If You're Paying for Something, You're the Product
June 4, 2015 12:26 PM   Subscribe

In the wake of its split from eBay, online transaction service PayPal will be changing its policies on July 1st, 2015. Under the new arrangement, U.S. based users may opt-out from using PayPal or "consent to receive autodialed or pre-recorded calls and text messages from PayPal at any telephone number that you have provided us or that we have otherwise obtained.

The announcement was made less than a month after PayPal was fined $25 million by the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for deceptive practices involving customer accounts and PayPal's proprietary payment service.

As the amended terms would offer PayPal an attempt to circumvent aggressive telemarketing in the States, the Federal Communications Commission has already received complaints on the matter.
posted by Smart Dalek (128 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
 
Just a quick MeFi-related note, for those who are wondering: we've heard from several members about this, regarding our use of PayPal for MeFi donations, and we're working out a non-PayPal solution. Announcement to come in the next week or so.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:30 PM on June 4, 2015 [104 favorites]


Just a quick MeFi-related note, for those who are wondering: we've heard from several members about this, regarding our use of PayPal for MeFi donations, and we're working out a non-PayPal solution. Announcement to come in the next week or so.

Thank you!!!! I really love Metafilter and I really, really hate Paypal.
posted by selfnoise at 12:32 PM on June 4, 2015 [21 favorites]


I know such a thing is forbidden here, but...Are you sure calling for violence against PayPal executives isn't ok in this instance. Because...dicks all teh way down.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:32 PM on June 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


Oh HELL no. Bye, bye PayPal.
posted by Splunge at 12:34 PM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


[Please don't call for violence against PayPal executives. You can be more creative than that.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:34 PM on June 4, 2015 [23 favorites]


Are there any non-PayPal services I could use? Because I would really like to not use PayPal for anything if I can help it. Of course, I guess it depends if the places I want to buy from would accept non-PayPal payments.
posted by Kitteh at 12:35 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


File under "Cartoonishly Evil" and man, is THAT folder getting full.
posted by emjaybee at 12:35 PM on June 4, 2015 [21 favorites]


Non-paypal services include google wallet and amazon payments. Both of which may come with their own baggage. But those are the other 2 big players I know of. I suppose there is also "stripe" which I am vaguely familiar with. Apple has some kind of payment thing but is it general purpose?
posted by RustyBrooks at 12:37 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm looking forward to the day when I can ditch Paypal completely. I'm hoping this forces enough services to switch that I can finally close out my account. (Thanks, mods, for looking into better ways! I know I won't be the only person to change the service for my recurring payment.)
posted by immlass at 12:39 PM on June 4, 2015


Thanks for posting this, this is just the nudge I needed to close down my account with them.
posted by indubitable at 12:40 PM on June 4, 2015


I think this is WAY overblown. PayPal is a financial institution YOU agree to use, they just want to be able co CALL YOU. Perhaps to let you know of a transaction! Or that there was a problem with your payment! Why is it somehow *EVIL* for them to attempt additional means of contact besides email when needed. Do you think they're just going to robocall you to say hello? I don't get the outrage here.
posted by j03 at 12:42 PM on June 4, 2015 [22 favorites]


Dear LM: is coating in peanut butter and rolling in chopped nuts okay? (Tar & feathers is so last century.)
posted by easily confused at 12:42 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was looking to buy something online from someone who would rather not use Paypal. So I signed up for Google Wallet and put in my CC# and address. Then I could not figure out how to use it to send money for the life of me; felt like an idiot. No $ symbol in my gmail, no app available for my phone. After some searching around it looks like it's US only? Wow, that would have been easier to let me know up front when I provided my address.
posted by ODiV at 12:43 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


yep i'm on the phone right now.

bc i can't close online because sometime ago i tried to apply for their mastercard and then tehy wanted all sorts of documentation and i didn't send it and now my account is "under review" so i can't close it.

that was relatively painless... i'm kinda surprised.

google wallet it is.
posted by sio42 at 12:44 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think this is WAY overblown. PayPal is a financial institution YOU agree to use, they just want to be able co CALL YOU. Perhaps to let you know of a transaction! Or that there was a problem with your payment! Why is it somehow *EVIL* for them to attempt additional means of contact besides email when needed. Do you think they're just going to robocall you to say hello? I don't get the outrage here.

This company has spent well over a decade being one of the internet's most hated and mistrusted entities for a good reason. They get whatever the opposite of "benefit of a doubt" is.
posted by selfnoise at 12:46 PM on June 4, 2015 [36 favorites]


[Please don't call for violence against PayPal executives. You can be more creative than that.]
How about: I hope PayPal executives are forced to use PayPal?
posted by pibeandres at 12:47 PM on June 4, 2015 [37 favorites]


I think this is WAY overblown. PayPal is a financial institution YOU agree to use, they just want to be able co CALL YOU. Perhaps to let you know of a transaction! Or that there was a problem with your payment! Why is it somehow *EVIL* for them to attempt additional means of contact besides email when needed. Do you think they're just going to robocall you to say hello? I don't get the outrage here.

Because they can already call you about your shit. No. This is going to be robocalls for shit like "Hi, Did you know that if you use your PayPal Mastercard at Hilton hotels this week you can get double points?" and other miscellaneous bullshit.
posted by Talez at 12:47 PM on June 4, 2015 [19 favorites]


How is it that Elon Musk manages to be a hero of the Internet zeitgeist, yet we all despise PayPal?
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:48 PM on June 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


[Please don't call for violence against PayPal executives. You can be more creative than that.]
How about: I hope PayPal executives are forced to use PayPal?


