Tuesday 19 April 2011

Why did we blacklist PayPal?

We've used PayPal now for several years to send/receive payments, but now we've decided to blacklist them as a route for making payments to vendors and receiving payments. The triggering issue was relatively minor, but what has convinced us that PayPal could be bad for our reputation is the way they've handled our subsequent queries.

After years of payments by us to suppliers being handled smoothly by PayPal, they suddenly decided to delay settlement of an invoice by several days. There is no apparent reason for the delay and the PayPal Help Desk seem at a loss to explain the actual reason for the delay. We have no shortage of funding and we also have lodged details of a credit card as a backup payment method on their system.

Our impression is that the PayPal Help Desk cannot be bothered to investigate the issue thoroughly and cannot be bothered to remediate the situation. Our guess is the Ebay owners of PayPal are unconcerned if individuals receive a poor service so long as the customer churn rate does not exceed a certain percentage figure. If that would increase their marketing costs for PayPal they would then take notice.

We have made three separate written requests that the Paypal Help Desk team escalate the matter to their senior management for a faster resolution. Each of those requests have been ignored. It seems the ethos of the PayPal Help Desk is to respond to fault tickets but not to answer the questions or to provide a solution. No doubt this makes their response statistics look good to management but it does not deal with legitimate customer anger at the failure of their system. So far as we are concerned the supplier will have been left with the clear impression that our company has a poor credit history/rating. It is damaging to our reputation.

We warned PayPal we would blacklist them if they did not become more helpful but that has been ignored too. Well now we've blacklisted them and closed the standing orders we were paying via PayPal.

The particular transaction in question was for a piece of software to be used to promote an ecommerce site for one of our clients. We have demonstrated to that client that PayPal should not be used to collect payments for their services/goods. It is just not worth the heartache of arbitrarily delayed payments. Our client has opened contract negotiations with another credit card facility service provider. It will represent a substantial revenue loss to PalPal.

So far as we are concerned the senior managers of the PalPal Help Desk team are culpable in this loss of a customer. The managers set the ethos and procedures of their workers. Sadly with a quick search on Google we see many similar complaints about PayPal's attitude by other dissatisfied clients.

Meanwhile we are registering with Alertpay and MoneyBookers.


2nd Feb 2012: A recent development. 
17th Feb 2012 - Another screw up.

Sunday 10 April 2011

Finally the Plus.net is operational.

We're almost at the end of the Plus.Net saga. After multiple phone calls and even more messages on the Plus.Net web site from us to Plus.Net, we've finally got the broadband service working as we originally wanted. As part of the fix, Plus.net have sent us two additional ADSL routers which are now awaiting their return envelopes.

Wouldn't it be a whole lot better if Plus.net set up their service provision for "business" to work first time with appropriate configuration when first plugged in? That would include the option for a range of static IP addresses and No-NAT (No Network Address Translation) pre-configured on the ADSL router or automatically download. The other business orientated ISPs achieve that capability with no problem. Plus.Net put a load of effort and spend into fixing their problem with us, not to mention the hours of additional time we spent in the office liaising and investigating. With better product configuration that wasteful and annoying follow-up work could have been avoided.

Plus.net marketing people make a great play on the Yorkshire origins/location of their company and support team. They should certainly be aware of the expression "as useful as a chocolate teapot" which is used to describe something which fails to meet expectation. It should not lead to any member of their support team describing such comments by us as defamatory! We've since received an apology from them for that little interlude. We could have used a more colourful situation description involving a male bovine and a five litre metal water carrying unit.

Eventually we got the service working with the configuration settings for No-NAT which we'd already tried on their original ADSL router. We'd kept a copy of each configuration file so we could track back. We don't particularly care what they had to do to fix it, but it is now working. It was a lot of hassle that could have been avoided.

Tuesday 5 April 2011

Plus.Net Saga continues

Ah the joys of Telecom/Network facilities! The story continues. We eventually got No-NAT working with the Thomson router supplied by Plus.net using the unsupported hints sent to us by their Service Manager. Annoyingly this left us with only one usable IP address from the range of four static IP addresses we'd organised previously (which arrived after we chased plus.net).  We had to fill in a set of forms to justify a block of eight static IP addresses.

When we try to configure the router for the 8 addresses (5 usable) in a No-NAT set up it just does not work. After a lot of hunting around we've noticed Plus.net have set a subnetmask of /32 on those addresses instead of /28. It means the network equipment can only see one address and not eight. We've raised a support ticket, but despite paying for the enhanced support it still seems to take them at least a day to look at the ticket. The response was a typically unhelpful helpdesk response, so we've added some clarifying information. Hopefully they'll get the hang of it soon, but working outside of domestic network configurations does seem to be outside of the comfort zone of most of their support staff. Shades of BT! Ah well perhaps they'll get a Round Tuit in the morning. At this rate it will take a month to get our network link working properly.


ps .... at last resolution...