The situation is simple: There’s a guy I needed to send $65 to for a service he was kind enough to render in advance of being paid. He had a Pay Pal (PP) account for me to use.
After I figured out how to transfer money to Pay Pal to pay the vendor, the vendor’s PP website wouldn’t recognize the transaction, sending me in an endless loop. Then I discovered that I had a “limited” account, so I took the required steps to verify my account information. I received an automated phone call with a confirmation number and used it to verify the account. Apparently all was well, but the vendor’s PP website still wouldn’t accept payment, even after both the bank and PP verified that the measly $65 I needed to pay had been transferred to my PP account.
(I might mention here that I’ve used PP in the past but stopped using it because PP had become notorious for phishing schemes and other scams.)
However, PP did remember my e-mail account. One of the problems was that I kept forgetting my password after each failed attempt to pay my vendor so I had to re-set it several times.
So now I was at the stage where I had verified the account with the confirmation number. And I had successfully transferred funds from my bank account to my PP account.
But what’s this? Apparently my account was still “limited”.
I went to try to figure out how to “unlimit” it but . . . what’s this? It seems PP had “randomly selected” my account for a new security check!
But what’s this? PP now wants me to specify two security questions out of a quirky menu they provide. I selected my father’s middle name and my sainted grandmother’s maiden name because I always remember the answers and the spelling is certain (unlike my first pet dog’s name which I spell a couple different ways and the name of the hospital I was born in which has changed names a couple times)
I answer these questions…but what’s this? Ah, PP now wants me to change my password again (and confirm the new one).
Whew! I grit my teeth and do so.
But what’s this? Apparently there’s a problem with my user name that requires a new password.
At this point I have no idea how to get past the PP gatekeepers to even find out how to remove my restrictions so I can just pay the stupid $65 that I’ve been promising my faithful and patient vendor.
I tried again the next day using a helpful invoice my vendor sent. This duly took me to the PP site but didn’t do anything except show me my account balance: $65.
Now I noticed that my account was “verified” but still “limited” so I figured I’d try at least confirming my credit card account, which may have been an old one. However, PP also wants a photo ID and a bank statement of some kind . . . which are not going to be happening from my location in Cairo, Egypt. Nevertheless, I started in on the credit card. I looked up my Visa number, expiry date, special code and entered the info. PP then wanted me to go to my bank account where they had put a “test amount” with a 4-digit code. I went to the bank account online and found the test amount but, naturally, no 4-digit code.
I tried to go back to PP but the webpage had expired (after only 3 or 4 minutes) so I had to go back in, change my password, enter new security questions (same as the old ones) and start over. In the meantime, I had received two additional e-mails from PP telling me my password was changed and my security questions had been changed.
And so it goes…and endless series of password and security question changes, bank verifications and other nonsense.
Here’s how Pay Pal describes my account status:
What can I do while my account is limited?
- receive or request money
- update your account information
- add money to your account
- add a card
- add a bank account
- use PayPal logos in your auction listings or on your website
What can’t I do while my account is limited?
- send money
- withdraw money from your account
- close your account
- remove a card
- remove a bank account
- send refunds
Am I missing some key piece of information? Maybe I inadvertently selected the “Extract gold doubloons from Fort Knox” option and thus have understandably tighter hoops to jump through. Perhaps Pay Pal is punishing me for jilting them a few years ago. Possibly even this moment some fiendish phishing felon has discovered my grandmother’s maiden name and is secretly slipping spondulics out of my savings.
I wondered what my sainted grandmother would have advised. She passed away before there was Pay Pal, before there was Internet, before there was online banking, before there were personal computers . . . practically before there were even electrons.
She knew about checks though. So I got hold of a party traveling from Egypt to the US, wrote a check, put it in an envelope and asked them to mail it from Tucson to Phoenix.
That’s what I call a dang pay pal.