“We’re sorry, Mrs. Robinson, but we cannot allow you to accept donations for the orphanage in Russia.”
And with that, Paypal wrecked the Escaping Mediocrity Russian Orphanage Project.
You see, Paypal says I can create a “Donate” button too raise money for my favorite charity – and allowed me to do so. BUT after I created it and so many of you generously donated to the project, I started getting emails about “requirements”. The short version is I either need to be a 501(c)3 or be sanctioned by a US non-profit and be able to provide proof of that fact.
I faxed them. Twice. They lost the fax. I kept asking them to find it and read it. But they didn’t. I kept saying, I am raisingmoney directly for an orphanage in Russia. They don’t have the internet and I doubt they have letter head. They just kept sending me the list of requirements. Again and again.
(Don’t get me started on how POORLY they’ve set up communicating with their compliance department. They’ve clearly set it up for their convenience, not the convenience of their customers. This matter could have been settled in about 30 minutes instead of a week.)
Finally – yesterday, I got this email:
Hello Escaping Mediocrity,
Unfortunately, access to your PayPal Account will remain limited. For
security reasons we do not close accounts with limitations. At this point
you can refund the donations received and have the contributors donate to
you by another method.
PayPal Compliance Department
PayPal, an eBay Company
So they played the ultimate trump card. Do it our way because we are holding your Paypal account hostage. Awesome customer service don’t you think?
See – here’s the thing. If Paypal had made all this clear on the front end before I ever created the “Donate” button, none of this would have happened. I would have found another way. But they didn’t. And then, when their lack of clarity caused this mess, instead of working with me as a partner in the mess, they just pull out their muscle.
In order to ransom my Paypal account, I will begin refunding donations tomorrow. There is no way to get this put back together in time for Christmas, but don’t worry – it WILL be put back together. Too many little ones are counting on us.
Oh – and don’t worry. You all acted in good faith, so your names are still in for the book drawing and you will get your $50 coupon code once I straighten out this mess.