View Full Version : Experiences with paypal

03-02-2007, 06:14 PM
There are some jobs I'm interested in which only pay via Paypal. I don't have an account with them, and I've heard some horror stories about people's experiences with them. I'm wondering whether to go ahead and give PP a chance, or whether to just forget those jobs.

What are AWers experiences? Sorry if there's already been threads on this, feel free to point me to past threads if that's the case.

03-02-2007, 06:24 PM
I've had a PayPal account a couple or three years--never had a problem. Granted I do not handle large sums of money through it, but no problems.

While it is seller oriented, i have carried through a consumer complaint with no difficulty, and only ONCE was it necessary.


Old Hack
03-02-2007, 06:27 PM
I'd check on how much commission Paypal will charge you to receive payment in this way: otherwise, if you're well-paid for something, you could lose a decent chunk of that payment to Paypal.

03-02-2007, 06:42 PM
I've never had a problem with them and I've used them for five or six years now.

Fees for Paypal transfer are listed here: http://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_display-fees-outside

If there are any charges incurred (I think there is one for payment between paypal accounts) you might want to ask the publication if they take that into account in their payment.

03-02-2007, 06:43 PM
I use paypal and have for years. I've never had a problem with it. I love it!

03-02-2007, 07:10 PM
Paypal is useful if you do online shopping at sites that accept Paypal. I rarely do, so I never accept Paypal payments if I can avoid it.

The one exception: I have Paypal on my website as an alternate method of payment for people who buy autographed books from me, and it's sometimes a P in the A...not because of Paypal itself, which works fine, but because there are SO many Paypal scams that my spam filter catches the legitimate communications from Paypal as well as the scores of scam ones. I have to go through every single one to determine which is which.

- Victoria

Celia Cyanide
03-02-2007, 07:21 PM
Paypal is very safe and secure. The problem is the fake paypal spam that can look very impressive, and just like paypal emails. If you get an email from paypal, no matter what it says in the body, it will have your full name at the top. If it does not, you can forward it to spoof@paypal.com You can also mouse over their links, and see at the bottom of the screen that they aren't really paypal.com links.

I have had a paypal account for 7 years, and I have never had any trouble. I am in signed up for the paypal money market, and I get a return every month, even without any money in my account. I recently went to pay for something to find that I had an extra five bucks credit I could use toward it!

03-02-2007, 07:22 PM
I'm still trying to sort out which Paypal correspondence is legit and which is a scam. As far as I understand it I'm still unverified because I won't supply the seven digit security number on the back of my credit card. I don't see how I can possibly supply it with all the scams out. Does anybody know anything about this? Also how do you access the money in your Paypal account?

Ol' Fashioned Girl
03-02-2007, 07:30 PM
I've been using PayPal for years off and on. Most of my transactions lately are for AW. :)

I've never supplied them with credit card and/or bank information and certainly don't intend to... but otherwise, it's a great way to get money back and forth quickly. Haven't had a bit of trouble (now knocking on wood to ward off demons with a twisted sense of humor).

03-02-2007, 07:41 PM
I have had a paypal account for several years now, and I like it. Never once had any problems. I have my account linked to a bank account and backed up with a credit card. Both are verified. The credit card is prepaid, and the bank account was set up specifically for this purpose. And yes, I am a skeptic. I used to buy and sell things on ebay, so the money from paypal came directly from the bank account in the beginning. After some things were sold, the paypal had a balance, so I could purchase things from that. Eventually, when the paypal account had enough, I just transferred some money to the bank account. Since they are all linked, I didn't have any problems. But, I will admit, it can be a pain getting it all set up that way. There are several screens to go through and fill out, and one wrong click and everything is erased and puts you right back at the beginning. I eventually found an 800 number and called a customer service rep, and she walked me through the entire process. The 'contact us' place on the website was for emails, so I sent an email and the response had the 800 number.


03-02-2007, 10:08 PM
I was nervous about using pay pal too, but about a year ago I got an account. Mine is connected through my bank account and I've had absolutely no trouble with it. They are very secure. There are small fees, for transferring money from my pay pal account but nothing really noticable. As I remember it was less than $1. I'd have to double check, but if I did it you can be sure it wasn't outrageous, haha. Every now and then I (like everyone) get those scam pay pal e-mails asking for info. Simply forward those to: spoof@paypal.com (if you get those scam e-mails from "ebay", forward to spoof@ebay.com).

