I love happy endings, and after slugging it out twice with PayPal for over an hour the other day (got transferred multiple times and had to escalate through three tiers of tech support) and slugging it out thrice today with my bank (got transferred multiple times and had to call back again; thank you for the interoffice email that you'd be away through the 27th, Elliott, and enjoy the holiday; thanks to your absence I sure will!) my problems with eBay, PayPal and my bank are finally resolved.
To recap, last week I bought two gifts from eBay that came to not even $20 using what I thought was the Bill Me Later feature of PayPal, with only $3 in PayPal and a $30 transfer en route from one bank to another via yet another PayPal I created shortly after completing the purchase and realizing that, whoops, I have the wrong bank account linked to my PayPal so I need to get money in it somehow, quick.
I knew the transfer would take 1-2 days to complete but with Bill Me Later I thought I was covered. But after placing my eBay orders I noticed the $3 I had in PayPal was missing, literally lost in transit. I needed the $3 to repay on a loan from another BoA user (I transfer money right from my account to theirs, which is fee-free, instantaneous and overall a rather neat thing to be able to do) so I began to fret about how I could not find the money (which this person can attest to).
The next day - roughly two days after completing my eBay purchase - I opened up an email from my bank on my lunch hour and learned Bill Me Later must have billed me right now, because I was the new, unproud owner of not just one but two $35 overdraft fees and I was short the two purchase amounts on eBay. I finally found my $3, though! It was applied to the price of one of the eBay items I'd purchased. Yes, I had to go back to work after seeing that and there was nothing I could do for three more days owing to my bizarre work schedule, which was frustrating.
I couldn't wait, so somehow I managed to carve out enough time yesterday to get the PayPal angle of it dealt with. The first tier of tech support was all, "Wow, really? Let me transfer you" so I had to start again with the equivalent of Tier Two (which sent me to the department that handles nothing but Bill Me Later). This person was much more competent, sympathetic and actually managed to explain what happened after rifling through my purchase records for 15 minutes with multiple hold times. There was no record of me being a Bill Me Later user, she said. But - what? Wait, I paid for my laptop that way, I responded. Don't you see my laptop in your records? The one I bought off eBay earlier this year?
After another few minutes hold time she couldn't find it. So I logged into PayPal while still on the phone with her and went through my archives and wtf, I couldn't find it, either. Now I had to tell her to hold on while I pulled down 2014, and sure enough, there it was, in December. She put me on hold again while she went through her archives but at first she had no luck, so I gave her the username of the person I bought the laptop off of and the amount and finally we were on the same page, but it still wasn't on Bill Me Later.
But I had two weeks to pay for it, I said. I paid for it after something like five days because I was happy with it - well, except for the power cord. He gave me $20 back for it, and that's in my archives, too. She saw that it was, but none of it was on Bill Me Later. Then what was it on? I persisted.
It was on Pay After Delivery, she said.
They're not the same thing? I ventured, feeling myself flush.
No, those are two different delayed payment systems PayPal has, as it turns out. Well, if I was set up for Pay After Delivery, shouldn't PAD have not taken money from me until I actually got those things? I thought that's how it works.
More hold time, then she came back to say it was impossible to determine why I had been billed instantly with Pay After Delivery, but that it was either a system error or possible that the sellers I bought from don't accept Pay After Delivery. We went over my coupon code, and she read the terms on it from her end and determined it wasn't mucking up the gears. At that point there was nothing more she could do so she transferred me to Claims, who also told me there was nothing more they could do but that they'd write letters about each transaction and send them directly to my email, to give to my bank.
In the meantime I got an email from my bank saying if I didn't deposit money by about the time I'm now writing this post I'd be overdrafted another $35 for not putting money in to cover my eBay purchases and the resultant $70 in overdraft fees. Just. Oh. My. God, they're charging me $110 for $18 worth of stuff!!!
And I couldn't get the letters to the bank because I live too far away and couldn't get a ride in time to meet the deadline. And after an hour I still never got the letters, so I had to call PayPal again and ask them to at least email them before the end of the business day so I could call my bank to ask them to what to do about not being able to show up in person in time to avoid my next overdraft fee. This time the rep made sure the letters arrived in my PayPal Message Center and that I was able to physically open them before he hung up.
