PayPal Problems: Washington
There's no magic way to solve your Paypal problem. If PayPal freezes your account for no reason and denies you access to your money for 6 months or more, or even though you were the victim of fraud and PayPal sided with the scammer, your options for getting your money back and/or being compensated for your loss boils down to three options: You can try to work it out with PayPal, you can take PayPal to court (small claims or a higher court) or you can file complaints that will pressure PayPal to see things your way.
This section covers filing complaints in order to pressure PayPal into seeing things YOUR way (if you are right in the first place). The first section will deal with filing federal complaints. The second section will deal with filing complaints that are specific to your state -- a person who lives in California will not necessarily file with the same authorities as say a person living in Maine.
If you want your money back or if you want justice, here's everything thing you need to fire multiple complaints at PayPal...complaints that GO SOMEWHERE!
Welcome to your state's PayPal Problems Page! Before you get started, it is important that you read this opening introduction to ensure that you will use the information given properly, effectively and to its fullest potential.
If you are here, that means you are considering filing a complaint against PayPal. If you are considering this, be sure that you have exhausted all of your options in terms of negotiating with PayPal first. That means, if you are having PayPal problems, do not file a complaint against PayPal until you have contacted PayPal and tried to resolve the issue with them.
This is important for a couple of reasons. First, if you file a complaint against PayPal without dealing with them first (even though WE know that does little to no good), you will be informed by the persons or agencies that you are making complaints to to contact PayPal first and try to resolve the issue with them first. Your complaint will then go nowhere. Second, it is important to contact PayPal first because you can gather all of the evidence that you need to do PayPal real damage when you file your complaint. Without some kind of evidence showing that you attempted to work the problem out with PayPal, your complaint will either be dismissed or rendered completely useless.
When contacting PayPal with your problem, first attempt to communicate with them via email. After you have sent them an email, immediately go to the telephone and call PayPal. Do not tell PayPal that you have sent them an email on this issue. Write down what time you called, what you said, and what the PayPal representative said. If you can get that person's first name, write that down as well.
After you get off the phone with PayPal, evaluate if what transpired helps you or solves nothing. Wait an hour or more and call PayPal again. With any luck you will have a different customer service representative. Go through your whole problem again WITHOUT MENTIONING that you called before about the same problem.
Based on that information, go through the motions of trying to comply with what PayPal wants of you. Now, check your email and see if PayPal has replied. If PayPal has replied, write down how long it took them to reply. Copy the email and keep it together with your original email that you sent them.
After looking at what you have thus far, I bet that what the people at PayPal told you is different than what your email is saying. I bet that what PayPal told you over the telephone is different than what somebody else at PayPal told you over the phone! You are now building evidence against PayPal to use in your complaints.
Based on the information that you have thus far, this is how it all pieces together. Here is an incomplete complaint letter showing how this fits together:
I have been a PayPal account holder for 1 year. I recently sold a computer via eBay. I received payment for my computer via the PayPal service. After I received the money into my PayPal account I shipped the computer to my buyer. When I logged into my PayPal account PayPal told me was account was frozen and I could not have access to my money! PayPal accused me of "suspicious activity." That is ridiculous! Paypal asked me to fax them a copy of my ID, credit card statement and utility bill showing my address. I did this and PayPal still won't let me have my money!
(Here comes the info you just collected)
I contacted PayPal via email -- it took them three days to reply. When I did get the reply it had NOTHING to do with what I had written. They are jerking me around. A copy of my email and PayPal's reply is attached. I called PayPal TWICE -- On January 16 at 3PM and January 17 at 630PM. The first time the customer rep (John -- he would not give me his last name or an employee number or anything) told me XXXXXXXXXX. That did not help me in the least. I then called PayPal again and this customer service representative (Janice) told me something completely different! She told me XXXXXXXXX.
PayPal will not even provide me with evidence showing me what this "suspicious activity was." But I had to supply PayPal with plenty of very private information! In the end the refuse to give me my money back!
