How to PayPal, for new sellers! (part 2)

This is a follow-up from the article related to eBay. Since PayPal and eBay are almost synonymous.

PayPal is eBay main payment processing service provider

This means you need to have a PayPal account in order to sell on eBay and this is where the fun starts. I personally have been using PayPal since 2005 and it’s been “great” as long as I paid with it…. and NOT so great when I started receiving money and selling with it.

So here are few things you need to be aware when using PayPal to process payments, especially when selling stuff.

I don’t even know where to start… PayPal is complex, so let’s start with the beginning something.

PayPal fees are high

Believe me when I say that fees are high especially when you sell stuff in combination with eBay. Since these two companies are one and the same, you are being charged when selling and additional 2.9% + $0.30 per sale… well that’s what they say they charge… but how come on a 10$ transaction I get charged more then that? Because the fees vary with the country the buyers is from.

I added here some examples of transactions so you can make up your own mind.

Some basic calculations show: for an Australian customer I pay close to 8.7%, for US customer I pay close to 6.2%, for UK customer I pay 6.67% and for Canadian customer I pay close to 8.5%.

For every country, the PayPal fee varies…. so try to predict some revenue.

REMEMBER: Every buck counts!!! 🙂

PayPal exchange rate is hefty

You need to know that if you don’t have a US bank account, you CAN NOT transfer USD to your account. That is EVEN IF you actually have an USD account in your country.

No! Period.

You can only transfer in a local currency. So, say you are in a EU country and you sell using PayPal charging USD. You need to convert the money to EURO so you can send them to your bank.

Here is an example: 150,00 USD = 124,02 EUR (1 USD = 0,8268 EUR)

At the moment is showing 1 USD = 0,9071 EUR, my bank is showing 1 USD = 1.8603 EUR). On the street I can get better exchange rate…

You make up your mind here. Please note that the bank takes a small processing fee also. I know it’s not related to PayPal, but it comes out of your pocket…

Use your real details or else….

When you register with PayPal, GOD forbid you are registering with incorrect information. You will be caught out and your account will be blocked and you will struggle to get your money out… or even loose them. It will not matter that you have been a good customer.

So register with correct details or one of these days you will see this.

There is no problem with your account… but this thing randomly shows and you are stuffed if you don’t have correct details entered. Because at this point you need to validate your details.

All you have to is provide what PayPal is asking for and you get this.

And if all successful then you will get an e-mail saying


PayPal’s help pages are AWOL

I hope you don’t need help from PayPal because if you do… well, you are in for some stressful situation. Many of their help pages are missing or moved and you can just find stuff when you need it.

In fact in official e-mail PayPal can send you link that are NOT WORKING. I don’t have a screenshot on that but trust me they send e-mails with links pointing to a 404 page.

So, when you look for stuff you get the ocasional often page that looks like this

or the other page that looks like this

All these pages pop-up when you need help from PayPal. Can you spot the issue in the image above?

Customer service

PayPal’s customer service must be mastered with calm and preciseness, otherwise you will pull your hair out.  So, customer service works, but you need a ton of patience and you need to approach them from all angles you can.

Depending on your type of account (and situation) PayPal offers you options to contact them. Say you are business account, you actually get a dedicated help line with a special pin number for the phone line and they answer on the spot almost all the time.

If you are a private individual you are referred most of the time to their COMMUNITY HELP section,…. where you actually talk to other people that have problems, BUT YOU DON’T talk to any PayPal rep. So you are wasting your time.

Best way to approach PayPal is via their Message Center.

But there is a catch here also: you MUST message them only during work hours or your message will be deleted. If they are not open when you message them, their AI will give you some bland message and then your message will be deleted.

You could wait for an answer, when an answer will never come. So, find out what location servers you and from where and you make sure you check their opening hours (e.g. Ireland center for eastern Europe).

You can miss cashing in a payment

…simply because, the ON HOLD label next to a payment is used for multiple reasons.

If you see ON HOLD next to a payment you receive, YOU MUST ACCEPT the payment or it will return to the sender… it happened to me 🙁

I was so used to ON HOLD being used for transactions that are challenged… that I did not even realized that I was supposed to accept the payment and I lost the product and the money… The buyer did never returned the money and kept the product also.