You monster.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 12:48 PM on June 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


I think this is WAY overblown. PayPal is a financial institution YOU agree to use, they just want to be able co CALL YOU. Perhaps to let you know of a transaction! Or that there was a problem with your payment! Why is it somehow *EVIL* for them to attempt additional means of contact besides email when needed. Do you think they're just going to robocall you to say hello? I don't get the outrage here.

Well.....:
" (v) poll your opinions through surveys or questionnaires, (vii) contact you with offers and promotions;"
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:49 PM on June 4, 2015 [23 favorites]


Once MeFi gets an alternate funding system running, that'll be the last barrier to me canceling PayPal gone, and I may throw a party.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:50 PM on June 4, 2015


Back in the pre-dawn of the web, Paypal was important, the only way to pay for stuff really. The credit card companies were being dickbags about payments and we were still in the old Ka-Chunk! paper receipt era in most ways. In those days, Paypal was a necessary evil.

Fifteen years later and Visa and MC (and...) finally have come round to understanding the web exists, and the banks are starting to understand too.

Paypal is still the same. They're doing most of the job of a bank, without the regulations the banks have to live with, and without the accountability of a bank. For all that the banks and credi companies are big companies who care just about their bottom lines, they are are much more consumer friendly than the unregulated twerps who run paypal.

Apple Pay and Android Pay/Google wallet have neat technical innovations (tokenization, forex), but honestly, I hope that like Paypal, all these money payment services die in a fire. I don't really think Apple or Google becoming financial services is good for them as companies or for us as their customers.
posted by bonehead at 12:52 PM on June 4, 2015 [17 favorites]


Square now has online payment (we use it for our venue) they take a cut but it's otherwise fairly painless. Never tried to use it for anything but an event though.
posted by emjaybee at 12:52 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


holy crap. i had to go back thru and anything that i ever signed up for authorizing payment, i had to "cancel" the agreement.

there wasn't a button to cancel them all. and you can filter by "active" but every time you did one, the page refreshed and you had to filter again.

PITA. ugh.
posted by sio42 at 12:54 PM on June 4, 2015


An excellent way to test for replicants is whether or not the subject gets angry about a company forcing one to accept robocalls.
posted by winna at 12:54 PM on June 4, 2015 [33 favorites]


Sigh. I don't ever answer my landline anyway, because the Do Not Call registry doesn't work. Therefore, nothing will change for me.
posted by Peach at 12:56 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, this really seems less abusive than the terms that were already put in place a year ago:

Turns out, PayPal is a giant data hog.

It already has the information you hand over when you sign up, including your name, “detailed personal information such as date of birth,” address, phone number, banking and/or credit card information. It further collects information about all “your transactions and your activities.”

When you get on a PayPal site or use its services, it collects “information sent to us by your computer, mobile phone or other access device.” This “includes but is not limited to” (so these are just examples): “data about the pages you access, computer IP address, device ID or unique identifier, device type, geo-location information, computer and connection information, mobile network information, statistics on page views, traffic to and from the sites, referral URL, ad data, and standard web log data and other information.”

You read correctly: “and other information” – anything it can get.

PayPal also collects personal data by putting cookies, web beacons (“to identify our users and user behavior”), and “similar technologies” on your device so that you can be tracked 24/7 even if you’re not using PayPal’s services, and even if you’re not on any of its sites.

Wait, “similar technologies?” By clicking on another link, you find out that they include pernicious “flash cookies,” newfangled “HTML 5 cookies,” and undefined “other web application software methods.” Unlike cookies, they “can operate across all of your browsers.” And you can’t get rid of these spy technologies or block them through your browser the way you get rid of or block cookies. You have to jump through hoops to deal with them, if they can be dealt with at all.

In addition, PayPal sweeps up any information “from or about you in other ways,” such as when you contact customer support and tell them stuff, or when you respond to a survey (Just Say No), or when you interact “with members of the eBay Inc. corporate family or other companies.” Yup, it sweeps up information even when you interact with other companies!

It may also “obtain information about you from third parties such as credit bureaus and identity verification services.” And it may “evaluate your computer, mobile phone or other access device to identify any malicious software or activity.” So they’re snooping around your devices.

And when you download or use PayPal’s apps to your smartphone, or access its “mobile optimized sites,” it collects location data along with a host of other data on your mobile device, including the unique identifier that ties it to you personally in order to manipulate search results and swamp you with location-based advertising “and other personalized content,” or whatever.

After vacuuming up all this information “from or about you,” PayPal will then “combine your information with information we collect from other companies” and create a voluminous, constantly growing dossier on you that you will never be able to check into.

Who all gets your personal information that PayPal collects? You guessed it.

First, it defines “personal information.” Turns out, much of your personal information is not “personal information”: any information that PayPal has “made anonymous” – we already know how anonymous that really is – is not “personal information,” and thus can be freely shared with or sold to whomever. And it shares the remaining “personal information” with:

eBay and its affiliates
•Contractors that “help with,” among other things, “marketing and technology services”
•Financial outfits (such as GE Capital) that help decide, for example, if you should receive pre-approved credit-card offers
•Credit bureaus and collection agencies, which get your account information
•Companies PayPal might merge with or be acquired by. There goes your entire dossier. You can’t stop it from being sold to the new entity, which might be a Chinese company.
•A basket of our favorite law enforcement and government agencies and “other third parties pursuant to a subpoena, court order, or other legal process….”

