back to article PayPal ambushes users with mystery Skype charges

Vulture Central is keeping its eyes peeled for some sort of PayPal glitch or security breach, following reader reports their accounts were debited overnight to pay for Skype services they never ordered. Both readers are UK residents and longtime PayPal users. Both logged in yesterday to find their accounts had been charged to …


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  1. Busby

    Skype Users

    Have either of the two people effected been users of Skype or have they paid for usage for someone else using there paypal account before? With Skype when you do use it for things other than VOIP to VOIP and you pay for credit there is a box which if it isn't unticked will automatically purchase more credit the same way once you fall below a certain amount in your skype account. Unlikely for the guy with a load of charges but £11.50 sounds right for the minimum you can add.

  2. James

    My Paypal

    My account has remained untouched for a year or more with £30 and there hasn't been any unauthorised activity. I do use Skype too.

    Interesting find though...

  3. Simon Hill

    Cancelling my Paypal account

    Just had 3 transactions go through my account in a week that I didn't authorise. As soon as (well, if actually) Paypal get the refunds to me I'm closing my account.

    Looks like Paypal and it's security assurances are worth the web pages they are written on (and just try to get someone on the phone at Paypal to tell you what's going on).

  4. Eden

    I think I got hit by this

    Funny, I've just finsihed mailing Paypal asking them what the hell that transaction on my account last night was that has now seen me go overdrawn and fined by my bank *sigh*.

  5. Frank Bitterlich

    Well, if it were in Australia...

    .. I'd assume that using Skype instead of your landline simply became mandatory overnight for PayPal or eBay customers. You know, because it's more secure. :)

  6. Mr. Clark

    A wierd one...

    I've had the exact same thing happen to me, all charges were about 50, all charged in euros, and there was about 7 of them.

    What is strange is I had the account debited, and then that amount was refunded pretty much at the same time, maybe slightly off by a few pennies, so I haven't lost anything really.

    Maybe its some sort of elaborate thing to make money from differing exchange rates, you do it to a million people and it soon mounts up!

  7. Mark Allen

    Confirmation Emails?

    Were confirmation emails sent from the transaction? Or did this person just login to his paypal account and spot the cash missing?

  8. Mage Silver badge


    Mines OK

    The last 3months worth match reality.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    i bet

    that this is not covered under paypal's payment protection scheme.

    makes me glad that i closed my account with them.

    ebay\paypal modern day pirates.

  10. Tony Makos

    me too

    Happened here as well - about 50 Euro mysteriously charged to my Paypal account by Skype last month. To be fair to Paypal they sorted it out very quickly but its worrying to hear that it's a widespread problem......

  11. Robert Harrison

    Welcome to Web 3.0

    Our new model for revenue generation is dubbed 'randomly bill users for services they *might* want'. The ROI is guaranteed[1] to be much higher than the dinosauric advertising-based model of Web 2.0.

    [1] Well for about 3 to 5 days anyway.

  12. Barry Patterson

    My paypal account is clear

    No charges I didn't make. Of course, I use the security key in addition to a password just 'cause I'm paranoid.... :) While not perfect, at least it's another layer of security.

  13. Douglas Anderson
    Thumb Down

    I got hit, too

    I woke up to find I had been subscribed to Skype Pro and there was a $3 charge for this monthly service. I went through the cancellation process, but that resulted in an e-mail saying the service would be cancelled 30 days later, at the end of the month.

    I sent an e-mail to Skype saying this charge was NOT authorized, and please refund the $3. It took 5 days, I think, before Skype replied saying they would look into it and another 5 days before they actually did it.

    Then I got a survey asking if I was happy with their prompt service.

    Something dreadfully wrong at Skype.

  14. Bob Hoskins

    Account Topup

    Luckily, we in the Netherlands can pay using something called iDeal which is essentially a signed bank transfer using tokens that happens instantaneously. It's been around for years and is far more secure than credit card (or shudder paypal).

    Mine's the orange football top.

  15. Name
    Thumb Down

    Cancel your Direct Debit with PayPal.

    This is why I never leave an active DD with PayPal. I set it up if PayPal requires it for some step but promptly cancel shortly thereafter.

