Paypal – A Warning from StatCounter – RESOLVED

UPDATE: 15.25am GMT 30 May – RESOLVED

Paypal have acknowledged the double billing issue!
Please see here and here.

If YOU are a merchant whose customers have been affected by double billing, Paypal have confirmed that you can EITHER refund one of the two transactions by yourself OR contact their merchant support.

Sincere thanks to Karen and Danny in Paypal for their help, for working together to resolve our problems and for keeping us informed along the way.

While we have received great service from two individuals at Paypal within the last 12 hours, this does not excuse the lack of communication or assistance that we were forced to endure in the previous two weeks. We remain distinctly dissatisfied with the way Paypal have handled this situation.

As far as we can see, ALL the issues we previously reported are now RESOLVED.

UPDATE: 13.45am GMT 30 May

We have just emailed all the requested information to our contact in the Paypal Office of Executive Escalations who has promised to further investigate our case.

It appears that Paypal really ARE capable of providing good support – it’s just a shame that it took so long (and a blog post?) for it to happen.

UPDATE: 13.05am GMT 30 May

The excellent chap now looking after our case in “PayPal Merchant Technical Support” has just updated us again:

I’m working with our management team to setup a procedure for all the PayPal merchant affected by this issue.

We will also post shortly on our forum an acknowledgement of this additional issue with subscriptions, where you can redirect your customers in case they need a clarification.

I’ll keep you posted.

While it has taken weeks for this to happen Paypal ARE now communicating and we hope that the remaining unresolved issues will shortly be resolved for all of us.

UPDATE: 12.55am GMT 30 May

We are delighted to advise that we have spoken to a very helpful person in the Paypal Office of Executive Escalations. She apologised on behalf of Paypal, is fully investigating our case at present and has noted all our points in relation to the lack of communication and assistance. We will keep you updated.

UPDATE: 12.05am GMT 30 May

We have received a further email from “PayPal Merchant Technical Support”.

After reviewing those transactions I fully agree with the description of the issue you gave me.

Folks – we hope this means that the double billing issues will be resolved shortly.

UPDATE: 11.50am GMT 30 May

We have now received a voicemail from the Paypal Office of Executive Escalations. They would like to speak to us about the ongoing subscription problems and double billing issues. They are due to call us back later today.

UPDATE: 11.20am GMT 30 May

We have received a further email from “PayPal Merchant Technical Support”. They have informed us that the missing subscription issue has been resolved as we established in our update at the end of this post at 11:20pm GMT yesterday.

They have also confirmed that they are investigating the double billing issue. We are very relieved to finally KNOW that Paypal are actively investigating and addressing our concerns.

We will update again as we hear more.

UPDATE: 7.40am GMT 30 May

We have received an email from “PayPal Merchant Technical Support”

Thank you for contacting PayPal Merchant Technical Support.

I will research this matter further and update you with more information as it becomes available. If you have any additional information or updates to your issue, please use the instructions in this email to update your ticket.

Thank you for your patience.

Although the double billing issue remains, in light of many of the other issues being resolved we are hopeful that this problem will be fixed shortly.

Many thanks to all of you for your support. Particular thanks to our customers who have been directly affected by these problems for their patience and understanding.

We would like to emphasise that if the problems had been “just” affecting StatCounter we could have lived with that (e.g. if payment to our bank account was delayed) but since these problems have impacted on our members also, Paypal’s lack of action is simply unacceptable.

We are not happy that these issues had to brought into the public domain like this, however, Paypal’s lack of communication and assistance left us with no other option.

It may be a coincidence, but on the day that we posted this blog, nearly all of the highlighted issues were reported as “resolved”, 14 days after all of the problems arose.

We would still welcome an official response from Paypal in relation to these these problems.

Hi folks,

The Issue
We are having ongoing, critical problems with Paypal.

In view of the complete lack of assistance from Paypal in this regard, we have decided that we have no option but to inform you, our members, about the facts of the situation. This will allow you to make an informed decision about whether to use (or whether to continue to use) Paypal.

Please note that these problems may arise not only in relation to payments made to StatCounter but in relation to ANY Paypal payments that you make. We hope that this post will equip you with the information necessary to make sure that YOU do not become another victim of this ongoing Paypal saga.

