Experiences with Paypal - good or bad

Hi everyone,

Reluctantly, kicking and screaming all the way, I am considering a
PayPal account to facilitate putting some of my custom stones on
Etsy.com; which, by the way, I might never have learned about had it
not been for the recent flurry of Orchid posts mentioning it. So
thanks for that, folks!

My google search for Paypal brought up also the anti-site,
PayPalSucks.com,” a compendium of horror stories about
unresponsiveness and 6-month frozen accounts. Not exactly a
confidence builder.

While the Orchid archives of the past three years did bring up a
number of PayPal mentions, mostly favorable, many of these were in
the context of scams and “phishing” and not directly about the
benefits and drawbacks of PayPal itself.

And hence my question to Orchideans who have first hand PayPal
experience: have you encountered horror scenarios, pitfalls,
unresponsiveness, or other things to watch out for? Or are your
experiences positive? Is it one of these services that you sign up
for reluctantly, because you have to, everyone else is doing it, or
has it been a positive, responsive and user-friendly experience?
Overall, is it a good thing or a bad thing? Is there perhaps an
alternative that works as well or better?

Cheers & thanks
Hans Durstling, arch-Luddite
Moncton, Canada

I recently read a post regarding the setting up of a PayPal account.
PayPal is a great set up but remember a few things when using it.
Percentages get taken out sometimes on both ends so account for that
and there has been alot of third party scams using the PayPal name.
So if ever an e-mail comes saying there has been unauthorized use or
some rubbish like that make sure you log on to the site from the URL
that you type into your address bar, not from the link given to you.
Then once into the official site you can fish around and contact
PayPal directly. I know someone who had alot of grief due to identity
theft because of this. Just a heads up.


i’ve had good experiences so far- 2 years w/ an account- its easy to
use and everyone has been ligitimite in their payment, etc… i like

olga nelson
Designs By Olga


I have used paypal for three years now on my site and have never had
a problem. Purchase prices are typically 500 - 5,000

There are of course problems with scam e-mail but I probably get as
many in the form of scam bank e-mails, or “I have $40million and I am
the nephew of the late Secretarty General of Mazmoglia…”

The only sensible way to deal with the threat of scam e-mails is to
NEVER click on a link within an e-mail and always type the address
into your address bar.

My only concern with paypal has been that the client has a confirmed
account. If they do not have a confirmed account, I ask them to send
an original utility bill for the name and address registered with
paypal. This has only happened a handful of times and the client has
always without question sent me some back-up I.D.

I suppose that this might still be open to fraud but if I feel
overly exposed, then I will ask the client to pay via another method.

The 3% ish that they charge me for a transaction is comparable to
other offerings. I could probably find a better rate elsewhere but
would then probably need to outlay a set-up fee or have monthly fees
etc. For the volume of my clients that use Paypal it is not worth me
setting up a credit card scheme with my bank. Incidentally - they
inform me that they can still give chargebacks many many weeks after
an authorised payment. So the potential for fraud on taking cards
direct is still a concern.

Ultimately you should look at the potential loss if things should go
bad. Presuming that the item has a low retail price (just presuming
as etsy seems to have an awful lot of stuff for 30) then I am
guessing that your costs for the item are 10. If you opened a store
and sold your items you would not only be worried about taking fake
money, dodgy credit cards but also about theft.