03-02-2007, 10:12 PM
On the whole payapl is fine. But don't carry a balance with it, just attach it to an account and download and upload what you need. On rare occassions they have done some highly arbitrary things like freezing the account of a writer of gay (literary) fiction on the assumption that his work was pornography (which is not allowed under their terms of service).

03-02-2007, 10:16 PM
I've only bought with paypal, but I've never experience a problem in four years.

03-02-2007, 10:17 PM
While there are Paypal scams, there are also lots of other scams.

When faced with a communication from PayPal if it addresses you as "Dear PayPal Member" it is a hoax without doubt. The other quick check is to look at the IP address and see if it is from PayPal or some wierd other domain entirely. Just let your cursor hover on the address and the real address should appear at the bottom left hand corner of your browser window or in a tiny pop-up box.

Frauds usually imply you are being billed for something bogus and it is necessary to confirm your detailed information. OR it says your PayPal account is likely to be put on hold because of inadequate information.

PayPal accounts must be linked to a credit card OR a checking account or they are not legal. Your rightful access to those cards or bank accounts must be confirmed when the account is set up or it is illegal banking under the law. That given, your PayPal account is under the auspices of the banking laws of the country in which you reside.


Kate Thornton
03-02-2007, 10:25 PM
I have had an account with Paypal for years with no problems.

I usually keep less than $100 in it. I love being able to recieve money in foreign currency and have it converted automatically in my account. My bank charges big fees to convert a Canadian cheque to US dollars, but Paypal is cheaper and easier.

I can access my funds through my Paypal debit card (free) or use it like a Visa debit card at shops and online. They will transfer funds to and from my checking account on demand, or, for $1.50, cut and mail me a paper check.

As they almost never contact me, I consider all Paypal correspondence to be spam and scam. If they really want to reach me, they will snail mail or phone me. (Yes, they phoned me once!)

It's not a substitute for regular banking, but all those little short story payments add up!

03-03-2007, 01:47 AM
I've never had any problems with paypal. My wife and I each have an account. The only problem I have with it is we both can't link to the same checking account, so my account remains "unverified."

Celia Cyanide
03-03-2007, 02:13 AM
I don't have an account with them, and I've heard some horror stories about people's experiences with them.

I guess maybe I should ask...where did these horror stories come from, and what were they?

I'm just interested, because everyone here seems to like paypal, and I don't think I've ever heard anyone complain about. I have bought and sold items online, and I have always felt safer using paypal than anything else. I love it.

03-03-2007, 07:00 AM
I like PayPal, and I quite like my PayPal debit card. People pay me for stories and whatnot through PayPal all the time (in fact, I can't remember the last time I got paid by check for a story) and I don't mind it. Usually, we forget to budget the money, so it becomes surprise money some evening.

There ARE a lot of scammers, very clever scammers, using PayPal. We get a lot of e-mails from 'PayPal' wanting us to update our account information or warning us that someone si trying to scam us and we need to go to this page to protect ourselves.

PayPal doesn't send you links, remember that. If some e-mail from PayPal is a link to a site like PayPal...it ain't PayPal. Just be very careful.

My wife ran a lucrative eBay business for a year and a half (we had a supplier of Dan Brown autographed books; people paid through the nose for them. It was the only thing Dan Brown's done in my house that was useful) and she never had a PayPal problem that wasn't solved with a friendly e-mail.

03-03-2007, 07:06 AM
I have met a couple of people paypal treated badly. For more examples just google something like paypal sucks, there is a whole website devoted to it.

03-03-2007, 07:08 AM
George R. R. Martin has a fascinating story about why his PayPal account was frozen. Let me see if I can find it...

03-03-2007, 07:09 AM
Found it. Quoted below, because...er...I did.

PayPal Thinks I'm a Terrorist
This has nothing to do with my books, or indeed any of the subjects that most of you guys are interesting in hearing about, but I feel a need to vent.

