My PayPal Debit Card Was Cancelled and I Can't Get A New One

My paypal debit card was cancelled

I normally wouldn’t care, but I really loved using my PayPal debit card. It allowed me to leave my money in my PayPal account for the interest with the money market account portion or take it out at any time wat an ATM and not have to wait for transfers to my bank> It provided a cash back incentive and interfaced well with my financial software. Plus I’ve been a member of Paypal since 2000. I’ve done like 100+ transactions through paypal and even more on ebay.

That said, back in march of this year (2008) I was sent an email that said:

“We have been informed that your PayPal Debit Card number may have been obtained by an unauthorized party as a result of a security breach at a merchant where your debit card was used to make a purchase. The security of your PayPal account information was not compromised in connection with this event. To help ensure your security, we have taken the proactive step of cancelling your PayPal Debit Card.”

With my anti-phishing radar at high alert, I made it a point to manually visit the PayPal site to do this and triple check for any problems, because it would be just plain embarrassing if some “l33t h4x0r” compromised a security nut’s account. I was curious, too. After all, I wouldn’t give my card info to shady people/sites, and I definitely wouldn’t fall for a phishing scam. Failing both of those, I fairly religiously check my PayPal account for any strange activities, and until that point had never had any incidents.

I trusted PayPal, though. If they said there was something funky going on, perhaps there truly was something funky going on. Anyway, I followed the steps, submitted the request, and was told by the form thinggy I should get a new one in 2-4 weeks.

…but then, nothing. Neither email nor phone call traveled my way. “2-4 weeks later” (probably longer than that), I tried again. But still, my mailbox never gifted me with my long-awaited, shiny new debit card.

Being the concerned, empathetic web backend developer that I am, I wondered if the form on PayPal’s site was simply malfunctioning. After all, there are plenty of inept coders out there, so perhaps PayPal got the shaft this one time. I found that if I submitted a request, I got the confirmation screen, but if I clicked the “Use debit card” link again, it stuck me back at the first screen again– as if I had never gotten to the confirmation screen in the first place. I tried submitting again and again and again, much like someone frantically pushing the call button for an elevator that has, quite literally, taken weeks to come. Naturally, that didn’t help, but it did cheer me up in a time during which I had started to lose all hope.

… and still, nothing. No email, no request for information. Not even a quit-clicking-the-stupid-button-you-dork error message. “Surely something must be horribly wrong,” I thought, “since my account’s been around since 2002, I’ve done every verification step they’ve asked of me excepting the [currently] optional anal probe, and everything else is working fine. Maybe it happened during the ‘new interface’ switchover?”

I procrastinated, letting weeks slip by again, assuming others would be having similar problems and the bug would fix itself via annoying bug reports. Alas, it did not, and yet again, I was left in the sea of silence.

Having exhausted all other routes, I eventually divined the bright idea that I should call PayPal’s support line, so after laboring through what felt like 30 different “Are you a retard? Ask your question and check this FAQ three more times before bugging us” types of screens and trying several different numbers (all of which seemed to lead in circles), I finally found what appeared to be salvation: a screen that gave me a code to give to the phone system so that I could talk to… get this… a live person! A smidgen of joy dared a leap across my skin as a twinkle came to my eye. This was it.

“Finally! Now we’re cookin’ with gas!” I exclaimed aloud. And thus, I called the number, entered the code, and was put into the, “please wait– all of our operators are currently busy” queue. At least I was getting somewhere. I was at the mercy of the hold system, and while it was faintly reminiscent of an S&M dungeon, the elevator music on speakerphone brought a particular warmth to my room. I felt like dancing to it, but I suppressed the urge; for, soon my problem was to be solved, and I mustn’t miss the agent in the midst of my revelry. I’d soon be back to playing Wii, clipping my toenails, and, most importantly, using my debit card.

Miss Cleo saw it coming. I clearly did not, for to my surprise, I was disconnected. Again. Not even a click. Against all odds, nobody answered, nobody talked to me, and, quite simply, nobody cared. Not even a, “We’re sorry, but we simply don’t like you” kind of thing, either. Nope– none of that. At the very least, it would have been nice to have had a “Haha! You waited 30 minutes, sucker!” sort of message after it all. At least then I would have enjoyed a hardy chuckle and had tale to tell to my friends. Nay, for all of that would have been better for one deserving of response. I, undeserving of one, instead received what I had received countless times before: silence.

Since then, every month or so I’ve tried again. I hate the phone, so I’m not gonna sit on hold again just to be disconnected by some outsourced, paid-by-the-volume level-1 firm that pays its mortgage by hanging up on customers, so the options are running low. I’ve never had a problem up until now, and while I’m not going to quit using PayPal, this ordeal has definitely made Google’s new payment thing more enticing. After all, without the debit card, the only benefit to continuing to only accept PayPal in my auctions is… ermm… silence?

Anyway, here I am. I figure I’ll try something like this. Perhaps a more public venue was long overdue. I hate to sound like the proverbial difficult customer, but I figure that in this situation, if this is the only major blip in the last 6 years of flawlessly doing business with you, maybe something out in the open is better. At least this way, if in some way I totally screwed up there’ll be an easy way to point that out and encourage others to point and laugh, and I’d gladly admit any personal stupidity and welcome said ridicule.

I made sure my addresses were up to date, and even now I’ve double checked that all of my bank account/credit card information was fine. What more is there to do? I’m out of practice in my rain dances–actually, I lie; I never learned how to rain dance, but I would gladly learn if it meant that I could get my replacement debit card sometime before the end of the year.

