Why I deleted my PayPal account

Recent change in terms of service

Despite follow-up claims that it’s possible to opt-out, PayPal recently announced that, as part of their separation from eBay, their new terms of service allow them to call or text you. You can agree or you can delete your account. And if you thought you could get around that by not sharing your unlisted cell phone number, well, that’s just adorable, because apparently they have ways of finding out.

Whether this claim is true or not, this is a staggering level of arrogance.

Who do these people think they are?

In answer to my own (futile) rhetorical question, I offer my own recent experience:

In an attempt to make it easier for my clients to make payments, I set up a number of electronic payment options, including PayPal. Cautious by nature, I set up a new bank account — rather than giving PayPal direct access to my main account. This way, if PayPal’s systems were ever compromised, there would be less at risk.

This was in 2014. I had been using PayPal since 2008 or so as a way to make purchases online, which had proven convenient (sometimes American vendors reject valid Canadian credit cards, presumably for failing US-specific account-number validity algorithms).

At this point, I will note that I after linking a bank account to PayPal, I carefully chose to have purchases paid for via my credit card — as I had since 2008 — and not from my bank account (which I transferred client payments out of as soon as they arrived, intentionally keeping the account balance hovering somewhere under $5).

Then, I made a mistake. I bought an eBook from A Book Apart using PayPal. Despite my explicitly-selected preference, PayPal took the roughly $9 US from my bank account, which had a couple of dollars in it at the time, triggering an overdraft charge of $45 from my bank. That would’ve been an expensive eBook had my bank not sympathized and reversed the charge.

After a lot of back-and-forth with PayPal support online and, eventually, over the phone, a PayPal employee finally admitted what was plain to me — they pay no attention to the “use my credit card for purchases, not my bank balance” preference because it saves them money.

I’m not prepared to continue to do business such a dishonest company.

I’m out.