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paypal : safe or not?
Thread poster: aurelita
aurelita
Local time: 15:27
English to French
+ ...
Dec 11, 2003

I was asked if I could be paid by paypal. I don't have any account set with Paypal as yet, but I have read a great number of complaints about it, and wondered if anyone could tell me about their experience. What other means of payment do you use?
Thanks.
Aurélie


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Luca Tutino  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:27
Member (2002)
English to Italian
+ ...
not very easy to set up Dec 11, 2003

As far as I can see, setting up an account can be a bit difficult. One should carefully follow the procedures indicated and read the fine prints. Not doing so could result in unexpected costs or even disfunctions, which are the apparent couse of a few complaints.

Otherwise, there is no problem at all with it!


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Aisha Rishi
Pakistan
Local time: 19:27
English to Urdu
+ ...
too much hassel Dec 11, 2003

aurelita wrote:

I was asked if I could be paid by paypal. I don't have any account set with Paypal as yet, but I have read a great number of complaints about it, and wondered if anyone could tell me about their experience. What other means of payment do you use?
Thanks.
Aurélie


I personally dont like paypal, its too much of a hassel, especially to set it up. and there have been reports of them closing down the accounts even when u havent done anything bad. So what you can do is as soon as you get the payment have it transferrred to your bank, dont keep it in paypal for long.
If you are from England then you can use nochex, that is the best one I have ever used but unfortunately its only for england.


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Atenea Acevedo  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:27
English to Spanish
+ ...
My 2 cents Dec 11, 2003

Hi, Aurelia,

I guess it depends on what country you live in (I've gathered that from reading previous postings on this). I haven't had any problem with paypal so far, and have used it for about two years now. For Mexico, the exchange rate is considerably fair and the fees are nothing to fear. I also use bank transfers when my clients don't want to use paypal.

Cheers,
Atenea


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xxxmishima
Local time: 23:27
Italian to Japanese
+ ...
Only problems Dec 12, 2003

I tried some months ago to use PayPal for payments into my japanese bank account. For unknown "technical" reasons I could not get it work with my bank (a primary american bank with affiliates all over the world). This was not a big issue anyway, as I simply decided to discontinue any attempt to use this service. The real problem is that for each attempt I made to withdraw my money (without succeeding at all), I was charged something around 5 Euro.

At the end, for a payment of 120 Euro I was charged something like 25 Euro without being able to get the money from my customer. I heard that PayPal is working fine for many users. Mine is one of the unsatisfied voices, though.

Mishima


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:57
English to Tamil
+ ...
And what is worse, Paypal does not seem to care Dec 12, 2003

It seems some settings are made in the beginning. If things go fine, well and good. Otherwise God help you! Because nobody from Paypal is going to help you, if one goes by the numerous postings in the Proz fora.
In countries like India, you can open a paypal account but you will not be able to transfer your money to your Indian bank account.
There seems to be three possibilities.
A) Countries where the paypal account cannot be opened
B) Countries like India as explained above C) Countries, where the account opening as well as the transfer to the local account are possible.

Problem seems to be mainly for the B-countries. I had mentioned elsewhere that Paypal had no business to come into B-countries. But till date I have not seen a single official reply from Paypal people anywhere. If some such reply is there, I am anxious to see the same.
Regards,
N.Raghavan


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Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 16:27
French to English
Aurelita, be very careful if you use paypal... Dec 12, 2003

Do your homework...do a bit of research. If you are prepared to risk losing your money, then go ahead. If I were you, I would not under any circumstances give paypal access to your bank account.

Try reading this for starters:

http://www.paypalsucks.com/forums/showthread.php?fid=6&tid=1529&old_block=0

I closed my account after hearing about some horror stories and reading paypal's new terms and conditions. No way! They basically ask you to forfeit all of your rights.

One last thing, the "horror stories" about paypal have to be taken with a grain of salt, like any information you get in Internet forums. But the class action lawsuit is real, as are the various state and federal investigations of paypal's business practices...

HTH and good luck!

