Tuesday, 6 December 2011

PayPal's version of "Merry Christmas"

UPDATE: There's been tonnes of shares on Facebook, tweets on Twitter, blogs (including individuals and media), phone calls, emails, petitions and PayPal has relented!!!

Regretsy Issue Resolution

And an article regarding the resolution

I'd have probably seen it before I wrote this blog if I hadn't had to perform CPR on my router a few times before posting LOL


Sadly it sounds more like "F-off kids and get the hell off my lawn!".

There's a website I go on regularly called Regretsy. It's a humour site, poking fun at some of the odder crafts found on Etsy (a website where crafters can have their own shops). Many of the people in the forums on Regretsy have Etsy shops and quite a few of them get together to do charity work.

The owner of the site, April Winchell (aka Helen Killer), decided to buy presents for needy children this Christmas by raising money from her readers. She posted on Regretsy, requesting donations. Many people, including myself, donated immediately. She raised over $4000 in a matter of hours!

Here is the original request
and here is the update regarding how quickly the donations were amassed (note, there is swearing on Regretsy for those with sensitive eyes)

Everyone was so excited. Nothing starts the holiday season off better than realizing that you've helped save Christmas for 200 children and their families. Go back and look at the original request and the photos and stories regarding those children... then think of an over-funded donation drive for them and the treats and surprised in store for them this Christmas.

Two days later there were some concerns. Almost all the 200 toys had been purchased and some of the children had received their Santa letters... but Paypal was holding some of the funds.

Then the shit hit the fan. Their first complaint was that April used the "donate" button instead of the "buy now" button. Because, you know, a "buy now" button makes so much more sense to use when accepting donations to raise money for needy children *facepalm*. So they requested she manually return all the donations (many of them in $2 increments). Luckily many of the donations (including mine) had already been processed so she *only* had to manually refund several hundred donations (minus the fees PayPal kept).

The "donate" button was turned into a "buy now" button and $3000 was once again raised within hours. Then PayPal struck AGAIN!!! They froze the accounts so the remainders of the donations plus April's own money from book sales are inaccessible for 6 months. Here are some quotes:

PAYPAL: Only a nonprofit can use the Donate button.
ME: That’s false. It says right in the PDF of instructions for the Donate button that it can be used for “worthy causes.”
PAYPAL: I haven’t seen that PDF. And what you’re doing is not a worthy cause, it’s charity.
ME: What’s the difference?
PAYPAL: You can use the donate button to raise money for a sick cat, but not poor people.

ME: The problem is I’ve already bought all of these toys, so now I’m really in a position like any other merchant – which is to say, I have inventory I need to sell. Why can’t I sell them as gifts, like any other retailer?
PAYPAL: Don’t you think it would look suspicious if the same people bought them again?
ME: Why? These are my customers!
PAYPAL: If you wanted to do that, you’d have to start a new website.
ME: What? Why would I start a new website?
PAYPAL: I’m not going to argue with you.

PAYPAL: The only way you’d be allowed to sell these as gifts is if you sent them directly to the person who bought them. And we will track your shipments and make sure it goes to the buyer.
ME: That’s discriminatory! You don’t make other retailers send purchases to the buyer only, especially not at Christmas.
PAYPAL: No one but a nonprofit would send gifts to someone else on buyer’s behalf.
ME: What about Amazon?
PAYPAL: We know what you’re doing and we’re through playing games with you.

PAYPAL: You say you’re selling these as gifts but there is no information as to what the gift is.
ME: People sell mystery gifts and grab bags all the time. What about sites where they say, let us choose for you?”
PAYPAL: It doesn’t say that on your site.
ME: Is that the problem? If I say it’s a mystery gift would that be sufficient?
PAYPAL: You aren’t going to be able to get around this. It’s too late, we know what you’re trying to do and we’re not going to let you do it.
ME: But there are hundreds of toys! Do you think it’s reasonable to create a drop down menu for hundreds of gifts, all of them different, and create an inventory for each as “one?” So that every time one sells, it’s sold out, and the customer has to keep choosng options and going through check out to see if they can find a gift that’s still available?
PAYPAL: Yes, I think it’s reasonable.


So if April had put a donate button up and requested donations to get her dog some de-worming medication that would have been fine in PayPal's eyes. Donating money to give a happy Christmas to little Rory, who just spent three years in the hospital on dialysis, and had two painful operations this year (including a kidney transplant) is wrong. Apparently Rory (and all the other little children) are not worthy enough for PayPal. If only they had fur and barked...

If you're angry and want to do something here are some options. First, you can share my blog if you want (or any of the other blogs detailing what happened).

Second, there is a petition on the Change.org website requesting the president of PayPal unfreeze Regretsy's account to help children in need. This petition can be easily shared on Facebook as well.

Third, here's a link to a blog with all sorts of PayPal information, including phone numbers and email and snail-mail addresses: How PayPal Stole Christmas