It took a lot of doing, but I finally got my PayPal account restored after 77 days. Why was my access limited? I committed the heinous sin of stopping in Cuba for a week while moving from the Kingdom of Cambodia to Colombia.
The xenophobic Americans who run PayPal abide by the “thou shall not visit Cuba or have anything to do with it” law, even though they claim to be international. Cuba has always been “open” to everyone else in the world. I went there for a holiday in 1978; my niece visited a couple of months ago. The invasion of the Bay of Pigs was 1963 and the Americans still have a lot to answer for that.
First of all the representative at PayPal – I will omit the adjective I usually splice in between the words – said it was no problem as I was Canadian. But it took 23 calls to the service department and the supervisors to get them to forward messages. The compliance department is available only by email. And the propaganda monotone while being captive on hold is enough to make one gag and/or puke.
Eventually, I found out there was a limitations department. However, the people there don’t have any power so it really didn’t matter anyway.
First of all I had to prove I was Canadian. So I scanned my passport and driver’s license. Not good enough as the passport was issued in Bangkok.
As explained to compliance and the CEO that I haven’t lived in Canada since 1994, but have maintained my Canadian identify.
Next they wanted a bank statement. Sent, but not acceptable.
So I called Wendy at the Affinity Credit Union and asked her to change the post office box to a street address. The conversation went like this.
“But there isn’t any home delivery of mail in Watrous so everyone has to have a post office box.”
“I know but PayPal will only accept residential addresses. And all my banking is done online so the post office box is never used anyway.”
“Okay, I’ll see what I can do.” Five minutes later I had a scan of the new address on my bank statement. I forwarded it to PayPal, but did not receive a response.
More phone calls; more non-answers. One does have to feel sorry for the robots at the other end of the phone as being a corporate whore is hard work.
So I sent a registered letter to the CEO. Then I forwarded scans of my social insurance card and birth certificate. I also noted on the bank statement that I collect a pension and file income tax returns. Hells bells, I’m more Canadian than many of the people who were born in the country.
Then, suddenly, on Saturday 18 April I received an automated email saying my account had been restored. But it wasn’t until Monday 20 April that I phoned and it was confirmed.
Please pass this on to your social network and alert people so they know how fascist PayPal can be. The sooner their monopoly is broken the better.
For accounts that make my story look like a kindergarten prank check http://www.paypalsucks.com/. Some people have gone bankrupt because of PayPal. So the sooner the collective-we take action the better.
An Open Letter to Daniel H. Schulman, CEO of PayPal
10 April 2015
P.0. Box 297
Canada S0K 4T0
Daniel H. Schulman
2211 N. First Street
San Jose CA 95131
Dear Daniel H. Schulman,
I am writing as you are my last resort in resolving a limited access dispute. First of all let me explain that I am a “global citizen.” To date I have visited 107 countries, lived in 10 and hold passports in three. I am currently residing in Medellin, Colombia on my New Zealand passport.
After two years of living in the Kingdom of Cambodia I decided to move to Colombia. Enroute I stopped in Cuba for a week and, hence, that is why my PayPal account was blocked. The reference number for the case is PP-003-750-935-018; the associated phone number is1-306-946-3749.
Although I haven’t lived in Canada since I went to work at the University of Waikato in 1994 I have maintained my Canadian identity. My mother has power of attorney and I use her postal address. Further, I have a Canadian passport, a Saskatchewan driving license, a social security number and a bank account. For the last two years I have been collecting a pension and filing income tax returns.
I have made numerous phone calls to PayPal and wrote a letter to compliance on March 23, 2015. Nobody has gotten back to me. When I rang this morning and talked with Jordan – who is a supervisor – he could not explain why it was taking so long as I had provided the requested information.
Visiting Cuba may be against the law in America, but is it fair to impose the rule on citizens of other countries? Further, as I am a freelance writer and editor my livelihood is being compromised as people can’t pay me for the work I’ve done.
As I write America and Cuba are moving towards restoring relations particularly in the areas of travel and commerce.
I would appreciate it if you could resolve this issue and restore my PayPal account. Thank-you for your help.
Jody Hanson, Ph.D