Kind regards
Chris Parry

My overall experiences with PayPal have been good. As I saw mentioned
elsewhere, watch out for phony phishing emails, but that can be said
of anyone. I get quantities of those every week claiming to be
Paypal, Ebay (both of which I have accounts with) and any number of
banks and other financial institutions (most of which I have no
affliliation with). I use PayPal almost exclusively for my Ebay
buying and selling, often refusing to buy from the few who do not
accept it. I use it in conjunction with my web site when I have any
shopping cart at all (don’t have that feature now, won’t until we
settle into our new digs this summer). The very few unfortunate
experiences I have had with either Paypal or Ebay have related to
buyers who play games with my sometimes imperfect wording to get some
money back, usually on shipping charges. I have on occasion had to
rebate some funds to buyers due to shipping damage, so now I require
insurance or leave the buyer responsible for damage or loss if they
opt out of insurance. If you accept PayPal, be up to speed on their
rules concerning shipping addresses, confirmed buyers, etc. If you
follow their rules, you have some protection (though I have never had
to use it), if you don’t follow the rules, you leave yourself open to
problems. In short, the only bad experiences I’ve had are with buyers
and sellers at the other end of the deal, not with the PayPal service
itself (or Ebay, for that matter). On the plus side, it gives me a
way to offer charge card payments to my customers, and a way of using
my charge card or instant bank transfers for my purchases, thus
eliminating the time problems related with the use of money orders or
personal checks.


Paaaaayyyyypaaaaallll…my nemisis. Also really handy. Here’s my
story: After paying for auctions and other services easily and
quickly with paypal for some months, I suddenly got a notice that I
had to be “Verified”…meaning that I had to attach a bank account
to my Paypal account in order to continue to use it.
Well…ok…buuuut they let me know this right after I had won
about six bids on different E-Bay auctions…Hey, it was Christmas

Now… I am totally wary about security and banking fraud on the net
and I was not a happy camper at the thought of doing this, so I
contacted Paypal. They weren’t too helpful except to assure me that
my was secure. So I went to their site, logged in and
proceeded to attach the bank account. Somewhere along the way, I
must have clicked on the wrong thing. To make an annoying story
short, they froze my account. Not good when I have six auctions to
pay and Christmas a-comin’. Two to three weeks and about twelve
e-mails later, the account was unfrozen and everything put to right,
but boy was I pissed off!! Additionally, I had to contact all of the
auction sellers and tell them what way going on and then pray that
they believed me and didn’t give me bad feedback. I was lucky,
everyone was nice about it.

And another thing, if you use Paypal too often, your bank might
freeze your account, or not pay some automatic payments, as there is
apparently quite a bit of fraud connected to Paypal. Consult your
own bank for info. So…as I said, truly handy when it works, easy to
use and now almost universal, but when it doesn’t…woof what a
pain in the keister!

Unfortunately Hans, you might have more trouble than others with
Paypal, as I believe that Paypal may be owned by some guy named
“Santa” at the North Pole. He apparently developed it as part of his
toy conglomerate. In fact, I think I saw your name posted on a
Paypal “List” of some sort…


Good luck!! Lisa, (Ho Ho Ho), Topanga, CA USA

(Oh…for those of you who missed some Orchid posts from Santa,
Christmas 2005…that last bit was a joke. I just wish that the
rest had been)


PayPal is a many-headed snake. Watch out ! If you are taking
payments through PayPal, withdraw your money as soon as you get it.
There are more people who have had their money locked up by PayPal
for frivolous reasons than you can shake a dopstick at. Beware the
jabberwock !

Brian Corll
Vassar Gems

I use PayPal, both as a seller and a buyer-and I don’t sell on ebay.
(I posted two necklaces and they didn’t sell because I refused to let
them start out at a $0 bid). But with PayPal on my company website,
I’ve had NO problems. I like PayPal because the only fees I have to
worry about, using their free merchant services, is a 2.9% fee per
transaction. With any merchant services you are going to have fees.
It’s the nature of the banking game. PayPal has invoicing, shipping
notifications, and if there is a dispute, which I’ve had to use as a
buyer, they are prompt in their investigations to get a resolution.
And the dispute I had was resolved to my satisifaction.

PayPal really does value their image. I think the people who post
those “PayPal sucks” stories (not that I’ve read any personally),
are not aware of the policies, both the ones they have to follow, and
the ones that will help them when there is a problem.

I don’t know of any merchant services that are foolproof. I expect
that anyone in the money business will have a problem. I can vouch
that I have not had a problem with PayPal.


