/ Money

PayPal isn’t always your friend

A pound symbol made of ice

It calls itself ‘fast, safe and simple’, but according to some users, PayPal isn’t living up to these qualities – especially when it comes to getting hold of your cash.

If you’ve flogged old clothes, books or electrical goods on eBay, chances are you’ll have used PayPal.

PayPal is convenient – you simply set up an account using your email address, link it to your chosen bank account and withdraw your money when necessary. But there have been cases of PayPal freezing your account and withholding your funds.

Frustrating security processes

Frozen accounts seem to be one of the most common PayPal complaints among consumers. Say you sell an expensive item, like a designer handbag, on eBay. You see the money ping into your PayPal account, go to withdraw it and… your account’s been frozen.

PayPal has probably viewed this as a ‘possible high-risk transaction’, so has frozen your account while it investigates. It can withhold your funds for 180 days and, what’s worse, your friends and family may also have their accounts frozen, because they are associated with yours. It’s a PayPal lockdown.

Even if you correctly verify your details (one of the security measures PayPal may take) and provide evidence of postage, PayPal may still hang onto your money. And when you ring up to speak to someone about it, you’re faced with a robot who offers no help in resolving your dispute.

Many PayPal users are driven to taking legal action. But should anyone have to resort to such drastic measures, just to get what’s rightfully theirs?

Blacklisted despite positive feedback

Unusual spikes in payments aren’t the only reason for a frozen PayPal account. The company also cites not paying your seller fees, your payment information being out of date and negative buyer feedback.

But even sellers with positive feedback can see their accounts frozen. According to an article in the Independent, one seller had a 99.7% positive feedback rating, but their account was frozen for falling below seller standards.

In another example, this time referenced by the Telegraph, a couple who ran an online retailer through PayPal, found that 2% of their transactions had received negative feedback. They say their account was frozen and they are now claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance.

It’s worth remembering that PayPal does allow consumers to sell items without the usual bureaucracy that comes with other institutions. But if it’s sending people into financial hardship, perhaps a rethink of its strict security measures might be in order.

Has your PayPal account ever been frozen? Did you get your money back?

Profile photo of NFH

PayPal is a brand I really don’t trust very much or find very useful. Its “Buyer Protection” finishes a long time before one’s statutory rights, which is no good if there is a problem many months after a purchase. Even worse, purchases via PayPal also lack Section 75 protection.

Most PayPal transactions could be effected without any cost via bank transfer. Don’t forget PayPal originated in the United States, the only developed country whose banking system lacks an infrastructure for low value bank transfers. PayPal lacks this raison d’être in most other countries.

14 May 2013

I gave up on Pay Pal a long time ago, as I also did on trying to get back money owed to me.
they never responded ,very frustrating and disappointing Mik Flynn

Daz says:
15 May 2013

My account was blocked apparently due to a buyer from eBay making a complaint against me. I never received a specific reason as to why I was blocked. Also in their terms it stated that they (PayPal) are now monitoring this account until they deem its suitable not. This meant that I had a lock on my money for a period of weeks that I was unable to withdraw. I’ve never received a reason as to why all this really happened. So now, no monies are kept in the account. I wouldn’t use PayPal at all if I didn’t need to. Internet sites seem to be using PP more & more. Good luck!

Profile photo of Rachael Adams

Thanks for sharing this, Daz. It seems like PayPal’s reasons for blocking people can be quite broad – but simply saying that a buyer complained about you doesn’t feel like enough information. It can be very frustrating when you can’t access your money!

You’re right about more and more websites using PayPal, though – only the other day when I was buying gig tickets I saw that PayPal was an option, which was news to me! I think more retailers are offering PayPal as a way of paying in-store, too.

Paul B says:
15 May 2013

I was told that Paypal had introduced a reserve of 40% for 90 days on all transactions for my private home rental. That have refused to discuss the arrangement despite full disclosure of my business details. I am now working to move all my business elsewhere. After 4 years of trading with not a single complaint this makes no sense to me.

Kim Broadley says:
16 May 2013

I had a fraudster take over 1k from my paypal account (but as it was linked to my bank account if also affected that) paypal refused to refund even though I proved it was due to fraudulent activity. In the meantime my bank balance is getting more into an overdraft and I am being charged overdraft fees. The bank refused to block my account so the fraudsters could continue to take money and paypal wouldnt refund.
I had to contact several organisations for advice and eventually threatened paypal with legal action. They eventually refunded my money into my paypal account ( which they then blocked) which stopped me having access to the money. This meant I couldnt transfer it to my bank accont and my debt wasnt paid off. Paypal then waited another two months to unblock my account in which time I had debt collectors sending my final notice letters and one letter from a court instrucring me to ger in touch about the debt.
Paypal never apologised. Never did anything to help. They didnt believe me when I said it was feaudulent. They didnt care. I now dont trust banks, and have to withdraw any money as soon as it gkes in!!

