How Twitter Rescued Me From Paypal Hell

So my issues with Paypal had been going on for some time, but — under duress from Andy Baio — I decided to tweet about it so see if the Internet had any ideas of how to help.

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  1. Granted I hadn't expanded much, so I followed up with the full story in a Twitlonger post:
  2. Full text:
    My main Paypal account was locked around the end of May. A month or so after the Build ticket sales, and weeks after the money from those sales had been transferred to my bank account, I logged in to find that a £60k required minimum balance was enforced on my account, without any word from Paypal. I contacted Paypal to query the limitation, which they told me was enacted to cover any potential dispute cases and subsequent refunds from Build. Even though the revenue from Build had long left the account, and even though — in 4 years of running Build — there had never been a dispute case filed to claim a refund, the account would still be limited and any funds coming in would be used to meet the £60k required minimum. It was suggested that I take it up with Executive Escalations.
    At that time, it was also recommended that I separate my PayPal accounts: one for Build and one for The Manual, which I did. Although the main (now locked) account still had some revenue from The Manual sales, we quickly moved over to a new account. Issue #3 launched, and all went smoothly.
    Paypal then locked the new account due to EU money laundering regulations, which is pretty standard. I responded to the dispute, and it was unlocked shortly after. The day after it was unlocked, Paypal locked the account was locked again, with a much longer list of demands (a lot of which I'd have trouble producing), so I reached out to a friend-of-a-friend in Paypal to help resolve things quickly. A few days ago, after a few weeks of back and forth, it became clear that she couldn't help, so I went on to upload as much information as possible in the Resolution Centre. No luck, the upload function was broken. I'd set an alarm this morning to get up to call their UK call centre, but was met instead by an email in my inbox telling me the new account had been closed without review.
    Executive Escalations have been working on the main account for months, with no resolution. An answer was promised last week, but nothing has arrived, my emails aren't being replied to, and the call centre number can't or won't transfer me to their department. The secondary account for The Manual was closed without review, and no one at the call centre can provide clarity as to why or let me know if I can counter it or what's happened to the money, or if I can even ever withdraw the funds.
    Paypal are currently holding, between the two accounts, a total of just over £40,000 — predominantly of sales of The Manual. Between temporarily borrowing some money from the Build budget and wrangling a small overdraft, I've been able to pay the bills and continue to settle invoices from the shipping company, but that money is almost gone.
    Please, if anyone has any clout with Paypal, or can do anything to help, please let me know. I'm completely lost here, no one there is interested in listening to me, emphasising with me or even explaining things to me whatsoever. If you know anyone who can help me have my funds released, email me: [email protected]
    (Needless to say, once this is resolved, Paypal will no longer be processing any payment for Build, The Manual, or any other of my projects now or ever again.)
  3. Google Adsense had a little fun with parsing the Twitlonger post too:
  4. I'd been dealing with various some support agents through the call centre, but @AskPaypal finally took notice and I got speaking to Olivia, who was exceptionally helpful and honestly went out of her way to do everything she could to help. She was able to unlocked my account for The Manual — so I could make transfers and receive payments again — and she assured me the main account had been escalated and was being investigated.
  5. The next day, I got a call:
  6. I was told that was that. It had been reviewed by the highest authorities, and they had concluded that no money would be released. I was told there was no further course for appeal, and to expect an email detailing the decision on Monday. I was told, with no real guarantee, that the funds would be released sometime towards the end of November, and that was that.
  7. Then this happened:
  8. Full text:
    Andy -- the team will reach out between now and Monday, and they will lift all holds/limitations, and release all of your funds. If anything, please know that I'm now going to use your story to radically change how we deal with holds, and communicate with our customers. I'm driving a lot of changes at PayPal (I took over 5 months ago), and I hope that over time we will earn your trust again. Not with words, but with delightful products, and amazing service.
    If you believe in this, I'd like to enroll you to help me out. I'd like you to keep accepting PayPal for payments, and now that you have a direct channel with me, give me feedback so I can get it directly from the outside. If you accept to do this (I would completely understand if by now you wouldn't want to deal with PayPal ever again), you have my commitment that I'll look after your account personally, and ensure this will never happen to you again. Again -- would completely understand if you didn't want to do this. I'm just trying to leverage the issues you went through to radically change our approach, and fix this for all of our customers for good.
    Please confirm when you have access to your funds again so I know you're good on that front. And again, don't hesitate to contact me anytime. You now have my mobile number.
    Have a great weekend.
    David
    Sent from my iPad
  9. David and I then spoke on the phone, and he apologised for what had happened, and explained that they're trying to turn things around. Obviously there's no excusing putting anyone through what I've been through, and it happens all too often, usually with quite devastating consequences. 
  10. There's a lot of work to be done to gain back trust in the service, but if the concern turns out to be genuine, and David's offer of having me provide input into actually changing their policies and systems in order to make Paypal less of a colossal nightmare to use, it's an offer I'd gratefully accept.
  11. I'm taking everything with a pinch of salt, but ultimately, this is an excellent outcome. It was really something else that David even reached out in the first place, perhaps a sign of genuine change within Paypal. We'll see how things progress.
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