image This weekend I received an email from PayPal advising me they had found and stopped someone fraudulently using my PayPal account. This ranged from them buying goods on eBay to making a donation to an American literacy organisation. Hmmm crooks with a conscience!

Now let me start by saying, "Thanks PayPal"! They did stop the naughty wee crooks and their system did identify a trait and acted on it immediately. Without this kind of attention, it is fare to say we could have had a bigger problem. So to a certain extent I was impressed that the protection was there.

So why am I upset with PayPal and writing this blog. Well it goes back to an age old adage of marketing that is about the word ‘communication’. Here is where PayPal dropped the ball. They delivered me impressive service without me even knowing about it and then couldn’t communicate to me what had happened in order to leave me in a state of jaw-dropping awe.

First I get an email on the weekend to say ‘we stopped the bad guys’. Who communicates this kind of issue via email. Whenever I am overseas and start buying souvenirs on my credit card my wife gets a phone call from our friendly Westpac bank to say ‘we’ve identified an unusual transaction in Singapore’. WOW! We assure them its OK for Mr Pitchford to be buying trinkets in the markets and life moves on with us feeling more secure in the knowledge the ‘Bank Guys’ really do care 😉 .

Second, when I respond to PayPal’s email I find that a web form is all that is available to me. What!? They find a problem, want me to communicate with them to clarify if this is valid or not and I have to work through their help system, FAQs to a web form. Come on! Finally I find a 1800 number only to discover the following hours of use.

  • 08:00 AM to 6:30 PM AEST Monday to Thursday
  • 08:00 AM to 4:00 PM AEST Friday and Saturday

Now, I could have thought this was due to our overworked Australian workers but ‘no’ that isn’t an excuse as I find when I call at 12noon on Monday and wait on hold for 20minutes before speaking to the US based call centre.

Finally, the nice guy in the US explains to me that I really shouldn’t worry. They guarantee my funds and I won’t lose out because if my PayPal account or card has been used fraudulently they will reimburse me my funds.

Now that’s nice but they also tell me over the phone that my credit card was never compromised as even when logging in as a user you can’t see the full credit card number so the wombats who compromised my account should have stopped at PayPal. GREAT! Why didn’t someone tell me by email or phone this information before I cancelled my credit card for what will cost quite a bit of time to redeploy new information through my network of consumerism!

Bottom line PayPal, you could have made a winner of your performance by looking at the communication trail. Don’t just "do it", make sure you tell the consumer "how you did it" and "how well". We will feel more secure and not spend time wondering if when the guy at the call centre tells me "No one will ever crack PayPal" whether its hype or substance.

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