Profile photo of Rachael Adams

Hi Kim – wow, that sounds terrible! A lot of Which? members have complained that it’s really difficult to make a complaint to PayPal when things go wrong, which sounds like what’s happened here.

I’ve read tales of many consumers being forced to take legal action because PayPal seem unable or unwilling to help them, so it does seem like a real problem. When I spoke to a PayPal spokesperson they told me they were going to start improving their customer service, so we will have to wait and see what happens there. However, withdrawing your money as soon as it goes in sounds sensible!

David Cox says:
17 May 2013

One of the reasons we were given for them blocking our account was that we were withdrawing money as soon as it came in instead of letting it sit on our account waiting to be frozen! We were simply withdrawing funds to our bank account at the end of each business day. We used this money to make more product and to pay for advertising it so that we would sell some more. Hardly a new business concept is it? And the more we sell, the more revenue goes to er…PayPal…!

Profile photo of Rachael Adams

That’s really interesting, David – I wasn’t aware that withdrawing your funds was a reason for blocking your account. Sounds sensible to me, given that so many members have complained to us about account freezing!

David Cox says:
17 May 2013

I run a small business selling a weight loss product. It was brought to the brink of collapse last month by PayPal freezing our account. We sell a weight loss product to the supermarkets and via our web site http://www.bootcampfoods.com and use PayPal as our exclusive payment gateway.

We had called them to explain we were taking our first print ad in a national magazine (Men’s Fitness) and they should expect a spike in sales. We were assured this would not effect our account.

Days later as sales flooded in, our account was frozen without warning and without explanation.

We were never able to speak to the same person twice about the freeze which took over six weeks to sort out. We had no income as a business throughout this entire period.

We were able to take orders (and PayPal were able to take their fee) but were not able to despatch orders (in case PayPal closed our account in the interim and we would not receive payment for them). We could also not refund our customers’ purchases and so our phone lines, email accounts, Facebook wall and Twitter feed were deluged with complaints.

We found out who the President of the UK business was and as his office was based down the road from us in Richmond, Surrey, we wrote to him direct to plead for our cashflow to be restored and even hand delivered to him a free product and a copy of the magazine we were advertising in. He simply ignored us.

We were left to guess what documentation was required from us to unfreeze the account as the customer services people we could speak to were apparently not trained in dealing with frozen accounts. We were not able to speak to the department who freezes accounts to discuss with them the reasons they had acted as they had.

We decided we should just close the account and refund our customers but PayPal told us if we did that they would keep our money frozen for six months!

Looking back it strikes me that PayPal’s business model allows for businesses to sign up for an account too quickly and without any checks which are inevitably necessary. PayPal appears greedy to sign up new customers and not deter them from opening an account with their checks until seemingly on a whim they can then freeze the account once their customer is reliant on them and do as many checks as they like. If they feel it is so important to do these checks to protect consumers they should do them before the account is allowed to operate.

I’m sure small businesses would prefer PayPal carry out sufficient checks before committing to a contract with a business rather than rush to sign up businesses with no checks in to their business only to jeopardise the business later on in the relationship.

Small businesses in this country are finding things hard enough without PayPal acting in this way.

Erica says:
1 August 2013

I cant agree more with you. I finally got my cash transferred back into my local bank after 6 months. Never have I used PayPal since the incident. It’s simply ridiculous, with very poor customer service and unresponsive.

Darryl says:
17 May 2013

Yes I have.

Even though my PayPal account has existed since 2006, I sold a Canon SLR last year for £2200 and the money was frozen whilst PayPal ‘investigated’ the ‘legitimacy of the transaction’, both the buyer and I were in limbo whilst this took place.

No amount of phone calls could sort out the issue, PayPal staff telling us we just have to wait.

In the end the money was released after approximately 28 days, where I imagine it accrued a nice bit of interest for their coffers.

Considering I can and have moved substantial sums out of and into my wife and my joint bank account in a matter of hours, I think it’s utterly disgraceful.

