposits into my account, which I requested be stopped until our problem was resolved. They refused to do this and took other peoples money to satisfy the negative balance in my account. I requested this by email and phone on February 5. My account became positive and they opened it. I started transferring gold into my customer's accounts again trying to catch up and then they "locked" my account. As of today they have me +$20,000.00 out of pocket money and a negative balance of somewhere in the $9,000.00 range.
Now they are e-mailing my customers saying they should file fraud charges against me. Also telling them that they have had many complaints against my account and basically that I'm the crook. My customers are behind me and now send me monies in other ways. This I have proof of.
My point is Paypal is not what they say they are. As a supposed financial institution or so, the only thing they are concerned with is getting accounts which adds up to transaction fees regardless of whether they are legitimate or not. I now see that their policies are strictly set up to protect themselves not their legitimate customers. Their security is at best nonexistent.
1. I did not accept the accounts THEY DID
2. I did not have access to their bank accounts or credit cards. THEY DID
3. I kept my commitment to my customers THEY DIDN'T
4. I researched what accounts I could and proved them wrong THEY DIDN'T
We went to arbitration on the 21st and 22nd of January and the decision is due at the latest on the 4th of April. As I sit here today, I'm asking myself "WAS IT WORTH IT". Well yes and no.Yes, because most of my 60 yrs. I've believed that when you feel your in the right you fight for a principle, as most of you have. We don't know whether we won our case yet, but I do now know that principles come at a high price. The agony that Hanna and I have gone through in the past 14 months is priceless. We have over 95k in credit card debt, 14k of which went to the American Arbitration Association, (in a court it would have cost less than 1k) over 4k traveling to San Francisco. Legal fees have exceeded 100k and I still owe my attorneys over 30k. A year and a half ago we were trying to prepare to retire. Thanks to paypal we now are looking at possibly losing our home as well as everything else we've worked for all or lives. Paypal has filed a protective order on the case guess they don't want you to be able to make a judgement for yourselves. Ignorance of their ways is power. If a court finds me in violation of this ridiculous order then so be it. At least I will go to jail knowing I have done my best to warn my fellow Americans of the possible pitfalls of doing business with them. I have come to the realization that terrorism does not just rest in the hands of bin laden, (he will kill you), but Peter, Max, Reid and the staff of paypal will make you feel like like a bomb has leveled you. By the way, when Peter Thiel was suppose to testify at my hearing he didn't have the intestinal fortitude (GUTS) to show up.
Well the verdict is in. Paypal forced us into arbitration and we lost. Well we did get $5,000.00 taken of the $18,976.29 under the seller protection program, which means we only owe paypal $13,976.29 + $784.97 interest and $312,213.50 in attorney fees and $26,703.91in paralegal fees. So much for a simple contract dispute and doing business with them.
In the near future we will publish the entire contents of the case so that if anyone is interested they can judge for themselves.
We were forced into arbitration. we were trying to settle our differences and had refused their one sided offers, which mainly included that we not reveal anything that happened. This would have prevented us from telling others our experiences and how to prevent it from happening to them.
What we found yesterday was that they needed to have 3 lawyers and two paralegals to prove their case. Their case according to their primary lawyer was "a simple contract dispute".
Being forced to seek legal counsel, after we found out they had started proceedings against us, we hired an attorney in Texas, because the arbitration was in California we needed one there also.
This simple contract dispute resulted in tens of thousands of pages of documents.
Their contention was simple, if you used a credit card to send someone money and they sent it to someone else who sent it to another, all through their accounts we was responsible to pay paypal back. Also if paypal took a credit card that failed the address verification check, which happened twice on one account we were responsible. Now answer this one, one of our customers sent 3 separate transactions, all with the same credit card the first transaction was reversed, but the others were not.
Basically what ever happens, paypal is not responsible. They operate outside of banking regulations and do not protect anyone, but themselves. This we believe is against consumer law because as a merchant they have a responsibility to their customers.
The arbitration process is, to say the least, a violation of a persons right to a fair and impartial trial. The arbitrator in our case was a well-known San Francisco corporate lawyer. Because we did not have a lawyer at the time, we had no choice. To our dismay, after returning from arbitration in San Francisco, we found on the Internet where a corporate lawyer from New York wrote that arbitration favors the big corporations 95+% of the time.
Below is the California civil code that was entered into law in 1989. The arbitrator chose to ignore this when it was noted in the final brief filed by our attorneys.
