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Gray Watson Personal Thoughts 2004.09.07
Paypal Customer Service Sucks.

This really rubbed me the wrong way so I thought I'd through up a rant. I've been a loyal Paypal user for some time. I have a business account which means that I pay more money per transaction but I can transfer money out of my Paypal account anytime. I also use their payment notification system which should, you'd think, mark me as someone with some technical expertise. Nah. That would make too much sense.

The other day I was using their shipping system to deliver some tshirts to a buyer, and I was using the excellent Safari browser on my Macintosh. I had some problems with Paypal so I thought I'd let them know about them so they could fix their bugs. [The solution, btw, is to use the Firefox browser to do the mailing lables instead of Safari.] Here's what I sent:

Subject: PayPal Shipping with UPS; Doesn't work on a macintosh running the safari browser.

I was unable to easily print out the labels to ship to my client when using the Safari browser on a Macintosh.

First off, Safari blocks popups and your system relies on them. Then when I clicked on the regenerate the mailing label button, the buttons to print the label would steal focus and so the printing dialog would not work.

When I said OK or cancel to the "did it print" dialog, I then went to print the label but it only would show the Sample label. Finally I had to view source, find the special encoded URL and view the label directly.

I know you are going to say to use a different browser (probably IE) but IE is insecure and not recommended on a Macintosh. Microsoft is no longer developing IE on the Mac and Safari is the default browser and is supported on 99% of the websites out there.

I know. Why do I even bother. I guess I'm a bit old school when it comes to the Net. I send a lot of feedback to people when I see broken web pages or interfaces. I'm sincerely thankful when someone points outs problems with my sites and I feel it's all of our responsibility to help the Web rise about the seething pile of mediocrity it often is.

The first response from Paypal "customer support" is typical response from someone who doesn't have the time to actually read what I wrote.

Thank you for contacting PayPal.

If you are experiencing difficulties while using Apple Safari Web Browser, below are basic instructions to be used when troubleshooting issues with the Apple Safari Web Browser (version 1.0) and PayPal.

How To Clear Cache:
...
How To Clear Cookies:
...
How To Enable Cookies:
...
How To Disable Auto-Fills:
...

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us again.

Sincerely,
Tim
PayPal Customer Service
PayPal, an eBay Company

Well that was less than helpful. Obviously Tim saw the word "Safari" and clicked the "respond to idiot Mac user" button. "Tim" could actually be just a robot which looks for certain phrases, and fires off a auto-response. Either way, it's awful but sometimes the first line of customer service are droids, so let's try again. But this time, I'm a bit peeved.

I don't know why I bother sending you guys support mail. My question is rarely answered. Please read my question and spend more than 10 seconds on the answer. [ Copy of previous message follows. ]

Okay, so I figured that maybe "Tim" or another one of the "customer service" dudes would actually read my question now. WRONG. Here's their response.

If you are encountering difficulties using Internet Explorer on Mac OS 9.x and below, we ask that you consider using a different browser at this time. The error you are encountering is a well-known and documented issue with Internet Explorer's inability to recognize valid security certificates.

Approximately one year ago, Microsoft announced the end of development for future versions of the Internet Explorer browser for the Mac. With this in mind, you will want to begin looking at various alternatives available for your Internet browsing needs.
...

Sincerely,
Tim
...

As you can see. Paypal support SUCKS. Either that or Tim needs some help or at least more time to read the customer questions he is tasked with supporting. Sigh. Sometimes I wonder why companies actually post support email addresses. Every time I get good customer service from an online vendor, I'm impressed. An example of good customer service is elsewhere in my thoughts list.

I've had usually very good support from Speakeasy.Net. Their first level support is almost always excellent and they have an online ticket system which is usually great. But even they screwed up just recently which cost me time and frustration. Even good customer support teams are prisoners to bad employees.

What are the alternatives to Paypal out there? Anyone with good customer service?

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