Lindsey Briggs says:
17 May 2013

The Government is encouraging us all to set up in business, whether that is just as a small business, or as a self employed contract worker. Presumably, this is to reduce the cost of governing. Likewise, we are all encouraged to go online and older people are being chastised for being reluctant to follow the trend. Personally, I refuse to bank on line, but thought that PayPal was a relatively safe way to conduct business over the internet, albeit for small sums of money. Thank you for these salutary warnings. It is all very well for the Government to encourage us to risk our money and livelihoods, by conducting business on line, but I don’t see much help or sympathy when things go wrong. It is hardly surprising that a lot of older people refuse to be bullied on this subject. They are wise having gained insight from experience and are rightly wary of things they don’t fully understand, or avoid new things until they been tried and tested. We have recently cancelled our facebook account, having tried it and found it unsatisfactory in so many ways. I am far from being entirely sceptical, I was using computers in the very early days of their introduction, including working for a company that had intranet and an early version of the internet, so have at least 35 or 36 years of using them. What amazes me is that they are not more advanced. We seem to be one step behind the criminals, not one step ahead, hence the crude security measures that cause most of the problems. I can only conclude that the lack of this country’s investment is to blame. This allowed Microsoft to dominate for far too long, squeezing out the brilliant entrepreneurs of rival software companies based in this country. If this hadn’t happened in the late eighties and early nineties, we might now have a home grown alternative to PayPal. Also, don’t get me on the subject of American internet security software, that’s for a different discussion.

John RT says:
18 May 2013

An attempt was made to phish my credit card, so I changed my credit card number. Reported this to PAYPAL, who blocked me for 180 days, as my new card no longer tied in with my bank account.
I provided endless security details to release my £200.
Still blocked for 180 days. Never used PAYPAL since.

Jeff says:
18 May 2013

I have purchased on ebay once. Lately I was preparing to bid for a DVD recorder,I was declined because I did not have an ebay account. Tried to get one and after giving all the information I was asked to telephone ebay, the telephone charges were I think 57 p a minute. I did not phone and let the matter go.For me Amazon is trouble free and preferable.

Profile photo of mgk33

just had my pay-pal account frozen,sold a watch to a woman on e-bay,fully serviced for £180 at the watchmaker.and warranted for the work.she had it for nearly 31/2weeks,then when i went to pay for something my account had been held.she had not contacted me,she just opened a case and e-bay without even contacting me to get my side of the story,withheld my account.tried contacting pay-pal,e-bay and i have to wait untill they decide my fate.
thoroughly peed off.


very same happened to me I set up a legitimate Limited Company one customer made a complaint through eBays complaint procedure rather than coming direct to me because of this complaint both my eBay and Paypal accounts were frozen as eBay was 80% of my businesses income we were no longer in a position to continue I have now been on Job Seekers Allowance for two years thanks ebay and paypal.

will g says:
23 May 2013

my account wasn’t blocked but I wish it had been. My eBay (who own PayPal) account was hacked and they took around 40 payments via PayPal. I spoke to my bank who froze my account, but getting PayPal to refund all 40 payments was one of the most tedious experiences I have ever been though, and even then they failed to refund a couple of payments despite me providing repeated evidence of the fraud. Speaking to to a living, breathing PayPal employee on the phone is rarer than seeing a dodo riding a unicorn.
It infuriates me that there are no realistic competitors to PayPal


Although Paypal are owned by the same company as eBay I find I unreasonable that eBay insist Paypal be the only payment provider this surely must be illegal in some way.

Raxit says:
14 June 2013

I have used Paypal for around 10 years, never a problem. I had used it primarily for making purchases on ebay or other online retailers – to make a payment. Along with it, for few years I had also used it to receive payment for my than retail website. However, due to slow business, I had closed my business couple of years back. Since, than I have been using paypal only for making payments for my purchases. So, it was kind of shock for me to see that out of a blue there is an email from paypal limiting my access to account. First I thought it to be a spam, but I logged in to my paypal account and saw notice there too. It said that due to violating terms, I should remove paypal logo’s from my website and my account has been permanently limited which can not be appealed. Now, this was odd, as website had been closed, no transaction in at least last 2 years, and if count 3 years before the last 2 years, hardly can find 10-20 transactions! But, last 2 years, NIL. So, I was surprised how they are claiming that website which has been shut for 2 years, is violating their Terms and conditions. Still, I requested them in email to reconsider and provide documentation which can help them clear any misunderstanding they may have.

