Wednesday, October 8, 2008

PayPal's Unwelcome Mat

Bill You Later or Pay You Later?

PayPal's newest advertising campaign in the UK begun in September and is aimed at retailers. IT asks if they are "alienating" customers by not offering PayPal as a payment method.

The "Unwelcome" campaign, which has been created by Base One, shows shopkeepers holding signs saying "Go Away", suggesting that not offering PayPal is the equivalent of sending customers away. It also intends to highlight PayPal as a secure and convenient method of online payment.

Last week I read this blog by Matt O'Hern I found it interesting for several reasons. Matt has been an eBay user for some years, appears to be an occasional seller but more frequent buyer and played an involuntary game of Bait the Bot.

The next item to catch my eye on the subject was a post from the UK. Cliff Saran of Computer Weekly reports casual users are getting upset and think PayPal should be subject to UK banking regulations.

"As it is, it appears to be completely remote and unaccountable to its users and judging from threads I have read elsewhere appears able to act with impunity, and gets away with it."

Well that is a surprise!

In Australia there is a strong movement lobbying for regulation of PayPal. I wrote that Andrew Pipolo the Managing Director of PayPal has been summoned to a meeting with the Reserve Bank of Australia, which will undoubtedly lead to some form of restriction on PayPal's operating methods. Australia will, in my opinion, be the first of many countries to take a long hard look at PayPal; which is appropriate given eBay's fondness for using Australia as guinea pig country.

In the UK, which is highly regulated, there is growing seller dissatisfaction with eBay and PayPal's propensity for both quoting and enforcing handling and return laws and regulations which do not exist in the format eBay policy requires from sellers. There has been enough 'noise' that some policies have been deferred until after Christmas. Will the UK be country number two to impose regulations?

Given the recent purchase of Bill Me Later there might be grounds for thinking eBay Inc. will have something close to a monopoly on online payments. Perhaps it is time for the FTC to be asked to take a look at the situation. The current trend towards acknowledgment of a need for closer oversight and regulation of financial institutions may well be favorable to those who believe PayPal is overdue for inspection. A complaint to the FTC is the first step.

Those of you who read my blog know that sitting in front of your computer and whining doesn't even make you feel better. It is simply depressing. We have to DO something! Write a complaint to the FTC today. It will take you 15 minutes at most.

Y'all come back!

Related articles and Links:

Computer Weekly Cliff Saran
- More Insanity on PayPal
- PayPal Money Laundering Nonsense
- UK Users Attack PayPal's Anti Fraud Policies

1 comment:

Gaz said...

Hi Henrietta

Your post echoes much of what I have said for years, particularly in forums where large numbers of eBay users gather to moan about PayPal or particular PayPal policies.

Unfortunately, it would seem that while may Brits are quick to be vocal about what they don't like, very, very few are willing to take any action to have problem companies or policies investigated by authorities. Inertia rules in the UK nowadays, and the brave few who try to whip up action are treated like village idiots while doing so.

There are many posts on the UK PowerSeller board, going back many years, where sellers have openly stated that they don't want to involve the authorities - either because they are worried about retribution from eBay/PayPal, or because they don't want someone who does not understand the marketplace to begin regulating it - Hmmm ... looks like their dilly-dallying got them just that ... in the shape of a JD.