You can’t opt out of PayPal’s spy apparatus.

You can only opt out of receiving their ads and pitches. And activating that “do not track” function in your browser to keep PayPal off your back? No way José. “We do not currently respond to DNT signals,” it says laconically.

So, if you don’t like being surveilled like that, you’re still free to close your PayPal account. But that’s not going to wipe out the information PayPal has collected “from or about you,” and its automatic systems continues to collect data through cookies, beacons, and “similar technologies,” and through the sophisticated spy capabilities that are part of any smartphone worth its salt [hilarious video…. iPhone 5nSa].

PayPal will simply mark your account as “closed” and you can’t get into it anymore, but it will “retain personal information from your account for a certain period of time” – probably forever – to do all sorts things, including “take other actions as required or permitted by law.” Yup, as permitted by law. It won’t do anything illegal with it. That’s the only promise. Alas, there aren’t exactly a lot of legal restrictions in the US on what companies can do with personal data.

posted by snuffleupagus at 12:56 PM on June 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


This is not compliant with the new (as of 2013) TCPA guidelines as I understand them at all.
posted by ernielundquist at 12:56 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Just a quick MeFi-related note, for those who are wondering: we've heard from several members about this, regarding our use of PayPal for MeFi donations, and we're working out a non-PayPal solution. Announcement to come in the next week or so.

If your bank has autopay, have them cut a check once an interval.
posted by tilde at 12:57 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh, that's all well and good for all of you. Think of those of us who have, say, Etsy shops, who can't easily close down the accounts because that's basically like saying "No, don't buy from me".

I just looked. Fully 36% of my transactions for the Etsy shop were via Paypal. That's a lot.
posted by anastasiav at 12:57 PM on June 4, 2015 [15 favorites]


or if you sell on ebay, which is prettttttty much a monopoly.
posted by Ferreous at 12:59 PM on June 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


: "[Please don't call for violence against PayPal executives. You can be more creative than that.]"

Is it violence to hope all those executives get the same quality of customer care with all their banking that PayPal gave to the rest of us?
posted by Samizdata at 1:01 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am someone who won't be able to escape this. Oh well. Maybe next year. :(
posted by Hermione Granger at 1:01 PM on June 4, 2015


Nailed it, bonehead. I remember PayPal before eBay bought it. Now it's being spun off. Don't people have better things to do?
posted by Melismata at 1:01 PM on June 4, 2015


Howzabout we all concentrate really, really hard and telepathically wish they all get a really nasty rash?
posted by easily confused at 1:03 PM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


"that we have otherwise obtained"

my pen just snapped in my hand when i got to this part, now i'm all inky and enraged.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:03 PM on June 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


Uuuuughhhh how many online things am I going to have to go through and change the payment method on? This is annoying, but you know that if it overcomes my inherent laziness and inertia, it's some shady and gross shit. There's a bunch of stuff I defaulted to using Paypal to pay for because it was most convenient at the time, and now I'm gonna have to go change all of it.
posted by yasaman at 1:04 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


oh my god i had to call back because it's still saying there's pending authorizations.

it is apparently pretty hard to close your paypal account.

rep: why do you want to close your account?
me: because i don't want it.
rep: .... i see....
posted by sio42 at 1:04 PM on June 4, 2015


YAY she closed it for me. buh bye, pay pal.
posted by sio42 at 1:05 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I mean I never answer the phone anyway even when I know who's calling, but this is still nigh fucking unbearable.

i hope their taints become irresistible to furious hornets
posted by poffin boffin at 1:06 PM on June 4, 2015 [15 favorites]


Talk about totally not understanding your customer base. Ye gods and little fishes.

This is going to be a disaster for Paypal. This will not raise revenue, drive conversions, or lead to more than a few accidental customers. This whole thing will be dead within a year, if not before.
posted by gsh at 1:08 PM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh, while we're airing grievances, let me tell you a story about PayPal's attention to security and user experience. For a while, their mobile app, at least on Android, had a security hole where you could bypass the two-factor authentication requirement (login with your password, then get a text message with a one-time PIN). Their response was to make it so accounts with two-factor authentication couldn't log in to the mobile app. That was last summer, and they finally re-enabled the app this year.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:13 PM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Do you think they're just going to robocall you to say hello?
No New Year's Day to celebrate
No chocolate covered candy hearts to give away
No first of spring
No song to sing
In fact here's just another ordinary day
Or if you prefer Lionel ...
posted by tilde at 1:14 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


This whole thing will be dead within a year, if not before.

Maybe they're angling to get bought out by Sourceforge's parent company.
posted by indubitable at 1:15 PM on June 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


How is it that Elon Musk manages to be a hero of the Internet zeitgeist, yet we all despise PayPal?

&

Paypal is still the same. They're doing most of the job of a bank, without the regulations the banks have to live with, and without the accountability of a bank. For all that the banks and credi companies are big companies who care just about their bottom lines, they are are much more consumer friendly than the unregulated twerps who run paypal.

Seriously. I don't understand that. Paypal was like, the original "lets disrupt bla bla by ignoring all the rules and refusing to acknowledge that we should be bound by them" business. They're basically the uber of credit cards. I realize people hate them, but why doesn't he get more shit for it? Is he too busy being "tony stark" to a bunch of fedora nerds?