Reply was their decision stands. I called them, but heard same that you can not use our services bla bla. It felt bad actually, that I used for years without any issue due to good coverage they provide, and all of sudden I was treated as not needed without ‘any’ factual explanation by blocking my account. However, as I said, I hardly used it to make a payment for my ebay purchases, there was no money in it, as I just used my paypal account as a buyer for last few years. So, I didn’t have to worry about my money being frozen. But only thing that ticks me off is, they get to block me because they don’t feel safe doing business with me without any reason, however my bank account, credit card information, phone number, address, ssn etc stays with them in my frozen account!! That makes me feel uncomfortable now. In, short best not to link all that and don’t count on paypal.

Diana Brighouse says:
17 September 2013

I set up a PayPal account in its early days, probably over 15y ago. At the time I was naive to internet buying and selling and hesitated to give them all the bank details that they asked for. I then got in a total muddle trying to use a different email address and different credit cards. The upshot was that I successfully sold a few low cost items, then couldn’t get the money out, so used it to make a purchase. Since then I have had a frozen account. I only buy on ebay through ‘buy it now’ which is a pain, and I do all my selling through Amazon marketplace – which is fail safe and efficient but pricey.
I find it infuriating to be effectively banned from ebay by being unable to set up a PayPal account, and would totally endorse every bad word that has been written about PayPal.

KMcLaren says:
9 December 2013

I’ve used paypal for years. Tens of £’000’s of pounds have gone through the account. In May of this year I decided to dissolve the company my account was attached to. I informed paypal that I wanted to change information ect.

Two days later my account was frozen. The reason, the information on the account was no longer valid.

I’ve battled then since, and still have a large sum held by paypal.

Constant calls, all saying the same thing, yes sir, there is no fruadulant activity on your account and will contact you in the next 24hours so you can close the account down, blah, blah, blah…

I spoke to the FSA who advise me that is against UK rules for such practices of withholding monies. Doing a little research on the web, PAYPAL has being doing this for years, 100’s of 1000’s of posts around the world and in the UK.

What has been done about it, absolutely NOTHING. Not ONE thing at all. Ever.

It beggers believe that we are not being protected by such practices. The only way I am going to get my money back is to take PAYPAL to court.

I just wonder how many people have given up, and how much money paypal have taken, used by paypal to pay for assets ect. Whilst of course I have no proof, it must run into the tens of millions of pounds if not more.

I would say this PRACTICE of freezing accounts in such ways, MUST be stopped and the UK government must step in to protect legitimate – because there is one thing constant, PAYPAL have been saying for years the same thing.

“We are improving how we handle…..”


mudasar haneef says:
15 March 2014

I run business on eBay . Top rated seller with no complaints. Ome day paypal called me and said your account is in negative balance and you have to pay but they did not tell details of that account. Few days later my business account was limited and linked to some fraudulent account. They say it’s your account and you owe us 1766 pounds. I gave all my ids , business docs to prove my true existance. They review and placed permanent limitation . They froze 4200 in business account. All my eBay payments are on hold and I am losing 1000 per day of sales. Then debt recovary called me several times a day and ask to pay 1766 . I paid with thought it may solve probelm and paypal mat restore my business account. But no success. Just today I received reply from their executive team that I actually owe then £6200. Now stituagiin is getting worse every day. I don’t know why they are blaming me. If somebody did fraud with paypal with my details then paypal should have system in place to check that. I’d theft is crime and paypal is blaiming victim rather than culprits . My advice never ever use paypal or at least sign petetin to bring “preypal “under uk banking laws.

Oliver says:
16 June 2014

I don’t know if anyone’s had a similar experience with Paypal as me but just in case I’d love some advice:

I’ve been a member of Ebay for 13 years and run my own business on there which is my only means of income to support my family.

My business model was simple. I’d purchase 100 broken Apple iPhones a month from Ebay to repair then resell back on Ebay.

They business was doing well and I’d managed to keep it going since 2009 however, PAYPAL have now given me no choice but to close the business down meaning I no longer have any source of income.

The problem was first bought to my attention in February 2014 when without warning Paypal limited my account and told me there would be no appeals. Several days later I discovered they’d limited the account because we had opened too many disputes on Ebay / Paypal.

I explained to them Ebay being the site it is if we purchase 100 iPhones a month there’s a good chance at least 5 will not arrive from dishonest sellers. Paypal didn’t seem interested in the explanation and again refused any appeal even though I went to all the trouble of listing every single dispute we’d opened in the past 3 months to prove every single one was genuine and had been closed in our favour. Paypal’s reply to this was we should build a 10% loss into the company plan to absorb the non receipt items and not open a Paypal dispute!!

