How Have We Failed You?: Why I Closed My PayPal Account


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After a very long time with PayPal, I closed my account. Why? I had a customer service issue and could not get anyone to help me. You may be thinking, “How is that possible?”.

As a customer service professional, I am much more forgiving than the average consumer. I will work within the system to find the process that works and I will not give up before the very last moment. See, not the average customer!

My PayPal problem has been going on for six months. I have used the Contact Us form and no one has responded to me. Within the pages of my account I was unable to locate a telephone number of any kind to speak to a human being. I became very tired of the “don’t call us” mentality from these people. Fine, I won’t call you but then you need to fix my problem as I asked. My final email form to them restated my problem for the fourth time and requested a call from them or I would close my account. Do you think I received a response from them of ANY kind?

So I closed my account and within a day I receive a ridiculous survey from them so they can find out why I closed my account. They have proven to me over a long period of time and from many electronic requests to them that they do not care so why now would I spend time to tell them why I left? If you would ready your customer requests for help, you would know AND you wouldn’t have a lost customer at this point.

That survey is the final straw to tell me that they march through their days collecting fees from those who use their service and have absolutely no strategy for managing the customer experience.

Does your organization create the illusion that you will assist customers by online Contact Us forms and then not responsd? How do you know the effectiveness of each of the contact channels available to your customers?

Jodie Monger
Jodie Monger, Ph.D. is the president of Customer Relationship Metrics (CRM) and a pioneer in business intelligence for the contact center industry. Dr. Jodie's work at CRM focuses on converting unstructured data into structured data for business action. Her research areas include customer experience, speech and operational analytics. Before founding CRM, she was the founding associate director of Purdue University's Center for Customer-Driven Quality.


  1. Hello Dr Monger

    What did you use the paypal for? I have been seeing it but have no idea how it works and what do you use it with. Does it replace the credit card? Appreciate your reply.



  2. Hi Victor — This is a very good question. I had set up a PayPal account years ago as a common form of commerce that is used for eBay. PayPal now offers may other financial services related to e-commerce but I did not use them because I lack confidence in their service support model. PayPal offers sellers and vendors a layer of comfort that the funds are secured before an exchange in products/services occurs. A great idea but without support, it didn’t work for me and I had to give up.

    I was profoundly disappointed about the complete void where a customer service team should be placed. Organizations cannot create the illusion of service (Contact Us here buttons) and then never respond. Why not remove the button or change it to be called “tell us but we don’t care”.

    The point is to find places in our own organizations where VOIDS are present. Have you test-driven your own service model?

    And for goodness sakes, do not send an email survey to a lost customer who has repeatedly requested help and not received a response at all. This is PayPal’s method of automation to replace customer service and it didn’t surprise me.

    Jodie Monger, Ph.D.

  3. Thank you for posting this entry. This coming from a professional in the area of customer relationship makes me feel much better now, because I started to think I am just too stupid to deal with paypal.

    To cut my long story short – I tried to use paypal to pay my deposit on our new appartment, which we want to move into soo and which is situated in another country then the one I am in now.
    I had to split the payment in half and my big mistake was to make both halfs the same amount of money. First payment went through fine, the second payment was lost between my bank and paypal – it got deducted from my bank account but never appeared in my paypal account. That was the 25th of august! And in this case, time was of the essence; landlords don’t wait forever.

    Now we have September the 22nd and payment 2 is still not where it is supposed to be. It’s found alright, paypal wrote me finally an email that pament 2 couldn’t be booked into my account “due to missing information” and that it will be refunded to my bank-account (“Please note that refunding can take up to 30 days…”). To wrestle this statement from them it took me 5 calls to their service hotline, with each call taking 30 minutes on average, 3 investigations on their side, 1 costly investigation from my banks side and approx. 3 years off of my lifetime.

    What makes me really mad and is the reason why I want to share this wonderful customer experience with as many people as possible, is the fact that here paypal has me by my metaphorical b**s and there is nothing I can do about it. In worst case I loose the contract for the appartment and it will affect paypal as much as if a bag of rise falls over in China.

    Everything is smooth as long as the customer does the standard things, if one leaves the realm of standard (in my case the identical money amounts) – all bets are off, leave your brain by the door and try not, under any circumstances, to understand what paypal is doing and why; it will just give you a bad headache.

  4. Tough to believe that PayPal could not deliver on its core business process which is to electronically take money from one account (yours) and put it into another (the landlord’s). When a process fails, the customer support function should kick in and add value to the relationship.

    You should be able to make 20 payments of the same amount and that is not a great excuse for their failure. They should be able to quickly refund the money – or put it where it should be. At the end of the day, you were failed first by the process (potentially excusable) and then by the support (not at all excusable).

    I wasn’t even able to find a phone number to call them, but it sounds as if I didn’t miss much in the area of problem solving skills from those folks!

    I hope you have a new apartment to move into and can then focus your effort on locating a replacement for PayPal !!

    Jodie Monger, Ph.D.

  5. I’ve also had such a bad experience with PayPal that I closed my account. They allowed a customer to dispute a transaction and refunded the customer the full amount without even hearing a response from me. So much for PayPal protecting the seller on eBay – I was out over £100.

    While I think that PayPal has a long way to go with regard to its customer service (or lack there of), the more intriguing thing is that eBay is so linked to PayPal that many transactions on eBay cannot be accomplished without a PayPal account. To me this means that eBay is limiting itself with regard to potential sales, and potentially also linking itself in customers’ minds with poor customer service.

  6. I was wondering if you could post a copy of the survey? I would be intereted in what questions they asked. What topics they feel they want feed back on. I too am concidering cancelling my account and want to give them an opportunity to help me with my issue first.

  7. Hi

    just thought I’d add my own experience and maybe save someone else some time and money.

    I just started trading on ebay (a forum that doesn’t seem to be able to get the prices things are worth and also underestimates freight charges – but that’s another gripe). Paypal decided to conduct an investigation over a transaction. The amount was a paltry $20 but it froze the transaction which means I had a buyer waiting for up to 30 days for the item while they completed their enquiry. I was not provided with any information about why this was occuring. When I enquired they told me that the buyer had requested the investigation, which the buyer denied. Further emails to paypal were ignored so the buyer and I decided to complete the transaction via bank transfer and he would reclaim his money from paypal. Now I have received notice that the investigation has been completed. They have found that I have broken the terms of being a seller and I have been charged a reversal of transaction fee.

    After I withdraw all my funds I will be closing my account. I suggest to anyone considering trading on ebay or similar to avoid Paypal. They are just incompetant nuisances. I also wonder what they do with the money that they hold while these transactions are frozen. I may just have a suspicious mind, but holding onto several thousand transactions for up to 30 days certainly provides a considerable sum of money to do something else with.

    Peter Moxom


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