Paypal has done too much shit like this i'll never forget, where they just arbitrarily hold or eat money with no recourse. It scares me every time i have money in there, and it scares me that you can't be fully "verified" without them having the ability to suck money out of your bank account any time they want. I know people who have separate accounts at a different bank just to tie with paypal.

I also think that anyone who is convinced this will kill paypal doesn't understand how much money paypal has or makes. They might not have an enormous valuation, but that company is a money factory with very little effort. They're kind of the ultimate rentiers. Uber and such have to deal with the bad optics of shitty events happening offline. Paypal just shovels bits, and gets the occasional hate story only nerds read on a site like giantbomb.

Everyone i know who receives money on paypal in any meaningful way has had a bad experience. They're like comcast, if comcast stole your money too(insert hurrdurr billz joke).

What scares me is that i think they've realized that they can literally be a shitty spam company and no one can stop them. They're the gatekeepers to ebay, even if ebay and them "split". That's a feeding tube that could keep any piece of shit company alive.
posted by emptythought at 1:22 PM on June 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


because the Do Not Call registry doesn't work

For those of you who still have land lines, please consider using nomorobo. The more people who use it, the more effective it is.
posted by jeffamaphone at 1:22 PM on June 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


Square now has online payment (we use it for our venue) they take a cut but it's otherwise fairly painless. Never tried to use it for anything but an event though.

I like square, and it also brings up an interesting point.

Square and venmo, which is fucking owned by paypal now can put money in to your bank account basically as fast as ACH transfers will work, sometimes even the next morning. Paypal on the other hand takes like, 3-4 days.

I've heard so many shitty excuses from people going "hey don't hate on them it's just ACH! everyone has to deal with it!" but nah, they just sit on your money and collect a little bit of interest on everything. This is part of the reason they're literally a money factory.
posted by emptythought at 1:27 PM on June 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


Back in the pre-dawn of the web, Paypal was important . . .

The credit card companies were being dickbags


. . . whlie Paypal were being clickbags?


The tiny sans serif fonts the kids all seem to love these days make it hard for me to tell a "d" from a "cl". Makes for some entertaining misreads, sometimes.
posted by Herodios at 1:30 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Perhaps to let you know of a transaction! Or that there was a problem with your payment! Why is it somehow *EVIL* for them to attempt additional means of contact besides email when needed.

If it is 100% necessary for them to call me, a person with the ability to fix the problem at hand can do it. A robocall accomplishes nothing an email can't, except, as mentioned above, marketing financial products directly into my ear.
posted by almostmanda at 1:30 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


they can literally be a shitty spam company and no one can stop them.

It's true. As much as I love the idea of ditching them altogether, it just won't happen. I'm in too deep. I imagine many others are in the same swamp.
posted by Otis at 1:30 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Square has that Cash app, which is how I pay my housemates for bills, and one of the reasons my housemates and I continue to love each other. It's free.

Square, you're brilliant.

Off to see if I can't accept Square Payments online...
posted by alex_skazat at 1:31 PM on June 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


This whole thing will be dead within a year, if not before.

Maybe they're angling to get bought out by Sourceforge's parent company.


Or Yahoo!
posted by Sys Rq at 1:32 PM on June 4, 2015


I realize people hate them, but why doesn't [Musk] get more shit for it? Is he too busy being "tony stark" to a bunch of fedora nerds?

People don't remember him as being in charge of that, mostly. He got out early. He only controlled Paypal for what, about a year? Most of their abuses properly belong at the feet of eBay, who has run the company ever since 2001.
posted by bonehead at 1:32 PM on June 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


Just a quick MeFi-related note, for those who are wondering: we've heard from several members about this, regarding our use of PayPal for MeFi donations, and we're working out a non-PayPal solution. Announcement to come in the next week or so.

Please just use Stripe. Please.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:35 PM on June 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


I hope they are forced to live in a world covered in legos with no hard-soled shoes.
posted by Deoridhe at 1:37 PM on June 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


In the battle for hearts and minds, PayPal is a war crime.
posted by blue_beetle at 1:46 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Do Not Call registry actually does work, but only for legitimate businesses. Before it was passed (they, really, as there are state laws in addition to the federal one), I got all kinds of telemarketing calls from real, legitimate businesses. TV and long distance providers when that was a thing, stuff like that. Generally, those types of businesses no longer call people on the list. It's almost all either straight up criminals, and every now and again, a small, clueless local business. (Recently, I was getting really persistent and annoying live calls from a tanning parlor a mile or so from me, of all things.)

The volume of calls, as far as I can tell, has increased quite a bit, but that's largely due to technical advancements and criminals thinking up new ways to break the law. Without the no call list, the problem would likely be a hell of a lot worse than it is right now.
posted by ernielundquist at 1:47 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


It sounds like the NSA should be jealous of Paypal's spy craft.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:49 PM on June 4, 2015


How is it that Elon Musk manages to be a hero of the Internet zeitgeist, yet we all despise PayPal?

Elon Musk is only a hero of the Internet to 20-something know-nothing "futurism" douchecanoes who believe (based mostly on wishful thinking) that a "second space age" or some bullshit is on the verge of catapulting us all to the stars.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 1:50 PM on June 4, 2015 [11 favorites]


How is it that Elon Musk manages to be a hero of the Internet zeitgeist, yet we all despise PayPal?