The Problems
On 15 May Paypal performed a site update – this is confirmed by Paypal here.

After this date numerous problems were reported across the globe:

  • The Paypal Handling Cart feature completely broke down – see update below
  • Cross border payments could not be made as the drop down country list did not work – see update below
  • Customers have been flooded with hundreds of duplicate subscription emails from Paypal – see update below
  • Payments from Paypal are no longer associated with the relevant subscriptions – see update below
  • Some customers have been and are being DOUBLE BILLED by Paypal
  • Merchants have not been receiving instant payment notifications or failure notifications
  • Merchants/customers are unable to cancel subscriptions – see update below

The main problem that we have with Paypal is NOT the list of issues above – we all know that errors happen – we are absolutely furious at the complete lack of acknowledgement or assistance from Paypal in relation to these matters.

At StatCounter we have tried phoning, emailing, posting on the Paypal forums… Many of our contacts are ignored, but even when we do get an answer all we are told is that “Upon review of your account, unfortunately we do not have a time frame for a resolution to your issue we are currently actively investigating your issue with subscriptions.” You can see our posts in the Paypal forums here and here.

It appears that all of these problems are the result of the update made by Paypal on 15 May. Typically, any software upgrades can be “rolled back” if they are found to be flawed. Paypal’s inability (unwillingness?) to do this does not bode well.

What does this mean for me as a StatCounter Paypal Subscriber?
Unfortunately, we will be unable to issue invoices to many of our customers who pay us via Paypal until such time as the above issues are resolved. This is because the “payment file” provided by Paypal and from which invoices are generated is incomplete.

There is also a danger that you may be “double billed”. Please make sure to check your Paypal account to see if this happens. Although we would be delighted to sort out any double billing for you, in the current climate of confusion we are unsure whether WE are actually receiving the erroneously charged amounts. This means that WE are not currently able to refund any of these overpayments to you. We strongly believe that since this is a Paypal error, Paypal should rectify the situation – and leave us to focus again on our members rather than cleaning up a mess of Paypal’s making. Please do report any double billing to us and we will take action to report each case directly to Paypal.

Other StatCounter Upgrade Options
Please note that you can also make subscription payments to StatCounter using your credit card directly, by cheque or by electonic transfer to our bank.

Folks – we sincerely regret any problems you are experiencing and assure you that we are doing our best to get all of these issues resolved for you. We strive to offer a high level of customer service and pride ourselves on being responsive to the needs and suggestions of our members. To have our hands “tied” in this way as a result of Paypal’s inaction is frustrating to say the least.

These problems with Paypal have already cost us thousands of dollars. We continue to expend large amounts of time and resources on these issues – resources which we would much prefer to concentrate on improving the service we provide to you. We would be very grateful for your patience at this time as we wait for Paypal to resolve these issues.

We would also ask you to be patient with any of our fellow internet merchants experiencing difficulties with Paypal at this time.

Please post any comments or questions below.


  1. This post is not intended to alarm, instead it is intended to inform.
  2. We at StatCounter do not take any pleasure in having to report these issues to you, rather we feel at this point that we have no option but to do so.
  3. While we hope that this post will generate media attention which may force Paypal to finally act and respond to the various problems outlined above, it is not the intention of the post to generate publicity for StatCounter.
  4. As we like to try to accomodate the needs of our members Paypal is still currently available as a payment option on StatCounter for new upgraded account subscribers. This position is currently under review and opinions from our members in this regard are being sought here.
  5. Paypal, of course, have a right of reply to this post and should they wish to contact us, we would be happy to post their response here.

Other Links:
Paypal Forums 1
Paypal Forums 2

Paypal Forums 3

Update 2pm GMT 29 May: This post by Paypal indicates that the following issues have been resolved:
1) For subscription signups, when trying to enter billing information users
are not be able to change the country on the billing page.

2) For merchants using “handling_cart” parameter with PayPal Shopping
Cart buttons handling amount is not charged.

To the best of our knowledge the other issues remain and do not yet appear to have been acknowledged by Paypal.

Update 9pm GMT 29 May: A post by a Paypal staff member here indicates that these issues (some of which we weren’t even aware of) have been resolved:
1. Cannot change ‘country’ for subscriptions.
2. Free trials not being charged once trial period is over.
3. Subscriptions with free trials not being shown in history log.
4. Can’t cancel an active subscription.
5. Multiple emails being recieved (sic) for subscription payments.

