I normally wouldn’t care, but I really loved using my PayPal debit card. It allowed me to leave my money in my PayPal account for the interest with the money market account portion or take it out at any time wat an ATM and not have to wait for transfers to my bank> It provided a cash back incentive and interfaced well with my financial software. Plus I’ve been a member of Paypal since 2000. I’ve done like 100+ transactions through paypal and even more on ebay.
That said, back in march of this year (2008) I was sent an email that said:
“We have been informed that your PayPal Debit Card number may have been obtained by an unauthorized party as a result of a security breach at a merchant where your debit card was used to make a purchase. The security of your PayPal account information was not compromised in connection with this event. To help ensure your security, we have taken the proactive step of cancelling your PayPal Debit Card.”
With my anti-phishing radar at high alert, I made it a point to manually visit the PayPal site to do this and triple check for any problems, because it would be just plain embarrassing if some “l33t h4x0r” compromised a security nut’s account. I was curious, too. After all, I wouldn’t give my card info to shady people/sites, and I definitely wouldn’t fall for a phishing scam. Failing both of those, I fairly religiously check my PayPal account for any strange activities, and until that point had never had any incidents.
I trusted PayPal, though. If they said there was something funky going on, perhaps there truly was something funky going on. Anyway, I followed the steps, submitted the request, and was told by the form thinggy I should get a new one in 2-4 weeks.
…but then, nothing. Neither email nor phone call traveled my way. “2-4 weeks later” (probably longer than that), I tried again. But still, my mailbox never gifted me with my long-awaited, shiny new debit card.
Being the concerned, empathetic web backend developer that I am, I wondered if the form on PayPal’s site was simply malfunctioning. After all, there are plenty of inept coders out there, so perhaps PayPal got the shaft this one time. I found that if I submitted a request, I got the confirmation screen, but if I clicked the “Use debit card” link again, it stuck me back at the first screen again– as if I had never gotten to the confirmation screen in the first place. I tried submitting again and again and again, much like someone frantically pushing the call button for an elevator that has, quite literally, taken weeks to come. Naturally, that didn’t help, but it did cheer me up in a time during which I had started to lose all hope.
… and still, nothing. No email, no request for information. Not even a quit-clicking-the-stupid-button-you-dork error message. “Surely something must be horribly wrong,” I thought, “since my account’s been around since 2002, I’ve done every verification step they’ve asked of me excepting the [currently] optional anal probe, and everything else is working fine. Maybe it happened during the ‘new interface’ switchover?”
I procrastinated, letting weeks slip by again, assuming others would be having similar problems and the bug would fix itself via annoying bug reports. Alas, it did not, and yet again, I was left in the sea of silence.
Having exhausted all other routes, I eventually divined the bright idea that I should call PayPal’s support line, so after laboring through what felt like 30 different “Are you a retard? Ask your question and check this FAQ three more times before bugging us” types of screens and trying several different numbers (all of which seemed to lead in circles), I finally found what appeared to be salvation: a screen that gave me a code to give to the phone system so that I could talk to… get this… a live person! A smidgen of joy dared a leap across my skin as a twinkle came to my eye. This was it.
“Finally! Now we’re cookin’ with gas!” I exclaimed aloud. And thus, I called the number, entered the code, and was put into the, “please wait– all of our operators are currently busy” queue. At least I was getting somewhere. I was at the mercy of the hold system, and while it was faintly reminiscent of an S&M dungeon, the elevator music on speakerphone brought a particular warmth to my room. I felt like dancing to it, but I suppressed the urge; for, soon my problem was to be solved, and I mustn’t miss the agent in the midst of my revelry. I’d soon be back to playing Wii, clipping my toenails, and, most importantly, using my debit card.
Miss Cleo saw it coming. I clearly did not, for to my surprise, I was disconnected. Again. Not even a click. Against all odds, nobody answered, nobody talked to me, and, quite simply, nobody cared. Not even a, “We’re sorry, but we simply don’t like you” kind of thing, either. Nope– none of that. At the very least, it would have been nice to have had a “Haha! You waited 30 minutes, sucker!” sort of message after it all. At least then I would have enjoyed a hardy chuckle and had tale to tell to my friends. Nay, for all of that would have been better for one deserving of response. I, undeserving of one, instead received what I had received countless times before: silence.
Since then, every month or so I’ve tried again. I hate the phone, so I’m not gonna sit on hold again just to be disconnected by some outsourced, paid-by-the-volume level-1 firm that pays its mortgage by hanging up on customers, so the options are running low. I’ve never had a problem up until now, and while I’m not going to quit using PayPal, this ordeal has definitely made Google’s new payment thing more enticing. After all, without the debit card, the only benefit to continuing to only accept PayPal in my auctions is… ermm… silence?
Anyway, here I am. I figure I’ll try something like this. Perhaps a more public venue was long overdue. I hate to sound like the proverbial difficult customer, but I figure that in this situation, if this is the only major blip in the last 6 years of flawlessly doing business with you, maybe something out in the open is better. At least this way, if in some way I totally screwed up there’ll be an easy way to point that out and encourage others to point and laugh, and I’d gladly admit any personal stupidity and welcome said ridicule.
I made sure my addresses were up to date, and even now I’ve double checked that all of my bank account/credit card information was fine. What more is there to do? I’m out of practice in my rain dances–actually, I lie; I never learned how to rain dance, but I would gladly learn if it meant that I could get my replacement debit card sometime before the end of the year.
Hopefully through here I’ll find something other than silence. Hopefully through this route, a route altogether new to me, I’ll find answers. Perhaps through this route I won’t be sent on a detour past the signpost up ahead and sent, once again, to a silent Twilight Zone.
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