So I want to send some money to a friend in Canada. It's a significant amount of money, but no more than many middle-class folks earn in a week. I figure, hey, I have that PayPal account I never use, I'll just do that and zap it'll be there instantly, right?
Oh, no. Not even close.
I start this process last Saturday, where I sign in to my PayPal account and send the money. No problem. About an hour later, I get an email from the recipient, who informs me that, uh, thanks for the cash, but I don't think you meant to send me this. I check email addresses. Damn. She's right. Her email address is one letter off from the correct one -- I have made a mistake, and I'm lucky that the person who got the payment was honest enough to notify me. I email her back, apologize for the hassle, and ask her to deny the transaction. Done. OK, now that that is straightened out, I figure I can resend the amount to the correct address.
Oh, no. This is just getting started.
I try to resend, this time to the (triple-checked) correct email address. Transaction = FAIL. I call PayPal (who do not offer their customers an 800 number -- yeah, it's a 15-minute hold on a long-distance call). The guy I talk to tells me that because the first transaction was denied, the second transaction won't be possible until the pending charge on my credit card is reversed, which makes a weird sort of sense, so I figure I'll wait until EOB and resend in the morning.
The next day, the transaction fails again. I need another form of payment, PayPal informs me. Though I have no way to do so, short of driving to their headquarters and standing in the parking lot with a bullhorn, I wish to inform PayPal that they will never ever ever have my bank account information, no matter how they beg and plead or cajole and demand.
So today I spend a good HOUR (at daytime long-distance rates!!!) on the phone with some lady who claims her name is Joan but, judging by her accent, is more likely named Jalbala (pretty name, means "lotus flower", I think). She is kind, compassionate, well-informed, and completely and utterly unhelpful. I speak to her supervisor, Anna. For the record, Anna is not a bot. But she may as well have been, because she is snide, cold, unhelpful, and completely unsympathetic.
Here's what I learned from Anna-Not-A-Bot:
1. My credit card is now flagged to hell and back by PayPal's ominous-sounding "Internal Security Department" and can NEVER EVER BE USED FOR A PAYPAL TRANSACTION EVER EVER AGAIN STOP ASKING.
2. I mistyped an email address and had a transaction denied. Therefore it is all my fault, nothing they can do, tough shit, so long sucker.
3. There are no humans who work in PayPal Internal Security, only Cylons who do not deign to communicate with meatbags.
4. The only way to resolve this problem is to give PayPal my bank account info.
Um, no. I use a credit card online, because I'd rather risk THEIR money than MY money, and because my card issuer has a phalanx of lawyers just quivering for the chance to sue some hacker into dust.
So I went to Western Union. With a wad of cash. Which they cheerfully accepted. And sent to my friend. Took five minutes. No problem. Even got a smile from the little cutie working the desk.
I'm going to post this, then go to Amazon.com and attempt to purchase a book using my PayPal account. If that transaction is denied, I'm closing the account with a hearty, "Fuck you, PayPal!"
5 hours ago