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PayPal Is a Criminal Organization

May 19, 2020

TD Bank closed my account and passed it on to a collection agency after overdrafting it to oblivion with bogus transactions. First I noticed this when I lodged a complaint about it through the online banking, but I was not allowed to see if anyone vhad responded because the next time I logged in, I got a notice telling me that I had to call, which has been an issue because I didn’t want to conduct a call about my bank account with my shelter roommate in the room, and he would come sauntering back in the moment I even thought of calling.

I was hurt badly (only brusing according to the doctor) after passing out from food poisoning and did not feel capable of walking to the Myrtle Avenue TD Bank branch, so I attempted to check my balance from the ATM here at the Red Carpet Inn. I did this twice and got error messages both times.

 

Balance Inquiry Error

TD charged me $3 for each of these non-services (not a new policy, but inappropriately executed), but I did not immediately know until I was able to log in to my account some time later, after I had been to the Myrtle Avenue branch ATM and saw my balance go from -$75 and change to -$81 and change. This was caused by several $35 overdraft fees. This should never have happened. Some years ago, I had to listen to a huge sales pitch from customer sevice when I called to cancel overdraft protection so that my debit card would simply be declined if I had insufficient funds. Banks love overdraft protection, hence the positive spin to what they call it (insufficient funds charges would be more appropriate), but they have to allow you to opt out, unless the Republican Congress changed the law after 2016.  I immediately contacted them to report a problem, but the next time I tried to log in to my accound to see if they had responded, I got an image of a storm cloud and a direction to call the customer service number, which of course tells you repeatedly while you are waiting that service is faster and easier on their website. With my roommate at the shelter sauntering into the room unpredictably and much more often than usual even since the pandemic, and being told of wait times exceeding twenty minutes with my limited lifeline phone minutes (which seem to have been waived durung the crisis because I should have easily gone over for the month with all the conference calls in my activist groups), how was I supposed to discuss my private banking information via phone?  But they were actively preventing me from doing online banking, and the customer service representatives answering Messenger on TD’s official Facebook page, including the unforgettably named Raven, also said phone was the only option.

The reason I did the balance inquiries to begin with is because when I filed my 2018 taxes, I had the refund direct-deposited into my TD Bank account.  I realized later that because H & R Block said that I owed in spite of earning well below the standard deduction and received a refund only from New York State, so federal might not have bank information on file for me.  The couple who has been receiving my mail in lieu of trusting the shelter alerted me that I appeared to have received a U.S. Treasury check.  I picked this up on May 17 and attempted to deposit it at an ATM at the TD Bank on 50th Street and 7th Avenue, but the check was refused for both my checking account and my savings account, which was pennies in the negative because I was forced to withdraw money to do my laundry when the shelter wasn’t providing laundry cards, which they are required to do under the Callahan Law because the laundry area is for the sheets and towels and not open to anyone but hotel cleaning staff.  Only when Craig Hughes from Urban Justice Center called did they miraculously have cards again on March 18, and it hasn’t been an issue since then.  My laundry has cost me over $250 since I’ve been at this shelter and was getting no the majority of times I requested a laundry card, even though it’s not supposed to be my financial responsibility.  This is really a retread of old idea because when I complained about the laundry room at NAICA Bronx Park Avenue being off-limits except on weekends and thus constantly busy on those days to the point that not everyone got to do it even if he wrote his name on the sheet, that idiot DHS employee Paul Jardine construed it as me wanting others to wash and iron for me. Being a DHS employee, and DHS’s efforts to “prove” that I am mentally ill because I haven’t been getting responses to my job applications and have “outbursts” when the Callahan laws that are posted on the office door are violated with impunity, the guy has to be mentally ill to equate wanting the laundry room open on weekdays to wanting others to do my laundry for me.

Since the ATM lobby was empty most of the time, I decided to make the phone call then.  I must have misheard the recording, because it sure sounded like a fifteen-minute wait, but maybe it said fifty because it took over an hour before I got service.  Of course someone came in right around the time that they answered, but not someone who might have access to my wallet at some point.  My roommate has gone into the bathroom when I had my pants with my wallet in it hooked to the sprinkler (there are no hooks for clothes in the bathroom like a normal hotel would have), and I have gone into the bathroom in my pajamas with my locker open and the pants readily accessible inside.  It’s not that I expect my roommate to steal so much as simply taking precautions or forgetting to take precautions.   I was expecting the battery to die before the call was completed, but it only came very close.  The 86th and Lexington location has lots of sockets and USB ports and only a couple of small rooms for in-person banking. 50th and 7th is exactly the opposite–there were none in any little nook. While I waited, I looked through the many pieces of mail I got from TD talking about closing my account if I didn’t make a deposit.  Then I noticed a really suspicious document:

 

TD PayPal Allegation

I had recently spent precisely $30 over PayPal in April, but I was certain that I had paid with my Amalgamated Bank MasterCard.  Of course, I doubted myself and wondered how I could have made such a foolish mistake as to have paid with the wrong card.