About a month ago, I discovered to my puzzlement and annoyance that my account at PayPal had been locked. I had no idea why. I've had a PayPal account for years, and never had a problem. In all that time, I was only involved in one dispute, and that was a case where I was the one filing the complaint. Besides, that was three years ago, at least. I use PayPal mainly for buying toy knights on ebay (these days, many sellers will accept only PayPal, money orders, or cashier's checks, and the latter two are just too much trouble), and for collecting payment when readers buy signed copies of my old books off my website. It's a convenient service, well worth the fees, and I've never had a problem with it.

Till now.

This turned out to be a big problem, though. My account was locked, with no explanation. I can't get into it, can't use it to pay, can't accept payments, can't access the money I have in the account. Why? I emailed PayPal's "Account Review Department," as instructed, to find out what had happened and get the account unlocked. My first two emails went unanswered. The third time proved to be the charm, and finally got me a reply. It said, in part:

"PayPal is a regulated financial services company required under law to
assess its customers against certain lists of individuals and entities
which have had sanctions imposed against them. Where a potential match is
identified, PayPal's policy is to lock the account and request further
identifying documentation. The decision to lock your account has been taken
solely by PayPal in line with its compliance policy."

This made no bloody sense to me, so I decided to phone PayPal and try and talk to an actual human being. That's not easy either, in this world we live in. I found the number, phoned, negotiated the usual infuriating Voice Mail maze of "press 1 for this, press 2 for that," and finally reached a customer "service" representative. She, of course, was no help whatsoever. She looked up my account and told me the same stuff that was in the email I'd received. In fact, I think she was reading from the email. When I asked her questions, she had no answers. So finally I asked to speak to a supervisor.

He, at least, gave me some meaningful information. Despite the hokeydoke in the letter about "the decision... has been taken solely by PayPal," the source of my trouble is actually the federal government. The reason my account was locked was because my name has turned up on a list out of the U.S. Treasury Department. Specifically, something called the "Office of Foreign Assets Control."

Why the hell I would be on this list, I have no idea. I have no "foreign assets" that I know of, aside from a long-moribund bank account in Poland from the days before the Berlin Wall went down, when the Poles could only pay you in soft zlotys that you had to go to Poland to spend. Or maybe it's because I have used PayPal to pay for toy soldiers from sellers in Germany, Australia, and the UK, or to accept payment for books from a dozen different foreign countries. Or... if you will allow me a moment of paranoia here... maybe someone in the Treasury Department didn't like some of the political views I've posted here, or my opinions about the TSA and the War on Terror.

Whatever the reason, I'm on the OFAC list, and unlike Santa's list, this one is just for the naughty, so PayPal has locked the accounts of everyone whose name appears there.

The most infuriating thing of all is that I have MONEY in that PayPal account. Money which PayPal flatly refuses to disburse to me.

"Can I close the account and withdraw my funds?" I asked them. "No," the supervisor said, "the account is locked." I accused him of stealing my funds, which he denied. They're still my funds, he insisted. It's just that they won't let me withdraw them, or use them to pay anyone, because, after all, the account is "locked." (How much you want to bet that after some period of "inactivity," they will start taking fees out of the account?) I did luck out in one respect, I suppose. At the moment, there's only about fifty bucks in that PayPal account. That hasn't always been the case. There have been times in the past when I've had as much as thousand bucks floating in my PayPal account. Believe me, if you think I'm honked off now, imagine how pissed I'd be if they were robbing me of a thousand bucks instead of fifty.

How do unlock the account? All I have to do is furnish PayPal with several different proofs of my identity. They already have a credit card number and a bank account number, mind you, but that's not sufficient, now they want copies of my passport, my birth certificate, and a utility bill.

A service like PayPal is supposed to make my life easier, to enable me to buy and sell with a click of my mouse, to spare me annoying trips to the bank to buy money orders and cashier's checks, to allow me to receive small payments from readers abroad who want signed copies of my books. CONVENIENCE is the reason I use PayPal. I don't have the time, the energy, or the inclination to jump through their hoops.

Right now I'm trying to finish A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, working on a breakdown of the contents and art required for THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE, editing the new Wild Cards book INSIDE STRAIGHT and writing my own story for same, beating out an outline for a comics project with John J. Miller, trying to stay on top of the various Ice & Fire spinoffs from Subterranean Press, Fantasy Flight Games, Testor's, DBPro, Avatar Comics, and several other licenses, dealing with the aftermath of the Byron Preiss bankruptcy auction, trying to extricate my RPG rights from the collapse of Guardians of Order, living through major home renovations. I do NOT have the time to take on PayPal and the U.S. Treasury as well.

