back to article PayPal meltdown wreaks havoc on some ecommerce websites

A glitch in PayPal's payment verification system is wreaking havoc on some ecommerce sites that depend on the service. For more than 48 hours, the bug in PayPal's instant payment notification has made it impossible for them to process orders, owners of these businesses complain. Making matters worse, the glitch causes credit …


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  1. Damien Jorgensen
    Gates Halo


    thats explains all these problems i keep getting with people paying and it not processing them lol

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Lost a domain to this

    My domain was up for renewal recently, and my hosting provider usually takes my payment through PayPal.

    This would explain why my domain expired today.

  3. Jay
    Black Helicopters

    Been going on a bit longer than you think.

    This has been going on for about two weeks now.

    Started with payments going into my account but no email and ebay listed the item as unpaid so customers were asking why I was sending them invoices for items they had paid for.

    Time to get a real online shop and payment system I think...

  4. Ian Ferguson


    What do you expect from a service that tries to handle massive numbers of financial transactions, but has no prior experience in banking.

    Don't trust Paypal, they're cowboys. Just because they (and eBay) are famous names, doesn't make them efficient or trustworthy. It's like allowing Amy Winehouse to look after your pet mice, assuming she'll be a good pet sitter because she's famous...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rollback procedures?

    Mission critical systems and no form of rollback procedure/planning for a simple upgrade? Ah well, with any luck this might make E-Bay realise the loss of cash the next time their mandatory "safe" payment system takes a dive!

  6. Mustang

    Darwin taught us

    That's what you get for tieing your business with one service. There are several good e-money services: Google checkout, Moneybookers, E-gold...

    Diversification is the way of the survivor.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    "There are several good e-money services"

    "There are several good e-money services"

    Oh yeah?? Perhaps you can recommend a few that work better and are cost effective for low value (less than £2.00) instant delivery digital download goods such as MP3's, eBooks, Scripts etc.

    PayPal, AFAIK, is the only e-money service that offers MicroPayment rates so you don't end up losing 50% of the sale price in processing fees.

    This PayPal glitch is a complete joke. It's still not working 100% at 12.15am Sunday Morning.

    When my web-site offers Instant Downloads after payment, customers quite rightly, get a bit agitated when that's not what they get.

    We're having to manually check, process and send out about 50% of the orders we're getting. Quite a lot of extra work for a normally fully automated system.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PayPal is the LAW

    Anybody who has had to deal with PayPal outside of making or receiving a payment will find they are a law unto themselves. I wont say anything apart from. Search in a search engine for PayPal and any other negative term and you will find lots of sites that existing solely to warn people about pay pal.

    Makes for interesting readings!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    to: lost a domain to this

    you wouldn't have lost a domain name over paypal system not working. domains dont fully expire and be released for months after the expiry date.

    anyhow...paypal need to catch up with todays world...numerous times there systems fail and don't load there own pages correctly. anyway...why would you pay paypal there stupid high fee's.....if your site is big would have alternative methods available with instant processing. just remove paypal for the time being!

  10. Franz Gruber

    That's right, Jay

    It has been going on longer than advertised. My order to a vendor miscarried on the 10th. Ebay got it right, but somehow Paypal managed to charge me three times the amount ebay specified. Fortunately, the vendor responded quickly to my email and fixed it at his end. Actually, I've never felt good using Paypal. Just a feeling. So I try to avoid the service whenever I can.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    pet mice, ahah, nice one (see bbc and youtube).

  12. jim

    Oh dear PapyPal.....

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: PayPal is the LAW

    Agreed, "and that's why it seems like a dream (got me hypnotized)"

    So, "I'm only wasting time, think I'd better go. Paypal way too civilized (oh oh oh oh). Loss of control, loss of control, lost control!"


  14. Tom Ross

    Shouldn't have to wait ....

    ... for the revolution to come or for a B Ark to be built. Justice should be swift, righteous and without mercy to anyone who says "percentage of merchants a percentage of the time."

    Once earned a coveted Not a Team Player button when I pointed out to a PHB razor-thin inventory, his method for reducing operating expenses, caused 60% of the customers to be backordered 70% of the time on several key, top-selling products. His savings were costing $2.5M/mo in lost sales and could neatly be filed under Sales Prevention. And everyone *knows* what happened in Act II....

  15. Player_16

    Australia! Australia! Australia!!!