Shiny electric cars are sexier than boring, if abusive, payment web sites.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 1:52 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Pfft, like I ever answer my phone anyway.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:55 PM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Tried to cancel my account, it won't because of "pending transactions" which is absurd, I haven't used them in months. Changed the phone number to the local police department, lets see them robocall them.
posted by Blackanvil at 1:56 PM on June 4, 2015 [31 favorites]


PayPal sucks, and has sucked for years, but it still beats the alternative of giving my credit card information to every commerce company on the Internet.
posted by Shmuel510 at 1:59 PM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Granted that people haven't been thrilled with PayPal for good reason, but this seems to be just another TOS flareup that can be attributed to overzealous or poor lawyering, not a company going all darth vader cartoonishly evil. I do know their legal department is currently in a harried mess due to the forthcoming split. It's entirely possible this was something that wasn't properly thought through and they'll dial it back.
posted by naju at 2:05 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


emjaybee: "File under "Cartoonishly Evil" and man, is THAT folder getting full"

Subdivide by type of cartoon.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 2:05 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yes, but remember just how Evil a Traditional Bank can be, as explained by a not-freaking-rich truly-creative web entrepreneur.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:11 PM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


It sounds like the NSA should be jealous of Paypal's spy craft.

Who do you think “other third parties pursuant to a subpoena, court order, or other legal process….” refers to?

The NSA is almost undoubtedly funding a good portion of Paypal's data collection.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:20 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


"I mean I never answer the phone anyway even when I know who's calling, but this is still nigh fucking unbearable. "

One of the more obnoxious tertiary parts of being on the job hunt is that I can't screen my calls like I did when I had a job with an office number. The current bane is some fake-ass security company that uses recordings and if you mention that replies with a pre-recorded, "No, I'm a real person, I'm just talking to you with through a computer." Really? Then why are the responses the exact same no matter what I ask, and why can't you do things like answer "What's two plus two?"
posted by klangklangston at 2:28 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


True story: I hate PayPal so much that it kept me from signing up for a MetaFilter account for almost a decade, despite being a daily lurker.
posted by KGMoney at 2:33 PM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Stripe is a pretty great service. Their entire value proposition is basically "payment processing that isn't PayPal", so that tells you a lot.
posted by Itaxpica at 2:42 PM on June 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


UGH. Paypal SUCKS. I just received a payment from a client today - most people i work with know paypal and want to use it - and there was a $4.65 fee taken out of it. Paypal isn't very clear about when their transaction fees come into play, and I thought it was only for when you sent an invoice and received money on it. But i guess not. and I kind of feel like that fee should come out of the sender's money, and not the recipient's- The sender is the one choosing to send the money in the first place, no? Anyway, it's irritating because if I want to use paypal on the reg I'll have to up my fees and potentially drive away business.

I've been occasionally able to get people to use Venmo or mail me a check, but Paypal is so widespread that most people are familiar with it but don't know about the fees so much.
posted by ghostbikes at 2:42 PM on June 4, 2015


I hate PayPal so much that it kept me from signing up for a MetaFilter account

For anyone else who might be in that position: I want a [Metafilter] account but I don't want to use PayPal. What do I do?
posted by box at 2:44 PM on June 4, 2015


Blackanvil... Look up thread at my earlier posts about canceling my acct. The phone people were actually very nice and it took only a few minutes. The hard part was going thru the list of pending authorizations which weren't really pending..

It was still a pita tho.
posted by sio42 at 2:56 PM on June 4, 2015


Changed the phone number to the local police department, lets see them robocall them.

I was going to just try and remove my phone number, but you gave me a better idea.

(I also tried adding a dummy/disableable email address to switch to, but their confirmation email is broken and has no links in it)
posted by Evilspork at 3:10 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also I am going to go look at the abovementioned Stripe now, can anyone talk about them a bit? Some (no pun intended) metacommentary about them that wouldn't be on their website or the BBB?
posted by Evilspork at 3:12 PM on June 4, 2015


entropicamericana: "Pfft, like I ever answer my phone anyway."

My Mom is in her late 70s, doesn't have caller id or voicemail and always answers the phone before the fourth ring. I let all of my calls at home go to voicemail. My voicemails are transcribed into emails. I read the email at my leisure and call back on the rare occasions when I need to. It used to drive her nuts that I didn't answer the phone. Now she calls me on my cell phone, which I do answer because only close friends and family have the number (the calls for the drug dealer who used to have my number have mostly died off now. I had some interesting conversations and text exchanges at first.)
posted by double block and bleed at 3:25 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sorry for the triple comment, but I just remembered that I had a Hewlett Packard credit line, which is run by Bill Me Later, which is ALSO Paypal. You may want to check any store credit lines you have to see if they're just a Paypal tentacle.
posted by Evilspork at 3:26 PM on June 4, 2015


The phone number for Wrigley Field is +1 773-404-2827, in case any one else was wondering.
posted by bonehead at 3:29 PM on June 4, 2015 [16 favorites]


Cancelled my PayPal with this comment:
I DO NOT consent to receiving human generated or auto-dialed telemarketing calls, marketing e-mails /SMS / regular mail from or on behalf of PayPal or any related companies or third parties at any phone numbers, email addresses and street addresses that I have access to, no matter how Paypal happened to acquire such addresses and phone numbers. Paypal is authorized to contact me only for account related information. Paypal is NOT authorized to contact me to take surveys or polls or any other related services. By reading this comment, PayPal agrees to these terms and are bound by them.
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 3:45 PM on June 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


But PayPal will still be the sole option for buying/selling on eBay, right?
posted by Beholder at 3:47 PM on June 4, 2015


But PayPal will still be the sole option for buying/selling on eBay, right?