I personally think PayPay is the greatest thing since sliced bread.
I think it is, to use a raging cliche’, the “Wave of the Future”. It
has already revolutionized the way people buy and sell online, and
that will only grow. Even more than that. As an example, if you and
I should meet in a cafe, and I have a set of golf clubs for sale, and
we talk and you want to buy them, we can go online, you can pay me
through PayPal, and you can walk away with your clubs. No muss, no
fuss. Now, I had some issues with fraud, and had my account frozen
because it was being probed by bots. I think “Anti-PayPal-ers” miss
the point entirely. That is, that it is YOUR MONEY that they are
protecting, and they take that very, very seriously. All it took was
a phone call, some very friendly, knowlegable and helpful tech
people, some explanations both ways, and it was fixed. If you do the
things necessary - get your account confirmed, first of all, and
realize that it’s not a toy, it’s a bank, and treat it as such, you
should be fine. If I’m on E-Bay, and they say, “I don’t take
PayPal”, I usually just move on…

Hi, Hans,

I use eBay and PayPal pretty regularly. I have had no problems with
PayPal at all. The one time I had a complaint-- I bought a copy of
Photoshop that turned out to be pirated, and wouldn’t even load, and
I could not get any response from the seller-- I filed a grievance
with PayPal. I had to fill out some forms, and it took a few weeks,
but I got my money back (less about $15 they charge for the
process). I view it as a good way to send or receive money without
having to give a credit card number to a stranger.


Hello Hans,

I have been using Paypal for some time and have only good things to
say about the service. Most of the paypal horror stories come from
people not reading/understanding/following their rules. Most, not

I sell a good deal as well as buy on Ebay. Paypal allows sellers to
take credit cards and increases sales for a nominal processing
charge. Paypal protects buyers, giving them the power to refute sales
for any reason. You take the good with the bad.

To set up a Paypal account, I’d reccomend you get a business bank
account to “tie” it to. You’ll also need a credit card to “tie” to
the account. We use a dedicated business CC. These steps help protect
your personal accounts and also make smart business sense.

You can withdraw your balance at any time by either sending the
money directly to your bank account (free) or having PP cut you a
check & mail it (small fee). We use the bank account method and it
has been very reliable & easy to use/manage.

There are some very good discussions on Ebay’s community page
boards. Check them out and ask any questions you might have. Or feel
free to e-mail me anytime.

There are a lot restrictions and jumping through hoops to protect
yourself as a seller. For example, only certain countries have
verified (confirmed) addresses. You must send a package insured,
tracked, and to a confirmed address to be protected 100% by paypal.
This standard is almost impossible to meet for various reasons. As a
U.S. seller who ships worldwide, we oftentimes rely on a buyer’s
feedback and the value of the transaction as guides to wether we will
or won’t go the extra mile to meet the protection.

Most of our transactions are lower dollar – $100 and under – but
we’ve never had any problems.

Tracy’s Treasures

Although I’ve only had a few experiences with receiving money
through PayPal, I’ve used it many times to send money, usually for
eBay purchases. I’ve gotten to the point where I won’t bid on an item
unless the seller accepts PayPal. I buy a number of different types
of items, gold nuggets, knives and swords, silver items and gems
making up most of them. In studying the offerings on eBay it has
become apparent to me that sellers who accept PayPal realize higher
prices for comparable items than those who don’t. Many of those who
don’t use PayPal are the same sellers who will only take money orders
and certified checks, that is they want to be sure they have the
money and that the buyer has no recourse in the event they are
dissatisfied. On one occasion when I did not receive the item I had
bought, PayPal reimbursed me with no problem. In short, I tend not to
trust sellers who will not use PayPal. I’m sure I’m not alone.