After about a week we decided our time with Paypal and Ebay was over only to be telephoned out of the blue by Paypal telling me the limitation had been removed as they could see everything was genuine and the limitation “WOULD NOT” return. Great news….so we thought.

Roll on May…….three months after the initial limitation it returned!!!!!!!!!!

We tried to reason with Paypal , we begged, we tried to reason. Nothing has helped. We only opened one dispute in the whole three months since the first limitation. When we put this to Paypal we were told it had nothing to do with it and the limitation had been imposed because it shouldn’t have been removed back in February.

We’ve tried borrowing family member accounts to continue trading but Paypal just slap a limitation on those too.

I’m guessing their nothing I can do about this and the business will have to close and I’ll have to look for some other was to earn a living but any help or advice that can be offered will be appreciated.

OIiver ( Ebay user name Owndevices )

helen says:
25 June 2014

feel really sorry for you, they are so frustrating, Banks would have to explain so why do they not, are they a law unto themselves, looks like it, sorry I dont have a solution as i am in the same boat (lots of boats sinking by the sound of it)!!!! hope some one comes up with a solution.


helen says:
25 June 2014

Pay Pal has still not improved, my account was frozen, no explanation cant get money out for 180 days, discusting 25th June 2014

Andrew Carey says:
25 July 2014

I have also had problems with paypal .I have a paypal account but a family member also set up a paypal account and due to not having a bank account i let them use my bank account details on there paypal account Now due to a problem with a sale on e,bay on that familys account .Paypal have frozen my account and i can no longer withdraw funds .I have contacted paypal and have been told even thought that account is not mine it is linked via my bank account now my paypal is frozen and i cannot withdraw the funds..All thought paypal will let funds be paid in .Is there any legal way or advice to release the funds..thanks

Julie says:
6 November 2014

Hi, those with frozen paypal accounts is there any governing body or help you can get to fight them. The Financial Ombudsman has written to them, but paypal have 8 weeks to reply and in the mean time have hardly any business. Phoned solicitors, but they won’t touch paypal cases.
TIA for any replies.

lien says:
23 August 2014

I had my account frozen over 8 months ago, as paypal/ebay use Luxemburg for avoiding tax here in the uk, I would not supply all my personal details to another EU country as personal info is not safe.
Despite numerous calls, on one occassion an irish operator told me I would be dead before I got my money back if i did not supply a copy of my passport and utility bills, I took extreme offence at this, no way will I ever give details to a company like this.
My argument was I have had a paypal account since they started, they happily take money off me with no questions asked, they have my bank details, card details etc, this is no longer enough for them.
We have now, like thousands of others abandoned paypal and e bay. use Nochex and Allpay for our e com sites, both excellent providers, no issues with either of them, and our e com sites are reaching what seems to be a far better buying public.
I think as long as you use paypal for one off payments, you are ok, just do not let them hold any funds whatsoever.

Colin says:
26 November 2014

I have used Paypal for 15 years, without issue, selling in eBay, with an eBay account with 100% Positive Feedback, No buyer complaints, no complaints from manufacturers.

In November 2014, paypal “Limited” my account, asking for transaction details on certain transactions involving computer software (This is what I sell, and have done for 15 years)

I provided supplier invoices, I provided proof of partnership arrangements with Adobe, Kaspersky, Microsoft, and Panda.

Paypal refused to reinstate my account, resulting in my Business having to shut down. In one fell stroke, Paypal managed to completely destroy my livelihood, simply quoting “A Breach of our Acceptable Use Policy”

For information, Software Sales are not a breach, where we already had Manfacturer authority as a Software Reselller. Would Paypal listen? No. Account remains closed.

Chuck says:
5 January 2015

I recently had my account limited as well. I imagine many off these these actions are prompted by the community. If Paypal is not quoting directly why they are limiting your account, it is because they are obfuscating a person or persons who you may have done business with in the past.If you have done business with some one it is quite possible that you have all their information… most important of all… their mailing address. So it is quite understandable that Paypal wants to protect all parties involved. Once a decision is made the machine is left on its own to run the course. The appearance of wrong doing serves the same conviction as actual wrong doing. There are scammers on both sides of the fence. I sold an item on Ebay that I delayed in shipping until I had proper packing. In the mean time I got and email claiming the item I had yet to send was broken… a part that wasn’t well captured in the auction photos. As one can imagine this creates a nice pickle. The person backed off of their claim when I requested that they send back the item for a refund. Keep in mind that the damaged was very detailed to the item I was selling. If you don’t protect yourself with DC numbers or insurance on the item then you are taking a risk that the buyer is going to be honest.

