So I’ve had a PayPal account for something like 8 or 9 years. All of the sudden, they have decided that I set up my account as a Not-for-Profit organization, and that I need to “prove” to them that I am indeed such an entity. My account is locked until I do.
Yeah, I thought it was a phishing email, too. Until I logged into my account directly and discovered the same error messages. I believe the error is on your part, not mine, PayPal. Point those messages at yourself, please.
I don’t recall what the account settings were like back when I set it up, but I wouldn’t have had any reason whatsoever to claim I was a not-for-profit. They only thing I can think of is that my account is so old that they didn’t have such a thing when I created it, and somehow in their database, they toggled an “on” switch for that field because I didn’t have anything associated with my account.
The trouble is, nothing on the account allows me to say “What? I’m not.” The only option on their site is “faxing them my papers” to prove that I am. I had to call customer service to get any information, and I got the SNOTTIEST woman on the phone. It turns out, you have to send an email to their “compliance” department, because (I swear to Maude she fucking said this to me) THEY DON’T HAVE PHONES IN THEIR DEPARTMENT. Riiiiiiight. I totally believe that. But, you know, they don’t provide the email on their fucking site on the “compliance” page where they give you all the haughty “you’ve fucked up! Please fix it!” messages. So they only solution you have is dazed wonder, followed by customer service phone calls, followed by an email into the ether. That’s a rather fucking dumb way to support your internet product.
So, right now, PayPal is on my shit list. We’ll see what the fuck happens going further.
UPDATE: I got a very polite email in response to mine from PayPal, in which they restored my account. Apparently back in 2004, there was a field that you could check describing your website if you were taking PayPal donations, and in the field description, “not-for-profit” was lumped in with several other categories, including the appropriate descriptions for my site. At the time, this didn’t mean anything except how you were categorizing your own site. Later, they started using that field to actually test for “not-for-profit” status — catching not just “not-for-profits” but other folks as well. And now you have to actually apply for that status, so they changed the way the input for that field works. So I was a victim of someone’s bad business rule changes, apparently.