Hopefully through here I’ll find something other than silence. Hopefully through this route, a route altogether new to me, I’ll find answers. Perhaps through this route I won’t be sent on a detour past the signpost up ahead and sent, once again, to a silent Twilight Zone.

11 thoughts on “My PayPal Debit Card Was Cancelled and I Can't Get A New One

  1. thx Dan. Hopefully I can get another and I was hoping that this article might persuede Paypal Debit card people to reinstate me.

    I didn’t do anything wrong and nothing was compromised on my account.

    I think it was just a mistake on their part.

  2. paypal is a huge dark entity that takes, takes, takes and gives not so much back in return.

    if you ever found yourself in an unfair situation and need their help, (as with a normal bank), then PayPal are not there for you. you cant complain, its very difficult, they dont really take care of your problem like a local bank. they even have very unfair regulations (which would be completely unheard of among normal banks).

    I do use them out of necessity. (for me, they are a necessary evil), sooner or later I am sure that google financial service will come forth and get a large enough market share that all the people that have problems with paypal and they nasty service can make the swap-over.

    I am sure their credit or debit card is fine, (at first glance), but if you run into any problems along the way and need their assistance, then you will know the extent of their rubbishness.

  3. I have recently had the debit card battle. I have held an account with paypal I think since 2000, or 2001, and in that time have had a couple debit cards as they have expired and been replaced. The company I am an independent contractor consultant for pays via paypal—-I typically leave the majority of my funds in the paypal account for many of the same reasons you stated. I found it easier to track then the transactions through my bank, and had actually made a nice little sum over the years with their little cash back program ( it does add up). Well, my card was due to expire—I got a new one in the mail. The little instruction page told me to go online and activate it, but there was no link or option to do so. I had a very busy month and was away a lot, I just figured maybe I could not activate it until my old one was done or something….and was being lazy about having to go all over my various accounts and subscriptions to update new billing method.

    So…october 1st. I wanted to go groccerie shopping, and remembered, oh, my card just expired, so I better go activate that new one. There still was no option to activate. So, I then called paypal, and after going through their long voice activated menus— ( say “agent” to help bypass it and get to a menu designed to actually send you to a live person) I was disconnected twice. I finally reached someone with such a thick accent I could not understand anything he was saying, but after asking him to repeat several times, he told me my NEW card had expired because I had not activated it BEFORE my previous card had expired. What? No where does it say anything of the sort, not on the site, not on the paper with instructions that comes with the card—no warning to activate it immediately or it will be void and cancelled. Even despite that, I had tried and it had not shown up. I then requested to speak to a manager—this time a woman, again with a thick accent….call center out-sourcing. She was cold, spoke in automatic prepared phrases. She repeated off to me that it had needed to be activated earlier, and I told her that was just great to know now, but no where does it say anything like that to give us prior warning….” I’m sorry mam.” I was sitting there, holding a brand new card that I was told was worthless. I was told I had been sent an email as a reminder to activate. I had never seen that email….later I discovered it had been sent to my junk folder because the subject line was just a jumble of mixed up garbled script. Inside was a message to activate, but no warning that the ability to do so would expire. If I had known that, I would have called to ask why the activation option was not showing shortly after I received it. ( and I only had it for like two weeks).
    So, what does this mean? I had $5 in my wallet, and that is it. I had to transfer all my funds to my bank, and wait…..while I am out of grocceries and have bills that need paid. I am due to get my monthly payment from the company….and again, will have to wait and transfer it, which means my rent will be late. The “manager” told me it would be 7-10 days to get my new card, but according to the site, it will be 2-4 weeks. It made me literally apply as if I have never had a card before, and it still lists my status as waiting for approval now, two days later. Who knows when I will get a card again—and for me this is something very scary and inconvienent given that is where my primary source of income is sent through. This was a horrible time for this to happen.

    Paypal, if you read this—please at least inform people of activation deadlines, and hire agents who are not so difficult to understand and who sound like programed anamatrons in their responses.

  4. I got a letter in the mail that my new card would be arriving soon bc the old one expired 9/08. Never got one in the mail. I’m wondering if it is because they simply cant afford to give the 1.5% cash back rebates anymore. Ebay (their owner) is doing poorly so I really think its because of the whole economic crisis. I guess I’ll go back to using my 1% rebate credit cards now.

  5. @Ken Savage – I had the 1.5% back card, too. When I got my new one back I never called to activate it. They account is closed and they won’t re-open it. I liked it, too. Just something about whipping out a “Premier Business” card to pay for stuff.

  6. I feel for you man, I’ve had similar problems, not with paypal, but with the automated systems and the full on ignorance of the customer service reps on the other end.

    You could always try to go to their headquarters in San Jose, CA.

    Good Luck

  7. Paypal has just introduced a new way to scam you out of some of your money. Here’s a recent email I received from Paypal.

    “Many of you asked us to make tracking your PayPal Debit Card cash back simpler. You got it.
    Starting August 1, 2009, the cash back earned on your PayPal Debit Card transactions will be combined into a single deposit and paid monthly, rather than after each transaction, making your record keeping easier.
    Your cash back rate won’t change.”

    What this means is that Paypal will now keep your cash back money and not release it till the end of the month. You are in fact making Paypal a interest free loan of your money till the end of the month. Now this only means a few dollars kept back per person till the end of the month but multiply that by the millions of people that use it and Paypal is holding back Millions of Dollars till the end of the month.

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