    Allowing a shambolic company like PayPal to have full access (direct debit) to my bank account is very scary indeed.

    At least with Credit Card I have some protection against dodgy transactions. Amex has been very good in 2 instances I have had with PayPal and put some pressure on them to resolve it.

    Reg getting hold of a person: choose the option to report credit card fraud. this will get you to a person.

  16. Law
    Thumb Up

    A title is required.

    I've never used skype, use paypal frequently, nothing to report this morning. Maybe it's users who have given Skype their details at some point or other??

    Ofcourse - it's just as likely that paypal/ebay have f*cked up yet again.... pay-tards indeed.

  17. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Man I'm glad

    I don't have a PayPal account !

  18. John Marriott

    "Skype has nothing to gain by "stealing" money"

    Have an email from Skype admitting that I am not liable for these charges and it is fraudulent activity. There is no offer to refund my money. They have suggested I contact my Bank if I would like my money back.

  19. Plymouthian
    Thumb Down

    I trust paypal less with every passing day

    Admittedly in this case Skype might also be at fault. But today I receive an email from Paypal advising that "PayPal will change its fee structure to make it more attractive for our UK customers to send personal payments".

    The change is, they're charging for using credit cards to send personal payments. But if I give them direct access to my bank account, it's free. Yet they also heavyhand sellers into this by forcing them to give paypal as an option, and making it a policy violation for these sellers to "discourage the use of any payment option".

    There really needs to be more oversight on ebay/paypal soon, because they're really beginning to get too cocky for their own good, and evidently letting their security lapse along the way.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: "Web 3.0" and "Skype has nothing to gain..."

    That's actually a pretty common underhanded business tactic. A rather large Norwestern US Telecom, who shall remain nameless (it's Qwest), did this as a matter of course for several years up until about 18 mo ago. Just tack a few bogus charges onto every bill. As long as it's not a huge amount many people won't notice. Not everyone goes thru their phone bill line by line unless it seems like it's wrong. If you do this to 10% of your customers every month and 10% of them don't notice and just pay, that equates to a huge amount of money.

    For over 2 years my every qwest bill was Wrong. Services I didn't order appeared magically. Prices on services i did have rose without explanation. I had to call customer service every month to dispute the bill. They were always very nice and apologetic and always said they'd fix it and it wouldn't happen again. Then next month the charges were still there, along with late charges for not paying last months bogus charges. Another call, another applogetic CS rep, andother load of BS promises. When i ordered DSL they tried to charge me for 2 different ISPs simultaneously for over 6 months. this all stopped when my lawyer finally called them. According to him he didn't even have to get tough with them, he simply inquired why they couldn't get their billing right and supposed out loud that I couldn't be the only customer having these issues, and in fact since my company services about 350 local businesses, most of whom have some level of qwest service, i was aware of the pervasiveness of this problem. My bill has been spot-on ever since.

    Qwest finally put this system to rest after they attracted class-actions in every state they do business in, and there were rumblings of the feds getting involved.

    I bet they made an absolute shit-load of cash off it before they stopped.


  21. Anonymous Coward

    If paying by Direct Debit

    "If an error is made by the organisation or your bank or building society, you are guaranteed a full and immediate refund from your branch of the amount paid"

    You contact the bank, not Paypal if they remove money without consent. It's up to the bank to sort it out.

  22. John Dougald McCallum

    Mystery Charges

    Isn't this Theft ?

    [quote]Have an email from Skype admitting that I am not liable for these charges and it is fraudulent activity. There is no offer to refund my money. They have suggested I contact my Bank if I would like my money back[/quote]I'd tell them to pay up or that i'd see them in court.......

  23. Anonymous Coward

    @ Frank Bitterlich


    .. I'd assume that using Skype instead of your landline simply became mandatory overnight for PayPal or eBay customers. You know, because it's more secure. :)


    Lol. Thats exactly what I was thinking.

    Now wheres that "Delete Paypal Account" button. Oh there it is *click*

  24. Anonymous Coward

    @Stu Reeves

    Thats all very fine and well, but Paypal is NOT officially a bank and they do not have to abide by British Laws, hence they are based in Luxembourg or the like.