Probably not for long. I think that's part of what's in it for the eBay side of the split; it frees them to offer other options without shooting themselves in the foot.
posted by Shmuel510 at 3:51 PM on June 4, 2015


Though I should note that my previous comment is speculation, and who really knows.
posted by Shmuel510 at 3:55 PM on June 4, 2015


So are there any apps or websites that could work as PayPal, are secure, easy to use, and aren't assholes?
posted by gucci mane at 4:03 PM on June 4, 2015


If you're not in America (or more specifically, if, like me, you're in Korea), there is literally no viable alternative to Paypal that I've been able to find. Which sucks, but I'd be in fairly dire internet straights if it didn't exist.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:05 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Square. Our whole company runs on it. No trouble in 16 months.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 4:07 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Suddenly Bitcoin doesn't seem like the worst alternative after all.
posted by ymgve at 4:18 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm so grateful that I got locked out 2 years ago and haven't been able to reactivate it because the only phone number they had for me was a landline from 10 years ago.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:41 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


PayPal's shittiness is the only reason I've ever hoped for a functional BitCoin.
posted by klangklangston at 5:29 PM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Elon Musk is only a hero of the Internet to 20-something know-nothing "futurism" douchecanoes who believe (based mostly on wishful thinking) that a "second space age" or some bullshit is on the verge of catapulting us all to the stars.

I'm not the type of person to have business people as "heroes" but come on - Elon Musk is a very-probably-crazy engineer-at-heart who used his lucky dotcom fortune to take on a shitload of huge engineering challenges in a really impressive way. For somebody who's in one of the fields he's touched it's not particularly unreasonable to see him as an inspiration even if your own motivation is very different from "I gotta save the human race from disaster by fleeing the fucking planet."
posted by atoxyl at 6:22 PM on June 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


Square and Stripe are startups that almost certainly have an exit strategy, as they all do. Venmo, Braintree, and Paydiant, all online payment "disruptors," ended up joining PayPal. It'd be great if these companies planned to provide great services indefinitely, but that is usually not how they work.
posted by ignignokt at 6:37 PM on June 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


welp guess i'm going crawling back to checks
posted by ghostbikes at 6:41 PM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


I have been thinking lately that getting rid of my PayPal account would lead me to buy less stupid shit--thanks for making that decision easier, PP.
posted by box at 6:47 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Paypal is pretty much the only useful international option out there. It's frustrating and difficult to use, and they do arbitrarily change things, but on the other hand, we still can't use most of the US or UK options and many of the countries we get/send payments to can't use them either.

We got 90% of the way through setting up a merchant account with our local bank, who were pleasant and tried to help, but when we ran the numbers, taking credit cards directly meant we would have to pay for the bank or a more expensive third-party to handle the legal compliance side, and at the scale of transactions we have of less than $5K per month in Paypal, transferring that over to a merchant account ended up costing us about 1-2% more - and we would have to go back to all our existing clients and have them change their accounts from the familiar Paypal system to a foreign-bank credit card system.

I would love to have Stripe or Square as an option, but Paypal does offer a hugely missing service for small international customers who don't have alternatives. The robocalls feel like eh, part of the cost of doing business with them over the many huge benefits.

I can't believe I'm defending Paypal, when they piss me off so much but yeah. I would shout with joy if it became available in two countries we do business with, because it would let me skip Western Union and other remittence and difficult long processes that are way more intrusive and difficult.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 6:50 PM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


> welp guess i'm going crawling back to checks

As a not-disgruntled customer of Capital One 360 (formerly ING Direct), I can say that my worst fears after that buyout have not come true. They're still all-online, they still mail checks out on your behalf (no charge for stamps), they've also added paper checks but only if you want to use them, they've added free access to AllPoint ATMs, and they do a good job with online bill payment. Things didn't get worse and arguably got better - it's been a startling experience.

I've also used Square Cash, where you can email someone money by putting the amount in the subject line and cc'ing cash@square.com - it feels like that should NOT work, but it does.

And then there's Dwolla, who announced today that they were dropping the $0.25 transfer fee on transactions over $10. (Transactions under $10 have always been free.) I've just never had a good use case for them.
posted by RedOrGreen at 6:53 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


(Oh, and yeah, these are all US-only options, sorry. Australia, at least, had sensible electronic bank transfers.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 6:55 PM on June 4, 2015


>I don't get the outrage here

Not outrage, really. First world anticipation of potential annoyance, maybe (which is enough for me to grab my pitchfork and torch)
posted by lesChaps at 7:09 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Not outrage, really. First world anticipation of potential annoyance, maybe (which is enough for me to grab my pitchfork and torch)

I've been using PayPal as the primary way people pay for the products I create, since leaving high school. Their business practices directly effect my sales and I live off the sales I make using PayPal.

Leaving them is difficult, and I've been burned many times with trying to find alternatives.

When is it that I am supposed to feel outrage, and not simply Stockholm Syndrome?
posted by alex_skazat at 7:21 PM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


I used a burner credit union account (now closed) and a virtual CC number to set up my account, so getting the twelve bucks left on the books at Pay Pal before a I close my account requires spending it. What's on EBay that I should buy? I already picked up some 1960s ruble notes and East German coins. Craft supplies? Any good candy? Amsteel or Dunaglide by the foot?
posted by wenestvedt at 7:42 PM on June 4, 2015


Can someone PLEASE explain to me why Paypal isn't subject to banking rules?
posted by small_ruminant at 7:56 PM on June 4, 2015


As I understand it, Paypal isn't subject to most banking rules because it essentially doesn't do anything with the money sitting in the accounts of it's customers.

