A Good Example of Bad Customer Service (PayPal)

I recently soft-launched my leenk.me web app. leenk.me is a subscription based service that allows people to automatically post to Twitter and Facebook (more coming) whenever they post new content to their WordPress websites. I set the pricing as cheaply as I could, 99 cents every quarter for the basic account, and 2.99$ every quarter for plus accounts. I am using PayPal as my payment gateway, which is probably the easiest and fastest payment gateway to setup. I use to really like PayPal, I would have recommended PayPal to anyone, but their customer service stinks and this problem is just dumbfounding.

I found out a couple days before soft-launch that PayPal has this arbitrary 20% limit on increases to subscriptions. So, if I have a customer who wants to increase their basic membership to a plus membership, PayPal will reject the transaction automatically. The only “work around” is for the customer to cancel their basic membership and sign up for the plus membership. In other words, a real pain in the butt!

This was the conversation log I had with PayPal customer support via email:

From: Lew Ayotte
To: PayPal

Subject:  Amount  can  only  be  increased  by 20%

I  just  found  out  that  it  is not  possible  to  increase  a  subscription  by  20%.  My  web  service  has  two account  types,  the  Basic  account  is  .99$  every  three  months  and  the  Plus
account  is  2.99$  every  three  months.

Obviously,  20%  of  .99$  is  .20$,  so  I  am  well  exceeding  the  20%  limit.  I want  to  allow  my  customers  to  upgrade/downgrade  their  accounts  as  they want.  What  are  my  options?


From: PayPal
To: Lew Ayotte

Dear Lew Ayotte,

Hello, my name is ***** and I am happy to assist you with your question regarding the subscription amount.

In this case, you need to create another subscription button indicating the current amount.

Note: You can create a basic button without logging in, however for advanced button customization you will need to log in. To use the button designer, your web browser must be JavaScript enabled.

1. Go to the PayPal website and log in to your account.
2. Click “Merchant Services” at the top of the page.
3. Click “Subscribe” under Create Buttons.
4. Enter your information to customize the button to your needs.
5. Click “Create Button.”
6. Click “Select Code” to select the button code.
7. Copy and paste the button code into your own web page code.

Note: After creating your first button, click “Go to My saved buttons” and bookmark this page for easy access to your saved buttons.

Thanks for sharing your concerns with us. We value what you have to say, and we know situations like this can be difficult. If you have more questions, visit our Help Center by clicking “Help” in the top right corner of any PayPal page.

Sincerely,
*****
PayPal Consumer Support
PayPal, an eBay Company


From: Lew Ayotte
To: PayPal

I don’t think this answers my question…

My issue is with the 20% increase limitation on current subscribers wanting to upgrade.

If a current subscriber is paying .99$/mo for a basic account and wants to change their recurring payment to 2.99$/mo PayPal won’t let them, because it is over the 20% limit on increases.

Thank you.


From: PayPal
To: Lew Ayotte

Dear Lew Ayotte,

Thank you for contacting PayPal.

Hello my name is ****, I am sorry to hear about the situation regarding the limit that you would like to impose for your subscription, and understand your frustration and concern over this issue.  I am happy to assist you with your questions.

If you have customer who would like to upgrade, you can create another subscription with the upgraded amount by going to the Merchant Services tab and click on the Subscribe button. This will generate a new html code, however, instead of using the button code, there will be an email
tab on your “You are viewing your button code” page where you can copy and paste the link and send that link to your customer via an email so your customer can just click on the “Subscribe” button once he receives the email from you.

Thanks for sharing your concerns with us. We value what you have to say, and we know situations like this can be difficult. If you have more questions, visit our Help Center by clicking “Help” in the top right corner of any PayPal page.

Sincerely,
****
PayPal Consumer Support
PayPal, an eBay Company


From: Lew Ayotte
To: PayPal

Hello,

I am confused; sending the customer a new subscription code will upgrade their current recurring payment from my .99$ plan to the 2.99$ plan without the 20% limit error (https://cms.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/?cmd=_render-content&content_ID=developer/e_howto_api_WPRecurringPayments#id086530108PM__id08653060UE6)?

Thank you.


From: PayPal
To: Lew Ayotte

Dear Lew Ayotte,

If you have an issue with integrating PayPal on your website and are in
need of assistance, please open a Merchant Technical Support Ticket by
following the steps below:

1. Go to www.paypal.com and log in to your account.
2. Click ?Contact Us? at the bottom of the page.
3. Enter ?How do I contact merchant technical support,? and click
?Find.?
4. Click ?Developer Support,? and then click ?Developer Support?
again.
5. Click ?Merchant Technical Support.?
6. Enter the required information and click ?Continue.?
7. Click ?Finish Submitting Question.?

Thanks for sharing your concerns with us. We value what you have to say,
and we know situations like this can be difficult. If you have more
questions, visit our Help Center by clicking “Help” in the top right
corner of any PayPal page.

Sincerely,
PayPal Customer Service Department
PayPal, an eBay Company


From: Lew Ayotte
To: PayPal

Hello,

I created a subscription service for my website. The “basic” level is 99 cents, the “plus” level is 2.99$. I want my subscribers to be able to upgrade their accounts from “basic” to “plus”. However, when I tried to do this I got the error message:

Amount can only be increased by 20%

I have read that there is some arbitrary “20% rule” and I’d like to know what my options are. Obviously there is a big difference between .99 and 2.99, I’d like to make the upgrade process as easy as possible for my subscribers.

Thank you.
Lew A

P.S. This will be the fourth time I’ve asked this question. The first two answers told me to create a new subscription button. The third answer told me to contact you, “Merchant Technical Services”.


From: PayPal
To: Lew Ayotte

Hello Lew Ayotte,

Thank you for contacting us about Website Payments Standard Subscription on the PayPal Live Site.

We are reviewing your issue and will get back to you when we have an update.

Sincerely,
Merchant Technical Services
PayPal, an eBay Company


From: PayPal
To: Lew Ayotte

Hello Lew,

thank you for contacting MTS Technical Service.

It is indeed true that you can only increase the amount by 20% which is not the case for you. That’s why you get this error message. Unfortunately, there is nothing what we can do about this.

Feel free to contact us if you have further questions.

Kind regards,

*******

Comments

  1. I’d love to know which nutjob at Paypal came up with this 20pc figure.

    I’ve read that the Website Payments Pro package (along with the recurring billing add-on) will remove this limitation (at a cost of £40 per month!).

  2. This shows how does the PayPal make earning.

    I am frustrated too with the limitation.

  3. I just ran into this very same shit.

    What a bunch o’ crock.

  4. Jaypalsinh says

    Amount can only be increased by 20%
    How can i upgarde my account more than 20% in paypal