More than Gardening Happens in the Rhubarb Jungle

There are, for example, extended conversations with the customer service reps. (CSR) at Pay Pal.

Downsizing, the euphemism for “getting rid of stuff,” has been a theme for the past several weeks ever since paying the fee for a storage unit became ridiculous. Much of it has been consigned to the recycling bin. Retirement means that there’s time to sell it on eBay. With visions of someone offering me hundreds of dollars for my slightly damaged Christopher Plummer autographed photo, PayPal seemed to be the easiest way to collect my riches.

Casting aside my old identify and remembering something about not using your normal email account for financial transactions, I used an alternate. Entered the data for our checking account with our credit union and started selling.

In fact, I did have two sales. Hurrah. Small but rewarding. The buyer paid for shipping. I shipped. PayPal withdrew the cost of the postage for the shipping but had not “confirmed” my checking account for payment. My proceeds were sitting in a PayPal fund earning interest. I waited for the confirming small deposits for the recommended two to three days. Nothing.

The first telephone call. “Oh, the problem is that you have multiple email addresses,” polite CSR told me. “Which do you want me to eliminate?” “Fine, that should solve the issue.” Much effusive thanks on my end.

Three more days passed and another polite and helpful PayPal CSR. “The problem is with your credit union. Small banks don’t have the garbled facilities to respond. I’ll try again.”

I was tempted to say that there are only small banks in Vermont. The state has worked very hard to ensure that the mega-banks have not moved in to eliminate local banks and credit unions. One “small” bank has stock that is outperforming many of the big boys. Needless to say our friendly local credit union representative was not amused.

Three more days and I succumbed to the Big Banks. Sure enough the accounts were linked in a New York nano-second and I got my money.

What I discovered in the PayPal jungle was that it is a jungle. Many people have had many different issues with PayPal. There are even two sites devoted to consumer complaints: paypalsucks.com and paypalcomplaints.org. A May 19 post by Kate Knibbs on Gizmodo reported that PayPal had to pay $25 million for its practices; $15 went to customers and $10 million in fines. EBay owned PayPal but has spun it off. The more I look, the more tangled and cutthroat the world of online selling. It really is a jungle out there.

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