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ISCTE Reviews

ISCTE April 29, 2011
Paypal holds our 23.700 Euros for 49 days, until now
We are a department of a leading Portuguese university and we are organizing a Conference and this moment we cannot use the participant fees paid through PayPal to pay all the congress expenses because our PayPal account is blocked since March 10 due to the lack of documentation required for the European Union Anti-Money Laundering regulations.
Today April 29, 49 days after our account was blocked, we still don’t have access to our funds of €23, 699.93, despite our regular messages and queries to PayPal, which get no answer or a non sense answer.

Despite our emails, calls and other efforts that don’t seem to have any consistent return, we are unable to have a timely answer to our problem. It is unacceptable that we are not allowed to use our money for 49 days because Paypal is not able to process in a timely way the verification of 5 documents that we have been sending repeatedly.

We can assure you that the way we are being dealt is absolutely unacceptable and even Kafka couldn’t imagine such a merciless cruelty and absurdity of a situation and the tragic and powerless feeling we have this moment.

These kinds of procedures by PayPal are certainly allowing them to have a big amount of their customers’ money on their control, using EU regulations as an excuse, without paying any interest or compensation for the enormous delay on their answers. We usually see these policies on companies about to go bankrupt, so we demand your quick intervention to avoid the appropriation of funds that don't belong to PayPal.

Meanwhile we are faced with the possibility of canceling the congress due to the unavailability of our funds illegally expropriated by PayPal.

For your information, this is what is what has been going on:
1 - We received an email about the account blocking on March 10. We never received any previous email about this subject except the March 10 email informing us about the impossibility of transferring our money to our bank account.
2 - We have uploaded the required documentation on March 22.
3 - On March 29 on our account in the site the limitation review was still with the status "Waiting for your response" and the items "Supply additional company information" and "Identify account holder" were with the status "In progress". So we uploaded again the same documentation and called PayPal support line. The answer was that everything was ok and the process was in analysis so we should wait 5 business days for the problem to be solved.
4 - On April 6, on our account in the site the limitation review was still with the status "Waiting for your response" and everything was the same, so we uploaded again the same documentation.
5 - On April 11, finally somebody from paypal sent an email claiming that the Citizen Card, the official Portuguese document of identification, was not enough to prove the identity of the account user. We uploaded the passport on the same day. Until this day we never received any other message that showed any progress or concern with our situation, despite our attempts to solve the problem.
6 - On April 26, we received another automatic email like the one on March 10 informing us that we still have not uploaded the needed documentation. On our account in the site the limitation review was still with the status "Waiting for your response" and everything was the same like on March 29, not showing any sign of progress or diligence.
7 - On April 27, we filed a complaint to the EU through the PayPal site and instead of receiving any feedback from an EU institution we received an email from Paypal with the following message: “Having reviewed your account I can advise that this is now in the process of being reviewed once reviewed we will contact you back regarding the status of your account, please be aware that this review process can take up to 30 days.” This is absolutely unacceptable. First, if the PayPal worker had read our email, he would had noticed that our account has been blocked for 47 days, more than the 30 days he claims. Second, no organization has the right to hold our money for 47 days just to check 5 documents. If they don’t have resources to answer timely to customers requests, get more workers or close the business. A banking institution does this on the fly when we open an account.
8 – On April 29, we received an email from Nicolas (Paypal Compliance Department) with a Request for additional information. The first problem is that Nicolas email is written in dutch, so I am sorry but we are unable to understand English and Portuguese, not Dutch. The second problem, is that we noticed some change on the site that requests us again to Provide account information and Provide identification of the account holder. However we have uploaded the required information several times. The identification of Maria João Major was first uploaded using her identity card issued by Portuguese Legal Authorities, and we received an email at April 11, requiring to upload the passport. We uploaded the passport on the same day and on April 29, we are to believe that it is not enough, we can’t understand why.

This is a very awkward situation and way to deal with customers. It's like talking to a wall.

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