Don’t get mad, get unstuck – with our crystal-clear guide on how to complain about PayPal in the UK

Looking for a way to get your money back? You might find the ideas in this step-by-step guide submitted by an former solicitor interesting.

**Update August 15th 2010**

Has PayPal suspended your account and demanded proof of identity that appears to be almost impossible to supply? The good news is that you’re not alone.  Please scroll down to read recent comments from other people in this situation, and consider trying this page of numbers and postal addresses if you need to get through to a real live person!

The bad news is that PayPal appears to have become less, rather than more, contactable since I first posted about it a couple of years ago.

It now seems – to all intents and purposes – to be entirely unrestricted and unaccountable to anything or anybody, least of all its customers who simply cannot get into satisfactory communication with PayPal.

If you’re a LinkedIn member, you might light to take a look at David Clarke’s profile - VP and CFO at PayPal Europe. While he may not accept your connection requests, he certainly WILL see every connection request you make – and that little box gives you about 300 characters to put in there to catch his attention. Just select ‘Friend’ and drop him an invitation to connect.

*** Original post ****

In the interests of positive dispute resolution, a stress-free world and a better service and experience for all (including PayPal) here is our step-by-step guide to complaining about PayPal.

Important notes:

a) Despite being registered as a bank in Luxembourg, PayPal IS regulated by the Financial Services Authority because it falls within certain categories of activity in the UK.

b) FSA have power to regulate PayPal but NOT to deal with individual complaints. The areas of ‘regulatable’ activity are listed here. While it is outside of the FSA’s jurisdiction to talk to you about individual complaints, the FSA are happy to hear from you if PayPal does not perform to the FSA guidelines.

For example: FSA expects PayPal to adhere to its guidelines on dispute resolution – one of which is that PayPal are obliged to ‘make it easy’ for you to contact them throughout the process. If you feel that PayPal are in contravention of that guideline, please bring this to the FSA’s attention. (Please be clear about the distinction between complaining about breach of FSA guidelines and complaining about your issue.)

c) The Financial Ombudsman Service is the place to complain about your individual issue with PayPal if it has not been resolved within the 8 week period. You can download the complaint form here. If the FOS feels there are sufficient grounds and the issue is within their jurisdiction, they may take up the issue with PayPal, keeping you informed of what they are / aren’t doing along the way. If they think you have a case, their goal will be to restore you to the situation you were in before the problem arose.

So, here’s what you do:

1. Raise your complaint with PayPal in writing (email or hardcopy)

2. Give PayPal 8 weeks to respond / resolve the dispute with you

3. If after 8 weeks, you’re not satisfied, then do the following:

(i) Download a complaint form from FOS and send it to them with all accompanying documentation

(ii) Check this list of areas of business activity (more detail available from the FSA handbooks section) that are regulated by FSA. If you feel that PayPal have acted outside of the guidelines that the FSA impose on these areas of activity, then bring that to the attention of the FSA in writing.

If you follow the 3 steps above (all of them!) you will achieve the following:

1) You will bring to the Financial Ombudsman’s attention just how many unhappy PayPal customers there are out there.

2) You may achieve satisfactory resolution of your issue with the support of the Financial Ombudsman service.

3) You will go a long way to calling PayPal to account with the Financial Services Authority if and where it needs calling to account.

It’s revealing that the Financial Ombudsman Service person I spoke to this morning had never heard of ‘PayPal Buyer Dispute’.  If those of you who’ve fallen victim to this scam follow the above 3 steps you can bet he soon will.

Thank you to the FSA and the FOS for their time and information this morning.

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