Resolution center

If the ON HOLD label is next to a transaction the is challenged by the buyer, YOU MUST respond asap. Trust me, respond asap… NOT later, NOT tomorrow, NOT within PayPal’s allocated time, but you must respond asap. Or the challenge will be resolved NOT in your favor.

PLEASE, PLEASE… do not take PayPal’s e-mail with ease… when they say in an e-mail: Case opened: Case ID PP-D-12345678 (the numbers obviously will change). YOU MUST REACT IMMEDIATELY. 

This usually means the buyer was hacked and someone used his account to purchase stuff… or the buyer is lying trying to keep the stuff.

Now you think, wait a second, if the buyer was hacked and purchased stuff then stuff will be mailed by post and can be returned…. WHAT ABOUT DIGITAL GOODS? Digital goods are traded more and more and they are usually delivered on-line and sometimes on the spot.

That means the real buyer paid for some stuff he will never receive and he WILL 100% of the time claim: UNAUTHORIZED PAYMENT.

The transaction money will be blocked until a resolution is achieved.

Till now I always won these cases because I use a script to communication with PayPal… if you want to know what that script is let me know.

Here is where PayPal lets you down, because you get this kind of messages….

What I highlighted there is not true. YOU MUST TAKE ACTION IMMEDIATELY or if you don’t you will looks the money and the product. You must go to the resolution center and respond to the case with all the evidence you can.

I think a lot of people complained or something, because they change the script and now they say:

So, always respond to any case that is open against you.

No right for appeal

PayPal can agree with a buyer who claims the the transaction was not authorized and guess what YOU, have to pay the penalty for that and ALSO you will loose your product and the money.

You get that? You loose the product, the money and pay the penalty – with NO RIGHT TO APPEAL. ZERO, and the reason is “Other“. PayPal does not have to give you a reason.

Sent payment marked with PENDING

You must contact the seller and ask to accept. This is the correct thing to do… otherwise he will maybe not notice it (like I did) and the money will be returned to you and if he posted the stuff… you will get both money and the product.

NOT NICE….!!!!!!

One example

Here is one example that will blow your mind… Say you have troubles with a buyer and you want to find out some information Google on how to resolve this situation… then you look for this: “how long can I lodge a claim against a payment on paypal“.

You will get a bunch of results, but top of the list are PayPal pages…

if you click like I did on first links you get this.

Now beat that… you need help from PayPal… it’s not going to be easy. Buyer protection my a…

180 days

Be aware that disputes must be opened within 180 days of your payment date, and that you and the seller will have 20 days to work things out.

Final note & my advice

Read the eBay article also so it all makes sense.

PayPal is a convenient way to sell stuff online. If you play by the (PayPal) rules then you will have no problems and you can enjoy a nice stream of revenue by selling stuff on-line. The problem is that the PayPal rules are buried in mountains of policies and help pages you will never find, but which they will presented to you when PayPal can argue against your query.

I can say that it’s good to wake up in the morning and see some overnight sales in PayPal, then process them asap via eBay, send feedbacks and all jolly. PayPal makes it easy to sell stuff on eBay, but also makes it impossible to sell stuff without them.

You need to be comfortable with keeping about 70% of the total money you make online. This is between eBay, PayPal fees, PayPal exchange rate and bank fee.

You MUST NEVER, EVER store money in PayPal, you sell something.. you get your money out ASAP, because you never know when PayPal decides to investigate “something that went wrong” and you can say bye, bye for a while to your money. I am not saying they keep the money, but they will certainly try is the best possible to stop you from using your money or getting them out, until “something that went wrong” is sorted out to their satisfaction.

You sell 100$ worth of stuff get 90$ out asap. Don’t get them all out because you may get this.

Calculation example

I just sold something on eBay and my price was 34$ US, here is what I get to keep….

Out of the 34$ eBay takes 4.05$, then when it reaches PayPal they take 2.14$. That leaves me with 27.81$. Because I am not a US citizen, I need to convert to EURO to be able to get the dollars our so I am being blessed with 1 USD = 0,8268 EUR exchange rate and I get to transfer 22.99 EURO. The bank will charge me about 1.5 EURO fixed fee so I end up with 21.49 EURO in the bank.

It costed me 15$ to produce the item I sold, so if I use the same exchange rate (so I don’t completely confuse you), this means 21.49 EURO become 25.99$.

This means my profit is 10.99$ + I recouped my money.