Obviously there will be much more to your complaint -- and your complaint will be customized towards who you are complaining to (example: your complaint would differ based on if you were writing to a federal law enforcement center verses complaining to a state agency concerned with money transfer issues).
Next, you have to decide WHY you are complaining and WHAT YOU WANT. It does not help to complain unless you describe what you want. In our above example you are showing that PayPal is unfair and conducting questionable and illegal business practices to hold your money (for its benefit). You are also describing in your complaint what you want: you want PayPal to return your money NOW. Not in 6 months, not next week and not tomorrow. You want your money now. By saying what you want, it will make it easier for the persons or agencies you are complaining to to contact PayPal and pressure them to return your money. If, in this example, you did not say what you wanted, the persons or agencies that you complained to might only contact PayPal about their questionable business practices -- and not the fact that you want your money back. So decide WHY you are complaining and decide WHAT YOU WANT.
Once you have contacted PayPal and gone through the motions of contacting PayPal to resolve the issue, and once you have gathered all of your documentation and evidence, you are ready to take on PayPal.
Screw-PayPal.com is an advocate for what we term the "multiple complaints strategy." PayPal uses a variation of this strategy against you: they want to keep your money so they send you ridiculous requests for multiple pieces of information (some you might have and some you might not have). PayPal counts on that fact that while you might be able to comply with SOME of their requests, you will not be able to comply with others. When you are unable to comply, PayPal then has their reason as to why they are holding your funds (example: PayPal keeps your money because you were unable to provide a receipt for an item that sold via eBay -- because you purchased that item in 1981 and no longer have the receipt). You must use a similar strategy against PayPal, but in reverse.
PayPal gets threats via mail and telephone each and every day from persons who promise they are going to complain to HERE and THERE and everybody else in between. However, PayPal has access to statistics that show less than .01 percent of all persons who threaten to make a complaint actually do it.
The first part of this complaints strategy is to up the number of complaints that they must respond to. Second, if one person files a minimum of three to five well placed complaints, PayPal will have to deal with three to five different agencies breathing down their necks. Why does PayPal care? First, PayPal is licensed to do business on a state-by-state basis. PayPal will listen to your state authorities (everybody is so focused on filing complaints with the Better Business Bureau that they miss the really effective places to complain) because they will have power over them and can do them harm.
The whole reason PayPal is keeping your money is to make money off of it -- maximize revenue. However, answering and responding to complaints costs PayPal money (materials, wages, labor, postage, telephone, electricity, etc). Complaints cost PayPal even more money when they are forced to pay fines and penalties from state and federal regulators. File multiple complaints to the right people and agencies, and you dramatically increase the chances that PayPal will solve your problem JUST TO MAKE YOU AND YOUR COMPLAINTS GO AWAY. That option is much cheaper for PayPal than dealing with your complaints -- and the possible fallout from them.
Add into the mix thousands of persons filing three to five complaints each and you have PayPal's undivided attention. State and federal regulators and law enforcement will also give PayPal their undivided attention -- attention PayPal does not want (especially attention from a bunch of state and federal workers who are trying to have an easy and relax day only to have PayPal cause them so much work).
Complain to the RIGHT PLACES THAT CAN PRESSURE PAYPAL, complain multiple times and increase your chances that PayPal will PAY YOU to go away!
If you want to avoid court or having to file lawsuits to solved your PayPal problem, you have to get other people to fight your cause for you -- for free. That is where "federal resources" come in. There are government agencies -- and national complaints organizations -- who will take your complaint and then take it to PayPal. These government agencies and organizations carry far more weight, power and influence than any letter that you could write to PayPal yourself.
Often times, PayPal will cave in to your demands and solve your problem just from having these agencies and organizations contact them and threaten them with further action should they continue with their behavior.
That is the factor that you must count on: The pressure from these organizations and the pressure that PayPal will feel from receiving other complaints from thousands of others. It will be cheaper and less risky to solve your problem than to have PayPal challenged by a federal government agency or court.
