This is a follow up to my post “Banned by PayPal“
When I was informed that my PayPal account was “permanently limited” (aka: banned) and that PayPal would be holding my balance of $5,149 for six-months, I thought there was not much I could do. I appealed the decision to limit (ban) my account and PayPal denied it. Since I did not need the balance of $5,149 that PayPal was going to hold for 6 months I figured I would just wait it out (note that I say did not NEED it.. I want it, but I did not NEED it).
But after seeing some of the comments that readers posted on my original “my PayPal account was limited” post I started to feel a bit victimized and angry, and a bit like PayPal was pushing me around and doing whatever they wanted with my balance. I decided that instead of feeling like I was going to just lay down and let PayPal rape me that I would fight back one last time.
So based on a comment posted by Lucas explaining how he got his funds released after PayPal limited his account, I sat down and wrote this little email:
RE: Case PP-xxx-yyy-zzz
I am respectfully requesting that the hold on my funds/account be lifted. I am not necessarily requesting that my account be re-opened or allowed to continue to use the PayPal service, as I have already taken my business to your largest competitor and I am no longer in need of PayPal’s services.
I have previously requested a review/appeal of my case which was denied. Although I still disagree with the decision to deny my appeal I will abide by it – however because I feel that holding my funds for 180 days for a non-fraudulent violation of PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy is excessive, and perhaps a punitive abuse of power, I will be filing complaints with the following agencies on Wednesday morning, April 23, 2008 if I am not satisfied with PayPal’s response to this request to release my funds:
(agencies in the states that I reside or have a business presence in)
The California Office of the Attorney General
The Washington State Office of the Attorney General
The Florida Office of the Attorney General
The Arizona Office of the Attorney General
The United States Federal Reserve
(I understand that PayPal does not operate as a “bank” which is precisely why they may be interested in such complaints)
The Better Business Bureau:
All complaints will be filed “online” Wednesday morning April 23, 2008 and written copies will also be sent via certified postal mail.
I understand PayPal’s need for holding funds for credit card chargeback purposes, however a review of my account history for the last year will reveal a very low chargeback rate as well as a very high customer-satisfaction rate. I feel that any reasonable person would conclude that holding my entire balance for 180 days is excessive and my be viewed by some as punitive or as already stated, an unnecessary abuse of power and perhaps even contrary to the laws of some states. That being said I have no problem with, and agree to leaving a balance of $500 for credit card chargeback purposes for the duration of the 180 days. I feel that this is a fair resolution while still leaving PayPal with the means to charge back any future credit card disputes to my account.
Please be aware that replying with the standard “this is part of the terms of service that you agreed to” will not satisfy my request, or deter me from filing my complaints with the agencies listed above on the morning of Wednesday April 23. It will be up to those agencies to determine if PayPal is operating within the law, abusing power, etc. I am simply seeking a resolution that is fair and in the best interest of both parties.
Thank you for your time again in looking into this matter.
I addressed the email to the following addresses: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; RDutta@paypal.com; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE 2017 – The email addresses mentioned above, and below are no longer valid. Most of these people no longer work for PayPal or have changed their email addresses.
Rdutta@paypal.com and Sthompson@paypal.com were as best as I could tell the guys in charge at PayPal, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org appear to be their press people, and the others are all of the “escalation” email address that I could find – most of which I got from PayPalSucks.com. (see updated list of email address at the bottom of this post)
I did my best to word the email as politely as I could and basically told them that they had 48 hours to respond or I would start complaining to whoever would listen. I spell-checked it and hit the SEND button at 1:48PM California time on Sunday afternoon.
Approx 5 hours later, at just a little after 7PM California time on Sunday night my phone rang. CallerID said it was from the 402 area code and listed it simply as “Nebraska”.. Hmm.. Who could be calling me from Nebraska this late on a Sunday evening? Could it be Shoemoney calling or might it be someone from PayPal headquarters working late??
Sure enough, when I picked up the phone a very nice lady at the other end explained that she was calling from PayPal regarding the email I had sent earlier in the day. She had reviewed my account, agreed that my chargebacks had been virtually zero over the previous year, and that although PayPal would not be re-opening (or un-banning) my account, they would be transferring $5,000 of my $5,149 balance into my bank account. They would hold the remaining $149 for the balance of the 180 days at which time it would automatically be transferred into my bank account. Heck, that’s better than I had asked for in my email!
So – although having my PayPal account banned has been a huge inconvenience, being forced to switch to Google Checkout is still working to my advantage (making me more money), and now that PayPal will be releasing all but $149 of my funds, I can say that I’m pretty happy.
Now, if you’ve been banned by Paypal, before you go copying and pasting my email to try and get your funds released remember that I have had my PayPal account for a few years with virtually zero complaints and very few disputes or chargebacks. If you have been involved in fraudulent activity, been ripping people off, selling body parts, etc, you probably wont make out as well as I have (nor should you). However if your account has been in good standing and you have a low rate of disputes you may be able to get your funds released before the 180 day period that PayPal imposes by letting them know that you just wont stand for it and that you will complain to anyone that will listen.
Update November 2013: Thanks to A.Chip who has compiled some tips that he used to get his money back when he emailed his letter:
- Before I sent the email to Paypal, I made an email list inside my email account named “PayPal Emails” and put all the Paypal email addresses on that list. When it was time to send the email, I put the “email@example.com” email address on the “To:” line, and put the list in the “Bcc:” line so no one else in the company could see who else I sent the email to. Everyone who got the email could only see that I sent it to the Appeals department. Other Paypal victims should practice this technique with their own personal emails first to make sure it works before sending their email to Paypal. People in the “Bcc:” line should not be able to see any other email addresses except the one in the “To:” line.
- After I sent the letter to Paypal, I received an email from the Appeals department stating they investigated my case, but still ruled against me. The following day I received the email from the executive at Paypal saying he would refund the money. At Paypal, it is clear that thy left hand has no clue what thy right hand is doing. So if a victim gets a rejection email after sending their letter, keep waiting. Someone else from the executive office will most likely respond later on with a real solution.
How I Convinced PayPal To Release My Funds by Randy "Wilson" Brown