back to article PayPal crawls after messaging glitches

PayPal has been hit by glitches that have in some cases confused users of the service so much they paid for the same item twice. The most severe issue has hit the service's instant payment notifications (IPNs), the messaging system that sellers rely on to learn of transactions conducted using the payment service. IPNs have …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    eBay and PayPal Systems have been Unstable for at Leat Three Months

    There have been so many problems with both eBay and PayPal systems for the past two months I keep wondering how they were not making the news.

    Problem 1: If you add a new shipping address during eBay checkout it automatically changes your default shipping to the immediate previous address you added without your permission. Then if you are someone who make a lot of purchases you may find that your items are shipped to a third party address you added sometime in the past because ebay decided to use it as your default address without you explicitly doing so.

    Problem 2: Since the middle of November most items you purchase and pay for are missing from your transaction history. To get transactions for January 19th for example you have to specify a date range starting with January 19th and ending with January 19th. After over two months this problem has not been fixed.

    Problem 3: Sales Taxes: eBay automatically dropped sales taxes from all our items last week. Instead of harassing our buyers who were not charged sales taxes at checkout, we ended up just absorbing the additional cost of at least a few hundred dollars.

    Problem 4: Duplicate transactions. Early this morning we attempted to pay for a large number of items we won. eBay checkout failed with an error asking that we attempt to submit payment later. We tried making payment three times before we realized that even though checkout failed and the items still show up as unpaid in eBay the payment was made from PayPal on all three occasions even though eBay still showed the items as unpaid.Took a message to our account manager to have all the transactions reversed and cost us a few hours

    Problem 5: Every day a different interface, with different features and different defaults. One would expect to site changes wold be thoroughly tested before production implementation, not foisted on users as guinea pigs

    These problems are not the entire list, there has been so many more.

    Checkout Problems: Selling items and buyers are unable to complete checkout because the transaction just randomly fail and neither eBay or PayPal can explain to the buyer why their payment cannot go through. So they instruct the buyer to ask us to invoice them directly via PayPal.

    I make a decent living using both eBay and Paypal and am used to being frustrated by the fact that every six month or so over the past four years they implement significant changes that affect our business. Usually negatively. But the past three or so months have been really testy. It is just unbelievable that companies of this size can have systems that behave this randomly.

    The current problems are not isolated issues. yes they are more widespread than earlier problems but this has been going on for a while.

    1. Fatman

      Re: eBay and PayPal Systems have been Unstable for at Leat Three Months

      eBay and PayPal are two firms I would never want to trust my livelihood to.

      Having worked for a business that had branched into eBay/PayPal in 2003-04, and noting the problems involved with account freezings, and listing deletions; I would stay as far away from them as I can.

  2. Someone

    To Make Whole

    I’m sure you really know that’s American lawyer speak. It means to return to a financial position as if the event had never happened. There are going to be some situations that can’t be fixed by refunding a duplicate transaction. Where buyers made a second purchase from a different seller or not using PayPal, there won’t be duplicate transactions. If ‘refund’ means ‘reverse’, that could leave some sellers in a mess, if they’ve already shipped or started bespoke work on duplicate orders. I assume sellers are PayPal customers too. While the word ‘compensate’ would be more meaningful to most people, it’s less legally specific and PayPal is avoiding using it.

    I’ll go along with the sentiments of the Anonymous Coward above. PayPal is a mess. I keep seeing the following error message.

    We are not able to process your payment using your PayPal account at this time. Please return to the merchant’s website and try using a different payment method (if available).

    Which is bloody useless when you’ve come to PayPal from eBay Checkout.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    3 hours feels like BS. We saw the last IPN at around 6.30am and then no more until about 10 hours later and even then it was sporadic - still seeing some of the old IPNs coming through now (more than 24 hours later).

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd imagine there are a whole lot of upset people who will have ordered goods using Paypal but the merchant never got the confirmation until it was too late to ship that day.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Facebook as well?

    Funny how FB has become unresponsive here at roughly the same time-scale. Ping OK but login-failing.

    Actually, that might be a good thing...

  6. JaitcH

    Pay Pal, an alternative spelling for ...


    They also provide data to the US government, without warrants.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pay Pal, an alternative spelling for ...

      What are you doing that makes this a problem?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's nothing 'New Age' about the phrase "to make whole".

    It's a long-standing legal term, meaning to compensate a party for a loss sustained, or to otherwise restore the status quo ante. See e.g.

    <a href=""></a>

    <a href="">A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage (@google books)</a>

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    paypal balls things up

    they're in the giffgaff league aren't they? - it ain't news.

  9. VinceH


    Lucky spammers. They now have a new approach to use in phishing emails.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Another multiple payment "error" and another few millions to earn interest on until they get around to returning it ...... a month or so from now.

    Ebay & Paypal - I wouldnt touch them with a poo covered barge pole.

  11. B_K

    Article missing a major part of the problem.

    Part of the problem was the IPN, (which was down for well over 12 hours in our case) but another major issue was that the transaction history on the Paypal site was totally messed up. e.g. a customer tried to pay, got some form of error but then could not see it in their history so tried again. Add to this that merchants had the same problem - they could not see if they had been paid as transactions were missing.

    This is where some of the duplicate transactions are coming from, not just the IPN.

    Payflow was also misbehaving for considerably more than 1 hour - it's been showing instabilities since the 25th, but it deteriorated badly yesterday and early this morning to the point we were seeing 25% of transactions failing due to mystery bogus errors. I wish PayPal had not bought Payflow :-(

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Problem with Resubmitting payments

    Another problem that has been around for the past two months is errors resubmitting payments after a refund or reversal.

    Let say a buyer submitted payment with a PO Box address and you have to refund it because you use UPS and do not ship to a PO box address. Or a buyer of a high value item need to item shipped to an alternate address from that submitted with the payment and you have to refund the payment so they can resubmit with the correct address. For the past two months the repayment failed with a message that the item had ended and is no longer available even though it is still shown as unpaid and you can still send an ebay invoice.

    For a seller this is a hassle for your buyers and most times means the sale is lost.

    This is also the error we are getting when we try to make payment for the items for which the payments were reversed yesterday.

    Yeah, in any system you expect a few errors here and there but these have been running for months. That is what is acceptable about the current state of eBay and paypal applications. How do they expect us to continue trusting them with our moneys and livelihood.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't matter if it's legal speak

    it's definitely not well known. Using this in a statement or press release just shows how out of touch with reality paypal are.

    I usually apply Occam's razor, but paypal really DO seem to be pure evil sometimes.

    AC because ...they're watching yknow,

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And in separate news: PayPal off-shores IT, sacks developers, first release made mid November, much money saved, Great Success!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The web is a giant Swiss Cheese of tech holes constantly needing to be plugged!

    Kudos to those who make their living this way. I couldn’t. After all the fees, currency movements, mistakes, unpredictable shipping hassles, outages and HACKS, there was little $ left.

    Still, Kudos to those small Biz owners who make it work whatever it is you sell via eBay / Amazon / Paypal / Payflow etc. My heart goes out to over this latest tech botch! The web is a giant Swiss Cheese of tech holes constantly needing to be plugged!

This topic is closed for new posts.