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yea, i'm that guy
2,445 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Regretsy | Where DIY Meets WTF

As you know, we have been trying to buy Christmas presents for kids in the Regretsy community.

We took many applications, vetted them carefully and set about creating a giant gift exchange program, where you could buy a gift for the over 200 children we're helping.

We raised so much money that we found ourselves in a position of not just being able to send toys, but to send a monetary gift to the families as well. We hoped it might help them make their holiday dinners more special, or maybe pay a pressing bill.


Apparently we made the mistake of using the "Donate" button, which Paypal is now claiming is only for nonprofit organizations to use. They froze the account, which also includes Zazzle money that we use to make emergency gifts. That money isn't in issue, but what the hell! Might as well keep everything!

So last night, I decided to go about this a different way. Since these toys are already purchased, I decided to offer them up for sale on this site, just like any other retailer would. You could buy them according to what you wanted to spend, and we would send them on to the recipient of your gift, just like any other retailer.


After a very long and jaw-dropping conversation with an incredibly condescending representative, they have decided that I must refund all the donations and purchases that have not been processed. If you don't get a refund, it's because we got your money before they got smart and kept us from helping children at Christmas, which is really the best move any corporation can make.
Here are a few highlights from our conversation:


PAYPAL: Only a nonprofit can use the Donate button.
ME: That's false. It says right in the PDF of instructions for the Donate button that it can be used for "worthy causes."
PAYPAL: I haven't seen that PDF. And what you're doing is not a worthy cause, it's charity.
ME: What's the difference?
PAYPAL: You can use the donate button to raise money for a sick cat, but not poor people.

ME: The problem is I've already bought all of these toys, so now I'm really in a position like any other merchant - which is to say, I have inventory I need to sell. Why can't I sell them as gifts, like any other retailer?
PAYPAL: Don't you think it would look suspicious if the same people bought them again?
ME: Why? These are my customers!
PAYPAL: If you wanted to do that, you'd have to start a new website.
ME: What? Why would I start a new website?
PAYPAL: I'm not going to argue with you.


PAYPAL: The only way you'd be allowed to sell these as gifts is if you sent them directly to the person who bought them. And we will track your shipments and make sure it goes to the buyer.
ME: That's discriminatory! You don't make other retailers send purchases to the buyer only, especially not at Christmas.
PAYPAL: No one but a nonprofit would send gifts to someone else on buyer's behalf.
ME: What about Amazon?
PAYPAL: We know what you're doing and we're through playing games with you.


PAYPAL: You say you're selling these as gifts but there is no information as to what the gift is.
ME: People sell mystery gifts and grab bags all the time. What about sites where they say, let us choose for you?"
PAYPAL: It doesn't say that on your site.
ME: Is that the problem? If I say it's a mystery gift would that be sufficient?
PAYPAL: You aren't going to be able to get around this. It's too late, we know what you're trying to do and we're not going to let you do it.
ME: But there are hundreds of toys! Do you think it's reasonable to create a drop down menu for hundreds of gifts, all of them different, and create an inventory for each as "one?" So that every time one sells, it's sold out, and the customer has to keep choosng options and going through check out to see if they can find a gift that's still available?
PAYPAL: Yes, I think it's reasonable.

Then my brain exploded.

At this point, I asked to speak to a supervisor and was told that "No one above me will talk to you. No one at my level ever makes phone calls. We're only doing this to help you."

When I asked how to close my account, he said I had to "refund everything, write a letter saying you understood what you did WAS WRONG AND YOU WILL NEVER DO IT AGAIN, and then request permission to close your account."

Then, for good measure, they froze my personal account, which has revenue from my book sales, e-books and all the other Finnish Folktales Swag. They'll be holding that money for 6 months.

So to recap:

$ They allowed me to use a donate button, and got a portion of the donations
$ Then made me return the donations, and kept a portion of the fees on the donations
$ They allowed me to use a Buy Now button to sell gifts individually, and got a portion of those sales
$ Then made me return the sales, and kept a portion of the fees on the sales
$ They processed the toy purchases, and made fees on that

They have made a fortune for not doing anything but making me manually return thousands of $2 sales and contributions.

I have been able to guarantee purchase and shipment of the toys, so that part is happening, as are the letters from Santa (most have already been delivered).

However, I am very sorry to say that at this point, I am not able to make a monetary gift to the families. They have frozen everything that was not already spent or donated, and I have no more funds to make a gift of that size.


Wanna tell Paypal how you feel? Here's a list of every administrative Paypal email address and phone number The Consumerist was able to find.

All The Secret Paypal/Ebay Email Addresses And Phone Numbers You Could Ever Want - The Consumerist

Super Moderator
11,000 Posts
WOOOOOOOOOW that sucks...!!

English Dogge Yard
3,441 Posts
Whattt a larger organization/company in America screwing over their customers/clients?? Unheard of!!

No but seriously.. Doesn't surprise me, I technically have a pay pal but i haven't used it in years, had an issue with an ebay item that was paid but then the money just disappeared.. Something to the tune of $700, pay pal's customer service is one of the worst i've ever dealt with but at least they could speak english..back then anyway.

Credit card customer service numbers are by far the worst i've ever dealt with, especially Master Card. Can't understand a damn thing they say and until i got it fixed they would hassle the living day lights out of me on promotional offers and how to get more line of credit and blah blah blah.

Tell you one thing, once i get my current card debt paid i'm never going back to the use of a credit card. Its been a nice run and all but the way things have been lately i'd rather just deal with not having credit and pay cash for everything.. Already do since i do use my cards anymore.

Sorry your having to go through this, on one hand it does show that they do what they can to limit fraud but on the other hand they aren't taking the time to understand what your actually doing it.

4,164 Posts
Unfortunately they make you have a credit card for some stuff in life. Like renting a van.

...but at least they could speak english..back then anyway.
When I first got separated and moved to TX I was sending house payments to try and keep my house in OK. Had no legal representation and no clue what I was doing, but I was trying to talk to the mortgage holders and explain to them that I was going to try and catch up the payments, wanted to keep my house, and what did I have to do to get the house put solely in my name?

Talking. To. Citibank. Was. Hell. Thanks to be helping you today, miss Beeedle. :stick:

Eventually I gave up on the house. But yeesh, how different would it have been if they'd had enough grasp of the English language to direct me to some resources or something? Dumb-dumbs. And a double irony is that I had to leave OK because I couldn't find a job. Not even at the dollar store. But these fools were getting paid to probably play with themselves while mangling my language on the phone and not helping me at all. Epic. Fail.
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