Hi Lifehacker, I have been using PayPal for years, but recently there has been a few refunds due to quality of items and also that wrong items were sent to me. PayPal has buyer protection where we can lodge disputes and escalate to claims if problems arise with our purchase. However, PayPal recently has disabled my account saying I have too many disputes and claims. They also said that this cannot be appealed. Can PayPal do this? What can I do about it? Thanks, PayProblem
A perusal of PayPal's User Agreement — which you agreed to when you initially signed up — includes the below caveat:
PayPal, in its sole discretion, reserves the right to terminate this Agreement, access to its website, or access to the PayPal Services for any reason and at any time upon notice to you and payment to you of any unrestricted funds held in your Balance.
The document goes on to give a "non-exhaustive" list of reasons your account may be blocked, including:
multiple disputes received regarding non-despatch of merchandise, non-delivery of services, merchandise not as described or problems with merchandise shipped may result in action being taken by PayPal.
PayPal has covered its tracks pretty conclusively here — but that doesn't necessarily mean that your case is hopeless. If you feel like you're being unfairly vicitimised, contact the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC). Although the ACCC doesn't resolve individual disputes, it may help to get your case escalated to the highest priority level over at PayPal. Having the ACCC sniffing around is never a good look for a company.
You could also try lodging a dispute with the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The FOS is a not-for-profit external dispute resolution scheme that provides free services to consumers who are unable to resolve disputes with financial services providers.
Alternatively, there's probably nothing stopping you from re-registering with a different email address and payment source — not an ideal workaround but better than nothing. If you'd prefer to wash your hands of PayPal, most sites do accept other payment methods.
In future, we'd recommend being more selective with the vendors and customers you buy from and making sure you've tried everything possible to resolve the issue before making an official complaint. Also, make sure to thoroughly read the T&Cs before signing up to any online service; it sounds like obvious advice, but hardly anyone does it.
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