1748.7. (a) No person shall process, deposit, negotiate, or obtainpayment of a credit card charge through a retailer's account with afinancial institution or through a retailer's agreement with afinancial institution, card issuer, or organization of financialinstitutions or card issuers if that retailer did not furnish oragree to furnish the goods or services which are the subject of thecharge.(b) No retailer shall permit any person to process, deposit,negotiate, or obtain payment of a credit card charge through theretailer's account with a financial institution or the retailer'sagreement with a financial institution, card issuer, or organizationof financial institutions or card issuers if that retailer did notfurnish or agree to furnish the goods or services which are thesubject of the charge.(c) Subdivisions (a) and (b) do not apply to any of thefollowing:(1) A person who furnishes goods or services on the businesspremises of a general merchandise retailer and who processes,deposits, negotiates, or obtains payment of a credit card chargethrough that general merchandise retailer's account or agreement.(2) A general merchandise retailer who permits a person describedin paragraph (1) to process, deposit, negotiate, or obtain payment ofa credit card charge through that general merchandise retailer'saccount or agreement.(3) A franchisee who furnishes the cardholder with goods orservices that are provided in whole or in part by the franchisor andwho processes, deposits, negotiates, or obtains payment of a creditcard charge through that franchisor's account or agreement.(4) A franchisor who permits a franchisee described in paragraph(3) to process, deposit, negotiate, or obtain payment of a creditcard charge through that franchisor's account or agreement.(5) The credit card issuer or a financial institution or aparent, subsidiary, or affiliate of the card issuer or a financialinstitution.(6) A person who processes, deposits, negotiates, or obtainspayment of less than five hundred dollars ($500) of credit cardcharges in any one year period through a retailer's account oragreement. The person shall have the burden of producing evidencethat the person transacted less than five hundred dollars ($500) incredit card charges during any one year period.(d) Any person injured by a violation of this section may bring anaction for the recovery of damages, equitable relief, and reasonableattorney's fees and costs.(e) Any person who violates this section shall be guilty of amisdemeanor. Each occurrence in which a person processes, deposits,negotiates, or otherwise seeks to obtain payment of a credit cardcharge in violation of subdivision (a) constitutes a separateoffense.(f) The penalties and remedies provided in this section are inaddition to any other remedies or penalties provided by law.(g) The exemptions from this title specified in Section 1747.03 donot apply to this section.(h) As used in this section:(1) "General merchandise retailer" means any person or entity,regardless of the form of organization, that has continuously offeredfor sale or lease more than 100 different types of goods or servicesto the public in this state throughout a period which includes theimmediately preceding five years.(2) "Franchisor" has the same meaning as defined in Section 31007of the Corporations Code.(3) "Franchisee" has the same meaning as defined in Section 31006of the Corporations Code.
There are thousands of people complaining about Pay Pal "restricting" their accounts without warning. I intend to warn everybody I can about Pay Pal, because after my experience with them, I consider them a very bad company to work with. They can freeze your account so you cannot take money OUT, but your customers can (and do, in my personal experience) send money IN to your frozen account. Try to tell your customers that THEIR money is frozen in YOUR account but it isn't your fault, and see what happens to YOUR REPUTATION.
I advise everybody to learn more about the bad side of Pay Pal. These are just 4 sites, there are others:
Tell others to read up on Pay Pal before they open an account.
I can certainly relate. I purchased an item (June 2000) using an online auction company (the largest) and the item was never shipped to me. After attempting to resolve the situation through the seller, then through the affiliated trade monitoring organization that the online auction recommended, I finally contacted my banking institution. I used my debit card that has a major logo on it to purchase the item. Therefore, they immediately refunded my money. But I didn't realize that Paypal would incur a chargeback from this action. When they did, they froze my account so that funds could be deposited, but not withdrawn or used in any way by me until I repaid all of the chargeback. Scammed not once, but twice! Paypal instructed me to contact my banking institution and tell them that I made the claim in error, then they would reverse the action with Paypal and Paypal would reverse their action against me. I don't think so...To this day my Paypal account is still frozen and occasionally my buyers will mistakenly attempt to pay me through Paypal. Well to date there is over $70 just sitting in my Paypal account that I cannot use. Paypal will not allow me to close it either....until they have all of "their" money back....over $115.00! To continue, I usually end up shipping the item that my buyer paid for anyway just to keep my reputation good on the auction pages! Now the online auction is merging with Paypal! My business is just about finished with these companies.
Paypal has much bigger problems, I believe.
I signed up as an international user and attempted to transfer A$30. Paypal took this as US$30 as their system can only handle US dollars. There is nothing on the transaction screen that warns you of this! Paypal charged A$58 to my credit card but then only delivered A$42 to the seller at the other end. $16 disappeared as fees!
Wow, the fees alone were more than 50% of the intended transaction.
Even if I guessed that all entered amounts would be treated as US dollars I still could not use their system. What amount do I enter to ensure A$30 at the other end? There is no exchange rate converter on the transaction screen or anywhere else in the system. Do I make it US$15 or is it US$20 or some other amount? How do I guess that 27% of the amount I enter will disappear?
The paypal system can't be used by international users that want to pay a local currency amount. Promoting this system to overseas customers I believe is a fraud.
Next, try to contact Paypal customer service. It is the worst service that you could possibly receive. You go for many days with no response and if you do get a response it is automated standard stuff. In my case the response essentially was bad luck and we are not interested in changing our ways.
Other class actions should follow.