By then it was too late to do anything except call the bank and see if they would handle the fee reversal that the letters requested by phone, but the rep said faxing was the only way to get it done. Ah, antique 1980 technology, may you one day rest in peace. For a brief moment there was panic over what I'd do about a fax machine, but it turned out there's one in the living room. That it was it for yesterday, so fast forward to today, when I called the bank again to get a fax number to send PayPal's letters to them. But my branch wouldn't let me send them the fax and insisted upon transferring me to "Customer Service". Then Customer Service transferred me to Claims so I could actually get the number to send the faxes - another 20 minutes of wasted time.
And no matter what we did on our end, we couldn't get the fax machine to work. I already had another household member handling my portion of making Christmas dinner because I was too tied up on the phone and the fax, which had no telephone cord, as it turned out after 20 minutes of faffing with the fucking thing. So the person who owns the fax machine had to
basically rewire the house find the cord and plug it in, which was an adventure in itself given the tangled, 75 foot long nature of this thing that winds in and out of three different rooms. Then, thanks to 1980 technology, we had at least two '280x. Cannot Transmit' errors along with many hangups. Finally the damn letters got where they were going.
Not convinced sending the faxes would solve my problem, I called the bank back (I was talking to Claims at this point, a rather small department by BoA standards) and asked the rep if the Elliott I was supposed to send these faxes to had gotten them yet. He's the Regional Manager for claims in my area and had to make the decision to refund my money himself. Well, we have to wait for the faxes to transmit, he said, at which point war broke out in the kitchen as three of us started saying at once that they they didn't have to wait for anything as faxes transmit instantaneously and it had been several minutes since I sent the fax. This was followed by much laughter (on our part) and indignation, and probably embarrassed the claims rep I was talking to, but I can't help it if I like to do my business on speakerphone.
Then he put me on hold to check if Elliott was around ("Of course he's 'around'", I said, "I was told he'd be in the office all day!") then came back to say Elliott was not around. But I was told he's in the office, by the last claim rep I spoke to. Well, he's not in the office now, the rep said. Well, how is that possible? I asked. Hold on, he said, I'm going to check interoffice email. I understand you were told he'd be here all day, but I honestly don't think he's here now. A few minutes later he got back on the phone paraphrasing an email he was reading to himself that said Elliott would be out of the office through the 27th. The 27th, I said? Are you kidding? I get another $35 overdraft fee by tonight or tomorrow if this doesn't get fixed - that's $110 I paid for less than $20 worth of stuff! - so I've got to get this fixed. I can't wait until the 27th! Don't you have a replacement for Elliott?
Well, I uh, hold on ma'am - as you say, someone should be around to take his place, and I assure you any additional fees you incur can be fixed, so please don't worry, he said, trying to assure me, while I went on in total incredulity about the missing Elliott and his possibly missing replacement. After another few minutes while he tried to find Elliott's replacement and apparently could not even find his ghost, he went ahead and rescinded the charges himself. I have over $13 in my BoA now, yo. This means my balance is no longer in the double digits red I hated so much.
A few nice things that came out of this: As an added precaution to future-proof myself against PayPal, I now have both bank accounts linked to the PayPal that's linked to my eBay - both the broke-ass survey-money-only account (that's my BoA) and the one that actually, like, has money in it. Aaaand I can pay my friend back a little quicker now as a result of having the second PayPal account that I created during this mess to transfer money from my non-BoA bank directly to my BoA (so I can literally transfer money from one bank to another; If I had known to do this months ago when I had to make the same friend a huge payment, I could have saved myself about $120 in bank transfer fees, which is just somewhat less than what I still owe her now).
As for Pay After Delivery, while me and the second, helpful PayPal rep were able to confirm I used it to pay for my laptop, it was not set up on my account as of today and possibly last week when I unwittingly bought things thinking it was. I have no idea how it unset itself as my default payment. I also never found out why I briefly got an account suspended message on eBay, but as the items are delivered, I guess everything's OK. Now.