When I got through to customer service, after explaining the situation, they said that they would not be able to help me and transferred me to the recovery department.  I got really outraged and loud, for which I eventually apologized (he said my response was pretty normal because most people who call are understandably stressed) because the representative said that he would not be able to open my account and would have to transfer me back to customer service, which also said before they transferred me that they could not reopen the account.  He did escalate the issue to another unit by e-mail who could be expected to call me in to two to three days to discuss possible recovery options and getting the fees taken off for error messages.   I really do not want my account closed.  I have my checking account number memorized, which makes depositing funds easier, but more importantly, I have plenty of unused checks that TD might not want to replace complimentarily even though the error was on their end.

And yes, the error was indeed on their end, absolutely and entirely.  When I got back to the shelter and turned my laptop on, I went immediately to my PayPal account.

This is what I found:

PayPal Transaxtion List

IWOC PayPal

Notice that there is only one transaction from February 19 to date, and that it was paid by “Amalgamated Bank Standard Debit/MasterCard Debit Card.”  PayPal has my TD Bank Visa Debit Card number on file, but I obviously did not use it by mistake.  TD Bank not only has absolutely no case for the overdraft fees or for closing my account, but the notice of the PayPal payment on my TD account is suggestive of fraud on TD’s part, which I believe is criminal rather than civil, which, if so, would mean that the comparatively low monetary value is not relevant to the case the way it would be in a civil case.  TD has no argument unless they want to try to argue that the images are doctored, which requires extraordinary evidence that they will not be able to provide short of some crony deal with PayPal to get them to change the records, which sounds conspiratorial and unlikely, or they could try to argue that I have a different PayPal account, but because I do not, they are going to have trouble proving that one, too.

PayPal has not been any help on the matter.  Like many sites, their customer service is atrocious and wants you to compartmentalize the problem in a pre-defined way.  The closest option to my needs was to report that I was charged twice for the same item.  They thus contacted the seller despite my description of the problem being with TD Bank and including the image of the TD Bank notice above.  I had to write to them again, which is an even more arduous process because you cannot reply to customer service e-mails, and the website makes it more difficult to send messages on an open case. They do have a messenger system. I wrote to the messenger with “Two different banks charged me for the same transaction.” First their bot tried to redirect me to “unauthorized transaction,” something for which PayPal has no record. Then I typed, “need more help, which is what it told me to write if the information provided did not solve the problem. The customer service representative, Marjorie, was a joke. The response from her was simply, “So all you have to do is to contact your bank.”

I then had to write to admin@ozclub.org and explain PayPal’s foolishness to them and the fact that a second bank is claiming that I made the payment from my account with them that is completely independent of the purchase of an annual membership, which I have no dispute that I wanted to do.

This is yet another example of how insipid the argument is that my homelessness is the result of a lack of qualification on my part because it cannot be argued that TD has handled this case ethically or that PayPal has handled this case competently, and of course there are employees behind all these problems who have stolen their jobs from competent people presumably simply because they were lucky enough to be contacted for an interview and good enough at interviewing that they got hired.

UPDATE May 23, 2020:

It turns out that PayPal charged my TD Bank account as soon as I hit the button to purchase on IWOC’s website. It was only after the charge failed to go through twice that they gave me the option to select my Amalgamated Bank account to make the purchase. There is criminality here, but it’s not on behalf of TD Bank, apart from charging me $6 for error messages. PayhPal customer service is trying to claim that it’s my fault because I didn’t have my Amalgamated account set to “preferred” when I made the purchase on the third party website. That’s an unacceptable and completely unethical claim. Customer service refuses to contact TD Bank and reverse the charge. The defaults on the merchant’s website should in no way have precluded me from deciding on my own from which debit card to make the purchase.

5 Comments
  1. It’s possible that the PayPal account that I use now is not the same PayPal account I was using 20 years ago when I was buying a lot of stuff on eBay, but if such an account exists, it would not have my current Visa debit number, which is fairly recent. TD sent all account holders tappable cards within the past couple of years, and the number is totally different on the current one from the one I used previously, which is actually still in my wallet. I know it doesn’t work mecause I did inadvertently try to make an online purchase (for a lot less than $30) with it and got declined.

  2. Amalgamated Bank has so few locations and keeps closing them left and right so I had to go all the way to Union Square yesterday to deposit my check, which wouldn’t bother me so much were it not for the pandemic. The only location in Brooklyn is in the Fulton Mall, which is a longer trip via mass transit than Union Square, involvng at least one transfer. whether I take the L eastbound to Broadway Junction and transfer to the A/C, or westbound at transfer to the G. Every Walgreens and Duane Reade has a Citibank Allpoint ATM, which can be used without charge by Amalgamated account holders; however, in spite of having a check deposit slo (presumably to avoid the expense of making a model without it), they are not programmed to allow deposits.

  3. TD Bank is exonerated. PayPal has now admitted that they automaticallty charged my TD Bank account twice before giving me the option to select from which account I wanted the money to come. I have demanded that that they reimburse all my bank costs including replacing the box of now-unusable checks. So far they aren’t budging. They’re claiming that it’s not their fault because I needed to check my settings first, but if they are charging me as soon as I hit the button on the merchant’s site, and I haven’t used it in a long time, I expect some sort of options for verification.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. The Thieving Ways of PayPal | Scott Andrew Hutchins
  2. All PayPal Customer Service Employees Are Functionally Illiterate | Scott Andrew Hutchins

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