No mention appears to have been made of these issues:
# Payments from Paypal are no longer associated with the relevant subscriptions
# Some customers have been and are being DOUBLE BILLED by Paypal
# Merchants have not been receiving instant payment notifications or failure notifications
The double billing remains the major issue of concern to us.

Update 11:20pm GMT 29 May:
Although we have still not received any official communications from Paypal, we can confirm from our own experience that payments from Paypal ARE now again being associated with the relevant subscriptions. For StatCounter members with Paypal upgrades this will mean that we can now issue you with your outstanding invoices.

We have confirmed in our account that the double billing issue persists:
# Some customers have been and are being DOUBLE BILLED by Paypal

As far as we are aware, the following issue also remains:
# Merchants have not been receiving instant payment notifications or failure notifications


  1. PayPal can be a tough nut – however they’re the largest out there and the most recognized name in website payment options. Until someone else comes along and knocks PayPal down a few pegs, don’t expect much to change.
    Someone else WILL come along

  2. hi we were thinking about using paypal on our new site,after you have had the issue resolved would you now recommend paypal or steer clear and find another provider,
    Thanks Seamus

  3. My preference would be to pay by Ukash or e-Gold because I’m the sort that doesn’t like handing over credit card / personal info into the internet.

  4. if they are big they can afford anything … we’ve all been tricked in several ways with paypal

  5. I have not been impressed with Pay Pal for a long time. Same issues as many – fail to reply to inquiries, bad service etc. I don’t use them and just try to deal with secure websites that accept cc pmts. A better alternative to PayPal is needed (there may be some already but I haven’t researched it). PayPal has been criticized in the media as well and does not have to adhere to the same rules that apply to ‘real’ banks and financial institutions. Perhaps they should be made to, then thing would hopefully improve.

  6. Pay pal can be very difficult sometimes… many times too difficult. I can understand where your coming from. let me know if i can help

  7. I’m glade that this problem had been resolved, seems that there is no one payment processor that never disappointed their user. Hope I won’t ever get in that situation

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  9. Frankly: You make me happy. I’ve spent Years warning everyone about them, they are THE single most criminal thing on the Internet; your “problems” with PP and lack of resolution merely Illustrate how criminal they are; sending e–mail to all your accounts will help spread the word.

    The only Actual “problem”: whatever money that has accrued in your PP account is at a level they decided would be good for them –to toss into a giant CD, along with anyone else who they claim used a “stolen” credit card –so they could/did drain the person’s bank account.  All that money will sit in their name, gathering interest; the “problems” will magically “clear up” in 90 or in 180 days, whereupon they will collect the interest on the jumbo CD, they will instantly “find” the “missing” papers you/everyone sent, many times, and your money will be returned to you/”stolen” credit card will be ‘unfrozen.’

    In 2006: PaythePals “earned” $100 million bucks –IN INTEREST, pulling this scam; they function LIKE a bank, but: do NOT obey the banking laws of ANY country nor the federal regs of any part of the US financial, investment or SEC system.

    PayPal: the biggest thieves in the world.  All your e-mail REALLY says: it’s YOUR turn for them to rip you off.

    What now? First: Google PP –see the suits they’ve lost, the rage against them, the forums –where ex employees give insider info. 
    -Then: talk to your lawyer;
    -contact US federal agencies, including members of Congress –file complaint;
    -hire a Very good PR person to organize a press conference –get BBC and any/all print, broadcast media to show up:  and expose them.

    Don’t: expect your money to be returned until the jumbo CD pays them; expect anything but grief;
    wait for someone else to expose them.
    PP has been stealing –for years, ever since they bought the once-excellent PP and turned it into Vulture Supreme.  Expose them, for everyone’s benefit PLEASE.

  10. thanks. super site. I can’t believe all the whiners complaining that Statcounter sent them an email regarding a potential problem. Maybe they work for Paypal… I wish Paypal had been as proactive when it comes to all the spoof emails I finally grew tired of forwarding to them. Since Statcounter caters to webmasters, why is it so terrible that they would warn their users of a site used by many webmasters? I have a Paypal account, and they haven’t bothered to let me know of these problems. Keep up the good work, folks.

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