21 July 2013

PayPal, eBay, and Haggling (UPDATED)

UPDATE: Issue is effectively two-thirds resolved as of July 23. There's still the small matter of them not acknowledging my bank as real, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. 

I've been having trouble with PayPal for some time now. In short, I cannot see my account. I get an error message every time I log in, no matter what way I log in, that my action cannot be completed. It's not a password error, and it's not any sort of lockout from entering the wrong password too many times. 
This has kept me from updating my contact information (including my physical address and e-mail address), seeing my transaction history, and making payments without incurring fees. As it stands, the only ways I can use PayPal are

* Via the mobile app on my Android phone
* if I know the recipient's e-mail address (so no eBay purchases) 
* and if I use my debit card, incurring a fee for sending money 

Here's the real kicker about that debit card. The last time I was able to use PayPal, I was updating my bank information, as I'd recently joined a new one. They told me my account information was invalid, that the bank itself didn't exist. They told me to wait until it finished processing (because that's apparently a thing that happens in a time when someone's entire financial history can be summed up in a text file of less than 50KB) and that the error message was merely a sort of default warning if a bank is not a major entity like Bank of America or Wells Fargo (in my case, a local credit union). However, albeit they can't verify, presumably after all these months I've been getting this error message, they have no problem processing my debit card which is attached to that "fictional" account, and certainly have no problem charging me a fee every time I use it. It's very hard not to be cynical about these things, especially given that PayPal is no stranger to a less-than-stellar reputation in the eyes of its customers. 

Their customer service, as you might guess, has been virtually helpless when it comes to my issue, ultimately resulting in them telling me to simply try again later and that everything to do with my account looks absolutely fine on their end. My most recent call to them ended with me saying that I was tired of hearing these excuses, because that's what they are by now, and that getting me the promise of an e-mail from an account specialist. I have not heard from this person. This could well be because it's the weekend, but if that's the case, why have I been able to talk with the support personnel on their Twitter account? I initially tweeted my grievances about the complete ineptitude I'd encountered without any expectation of a response. I was screaming at a brick wall, but the brick wall answered. A few Direct Messages later, and I got this e-mail:
This is only the first step in their troubleshooting process. After three different browsers, all with caches and cookies cleared, I got the exact same "Action Could Not Be Completed" error message. 
The worst part about all this is that I made a purchase on eBay and I'm now effectively making this guy wait longer than necessary, which wouldn't even be such a bad thing (I mean, the time limit is 7 days) except I made an offer for below asking price, which is tantamount to slapping someone in the face and demanding they give you a piggyback ride. It makes a bad customer out of me, not because I don't want to pay this person in a timely manner, but because I can't. If I lived near this bookseller, I'd happily stroll on over and throw down my cash for those old paperbacks. 

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