Jo Le-Rose says:
9 January 2015

I woke up one morning to find that my whole business had been given a right-hook from a source that I trusted with my finances.

Paypal had put a reserve of 90% on my account and informed me that my business monies would be held for NINE MONTHS! Luckily, I acted quickly and my customers were in a position to accept a refund on their scheduled webinar course and pay my bank direct, but so many of us out there are having our businesses crashed, some are even losing their homes, all because Paypal claim to be protecting themselves. It’s time we said, ‘No!’ Please sign the 38 degrees petition and make people aware of the following:

Paypal have the power to freeze your business funds without warning whenever they like and place them under a 180 day review (6 months). It does not matter whether your business will crash or come to a complete standstill nor do your business terms & conditions count as valid. They will hold it anyway. After 180 days you may or may not receive those funds, but they will keep the interest. My advice. If you do business through Paypal, then empty your account at the end of each working day. Do not leave your funds in there. Paypal are not to be trusted. Your bank wouldn’t do this to you, Paypal can and feel it’s their right to do it.

If you are really serious about your business, then consider another gateway service that you can trust. Please sign the petition below.


P.S if you have to phone the credit review line, do not speak with Olga Larionova. Not only did she impose further restrictions, she had about as much compassion in her as a dead corpse. Ask to speak with Mia.

Auction Essistance says:
18 March 2015

Your whole business can be shut down overnight for what Paypal has been doing to sellers. The best thing to do is not rely entirely on Paypal for all of your transactions.

tom ryves says:
5 July 2015

I too have suddenly had my paypal account frozen for association. It seems to me they rely on what our American friends would describe as unconscionable clauses in their user agreements giving them rights to do what they want to any money in your account. If threatened with legal action to force a release of funds they claim to have no office in the UK at which a writ may be served and will then state that they will counterclaim for any costs incurred in a court case. They are however subject to regulation in the uk and I suggest that this is the route to pursue with the objective of getting large fines imposed on them and in a perfect world having them investigated, their terms and conditions overturned and even their banking licenses withdrawn. Thus I strongly recommend all unhappy account holders contact their MP’s ( yes it does work) as the banking ombudsman is not an effective service.


iiCyou says:
19 August 2015

I am paid large sums from work that I do and have never in 6 years been frozen. If I was frozen it would be frustrating but still better than funding terrorism!
I appreciate the service and their due dilligence to protect people from fraud and attemt to stop funding bad bad people.

So when things happen then maybe sometimes its for our own protection!

Profile photo of BenDillistone

I’ve had paypal suddenly freeze my account claiming that I have multiple accounts and that some have been used for fraudulent activity. I have no idea what they are talking about (I only have one and am not aware of anything fraudulent) and I can’t get them to provide any details. I’m frustrated that I can’t access my money and that it seems I won’t ever be able to open a paypal account again. I’m more worried that it will affect my credit rating given they have accused me (albeit with no evidence) of fraud. Is there anything I can do?

Profile photo of AuctionEssistance

PayPal limits accounts at random times. Although PayPal allows you to have multiple accounts, usually they end up doing a full 180 and end up limiting you.

When it comes to trying to get your account reinstated…good luck. PayPal has been notorious for poor support. Your best option if you must use PayPal is to create a whole new account with information not relating back to your limited account.

Profile photo of lopey

payal have frozen my joint bank account and my savings account with the same bank, the bank claim fraudent tranfers and are asking for delivery reports the money in my savings account is my mothers to pay my long overdue housing rental arrears, how can i get money from the bank back help#!!! UK

Profile photo of Lauren Deitz

Hi Lopey, thanks for your comment. For banking issues you need to speak with your bank. If it’s your Paypal account that’s been frozen then there’s information on how to get this sorted out here: http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/problem/can-i-claim-against-paypal-if-i-dont-get-what-i-paid-for

Profile photo of lyn

A friend of ours sent us a gift for Christmas from USA paypal to uK. I have now had my account frozen and although I have sent in all the required information to verify our identity they are stll investigating my account saying we have”bad reviews”. I need to access these funds and feel really cheated! I am wondering what would happen if my friend tries to claim the money back in USA? would the ombudsman help??