So there you go. For the foreseeable future, my PayPal account will remain locked, I'm afraid. If you want to buy a signed book, you'll need to mail me a check or money order. And I guess I won't be bidding on nearly as many knights on ebay, since so many sellers "prefer PayPal."

If any of you are PayPal users, however, and are accustomed to allowing a significant amount of money to sit around in your account... take it out. Take it out NOW. Your name could turn up on a list as easily as mine did, and then, like me, you'll find yourself cut off from your money with no right of appeal.

I say it's spinach, and I say to hell with it.

End of rant.

03-03-2007, 07:40 AM
I've done a little buying and selling on eBay, much of it using Paypal with no problems, but I'd like to think I know what I'm doing.

I opened a separate bank account for Paypal with $100 in it. Set it up for no overdraft protection, and if something were to go horribly wrong (such as I actually got tricked and "logged in" to a spoof site as if it were Paypal), the money in that account would be the most I could lose.

If you can't tell a real Paypal email from a fake one, it's easy enough to open your Web browser, type in paypal.com in the URL thingie, log in (this is the real one because you typed it in yourself), and see what transactions have occurred. You can then ignore all emails claiming to have anything to do with paypal.

ETA: Paypal IS INDEED the Online Satan, and when something "goes wrong" such as they freeze your account for any reason (such as someone looks at you funny), it's often a train wreck that doesn't get fixed. But for some things it's virtually the only form of online payment, so sooner or later you may have to deal with paypal. To minimize risk, keep your paypal balance and your associated checking account balance as low as possible yet still get your business done. Consumer Guru Clark Howard has had Paypal nightmare stories going back many years. When eBay bought PayPal, Clark expected this to clear up, but it didn't.

03-03-2007, 07:52 AM
Heck, I remember when the only online "trusted" place that you could enter your credit card information without THose Bad People getting hold of it was Amazon.com. Way back in the day.

Carrie in PA
03-04-2007, 03:54 AM
I've had my paypal account for about 5 or 6 years and never had a problem.

03-04-2007, 04:01 AM
Most people don't have problems especially if they only buy with the account. But the few who have a problems find paypal to be bullish, unilateral and unhelpful.

03-04-2007, 04:04 AM
Most people don't have problems especially if they only buy with the account. But the few who have a problems find paypal to be bullish, unilateral and unhelpful.

Yeah, if they decide you're a Problem Account, then it's hell to try to get them to release it.

03-04-2007, 04:14 AM
My regular job is running an automobile business, Robison Service. We take credit cards in the regular way and also paypal for Internet stuff. I have not found paypal to act any different from a credit card merchant processor.

The concept of chargebacks is troubling to some, and that's what I read in the threads above. But it's a fact of life when dealing with any other kind of merchant processor, too.

It's my opinion that the small risk of such a chargeback is outweighed by the vast opportunity you get by accepting cards and/or paypal. Credit and online payment is a way of life today.

03-04-2007, 07:15 AM
Never had a problem with my Paypal account in, oh, six or seven years.

L M Ashton
03-05-2007, 06:42 AM
Fahim had a paypal account. Until they froze it. He got it when he was still in the US and continued using it after he moved back to Sri Lanka, but Sri Lanka is not on the list of approved countries, so as soon as they caught wind of him using it from here, they froze it. It took I don't know how many emails or a whole lot of months before they finally unfroze it, and another six months or longer after that before they released the funds, which they sent to him by mail in the form of a cheque. And of course there were all the fees they deducted for their processing, to unfreeze it, to issue a cheque, to mail the cheque... It was bloody expensive to get HIS money from them.

03-06-2007, 07:14 AM
I've had paypal for about 7 years, buying and selling (I sell the season tickets I can't use). I've never had a problem with it.

03-09-2007, 09:28 PM
I've had a Paypal Account for a few years and haven't had a problem with them yet. I don't like the fees they charge when you receive money...but hey....
They have a solid reputation- but watch out for fake paypal emails....I get them all the time. Paypal will never send you a link in an email- they ask you to log on to their site yourself.