Should I be worried about verifying with PayPal?
December 9, 2004 6:42 PM   Subscribe

I'm buying some phone accessories from someone on a web forum, and he insists on my being PayPal verified. As someone who otherwise does no business with PayPal, should I be leery of becoming verified? It worries me a little as it involves me giving PayPal my banking information.
posted by Mercaptan to Computers & Internet (16 answers total)
... should I be leery of becoming verified? It worries me a little as it involves me giving PayPal ...?
posted by caddis at 7:03 PM on December 9, 2004

"Phone accessories ... bank account"

That sounds like a "yes, be leery". I've used Paypal quite a bit for purchases from web-based stores and ebay merchants and metafilters, but I'm not verified and won't be. I could see that if I were lining up to use PayPal to pick up something expensive that I'd go along with the seller wanting some sort of non-repudiation, but regardless of whether or not PayPal is as evil or inept as some think, bank account seems to be a pretty high risk for phone accessories.
posted by mendel at 7:29 PM on December 9, 2004

I became verified when I signed up a few years ago and it wasn't a big deal. They put 27ยข in my bank account. I've bought and sold a bunch of shit.

The reason the seller wants you to be verified is so he (or she) knows that you're not going to screw him (or her) out of the deal.

For Paypal to take money out of your bank account, you'd have to authorize it. If you don't, then you can have your bank fight them. I would be more worried about the seller sending you stuff that works more than the evilness of Paypal.
posted by birdherder at 7:42 PM on December 9, 2004

If you're *really* worried, create a second bank account. Give that account info to Paypal. If you want to send someone money w/Paypal, transfer money from your "main" account into the "paypal" account, then do your business.

That way even if something should happen, there's no money in the account for someone to rip off.
posted by mrbill at 8:23 PM on December 9, 2004

Yes, you should be leery. No, you shouldn't do it.

It's like downloading illegal music. Statistically, there's little chance you'll get screwed by PayPal. But if it happens, you'll get really screwed. Weigh risk versus reward, and decide whether the phone accesories are worth it.

Frankly, I'd be leery of the seller. Why insist on verification? Verified users have scammed and gotten screwed by PayPal, too. It's a worthless badge.
posted by cribcage at 8:40 PM on December 9, 2004

Response by poster: I'm not so worried about the seller screwing me over. He's a fairly reputable member of this forum, I'm the one who's relatively unknown to this crowd (on HowardForums). And the total sum is just $35, so I'm not terribly worried about being ripped off by him.

I'm aware that Paypal has a crappy reputation, but as far as I can tell that's mostly from the seller's side of the operation. Still it's my bank account, and cribcage's point about the odds is right. I'll talk it over with this guy.
posted by Mercaptan at 8:46 PM on December 9, 2004

don't do it!

Have had bad experience with paypal freezing funds and erroneously charging credit cards. Don't even touch them is what I say.
posted by dabitch at 8:48 PM on December 9, 2004

oh, and if it matters any, I was an international verified with hundreds of verfied customers/sellers connected. Still got screwed. When they screw you they do it good. It's not an if it's when. They will.
posted by dabitch at 8:52 PM on December 9, 2004

See this Ask.mefi question from yesterday if you need more reasons to not do business with paypal.
posted by rajbot at 9:27 PM on December 9, 2004

Ok, so if we *did* have a paypal account tied into a bank account - is it possible to get it disconnected? Did so since my cc can't open a new account on paypal because, I think, I didn't reply to an email to read&accept the 'new' terms of use and they locked it down.

Do banks offer zero fee, zero charge accounts?

Are there alternatives to PayPal? Maybe get some groundswell support?
posted by PurplePorpoise at 11:26 PM on December 9, 2004

Response by poster: rajbot, yes, I've seen that one too. I'm on the buyer's side of the equation. And while I know that Paypal is a scummy bunch, if they do mess with my bank account, then that starts to intrude into territory where the federal banking laws do have influence.

I wanted to hear from people who are Verified and if this has had any impact on the bank account they linked to to become Verified.
posted by Mercaptan at 5:21 AM on December 10, 2004

The other part of all of this is that it takes time to get verified. So if you're just going thru all that for a one shot deal, you'd probably be better off just mailing the guy a money order and leaving it at that.

That said, I've used PayPal for years without incident. I'm sure they make mistakes from time to time, but it has always been reliable for me.
posted by spilon at 6:46 AM on December 10, 2004

I've never had problems with eBay, and I've been verified forever. In fact, I never had a credit card with them until recently, when they decided to have a holding period unless you had a credit card also.

Most people who have problems are sellers who have money in their account, get a chargeback, and have the account frozen.
posted by smackfu at 7:06 AM on December 10, 2004

I am with the use-a-smaller-account crowd. Get a different account, keep $100.00 in it, and let PayPal go hogwild with it. I would never, ever give PayPal my main bill-paying account number. Never. They are not regulated, and you as a consumer are not protected.
posted by Medieval Maven at 9:35 AM on December 10, 2004

If someone hacks your paypal account, they can withdraw all funds from your bank account. That is the primary reason not to use your bank account info with them.

Of course, I was silly enough to give it to them, and no harm has come in the 2 or 3 years since...
posted by knave at 1:09 PM on December 10, 2004

Response by poster: Epilogue:

I said it would take a few days to do and he dropped the Verified thing. So I paid with my regular Paypal account, he's shipping soon, and my bank account will remain relatively unsullied.

Thanks for your advice, folks.
posted by Mercaptan at 2:50 PM on December 10, 2004

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