ProBlogger founder Darren Rowse calls PayPal to task over payments data request

Influential blogger Darren Rowse has resorted to publishing an open letter to PayPal on the internet in order to get a response to a request for payment data.

Rowse runs a number of blogs from Melbourne including Digital Photography School and ProBlogger, which bring in close to $1 million a year.

Rowse says he initiated a report request via PayPal’s systems in January for three months of transactions.

The report usually covers several thousand transactions and so Rowse generally receives an email from PayPal within 12 hours to let him know when it is ready to download.

However, on this occasion PayPal emailed Rowse saying it was unable to process the request and that the failure was probably caused by an ”unexpected system error” or “unusually high demand on servers”.

Rowse initiated another download request and got the same auto response two more times before attempting to contact PayPal via email.

The only response he received from PayPal was automated emails in a process that took over two weeks. 

In desperation, Rowse decided to draw on his 158,000 Twitter followers and 78,000 Google Plus circles and posted an open letter on March 18 to PayPal on the social media networks.

The letter set out his concerns and the impact on Rowse’s business.

“My tax lodgement is now overdue and I am likely to be charged a fine for being late,” it read.

“My business puts around a million dollars in payments through your services every year.

“You take your fee (a substantial one as each payment involves currency exchanges) and I expect a certain level of services in return for that.

“By my calculations I’ve had contact with around 10 of your customer service staff, have received three customer service surveys, have emailed you without getting a response at least four times and have spent hours on this.

“This issue is now hindering my ability to run my business.”

Rowse’s open letter received numerous comments and shares on the networks, with many commentators reporting similar problems with PayPal.

Commenter Amanda Padgett posted: “I have had similar issues with PayPal and, yes, I even called them on the phone. I have expressed my displeasure with their reporting system many times. 

“I finally gave up, printed out each month and did it by hand.”

Eventually Rowse resolved the problem through PayPal’s @AskPayPal Twitter account. 

He says he is investigating using alternative payment methods for his businesses in the future. 

PayPal was contacted for this story but representatives were unable to respond prior to publication.


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