Profile photo of Lauren Deitz

Hi Lyn, thanks for your comment. We have some information available here – if you go towards the bottom of the page there’s some relevant advice that may help you http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/problem/can-i-claim-against-paypal-if-i-dont-get-what-i-paid-for

Profile photo of duncan lucas

lyn + Lauren -Lauren in addition to the standard help that your URL has provided there is in the US a website dedicated to Paypal complaints -100,000 and rising (US alone ) . Its called- paypalwarning.com– there is already a class action suite against it. This website has posters angry at Paypal with answers to problems including frozen accounts its a very flashy website but still gives facts . While on my travels I noticed it had frozen an account from a crowd funded swiss email service that provides end to end encryption which I joined in case I need it . It had been frozen also due to falling short of US Internet Law ( but really they have trouble hacking it ) keeping $270,000 they ended up releasing the money on appeal but you would be surprised at the accounts frozen -divorce nasty -frozen account -doing thing with your money Paypal doesnt like ? frozen account and so forth . worth a visit. I dont have a Paypal account ,they keep your money for months when frozen building up interest in bank accounts -now where did some UK power companies get the same idea from ??

Profile photo of KofiOwusu-Ansah

PP-003-930-385-281 That was my reference back in 2015 May when Paypal contacted me and accused me of running two accounts on paypal after a client failed to pay for purchases of clothings they made from my ebay account, even after I sent them an invoice.

Apparently this client was having the same address as myself, this is something I found out after receiving letters from (banks and credit card companies chasing the said individual at my address).

Anyway, I was banned and I was told I cannot appeal and I gave up appealing a long time ago, I am not interested in appealing (ever, there are loads of functioning paypal alternatives including recently Facebook and Googlepay); however back in 2015, the paypal respondent that told me my account had been permanently banned told me I will be allowed to withdraw the £3.46 after an extensive review of my trading transactions and after Novermber 2015 had passed.

I have waited in earnest for November 2015 to pass. And the final balance has not been refunded by Paypal.

After a year of investigations, they have you not been able to satisfy themselves that my sales on ebay were genuine so I can get my money back.

As little as it may be I am not letting the £3.46 go. My next step was to contact the Financial Ombusman an I hope they can sort Paypal out.

I have contacted them on Facebook, Paypal, Email, Telephone and they always seem to be the smart asses never keeping records and always starting from scratch with every new contact.

My advice to anyone selling on Ebay is to carefully consider alternatives to Paypal now that Ebay has split the two companies up.

Ian Piper says:
16 May 2016

I share the frustrations of others here. I’ve been selling on eBay and using PayPal’s payment mechanism for years without any problems. Then suddenly I found a payment for an item was marked as “pending”. This means that PayPal thinks it’s a high-risk transaction and holds onto the money for at least 21 days.

They advised that I should send the goods and then *if* the buyer confirms that they are happy (in 12 years I’ve *never* had an unhappy buyer, BTW) PayPal releases the money at some indeterminate point after that.

I’ve been talking to and escalating my concerns within PayPal, if only to find out why they placed this pending mark on my account. They won’t tell me – I’ve had various stories ranging from “this is an unusual price” (it isn’t – it’s bang on the average for this item) through “you’re not running an eBay business, you’re a casual PayPal user, so that makes you risky” (wot??) to “this is just random, there’s no specific reason – the computer decides”.

The towering arrogance of the people I’ve spoken to leaves me breathless. I am going to tidily close down my PayPal account and not give them any more or my hard-earned cash.

Dave says:
23 June 2016

I had a similar problem with this Poorly managed business! I was using them fine until one day my account was limited with no appeal to remove the said limitation. My case was ” You have more than 1 account”.

When I phoned them they could not have been more cagey regarding the problem. The most I could get out of them was ‘Had I used my card in USA’ to which I replied YES! Didn’t believe me is all I can think. How can I have more than one account? This to me (and close friends who write security software) suggests that their security is very suspect indeed.

Side Note: It seems strange to me that In all my internet research on this since 2013 (when this actually took place) that most of the complaints about PayPal and there are thousands I might add, that they ramped up considerably from 2013 onwards. Is this a statistic?

Anyway, I’ve since made several attempts to remove the account from PayPal but you cannot unless you are in good stead with them, which again seems very suspicious to me. So now all my bank / card details are on the website …Still since 2013…. with that kind of security.

Makes me angry how people can be treated in such a manner! I now avoid ALL transactions through PayPal and to be honest feel that all this coming to light back then may have avoided further issues.

