Umair Haque / Bubblegeneration
umair haque  


Design principles for 21st century companies, markets, and economies. Foreword by Gary Hamel. Coming January 4th. Pre-order at Amazon.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Let's Kill PayPainPal

Sometimes, strategy decay is hard to spot.

Sometimes, it's painfully obvious.

After wrestling with PayPal the other day for half an hour - which had decided for some godforsaken reason to lock my account, despite (because of?) the fact that I use it like once a year - I finally caved and sent an email asking what exactly I could do to fix the problem.

Only to get this (incredible) response:

"...Due to an increase in seasonal email volumes, we may not have been able to
answer your email.

If your inquiry has not been resolved or you have further questions
regarding your PayPal account please call 1-402-938-3531."


It's almost a parody of's the ultimate Dilbert/Office version of customer service.

Except, yeah, it's all too real.

Here's the game. PayPal makes my life as difficult as possible, so it can make it nearly impossible for me to access my funds, and keep earning the marginal value of my float (aka interest earned on my deposit) for as long as possible. It's a sure sign of a decayed strategy, just like the most obvious analog - hidden charges for telcos.

Of course, none of this would be necessary if PayPal...did it what was supposed to do. In my case, I'm locked out because I travel too much for PP's liking - though my bank doesn't care. So, in a curious twist of fate, I now get more liquidity from my (awful) bank than I do from the would-be revolutionary.

In case it's not obvious, someone should really (really) kill PayPal, esp since Google lost it's nerve (you'll make a lot of $$, and because I now hate PayPal, I'll even advise you :) .

-- umair // 8:17 AM // 8 comments


I don't see any reason why could not become Zopay. Its a perfect disintermediator. I even have their tag line for them "Enough Already, You Bought it, ZoPay!" (ka boom!)
// Blogger Paul Sweeney // 4:36 PM

Similar problem here. Old Paypal account registered by wife is locked. I can't open a new one because -- get this -- they only allow one Paypal account per bank account. We've a joint account. I'm not opening another one just for Paypal's sake, so screw 'em. The "customer service" has been laughable, too.
// Anonymous Martin Geddes // 7:41 PM


Let's kill paypal then! I have had a painful experience with them starting out by getting ripped off on eBay despite following all their recommendations to get "Seller Protection". Anyway, won't bore you with the story but the outcome was a perverse situation where Paypal is threatening to sue me for the money, I am trying to pay them but they have locked my out of my account and am told that because my account is now locked I will have to wait for the debt collectors to come knocking on my door and pay them! Paid the debt collector about 5 weeks ago but am still locked out... Not that I want to use their service ever again but I do want to make sure they are not slagging off my credit record.

Christmas mirth and cheer to all Paypal boycoteurs!

// Blogger battleaxe // 1:46 PM

So what sort of fund base do you think I'd need?
// Anonymous Lord Matt // 9:41 AM

That's ridiculous - we're too busy to answer your email, so tough!

PayPal is bullshit. The only reason my husband and I can have a PayPal account each (we have a joint bank account) is that I have a student account as well, in my own name. Otherwise we'd need to have a joint fucking PayPal account too.

// Anonymous Tanya // 4:56 PM

Improved customer service is always desirable, and I've had my own Paypal annoyances as an international traveller, but from your post it seems you are tripping their fraud-prevention algorithms. Risk management is a necessary part of their business and long-term PayPal's incentive is to keep the account "blacklist" as short as possible (if the majority of their accounts are fraudulent, then who's paying the bills?). So I question your premise for the absolute need to replace PayPal. Taking your own situation as exemplary of the type of user who is highly dissatisfied with PayPal and would eagerly adopt an alternative -- a very infrequent user with behavior that is hard to discriminate from fraud -- that does not seem like a particularly lucrative market or the base from which to effectively launch the next PayPal...
// Anonymous Jonah // 9:06 PM

Back in 1997 I went thru PayPal hell and closed my bank account rather than continue in the circular emails that is PayPal hell. Ten years later I watch in amazement at this *hitforbrains company gobbles market share.
// Anonymous Privy Test // 2:26 AM

don't you know paypal?
read here:
// Anonymous Anonymous // 1:02 AM
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