Jerry in Kodiak

I will elaborate on what one writer wrote about phishing - you might
even get it without a PP account, I don’t know. To report it use
spoof@paypal.com, ebay is spoofs@ebay.com, and by the way, when you
get the Irish Lottery or any mail from Nigeria, unless you are
Nigerian, the FTC is spam@uce.gov. But the essential thing to know,
and PayPal will tell you this, is that any and all mail that comes
from them will begin by addressing you by name, as: Dear John
Donivan:. If it does not address you by your full name, it’s not
PayPal, period. It is especially important because the link will take
you to a carbon copy of the PayPal page, but when you log in, it’s
going right into the hands of people who will clean out your bank

Last tip in a more general way: In Explorer, hover the mouse over
the link - don’t click on it - and in the very lower left corner will
display the address of the link - do that any time you have
suspicions about any link.


I sell both through ebay and my website - and I’ve been using paypal
for about 4 years now to do so. I can honestly say if I did NOT use
paypal I would probably lose at least 90% of my sales income. I have
had a couple “chargebacks” (the buyers claimed someone had hacked
into their account to make the purchases - I ate one of them and the
other was never proven on their end, so I was able to keep the
money), but I have not had ONE chargeback since then (been about 2
years or so), and I do at least 5-6 transactions PER DAY with paypal

  • almost exclusively as a seller. I have a paypal credit/debit card
    which I use to make purchases with, and it’s all using my paypal

Do your due diligence as a seller and you should be fine. Or you
could use Propay or 2CO as payment options, both of which I have and
use on occasion.

Maureen Cole/Temptatts4U.com

Be very cautious if opening a PayPal account to accept incoming
payments…even after 5 years of selling on eBay with no problems
(and accepting PayPal for over 80% of the payments), I do not
recommend using it…especially as your only way to accept credit
card payments. Here’s why:

PayPal is NOT technically a bank or a credit card company, they are
only a “processor” of funds, and as such, are not governed by
standard banking/credit card rules, laws or organizations (they are
not insured by the FDIC, etc).

What you read on the site ‘paypalsucks dot com’ are verifiable true
stories, and could easily happen to anyone.

Once you open an account, to have it “verified”, you MUST attach it
to one of your bank accounts…and whether or not you immediately
withdraw all funds from Paypal, in the event of a complaint or
dispute by a customer, PayPal WILL TAKE THE FUNDS FROM YOUR BANK
ACCOUNT and freeze them until they have resolved the dispute. And
their word/decision is final…you have absolutely NO RECOURSE
legally once they make a decision.

For example, let’s say you sell an item for $1500.00, accept payment
via PayPal and the buyer asks you to send to their mother for a
Mother’s Day gift…and then in a few days they file a complaint
saying the item was never received. Even if you have proof of
delivery, you have sent the item to an “PayPal unconfirmed address”,
and just by doing that, PayPal will (almost always) take the $1500.00
from your PayPal account OR bank account, and hold it (for up to 6
months, I believe) while they are ‘researching’…and items sent to
"unconfirmed PayPal address disputes" are vitually always settled in
favor of the buyer. That may not be truly legal, but it is in “PayPal
land”…and when you’re in PayPal land, it’s their rules that rule.

I am going to change our set up, and open a different bank account
solely for PayPal usage and transactions. Then I can withdraw monies
from PayPal either from an ATM or by getting a cash advance with my
PayPal debit card, and immediately transfer them to my normal
account at a different institution. (there’s a $400 per day limit on
cash withdrawals either way). I’m pretty sure that 'system’
would/will prevent them from taking back whatever monies may be

Be cautious and very careful…it’s a jungle out there.

Rock ON!

RK Studios


I no longer sell on eBay but for several years I did sell some of my
Antique and Estate jewelry there. I have a 100% positive feedback of
approximately 550. My eBay ID is

<Snip - Sorry No eBay IDs or Links on Orchid>

if you would like to check it.

I do take PayPal on my website at www.demarkjewelry.com because I
can control the amount I charge for my items but I only took Money
orders and Checks on eBay because of the fees involved.