I for one will never use PayPal again and advise ALL who know me about such situations!

Peter says:
28 July 2016

They require now your SSN, if do not provide it they will freeze your account anytime with no reason at all, I spoke to them and they told me that do as they please and I was transfer the call to a manager who said the IRS told them to freeze all those accounts. How come PP froze your money with impunity?
For me PP is gone from my life.

Profile photo of duncan lucas

The IRS (US) has told Paypal to do this even with the US Privacy Act of 1974 but if you are a UK citizen I dont see what legal right they have to ask for your SSN in Britain . It looks to me if TTIP is already in action here , Britain –run by the USA . To me this is getting out of hand are we our own country or are we a satellite of the US ? I am sure some security bod will come on and come out with all sorts of reasons why it should be provided but we are not US citizens (yet ) so name me the Law (UK) that states we must provide it to a PRIVATE company that is NOT a bank and is headquartered in the US ?

Profile photo of John Ward

This reminds me of the notice that used to be displayed in many pubs – “Please do not ask for credit as refusal may offend”. As a payment-processing agency I think PayPal can ask for whatever information they like in order to improve the security of transactions [I appreciate the irony of that remark]. There is no UK law that says they cannot ask for it and there is no law that says they must deal with you.

Profile photo of duncan lucas

John when it gets as personal as your own governments national insurance number having to be provided to deal with a foreign company that is not a bank then,as Peter says –Sayonara PP. Do you know the information that potentially provides a foreign company ? it doesnt matter that the NSA have got all our SSN,s its the principle , what next ? our blood group and medical records , again available to the US security but they “trickle” their way to third parties .

Profile photo of John Ward

I assumed Peter was writing from the US. Are PayPal now demanding NI Nos. for transactions in the UK? – It’s a long time since I have used PayPal and things might have changed.

In the UK there are money laundering regulations that also apply to PayPal for transactions into or out of or within this country. I am not saying they must obtain NI Nos. from UK citizens but I could understand it if they chose to do so. As you say, those offended by this will go elsewhere.

Given that PayPal is an alternative form of payment transaction, and is outside the scope of various consumer protections in the UK, there is something to be said for establishing the legitimacy of people who use it to collect payments.

Profile photo of wavechange

I opened a PayPal account to pay for inexpensive products sold on eBay. I’m not keen to give credit card details to a company I have never heard of. I never use PayPal for larger purchases. I have had no problem with my account, though I wish they would stop sending emails to say that I have money in my account.

Boyle says:
30 July 2016

What a weird post?

Profile photo of duncan lucas

Whats “weird” about it Boyle ?


I got my account limited several weeks ago and the momo’s at PayPal do not offer any support whatsoever. Has anyone tried going stealth? I read an article by Auction Essistance on how to create a new account, but am unsure if it is legal?

Profile photo of duncan lucas

Nuzzo –it is illegal as far as US law is concerned ( US company ) but I am sure with the way things are now they could probably cause you trouble in the UK , but I dont know if it would go too far, it depends on the attitude of HMG in complying with overseas instructions . Be that as it may –do you honestly expect Which or the posters who regularly post here to divulge how to do it ? This is a prestige website of world renown using it like a hackers website or low tech social website for young people on how to overcome legal authority would surely be frowned upon here . Go elsewhere to find out how to do it . There must be a legal reason your account was limited . I would warn Which not to allow any response divulging any details on illegal computing when it involves possible legal consequences !

Dazazta says:
23 November 2016

Does anyone know what’s the safest way to open up a new Paypal Account? They just froze my Account due to breaching their Gambling Policy.

Profile photo of duncan lucas

I take it Dazazta you dont want to break the law —–do you ? -Appeal- remove those items from your website that violates Paypal,s Acceptable Use Policy –no gambling links ! Submit the online Acceptable Use Policy Affidavit — You must comply with PayPal,s usage terms – this is taken from a WordPress website . I take it no regular or anybody else is going to tell Dazazta how to break the Law ?? I wont. There is a long list of violations that get you banned , Paypal ignores user complaints/lawyers etc You could write to the Financial Omsbudsman Service , South Quay Plaza , 183 Marsh Wall .London-E14-9SR

Patrick says:
27 January 2017

Paypal are a disgrace, avoid using them if at all possible, I sold an item on eBay, the buyer was delighted with it, gave great feedback and had obviously received it but Paypal refused to release the funds! Try to contact them and you get nowhere, you speak to robots!

Fpaypal says:
27 January 2017

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