If everyone went to Bank of America and took out all their money, at some point BoA would say "We're out! Sorry!". That's because they use their customers money to invest in and loan out to other actors. At any point in time they might well have less then the total of their customers accounts.

Paypal on the other hand essentially just takes all their customers' money and puts it in a nice safe savings account, so they make interest on that money, but if the day comes that everyone comes and withdraws all their money, Paypal should in theory be able to pay it all out.
posted by Static Vagabond at 8:26 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I go to shut down my paypal, and of course I forget my paypal password, and they apparently aren't just gonna email me my fucking password, they have to call (oh, how ironic, yeah?), and apparently when I put my number in when I signed up, the number was typoed and so now I can't even get my fucking password. Ugh. Gonna have to call and talk to someone.
posted by symbioid at 8:42 PM on June 4, 2015


Elon Musk is only a hero of the Internet to 20-something know-nothing "futurism" douchecanoes who believe (based mostly on wishful thinking) that a "second space age" or some bullshit is on the verge of catapulting us all to the stars.

the quantity of cynicism packed into this sentence makes me legitimately sad for you
posted by JimBennett at 9:17 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


They did not like me moving to china. They did not like my scan of the Chinese visa nor the photo of me on the Wall.
They did not like my fax.

I have a zombie paypall account.
posted by thegirlwiththehat at 9:45 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am not delighted by Paypal, but living in a country where the banks still hate and fear online payments (and whose systems are a giant unintegrated mess) I *depend* on paypal. Doing online payments for me is otherwise a difficult process which as often as not results in me having the transaction declined.

And for sites who have now have proudly stopped accepting paypal and do this shit of "do WhiteHatPaymentA for the US and SmallPaymentCompanyB for UK and InterestingStartupC for Canada" please realize that many international customers now cannot buy your services. (GoFundMe-- I'm looking at you.)
posted by frumiousb at 9:57 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think I'll wait until I actually get a spam phone call, or at least hear about people getting spam phone calls, before being outraged about this.
posted by zixyer at 10:24 PM on June 4, 2015


If you accept payments online, it is hard to get away from Paypal. For us it is used by customers way more than credit card. Another thing is that we sell digital goods (music) and paypal offers the best affordable way for processing micropayments in amounts of 99¢ - $1.50.

Can anybody recommend an affordable payment processor for micropayments? I know there are a few used in the gaming community, but many seem sketchy or not really suitable for non-game online sales.
posted by chillmost at 12:57 AM on June 5, 2015


Stripe?
posted by GallonOfAlan at 1:47 AM on June 5, 2015


wenestvedt, have you considered odd electronics from China? They take a while to ship and all that, but even with shipping, everything is quite cheap. I'd have the willies about anything that plugs directly into mains power, but you could probably get a fun little gadget like a pen-sized ir thermometer that's accurate enough to search for drafts. And if you like hobbyist electronics, that's a lot of discrete components.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:40 AM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yep, Stripe. 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction, just like PayPal, but literally nothing else. All fees returned if you need to refund someone. No subscription plans or anything. Very simple. Also, their UI and API design are among the best in the world, not just in class. Also, their customer support is very responsive.

Not an exact replacement for consumers, since you can't really just send money to other individuals easily, but an excellent replacement for the payment processor aspect of PayPal.
posted by gilrain at 5:07 AM on June 5, 2015


I think that's part of what's in it for the eBay side of the split; it frees them to offer other options without shooting themselves in the foot.

I hope you are right, but these sorts of spin-offs almost always involve a non-compete. Paypal was even worse before it was taken over by eBay and this latest stunt seems to indicate that nothing has really changed. Hoping beyond hope the eBay opens a better payment option or contracts with another company. Just the fact that the monopoly is broken would probably lead to better PayPal service.
posted by caddis at 6:45 AM on June 5, 2015


What about Intuit/QuickBooks payments? 2.4% + $0.25 without a subscription, 1.75% + $0.25 on a $20/mo plan. They have a mobile app, but it might suck, given the questionable design and usability of QB itself.

I have no idea how they are as a payments company (QB has always seemed like a mess to me, it was a sad day when they bought Quicken) but they might be a decent alternative for small/medium businesses that are using QuickBooks/QBO anyway. Which is a lot of businesses.

Or there's always traditional merchant services through your bank linked to a business checking account, which usually just requires a simple DBA to open. Not sure what those rates and policies are like, or if there are minimum transaction volumes or deposit requirements. Or PCI DSS compliance to deal with, for that matter.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:46 AM on June 5, 2015


To be clear, the change in PayPal's customer agreement around autodialer calls is a response to the growing body of litigation filed under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. PayPal is trying to improve it's legal coverage in these cases--it is almost certainly not actually changing its practices around collections and marketing phone calls.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:19 AM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


The possible phone spam sounds bad, until I consider that 90% of my phone spam right now comes from organizations affiliated with my bank. I'd be surprised if PayPal tips the balance there.
posted by mantecol at 7:26 AM on June 5, 2015


How is it that Elon Musk manages to be a hero of the Internet zeitgeist, yet we all despise PayPal?