Sara

[Edited at 2003-12-12 06:55]

[Edited at 2003-12-12 06:59]


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aurelita
Local time: 15:27
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thank you Dec 12, 2003

Thank you for all your answers, I don't know yet what to do, maybe I will like some suggest just use it for small amounts of money and make sure I withdraw the money immediately...

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ADSTRAD  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:27
English to French
+ ...
anyone can help me with expanded use member ? Dec 12, 2003

Hello
after paying loads of bank fees for international payments, I decided to trust paypal. but now, to withdraw my money, I need my expanded user number. I have followed the instructions on the web site and the transaction appeared today on my bank statement... with no trace of an expanded user number. what I get is a number in the form :123 456 789 11
does anyone know which are the 4 digits I need to enter ???
thank you
Caroline


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:57
English to Tamil
+ ...
Here is what an ex-Paypal man is saying Dec 12, 2003

[quote]Try reading this for starters:

http://www.paypalsucks.com/forums/showthread.php?fid=6&tid=1529&old_block=0

Copied from the above reference:
"I was a "middle management type" with Pay-Pal until leaving recently- partally due to my disgust over their internal security policies which have led to the mountain of complaints seen on this and other similar boards. There aren't many PP whistleblowers; during your "exit interview" a soon-to-be-former manager is warned, intimidated and threatened against doing the very thing I'm doing right now. But since I left to start my own business, there's not a thing they can do to me.

Pay-Pal DID start as an honest, legitimate company with an innovative service concept. However, in my opinion, this concept can never actually WORK in the real world because there are legions of scammers all over the globe with reams of stolen credit card info and identifications just WAITING to swoop down on any new "payment service" like this that comes along. Credit-card transactions where the "card is not present" and thus personally examined by a clerk account for the overwhelming majority of fraud transactions. Comparitavely, there's very LITTLE credit card fraud at Wal-Mart, because the cashier actually sees both you and the card- and can ask for supporting identification at the point of sale. Unfortunatly, the high-risk, "card not present" transactions are the ONLY kind of transaction a company like PP can do, and boy- did the con artists find them in a hurry! The basic con was (and is) to use stolen identification information to open new PP accounts, funnel money into them with stolen credit card numbers, then transfer the money OUT of the account before PP gets the charge-back and can freeze it. Unfortunately, despite PP's claims of having a "tough anti-fraud program", these people are mostly impossible to catch, because when opening a new PP account, they DO have all the proper-appearing ID information (which was stolen or conned out of unsuspecting individuals, most of whom have never HEARD of Pay-Pal). When fraud is uncovered and the account is checked out, the perp is almost never caught, since it was almost always opened under a stolen identity, and he's long abandoned the mail-drop.

Yes, the application process COULD be made more stringent, but it is felt (probably correctly) that a brand-new customer would certainly balk at doing things like sending in notorized copies of their driver's licence and so forth. So an "alternate strategy" for offsetting the charge-back losses slowly evolved at PP. It's the perfect scheme really; since PP can't usually catch the scammers and dosen't want to loose customer base by making things more stringent to start with- they decided to simply re-coup their chargebacks from the pockets (and accounts) of good, solid people under the easily-defensible and impossible-to-criticize guize of "Fraud Prevention and Enforcement".. Simply put, if you're a seller and somebody pays you with a stolen credit card, you're targeted by PP security and might very well have your account siezed, "investigated", closed- and the money retained by PP. (Yes... they simply "add" it to their revenues and spend it like any other income. You basically gave them permission to do this under the "terms and conditions" you originally agreed to. No, I KNOW you didn't really read it, but I bet you will the next time!). Even if the person paying you has NOT used a stolen credit card, he could have been been flagged by PP as "somebody to keep an eye on" for any one of numerous reasons. If he does business with YOU, especially multiple times- you're frozen. OCCASIONALLY some lucky soul will complain about the siezure, and when the case is "investigated" by PP he is "cleared" and the money unfrozen. This good fortune has nothing to do with an actual "investigation" (there aren't any, really). Pay-Pal WILL unfreeze a small percentage of the accounts (as a future defense against a potential class action), so you MAY benefit from a simple luck of the draw. See, if it ever comes down to a massive class-action lawsuit, or even testimony before the SEC or other regulatory body, PP wants to be able to stand up in court and say "But your honor, we DON'T just freeze accounts and pocket the money. We really DO perform a painstaking investigation. Here's the proof... look at all these people who WERE suspected, but were then cleared by our "crack security staff"! If this was really a scam, why would we have given all of THIS this money back?"

