This is a slight deviation for this blog from motorcycle trips, but hey.
At work today I got this through the post:
Working in marketing, it's not unusual that I get the odd gimmick through the post, unique, clever ideas to grab my attention to a supplier of some kind. Last time it was a baby Christmas tree.
This gimmicky mailing is somewhat different, though; it's a doormat. from PayPal. Apparently they have sent them out to 2,000 UK businesses as part of their (slightly negative, in my opinion) 'Unwelcome' campaign. It was sent to my boss, and passed to me as I'm responsible for our ecommerce strategy. And they've missed the target somewhat; in the interests of full disclosure, I will now admit that I f**king hate PayPal.
Why? Because they represent to me exactly what this 'Unwelcome' doormat is meant to represent; appalling customer service, insecurity, and fraud.
And because they have the sheer tenacity to suggest to me that I let them walk over my customers like they have me, I'm having this little rant; and if I know marketing people, they'll find this in Google in a few days and find out exactly what I feel. If there is any justice in this world, other people will link to this page, and it will make others think twice about adopting PayPal for a respectable business.
(Note on the photo on the right: The leaflet is 50% recycled. How thoughtful of them! How environmental! Never mind the bloody great doormat that they've shipped to me for a one-line joke)
It is a little ironic that the doormat came to me, when I am personally banned from PayPal. I cannot use my email address, postal address or bank details there. Why, did I commit fraud? No, quite the opposite; I was the victim of fraud on PayPal.
I sold a mobile phone on eBay, PayPal's domineering adoptive father, for £300. The buyer paid using PayPal; I had no reason for suspicion. I happily packed off the phone* and withdrew the money to my bank account. But a few days later, PayPal told me out of the blue that I had a negative balance of £300. It seems the buyer had used stolen credit card details, and the rightful owner had instructed the bank to make a chargeback. Fair enough for whoever was victim of identity theft, but PayPal saw fit to charge me for this, and let the buyer get off scot free.
*Addendum: Someone told me it was my fault for not using recorded delivery. I did, actually - even got a copy of the signature from Royal Mail - fat lot of good it did.
Maybe there was more I could have done to recognise the fraud; if I was familiar with PayPal terminology I would have known that an 'unconfirmed address' is a bad sign, but a 'verified account' means sod all.
Regardless of that, though, the lack of customer support I then received from PayPal was frankly astonishing. Repeated phone calls and increasingly pleading emails fell on deaf, computerised ears - it took me a week before I got a response from an actual human. And that was no help - all they said was that I owed them £300, full stop. And when I refused to pay, they banned my account and referred the debt to a collection agency.
I tried my best to refer the case to the police, but PayPal were not interested in helping; they didn't even stop the buyer from defrauding several other people, despite my warnings.
So what could I do? I paid them £300 of my own money, which at the time I could really not afford (I had sold the phone to raise living funds), and vowed that due to the complete lack of support (or even sympathy) from PayPal customer service, I would do my best to give them negative advertising. Ever since, I have warned my friends off PayPal.
I was going to take a Stanley knife to it and cut off the 'UN' to make a conventional Welcome mat for my doorstep. But no; I've left it be, and put it outside my back door. And whenever I walk over it, I will remind myself that PayPal is unwelcome at any business or website that I manage.