    The can do what they like and get away with in im afraid. We have all been suckered into this system with the "presumption" of false protection promises etc. They dont have to abide to anything, not even the FSA.

    I only have to sit in offices to hear how many people have been ripped off in bad ebay transactions etc to see that fraud is rife at Paypal.

    They even close peoples accounts and SEIZE the money for themselves on a mere "suspicion" that they are doing anything wrong. So they also take the law into their own hands rather than let the police deal with these issues.

    Mines the coat with the dodgy paypal wallet.... lol

  25. Keith T

    Does Skype pay commissons to sales people?

    Does Skype pay commissons to sales people to sell accounts?

    Could it be that a criminal organization is faking sales to Skype?

  26. Mike Flugennock

    uhmmm..."slamming", anyone?

    Just noticing, this sounds like a rather quaint old sham pulled by ISPs, domain registrars, telcos and the like, waaaa-aaay back in the early '00s – looks like good old-fashioned "slamming" to me.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Thats all very fine and well, but Paypal is NOT officially a bank and they do not have to abide by British Laws, hence they are based in Luxembourg or the like.

    Mines the coat with the dodgy paypal wallet.... lol"

    Um were did stu say pay pal is a bank. He said contact your bank . I've done that before and promptly got my money back. 2 days later pay pal closed my account and forbid me from ever using them again :)

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Disputes with Paypal

    I've got some free advice for anyone who needs to dispute charges at PayPal.

    Firstly, if they direct debit you for charges that are invalid, simply go back to your bank. Under the Direct Debit guarantee the banks are responsible for fixing it. This is something that is highly regulated and will get fixed very quickly.

    Secondly, if they close your account and try and steal money from it then you should consider the small claims court. Just write them a letter that basically says give me my money or I'll see you in court, include a deadline, and then if the deadline expires file at Almost every time the company in the wrong will settle immediately and out of court. The key thing is to get the filing in (after a warning) because that is what genuinely scares the firm - they don't want convictions because they can get shut down by the FSA.

    Finally, if charges appear on your bill and you don't have a direct debit set up, write to them explaining this, and stating that the bill is in dispute and won't be paid until the dispute is resolved. If they try to force you to pay, write again and threaten small claims action.

    I've done all of the above at some point, and its all process that is worth knowing about.

  29. Angus Ireland
    Thumb Down

    My account is tits up - again

    Paypal have suspended my account - again - due to suspected fraudulent activity on a credit card linked to my account. That's all very well... Until you realise there are no credit cards linked to my account. I'm supposed to phone them to fix it. As if I'd give them money by doing that...

    Then a day or two ago I got 3 (duplicate) emails informing me of a change to PayPal ToS.

    Thankfully my account only had about a penny into it.

    Stupid paypaltards.

  30. Ermie Mercer

    Credit cards too?

    I've never used Skype or any VOIP, but (living in the US) I was just hit with an unauthorized charge from them on my CREDIT CARD. I also have a PayPal account. Could someone have gotten my credit card info from PayPal?

  31. Margaret

    Skype also charge credit cards with no authorization.

    I dont and wont have a PayPal account but Skype did the same to me by charging my credit card for payments for my Skype account that I had opened some months beforehand and paid for a 5 month subscription. Skype then with no authority started charging my credit card for monthly amounts. When I queried the payment over and over eventually I got an email saying they were doing me a favour keeping my account current.

    What other sort of behaviour would one expect from an eBay company. They are all thieves.

  32. John Dougald McCallum

    Skype Scam

    "Skype then with no authority started charging my credit card for monthly amounts. When I queried the payment over and over eventually I got an email saying they were doing me a favour keeping my account current."

    (Reply) no sunshine you are stealing money from me kindly cease and desist would be my response

  33. Julian I-Do-Stuff

    Quick PayPal Fix

    I shan't add the gory details of the PayPal account I couldn't set up and then couldn't get rid of saga, but for those in need an expeditious approach is to email the eBay CEO meg (at) (it's a publicly listed email address, but it took some finding) worked a charm in making the impossible suddenly possible.

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