I'm amused by the posts that say, "But I've been a good customer of PP since the beginning and have paid thousands in fees.... why would they have done this to ME?" Let me answer that with a hypothetical question: If you were an unregulated financial services company so embittered by fraud losses that you, yourself, had completely lost whatever moral compass you might have once possessed, what would YOU rather have: a happy, content customer whos business might account for $5000 worth of fees over the next 10 years, or a person who's pissed off and will NEVER do business with you again, BUT you've got his $5000 up-front, TODAY- siezed directly out of his account with no appeal possible. Believe me, it's a no-brainer to these people. They have sort of developed a wierd corporate mindset wherein their past (and ongoing) victomization at the hands of con-artists somehow gives them license to "pass it along" to others. Think the E-Bay purchase will make it all better? Guess again. If ANY company knows the reality of on-line schermes and scams, it's E-Bay. While they certainly know that a nice chunk of their fees come from people who ultimately turn out to be thieves (but hey... their money is just as green as that of the honest folks) do you think E-Bay wants to open THEMSELVES (or a subsidary company) up to the same risks as their bidders are exposed to? No way.

On another issue, I see lots of complaints from those who have BOUGHT things and paid through PP who find their credit cards suddenly drained and/ or billed multiple times for the same transaction. The answer is simple; PP has very lax hiring procedures, ESPECIALLY compared to the standards any bank would impose on anybody employed in a similar position of trust. But don't forget- PP ISN'T a bank, so they feel no obligation to hire (and, of course, compensate) people as if they were. Unlike the "account freezing" thing, the scams pulled on buyer's credit cards aren't a part of any "master plan" by the company, but simply the work of some dishonest employees who nonetheless have access to ALL of a customer's personal information. Yes, it's scary. Schemes are rampent where a PP employee has a cousin or friend set up an account to receive payments in another name. Since it's an "inside job", these "phantoms" will, of course, sail through the PP application process with flying colors- even if all of the infomation was simply "made up". Then your easily-accessable credit card number is used as payment for phony "auctions" and so forth done through the phantom account. The PP employee who actually approves this transaction might very be the one running the scheme! Given their system and the way the computers are networked together, this is pretty simple for almost any employee to do. Even if you DON'T have access to the PP customer database, you almost certainly have lunch in the break room or visit at the water cooler with someone who does. Many people have been quietly terminated for this (rarely, if ever prosecuted- since this would be a huge black eye for the company), and in reality, THIS is where the majority of PP security and investigative resources go: to policing their shoddily-selected workforce.

So, If you STILL want to use PP- here are a few tips for merchants to avoid being taken by them. But really; from a moral and ethical point of view- would any decent person want to be in a position of supporting this ongoing Ponzi scheme- even if it COULD be guarenteed that you, personally wouldn't be ripped off by it?

