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Warmly in the third ring of PayPal hell...

My god, now I know why people are driven mad by hellish, circular, Catch-22 interactions with huge bureaucracies .  They have the collective apparent IQ of a gnat, yet are driven by fiendish cleverness behind the scenes. Here is a warning to all: PayPal is not a bank, and they don't have to comply with US or any other banking laws. They can decide you've done something suspicious and lock your account and your money. Once that happens, you will embark on a journey of horror  and frustration that will stress your psyche to its limits. Don't let this happen to you!

What did I do? All I did was use my PayPal account to collect the payments for an auction of memorabilia for the Save Carson Beckett campaign, then try to move the money collected from my personal account to a new, dedicated savecarson account. It makes sense to separate the campaign funds from my personal money, right? Wrong! As it turns out that was the PayPal equivalent of holding up a liquor store with its video camera running. 

They shut down access to both accounts within minutes, and thus began the process that is now 2 weeks, 3 faxes and 4 phone calls long.  Along the way I had the joy of explaining what the Save Carson campaign is.  (Oh, but the agent assured me he was impressed by my passion.  Gee thanks.)  I had to provide pictures of what we auctioned and prove that we delivered the stuff, and to itemize what we Intend to spend the funds on. 

For each fax in which I explained what had happened in fully coherent English, they seem to read about 10% of what I wrote.  My mention of "damages beyond the amount of the funds" did seem to get the best response.  But after all of that, only 1 of the 2 accounts is unlocked -- the one without the auction money in it.

I'm grateful to have discovered www.paypalsucks.com, but just wish I'd known about it before the fateful button push that put me in this nightmare.  If I didn't have my own separate resources, the Carson campaign would be in big trouble right now, just when the final push to Sunday's airing this Friday is at hand.  I'm just off the phone again with more instructions of what to do next.  There is no end in sight.

So here's a tip to avoid this for yourself: as a PayPal user, don't make any sudden moves. Don't change your behavior suddenly, even if it makes perfect sense to you.  Try to think like a computer that believes everyone is an asshole.

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