There is a group of people that buy items on eBay that are rare and
collectable and are willing to pay a fair price for these items but
my experience was that most buyers are looking for that infamous
great deal.

It is very difficult as a seller to sell an item, pay the listing
fees, final value fees and then pay a PayPal fee and make any money
on an item unless people are lining up to give me free merchandise to

My point here is that just because a person does not take PayPal on
eBay does not make them a dealer that should not be trusted.

The key to eBay is to find the dealers that have a good track record
of positive feedback and read the complete auction copy. Avoid anyone
that is not upfront such as hiding shipping fees or other charges or
who supplies no photos or fuzzy photos.

Greg DeMark

i have nothing but good things to say about paypal, been with them
since the start. to date i use it for purchases thru ebay…lots and
lots of purchases since i have been with ebay since the start as

we will be starting to sell next, i have been advised to start a new
account with ebay and paypal for the business but we haven’t done
that as yet. so far we have a totally positive rating, jon said i
buy/spend with the best of them!

wild poppy designs…


Unfortunately Hans, you might have more trouble than others with
Paypal, as I believe that Paypal may be owned by some guy named
"Santa" at the North Pole. He apparently developed it as part of
his toy conglomerate. In fact, I think I saw your name posted on a
Paypal "List" of some sort.... 

Lisa, you are completely correct. Paypal is indeed owned by
SANTA.INC. And my plaintive wail for more tools and machinery was
heard by one of his reindeer, who passed it on the great man
himself. He understood immediately that this poor goldsmith was
slowly drowning in a quagmire of inspiration and designs and didn’t
know the way to his recovery.

So the other day, as I was chatting to one of his reindeer (called
Saila Bella- Jaachi ) and she let mention that the “Paypal list” you
mentioned was in fact a DONATION LIST, and that I should be prepared
for an avalanche of CNC machines and laser welders and regulated
power supplies come tumbling down my chimney soon.

Thank you for being on my side, and together we will awake the world
to a better future where jewelery is pure in function and form, with
fat profits. Like the oil companies.

P.S. If I get two of the same machines, I’ll give the other one to
you. Promise.

Cheers, Hans

PayPal is not very different from a merchant account in that if
there is a dispute with a customer the customer almost always wins (
this is the way our credit card laws are written in the US) and
believe me Visa or any other credit card processor will suck the
money out of your bank account faster than you can blink if there is
a chargeback, it is just the way the system works. This is one reason
why there is so much fraud in the processing of credit cards the scam
artists know the system is rigged for the benefit of the consumer so
that the consumer will feel all warm and fuzzy while they put
themselves into debit that they can never pay off.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts

Hello Kristi,

Once you open an account, to have it "verified", you MUST attach
it to one of your bank accounts...and whether or not you
immediately withdraw all funds from Paypal, in the event of a
complaint or dispute by a customer, PayPal WILL TAKE THE FUNDS FROM

at least here in Germany this is different: If PayPal takes money
that this was an unconfirmed transaction. The money would be returned
to my account in 5 minutes (I did this once when a different company
took money from my account). Maybe this works in other countries,

For example, let's say you sell an item for $1500.00, accept
payment via PayPal and the buyer asks you to send to their mother
for a Mother's Day gift...and then in a few days they file a
complaint saying the item was never received. Even if you have
proof of delivery, you have sent the item to an "PayPal unconfirmed
address", and just by doing that, PayPal will (almost always) take
the $1500.00 from your PayPal account OR bank account, and hold it
(for up to 6 months, I believe) while they are 'researching'...and
items sent to "unconfirmed PayPal address disputes" are vitually
always settled in favor of the buyer. That may not be truly legal,
but it is in "PayPal land"...and when you're in PayPal land, it's
their rules that rule. 

Thanks a lot for your comment about “PayPal unconfirmed addresses”,
I did not know this. Very helpful!