1. Give PP only ONE account to access, then make sure that the monies are cleaned out the moment deposited funds become available- and transferred to an account that PP can't touch.
2. After somebody has paid you through PP, NEVER do business with that individual a SECOND time- at least not through Pay Pal. This is a huge red flag to them, since scammers who get hold of a good credit card number but don't know the spending limit will "hammer" it through the same PP account several times until it's maxed . Don't forget- they're looking for ANY remote justification for siezing your money- since under the "terms and conditions" you agreed that this was OK with you.
3. Never, ever, do business with anybody from Asia or Africa. ESPECIALLY Nigeria. With PP "security", you're venturing onto slippery ice even if you deal with a bona-fide American with an African or Asian sounding name. No kidding. I don't mean to sound like a racist here- but that's simply the way it is: an automatic "guilty until proven innocent" red flag.
4. If you ARE frozen, accept the reality that this isn't some mistake that can be corrected by an e-mail or phone call to a nice customer service person; you've been SCREWED, and it's NO accident or misunderstanding. This company is now your enemy and is probably not inclined to do anything to help you, unless you're one of those unfrozen for "show" purposed as described above- but I'll bet they don't even account for 2%. So don't waste your time with "customer-no-service" e-mails and phone calls. Yes, most of the contact numbers listed on this site are accurate and the people listed are real employees- but believe me; they generally have NO power to say anything but "NO." If you've been frozen, your "case" goes to a special group within "customer service" who's entire mission statement could be summed up as "we've got the money, we're going to keep the money, so explain this to the customer in any plausible fashion- as long as the final answer remains ''we get to keep the money'." Also, these folks will oftern be extremely rude to you- which is all part of the plan; you weren't really supposed to call them in the first place, and they don't want you to even THINK about calling back. Those repeated requests for copies of drivers licences and so forth are simply a ruse and a stall tactic. Believe me... they KNOW who you are, and this information does NOT keep getting misplaced. They're wearing you down, and it usually works. By the THIRD request for you to gather and send the same information, they most people will simply give up and say "it's not worth it." Don't threaten to sue or waste your money having a lawyer send PP a threatening letter, 'cause it dosen't work. People who SAY "I'm gonna sue" DON'T 99.9% of the time, and PP knows this. What DOES work is to hire an attorney and actually FILE SUIT. When they're hit with requests for discovery and are faced with having to send executives to depositions and so forth- most of the time your case will be "re-investigated". You'll then be cleared and your money will be returned. If that dosen't fix it, then, for some reason Pay-Pay must really, really feel that you ARE scamming. Most people simply won't go this far, since hiring an attorney, filing suit and so forth actually exceeds what PP has taken from you- and believe me, they DO know this.

For buyers the answer is real simple: NEVER use PP under any circumstances. Ever. You simply have NO control over who has access to your information, and your bank wouldn't touch some of these PP people with a ten-foot pole. Want to use a credit card to pay for an auction item but don't want to get double and fraudently billed? Go down to the bank, use that same credit card to buy a cashiers check, then mail it to the seller. You have the exact same protection doing business that way as you do through Pay Pal, but you avoid the numerous risks of involving yourself with them- which, of course, go WAY beyond having to eat a thousand dollar loss because some guy didn't send your merchandise.

Looking for an alternate payment service? I can't honestly recommend one, since all of the others are prey to the same vultures that hit PP so hard. So I guess the system that works the best is one I'd simply call "pay, pal... "; you simply do business the old fashioned way: check out the seller as best you can, write a check and hope for the best- or simply deal locally. Given the realities and risks of "card not present" credit card transactions, I can't honestly see how any company who tries to do what Pay-Pal does could avoid becoming just like them, or else find themselves forced out of business under a mountain of chargebacks.

Any attorney who has a pending class-action suit against Pay-Pal and could benefit from my testimony can contact me at: expay-palguy@wildmail.com. Similary, I'd love to hear from any former Pay-Pal managers who also feel morally obligated to "come out of the closet". I KNOW you know what this company is all about- and perhaps it's time we did the right thing by the people we unwittingly helped them loot. It would help me sleep better at night- how about you? Sorry, as much as I feel for you individual victims, I won't deal with individual court actions against PP- as to do so would doubtlessly consume ALL of my time, since there are so many. Similary, I also can't intervene with the company on behalf of somebody who has been wronged. Follow my suggestion for getting your account unfrozen, and that would truly be your best shot.
Ex Pay-Pal manager"

Let me again repeat my query, which has not been answered by anyone. What is wrong with an international banker's cheque payable at par in the city of the recipient's choice and sent through courier? As a precaution the payee's bank account number can be printed in this cheque. Old fashioned but old is gold.
Regards,
N.Raghavan


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Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 16:27
French to English
I don't know, but be careful once Paypal has your bank info. Dec 12, 2003

ADSTRAD wrote:

Hello
after paying loads of bank fees for international payments, I decided to trust paypal. but now, to withdraw my money, I need my expanded user number. I have followed the instructions on the web site and the transaction appeared today on my bank statement... with no trace of an expanded user number. what I get is a number in the form :123 456 789 11
does anyone know which are the 4 digits I need to enter ???
thank you
Caroline


Caroline,
Make sure that you have very little money or none at all in the account once Paypal has the bank details (the terms and conditions authorize them to withdraw from your account). Once you finally do get your money withdrawn, you should close your bank account and open a new one just to be on the safe side.
Regards,
Sara


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Hynek Palatin  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 16:27
English to Czech
+ ...
Moneybookers Dec 12, 2003

Try Moneybookers:

http://www.moneybookers.com

Works fine for me and I haven't heard any horror stories (yet...).


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Ildiko Santana  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:27
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...

MODERATOR
Pro Dec 13, 2003

I personally have only had positive experience with PayPal. Both sending and receiving payment is easy, smooth and secure. In the past, I had nothing but problems with payment from overseas. Many cases I decided not to cash my checks in foreign currency, because the fees were so high it just wasn't worth it.
After establishing my PayPal account, I was able to accept much more jobs, from clients all over the world. I recently upgraded to Premier, and now I can also accept payments from non-PayPal customers. I also heard that with your PayPal debit card (I applied for mine last week) you have immediate access to your money upon receipt.
Sorry to hear the many negative experiences here, but I know for a fact that I'm not the only happy PP user, virtually all of us in the US/Canada have been satisfied with their services.


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xxxL. Ferrero
Local time: 16:27
English to Spanish
BE WARY! Dec 17, 2003

I am closing my account with Paypal... AS SOON AS I CAN GET MY MONEY OUT OF IT!
I enrolled in the expanded use program, since I decided to make translation (once again) my full time activity and needed to withdraw more than 500 US a month (which is the limit for unverified accounts).
The transaction went through but just like you... no number. This was in October. After inquiring my bank (they had no idea what I was asking for) several times and emailing Paypal, a teller gave me a four digit number.
IT WAS WRONG. Paypal disabled my credit card for use in their site. I followed the procedures to fix this, faxed them identity documents, copies of my bank statement, copies of my credit card back and front (numbers removed OF COURSE even though they didnt make any warnings... common sense)...
The status now:
I have faxed my documents twice, I got over a dozen USELESS emails from customer support, I have called their US phone number.... My card is still disabled, even though they instructed me to add it back like 3 weeks ago! (and according to their instructions: keep trying until its accepted -?????- what kind of people are these?)
Now, my money is stuck there and I have to wait until next month to transfer it, because it seems like the paralitic turtles they employ have not updated their database yet -and wont do so anytime soon.
Customer support SUCKS. When I ask if they can at least compensate for their inefficiency by lifting my limits, they mail me back quoting the FAQ on limits and saying that I have used my limit (stating the obvious).
I got one of my questions answered after sending like 5 mails explaining things over and over again. Everytime I got a reply from a different person who had no idea of what was going on and kept on giving me instructions on how to add my card. I wasnt asking for instructions on how to add my card, I know how to do this!
I started searching the net and found some of the sites that have complains about Paypal and learned about the alternatives.
I am either moving to Moneybookers or going back to the old check in the mail system.
Paypal is not a service to be trusted.

ADSTRAD wrote:

Hello
after paying loads of bank fees for international payments, I decided to trust paypal. but now, to withdraw my money, I need my expanded user number. I have followed the instructions on the web site and the transaction appeared today on my bank statement... with no trace of an expanded user number. what I get is a number in the form :123 456 789 11
does anyone know which are the 4 digits I need to enter ???
thank you
Caroline


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Martina Silpoch  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 07:27
English to Czech
+ ...
zezplzne Dec 18, 2003

I recently started with PP and also Moneybookers, so far no complains. Plenty ppl i know deal with PP every day, especially using E-Bay. PP has a feature, not sure if it's something new, that they send a tiny amount, few cents,to your bank account and you have to let them know in few days how much it was. That's supposedly to confirm you are the owner of the account, since nobody else should be able to obtain that info. I am curious how well PP or Moneybookers work, have a very limited experience so far, only few transactions either way on both, none very large and was quite happy. Now you scared the heck outta me!
Martina


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