    I can hardly wait!! Soon, my entire country will be blocked out of a payment system. And THIS is what I will be looking forward to. I hope our new government is paying attention!

    48 hours? What did you do this weekend?

  16. Jason Togneri

    @ to: lost a domain to this

    I think what he meant is that he didn't lose ownership of the domain, but since he didn't renew it on time, he lost ACCESS to the domain. The files of the website are still on their server but there's now no domain pointing to them - so as far as the web browsing public are concerned, the site no longer exists.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "the glitch means that it's customers have paid"

    should have been

    "its customers"


  18. Josh Mead
    Thumb Down

    I was told...

    My website was involved in this, my customers were told that there order had failed even though they had paid... When I contacted Paypal about it they told me it was my system so I ended up paying someone to look!

  19. Dale

    2253 new paypal emails!!!!!!

    ARGH!!!!! What is going on here?????

    It's 8:21am here in Aus' and I just logged on to my hotmail account (which is the email address I have recorded with PayPal) to find that I have 2253 new emails from PayPal, starting from the 15th, and being sent every 1 to 6 minutes...!!!???

    Anybody ELSE having a similar issue?

    Dale L.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    PayPal SchmayPal

    I'm very ticked off with PayPal for their payment notification failure, I didn't find out until 2 days after being paid that I was paid - and this co-incides with eBay's (fucking outrageous) new policy of not allowing sellers to leave negative feedback to buyers, so if the bidder decides I was being slow with sending the item (never mind they took 4 days to pay) and they leave me a negative I have absolutely no retaliation. Feedback extortion under this new "no negs to buyers" policy is already happening to sellers, one seller got a negative feedback because the biddder thought 85p postage was excessive and wanted a refund...

    Dealing with big businesses is a case of mind over matter, they don't mind if you get screwed because you don't matter.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Paypal probs

    My company has had these problems and blamed its engineers. whoops.

    Also did you all know that paypal in a mafia-like way withholds money if your company suddenly makes a lot of it. Claiming "Anti Terrorist " and " Money Laundering" they refuse to pay your money over to a real life account and of course pay you no interest. If they scam every new customer in this fashion then there is a huge float there for them to reap in the name of "Anti Terrorism" How patriotic.

    (Anonymous Coward because I am worried that paypal will cut off my company for being outspoken on this issue)

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Other Bonus #$%! as well...

    Don't forget seemingly random "Declined" transactions when using the PayPal card as well...their system was somehow showing my card stolen one day last week when the only thing stolen was no doubt the brains of people figuring out if shit was stolen or not.

    Exasperating when trying to buy an A/C unit during a matter when, when you absolutely, positively need it the most, PayPal will fail you.

    That's the Law!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Patpay is a load of old


    Stay well away.

  24. Richard C Haven

    And doing the right thing doesn't work either

    I worked on a system for selling digital content, and we allowed accountless purchases. For those, the transaction had to complete before we could allow the download, and we could not lose the current browser session or we had to refuse the download because the damn user was accountless <s>.

    Oh, so often we wished that we could do what PayPal did and play fast and loose. Handling the accountless transaction took up 25% of our time by itself. Of course, most of our purchases were accountless, so I guess it was fair.

    This stuff is HARD, people. Computers are complicated; transactions are fragile; the details are endless. The users want this to work like a telephone and it just will not. That said, PayPal has no excuse for not informing its clients (the vendors) IMMEDIATELY and providing clear and supported means for problem reports and resolution.


  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No sympathy at all...

    No sympathy... Get a real merchant account... Complain all you want about the price, but you pay for what you get... Who is using paypal for anything that is remotely important should be a million miles away from anything to do with e-commerce!

  26. Tim Bates


    I hope this is a public enough shaming for eBay to reconsider their stupid PayPal only idea.

    Some people are OK with the troubles of PayPal, but stuffed if I'm going to keep using eBay (as a buyer) if I'm forced into this kind of problem... I don't like not having goods supplied because PayPal doesn't tell people I've paid.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    AFAIK PayPal isn't regulated by the financial services auth (UK) therefore, harsh as it may seem, if you use PayPal it's your own fault. (That is not to say that this outage isn't totally outrageous). If payment processing is critical to your business, you need to use a system provided by a major bank or payment processor such as visa/mastercard. I know that their transaction charges are higher, but that's a function of regulation requiring proper DR etc. etc.