To begin the process of getting your money back you can file your complaint with the following federal organizations:
Federal Resources: Table of Contents
- Your United States Senators
- Your United States Congressman/woman
- The United States Department of Justice
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
- The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
- The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)
- Council of the Better Business Bureau
- National Consumer Law Center
- The National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C)
Every state has two United States Senators. These two people are elected on a state wide basis and represent your entire state in Washington D.C.. Your United States Senators have enormous power and enormous influence. A simple letter or phone call from a U.S. Senator's office can move mountains or force dogs and cats to sleep together.
Why will they help you? Every United States Senator has an office that deals with constituent complaints involving a number of issues -- every problem imaginable are handled by your United States Senators' office. Second, they want to get re-elected. Unlike PayPal, your government representatives serve at the pleasure of the voters. They figure if they can help you, you will be grateful and vote for them in the next election. Fair trade.
Contact your TWO United States's Senators with your PayPal problem. Don't forget to include why you think PayPal was unjust to you and mention the fact that PayPal has a history of screwing its customers. You may submit your complaint via email or you may write them a letter.
CLICK HERE TO CONTACT YOUR UNITED STATES SENATORS (When you get there, look in the upper right corner of the page to find your U.S. Senator)
Unlike Senators, where every state has two, your state has anywhere from one to over 50 United States Congressman/woman. These people are elected in districts. In your congressional district, you have ONE United States Congressman/woman. Like U.S. Senators, these people have a huge amount of power and influence. Like Senators, members of Congress deal with a huge amount of voter problems -- you name the topic, and they can and will help you. One phone call or letter from them can solver your PayPal problem.
You can contact your member of Congress via email or write them a letter.
The Department of Justice is the federal government's chief law enforcement agency and prosecutorial office.
You can file a complaint with them via email or write them a letter.
The FTC deals with issues that touch the economic life of every American. It is the only federal agency with both consumer protection and competition jurisdiction in broad sectors of the economy. The FTC pursues vigorous and effective law enforcement; advances consumers’ interests... In short, these are the guys that PayPal is really afraid of. You can file your complaint with them online.
Why in the world would anybody complaint to these guys? Don't they have something to do with the stock market or something? You are correct, they regulate all companies that are trading stock publicly. They also are very concerned with companies who engage in fraudulent activity which might manipulate their stock price and give investors a false picture of the truth of a company's heath.
Your approach is this: PayPal freezes customer accounts so they can artificially inflate the amount of cash reserves that they have (remember, your money is held in pooled bank accounts under PayPal's name). This is an issue the SEC would be very interested in. Who knows, maybe PayPal is involved in some kind of fishy accounting practices (remember Enron?).
You can file a complaint with the SEC online.
Report PayPal to this feared and effective government task force. Your aim here is to highlight the criminal and fraudulent nature of PayPal's activities. You must be able to detail how PayPal wronged you and stole your money.
The Better Business Bureau is another group that PayPal has to answer to -- first because it has enormous influence and second, PayPal is a member.
"The National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) is the nation’s consumer law expert, helping consumers, their advocates, and public policy makers use powerful and complex consumer laws on behalf of low-income and vulnerable Americans seeking economic justice.
Today’s consumer marketplace is complex and full of potholes, even for those of us with all the necessary skills and advantages. For unsuspecting low-income consumers it’s far more treacherous - even the smallest misstep can lead to financial ruin and a sense of hopelessness that paralyzes individual progress."
If you would like to contact the National Consumer Law Center to help with your PayPal problem, you can do so online.
They will help you with filing a complaint against PayPal showing you how to do it and lots of other places that you can go to. White collar crime is a term coined for something that PayPal does: it is fraud and outright theft committed by those wearing a white shirt and tie to work everyday.
State Resources: Table of Contents
Consumers are encouraged to try to resolve the dispute with PayPal themselves. If direct contact was unsuccessful, or you are dissatisfied with the results, you may file a complaint with the Division of Consumer Services using one of the four methods listed below:
File a complaint ONLINE: Washington Division of Consumer Services
File a complaint via mail or fax: CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION
Call us: 1-360-902-8811 or 1-877-746-4334
Email us: CSEnforceComplaints@dfi.wa.gov