I'm an Aussie who moved to Ottawa, Canada in 2008. I'm always having a moan about something. This is where I moan and whinge about things. Enjoy.

Tuesday 29 September 2020

Fucking Paypal!

This is the story of how the people who work at Paypal providing support services must have all been dropped on their heads as children several thousand times.

Here's the back story.

A few years ago I registered a corporation, so that I can provide IT and similar services to a couple of friends/acquaintances, and it keeps everything separate from my personal finances and real job.

Anyway, so this huge multi national corporation I created, which has zero employees, (it doesn't actually pay me anything because the tax implications are so completely ridiculous that I can't actually work out how to pay myself anything, and to hire an accountant to work that out for me would cost more than the corp's gross income, but that is the subject for another rant post..), and has between 1 and 3 clients depending on the month, obviously has a multi billion dollar income.

In order to manage these billions of dollars, the corp has has its own business bank account, with RBC. It doesn't have a credit card, nor any other financial products or services.

So I use Wave to invoice people, and they use Interac to deposit their payments directly into my corp's bank account. Or they send me a cheque, and I use my phone/camera/RBC mobile app to deposit the cheque into the bank account.

As a result of wanting to be able to use these billions of dollars to pay for products and services which the corporation requires, to directly provide them to clients, I opened a Paypal account, in order to have the ability to pay merchants and vendors who don't accept Interac.

All seems pretty straightforward, I hope.

One of the services that my corp provides to its millions of global customers is offsite file backup. Their files are stored on my FreeNAS server, and I also have (had?) a subscription for the product called Crashplan, or Code42, or whatever it is called this week, from a company called Crashplan, or Background Backup, or Code42, or DigitalRiverUS Inc, or again, whatever they are called this week.

This subscription provides me with unlimited file storage, at a cost of $10 USD, or ~$14 CAD/month, per machine. So I have my backup server which collects the backups from all the client machines, and then it has the subscription, so I only need to have one machine with a licence.

This all works perfectly, for 16 months, between December 2018, and May 2020.

During May, the corp incurred some consulting fees, and so I did a wire transfer to pay for them, well, I attempted one, on the 21st, but I was provided incorrect routing information, so the transfer was going to fail, so in the mean time I paid for them via a different method, and since I have all those billions of dollars, for a brief period of time, while I was waiting for a client to pay an invoice, the account actually had no money in it.

Of course it was during this time period when the Crashplan subscription attempted to renew wasn't it?

Actually, I am just now realising that Paypal actually paid the renewal on the 20th, as I received this receipt:


It was a few days later I became aware of the issue, when I was sent this email (which I may not have even seen immediately):

So what happened there.. Paypal attempted to debit the $14 from my RBC bank account, on the 21st?, which was declined, then on the 25th they sent me the email about it, and six days after the initial attempt, on the 27th, they tried again, which was also declined, and this resulted in a $45 "NSF item fee" fine from RBC.

2 days later the account had funds in it again. My statement shows:

And on the Paypal side:

Ignoring the fact that the denied second attempted withdrawal occurred on the date when the account had a balance again, according to RBC, after the failed wire transfer bounced, and was redeposited,basically they performed the pre-approved transaction of paying DigitalRiver/Crashplan, and they paid them, and my subscription was renewed, on the 20th.

As the bank had declined both attempts of them withdrawing the $14, on the 21st and 27th, and charged me $45 for the benefit, this left me owing Paypal $14, as per the email Paypal had sent me on the 25th.

I don't recall even seeing any of these emails, as I don't actively check my corp's email account, as I only have 1 client who emails me there, or at least I keep asking him to, but he doesn't, and instead sends me text messages or emails my personal email address.

Everything looks like it's working anyway, as I continue to get the weekly updates regarding the backup status..

Although apparently I had checked my email during that time, as I had an email conversation with the client.

I don't recall if I did anything, or I probably just figured that they would just try to perform the withdrawal again, either at some random point, or the next time the subscription attempted to renew, and that they would just add the $14 I owed them onto the total amount they would withdraw from my bank account. No problems?

No. Problems.

It's now a couple of months later, and I can't remember the exact time frame of this whole saga, but, it goes something like the following, which should be close enough for all intents and purposes..

When the subscription attempted to renew in June, presumably on the 20th, as it had done every other month, I didn't.

Crashplan sent me an email on June 24th:


I don't recall when I saw this email however, and because the billing issue didn't get rectified, this eventually caused my subscription to expire.

I don't think I even became aware of there being an issue, until July 3rd when I got:

Digging into my email, I see that things were still working, upto and including the 1st of July:

On the 2nd of July, my subscription was actually cancelled due to the non payment:

Or it may not have been until some point after July 3rd, when checking the status of the backup client, that I became aware of there being any issue, since it showed something like:

Regardless of when and how I became aware of the subscription issue, I logged into the website/portal, and I saw something similar to this:

It wasn't exactly this, it was along the lines of telling me that my backup archives are going to expire and are going to be deleted, similar to the wording in the email they had sent:


And while DigitalRiver are fairly reasonable, they aren't going to store multiple terabytes of data for someone who isn't paying them anything, and I wouldn't expect them to either.

So I'm now in a race to try to get the subscription restarted before my archives expire and get deleted. I go through the process of just trying to purchase a new subscription..

Next screen..

Since I don't have a ccard for my corp, we'll obviously use Paypal again, like we've been doing for the last year and a half..

At this point, it would give me strange error messages (which I can't recall right now, but it was something along the lines of a debug message from the payment gateway, like "CGP settle fail").

I even went so far as to contact Code42 support, to tell them that I was attempting to renew my subscription, and asking them to please not delete all my backups..

So, I login to Paypal and try to just transfer in the $14 from my bank account to fix the negative balance. It gets denied. I try again, denied. Although it's not immediately evident that it is being declined, it's giving some useless error like "not currently available, try again".

I do, just a couple of times:

Even after waiting a couple of days, and I've tried via a laptop, desktop, and my phone..

OK, let's contact support.

You may wish you get comfortable at this point, perhaps visit the bathroom, or get yourself a drink or a snack for this part..

It's currently July 15th..