  28. Jesrad
    Thumb Down

    Re: Paypal probs

    "Also did you all know that paypal in a mafia-like way withholds money if your company suddenly makes a lot of it. Claiming "Anti Terrorist " and " Money Laundering" they refuse to pay your money over to a real life account and of course pay you no interest."

    This happened to me. I used to check out my gains from other websites onto my Paypal account annually, and as these gains took off last year, from 3000 to 12000$, all of it got frozen by Paypal upon transfer last february. I had planned to use the money to buy a new car and suddendly couldn't, in the end I had to take a bond.

    What's really infuriating is, Paypal's dispute resolution procedure is completely broken when your dispute is with Paypal itself: there's no link to actual info, no email address for contact, no reference, and even when they send you a "case ID" it returns nothing when you search for it. I had to file a friggin website interface problem ticket just to get some of their guys to look at the info they had requested from me. In my experience they take over two days just to process emails, and it hardly helps anyway.

  29. Simon Painter


    I love it when a pedant makes an ass of himself.

    As the article states they are not named for the red berry but for the "surname of Tom Rasberry" and if he wishes to spell his surname in that fashion and the ants are named for him then they are rasperry ants and not raspberry ants.

  30. Paul Barnard
    Thumb Down

    @ PayPal SchmayPal

    What a dick. The whole point of feedback is not retaliation. If you didn't send because paypal didn't notify you then that is NOT the buyers problem. The buyer is quite right to give negative feedback as YOU didn't send the goods. I find it ridiculous that sellers don't give feedback until they have seen the feedback they get. If you get negative feedback its because the buyer isn't happy with the purchase. You can dispute it and say why the problem occurred, but the buyer is just telling it how it is. They kept their end of the bargain. You didn't.

    Get real. Feedback isn't for retaliation. I hope I never have need to buy something from you.

  31. Cameron Colley

    RE: 2253 new paypal emails!!!!!!

    I've slightly fewer than that (about 200, I think) but, yes, I've been receiving confirmation of a payment every few minutes since some time on Sunday and I know of others in the same position.

  32. W

    re: @ PayPal SchmayPal

    Easy, Mr Paul Barnard. A few things...

    eBay + PayPal = supposed updates within eBay on payment status. It mostly works. PayPal are at fault for not notifying of a problem (so that folk can manually check) when they are well aware of one.

    I always leave positive feedback on reciept of payment. But there are still a good portion of problem purchasers that either mess around unduly with paying or are over-expectant when they've just purchased something for GBP 0.99 and will never be happy.

    I never leave negative feedback, so as to avoid retaliation. eBay Feedback is broken. It should be left 'blind' within a certain window period after the bidding finishes. Slack buyers and sellers might then learn to tighten up a little, keep to deadlines and, read all the requirements.

    You may say that the current PayPal issue has little to do with eBay feedback. But they're totally intertwined and basically the same company (as much as they like to pretend otherwise). PayPal is simply used as another layer of opportunity to cream another percentage off the top.

    eBay should introduce an Amazon marketplace method of payment. But they won't because they've totally and utterly cornered the market in online auctions. So we'll all moan a bit but struggle along through it until the situation changes. Unlikely as that is to happen.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "users want this to work like a telephone"

    So do the cellphone operators and their reverse-charge SMS payment providers - for under-£5 stuff, what could be better ? So why isn't it happening? Are reverse charge SMS payments just for ringtone "clubs" and chatlines?

  34. Gill
    Thumb Down

    Not a new problem

    This has been going on for a lot longer than two days. It originally manifested itself on a client site about 6 weeks ago. Numerous support calls to Paypal resulted in no assistance whatsoever.

    As the client had a sale starting and was expecting large orders, we had to hurriedly arrange processing via Nochex.

    Paypal insisted it was a store problem despite the fact that, having tracked processing, the problems started when the customer hit the Paypal site. Payments exited the store with all the correct information. Nothing ever came back so there was no record whatsoever of the purchase being made. Customers were however being billed.

    The issue then seemed to sort itself out but now, not only doesn't the site get the information, neither it seems does Paypal. They take the money from the customer's account but insist they have processed no transaction and have no record of any order.

    24 hours ago I modified the client site to accept Paypal payments from those with Paypal accounts only.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Subscriptions are also badly affected

    UK subscriptions through PayPal cannot be cancelled. Also the seller of the subscription is not provided with enough information to match up the subscription to the payment. Therefore the buyer cannot access the subscription and cannot cancel it.

    And as usual PayPal gives thier scripted reply and does not care.

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