You really have to wonder about PayPal. Every day they seamlessly process a squillion pissy little transactions from countless innumerate trailer-trash. Nice work. Then they ruin their reputation with Kafkaesque requests and oddly incompetent “service”. Like now.
“We need your help resolving an issue with your PayPal account,” they emailed me on 9 May. “We need a little more information regarding your organisation, since your PayPal account is registered as a charity or non-profit.” Huh?
As Gary Stark tweeted just now, “You, a non-profit? While that might not be your intention, it’s probably just about right.” That’s true enough. But I’m certainly not a charity or non-profit, I’m certainly not tax-exempt, and I’ve never claimed to be. I’m not even an “organisation”. And have never claimed to be.
By “a little more information” PayPal means photo ID, another document showing my address, a bank statement linking me to my bank account, confirmation that I’m not not a “politically exposed person”, and “organisation and payment information”, whatever that might be. But I’ve been travelling for the last fortnight and I’m not carrying all this stuff.
They’re also asking for one item I’m going to have trouble with. Proof of my tax-exempt status. For no such thing exists. As Leslie Nassar tweeted, “If you can’t prove you’re not who you’re not saying you aren’t, then no Internet Money for you.”
Back on 10 May I emailed firstname.lastname@example.org to ask why all this was happening. I told them that I’m an individual doing business as a sole trader, and have never claimed to be anything different. I received no response. Typical. My PayPal account is now “limited”. Which means frozen.
This morning I’ve contacted PayPal’s compliance team by both email and fax.
You are asking me to prove my tax-exempt charitable or non-profit status. Why? I am not tax-exempt, non-profit or charitable, and have never claimed to be. Never. An email to email@example.com on this matter dated 10 May went unanswered. Why? Your demand for proof of tax-exempt status does not include the option “But I am not!” Why? I do expect written answers to these “Why?” questions.
I’ll let you know what happens next. Meanwhile, do feel free to vent your own frustration at PayPal in the comments. I daresay I’m not alone here.