I "justify" it because he sold Paypal over a decade ago, and isn't active with the company. He's CEO/Founder/Chairman of Tesla and SpaceX, but just Founder of Paypal.
posted by LiteS at 7:34 AM on June 5, 2015


He remains on the PayPal Board of Directors.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:27 AM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


because the Do Not Call registry doesn't work

For those of you who still have land lines, please consider using nomorobo. The more people who use it, the more effective it is.
Not supported by Verizon :(

My voice mail message starts, "Please take this number off your call list."
posted by Peach at 9:38 AM on June 5, 2015


Yeah and Charter doesn't support it either :(

But... They do urge us to contact them to urge them to adopt. I think I will. Won't hurt and only takes a couple seconds, and I wasn't using that time for anything productive anyways.
posted by symbioid at 11:15 AM on June 5, 2015


I would imagine that an easier way to avoid being sued for violating the TCPA would be not to violate it in the first place. Funny they didn't think of that, eh?

This is actually a big sore point for me. We don't have a hell of a lot of solid consumer protections in the US, and the ones we do have are hard won. This is one of the few puny little rights we have against corporate intrusions and trespasses, and if a company's response to consumer protections is to immediately, preemptively try to subvert them, they can eat a bag of fuck.

People who are on the no call lists have taken explicit, positive steps to let companies know that they do not want to receive unsolicited calls from them. Companies that try to find loopholes and workarounds are explicitly, intentionally disregarding that. They're trying to find ways around abiding by people's requests not to bother them using services the customers have paid for. And these constant, unrelenting violations have actually diminished the utility of those services to the point that it's a very common practice not to answer your phone (which you paid for, for your convenience). It's become so common that there are stories out there of people trying to contact families and friends in emergency situations and not being able to get in touch with anyone because they don't answer calls from unknown numbers. Because if you've got anyone who depends on you--kids, sick or elderly people, regular emergency contacts--you may well get calls from strange numbers alerting you to actual emergencies that you need to respond to. I've actually gotten a few, and for that reason, no, I'm not just going to let unknown numbers all go to voicemail.

I seriously doubt that pushing some non-negotiated contract term like this is actually going to provide them with any kind of defense even under the existing rules of the TCPA, much less the proposed enhancements. These require explicit, informed opt-in to receive calls like that, and they sure as hell don't include permission to call datamined numbers.
posted by ernielundquist at 11:20 AM on June 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


Square and Stripe are startups that almost certainly have an exit strategy, as they all do. Venmo, Braintree, and Paydiant, all online payment "disruptors," ended up joining PayPal. It'd be great if these companies planned to provide great services indefinitely, but that is usually not how they work.

I have some good friends who work at Stripe, and I can tell you that at least from what I've heard general sentiment there, from leadership on down, is that they would to a person sooner jump in to a wood chipper than sell to PayPal.
posted by Itaxpica at 2:55 PM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yep, Stripe. 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction, just like PayPal, but literally nothing else.

Wrong.

For specifically micropayments, Paypal's conditions (5% + $.05) are way better than stripe and most other services I have seen. Only at $12 and up is stripe more attractive. I wish I could afford to not use paypal, but at the moment I can't. If there is a reputable service out there that can match paypal's conditions for micropayments, preferably without monthly fees, I would love to know about it.
posted by chillmost at 4:43 PM on June 5, 2015


PayPal might not be the company named in their inevitable "our incredible journey" email. It could be Google or someone. But their investors want them to "exit," as they call it, like they always want their startups to do, and they will exit, like startups always do, unless they just shutter.

I don't like it, but it is sadly rote at this point.
posted by ignignokt at 4:46 PM on June 5, 2015


> If there is a reputable service out there that can match paypal's conditions for micropayments, preferably without monthly fees, I would love to know about it.

Have you looked carefully at Dwolla? It's now free, for micro or macro transactions.
posted by RedOrGreen at 5:43 PM on June 5, 2015


wenestvedt: "What's on EBay that I should buy?"

If you still have a few bucks left in your account and don't see anything else you want to buy, you could donate the rest to a charity that accepts Paypal, such as these charities listed on ebay (i.e. a direct donation, rather than participating in a charity auction). Or you could donate it to MetaFilter. :)
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 7:22 PM on June 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


I keep looking at these different Paypal alternative lists, but they're all focused on the vendor. I don't give a shit about the vendor for the moment (sorry, vendors).

I'm the one who's important, here. The person who has to use this thing to buy things. Vendor terms are nice, yay and etc, but none of these things help me, the user, do what Paypal does: obscure my financial info from weirdos on the internet, and use a password to pay for stuff. Dwolla and Stripe and everybody are useless to me if I still need to whip out my detailed bank info each time I want to patronize one of their vendors.

Am I just stupid and missing the place that does this between all the marketing speak?
posted by Evilspork at 6:28 PM on June 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just a quick MeFi-related note, for those who are wondering: we've heard from several members about this, regarding our use of PayPal for MeFi donations, and we're working out a non-PayPal solution. Announcement to come in the next week or so.

And to follow up on this: we have now rolled out Stripe payments as an option for folks funding Metafilter. For which, again, thank you all so much.
posted by cortex at 11:21 AM on June 8, 2015


Yay! So long, PayPal!
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:42 AM on June 8, 2015


OK, so I just updated my card info with Patreon, and they wanted a mobile number, and then Stripe sent me a text saying I can use my number as payment info? I would have liked if anywhere on Stripe's site would have said this.
posted by Evilspork at 2:10 PM on June 9, 2015




« Older Free tuition around the world, a different sort of...   |   The Ecstasy of Old Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments