Thursday, 24 May 2012

Pay Pal is no Pal At All

Within the next few days, (as soon as I've established an alternative, secure  means for Lead Legion customers to transfer payments electronically) Lead Legion will no longer be trading via Pay Pal.

[Customers who have recently made a transaction involving Lead Legion via Pay Pal shouldn't be concerned. I'll be keeping the Lead Legion Pay Pal account open until all funds have cleared AND all outstanding Pay Pal customers have received, and are happy with, their painted miniatures. ]

Despite having been a Pay Pal customer for more than seven years -and never once having been involved in a payment dispute (or having been the target of any complaints) in all that time, Pay Pal have arbitrarily determined that any funds transferred to the Lead Legion Pay Pal account will now be held in reserve for 21 days prior to being made available for withdrawal. I was given no prior notice that this would be the case, and actually received an email notifying me that this step was being taken only AFTER it had been put into effect. I was not informed of the reason why this reserve had been put into place on my account, instead being directed to a list of "example" reasons for why Pay Pal might impose a reserve on any given account. None of which apply to the Lead Legion account.

I contacted Pay Pal to request an explanation of the specific reasons why the Lead legion account in particular had been chosen for this measure. They have been unable to provide a satisfactory answer.  I explained that, as a self-employed person, Lead Legion is my sole source of income. I also explained that, as I require payment up front in order to purchase any necessary supplies and miniatures to fulfil a customers order,  a 21 day hold on payments would force me out of business.

Here's Pay Pal's response to my concerns:

"If I were in your position, personally I would feel the same way; however, I would perhaps reserve judgement and objection and give the payment hold policy a chance. If it has worked on numerous PayPal users, maybe it would work well with me [sic] too."

Seems reasonable enough at first glance. Though how I'm supposed to eat for the first 21 days while awaiting payments to clear strikes me as a teeny-tiny problem in and of itself. I knew about the whole "starving artist" stereotype, but I didn't think I was supposed to take it literally!

It was also helpfully pointed out that funds would be released prior to the end of that 21 day period as soon as a positive feedback  result was recorded on eBay.Which is all very well for the handful of items Lead Legion does sell on eBay, but as sales of painted miniatures on eBay accounts for less than 10% of my business, this is absolutely no use to me whatsoever. 

My initial gut reaction was to close down the Pay Pal account entirely as soon as I had fulfilled all my existing Pay Pal orders. However, it's possible that I will (begrudgingly) keep it open for the purposes of eBay sales, given that it's impossible to use eBay without one.

I'm currently looking at switching to a Payment Gateway operated by Payment Sense as an alternative to Paypal. This would allow customers to pay by credit or debit card and provide the same protections enjoyed by Paypal users. This would also allow me to create a virtual shop of my own for purposes of selling non-commission painted miniatures, bypassing eBay altogether. In the meantime, I'll continue to use Pay Pal until I can arrange an alternate service. I'll keep you all updated as to further developments.


  1. Replies
    1. My thoughts exactly Fran. I can't help but think that this is simply an excuse to hold on to money from small, start-up business's for as long as possible to accrue interest. The same thing happened to my friend Victoria when she started selling bespoke handcrafts- and she'd been with Pay Pal for nearly ten years with no problems!

  2. Thats BS mate is this for all paypal accounts i take it?

    1. Not everyone's no. It seems Pay Pals servers regularly analyse clients' accounts every 35 days. If they see certain patterns (such as, in my case, an increase in buying/selling activity) they impose a 21 day holding period.

  3. Why not just buy something from yourself on eBay and give yourself positive feedback? Just use a friends acount or something...

  4. Hi Greenstuff. Thanks for the suggestion, but I hear there are pretty stiff penalties for that sort of thing if you get caught.

  5. Someone I know has been in dispute with PP for over a year. They froze his account with over £200 in it. They asked him for proof of ID which he provided. The account wasn't un-frozen. They asked for different proof.
    It's now reached the stage he refuses to provide any additional info, as he's almost given them enough it engage in identity theft, so he's still not got his money.
    All this was through selling on eBay.

    1. Yup, I've hearing quite a number of similar stories over the last few days.

  6. They take the piss! they really do... good of you to give people a heads up bout this kinda stuff mate !