Feeds

PayPal meltdown wreaks havoc on some ecommerce websites

'Bring me the head of the IPN admins!'

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

A glitch in PayPal's payment verification system is wreaking havoc on some ecommerce sites that depend on the service. For more than 48 hours, the bug in PayPal's instant payment notification has made it impossible for them to process orders, owners of these businesses complain.

Making matters worse, the glitch causes credit card holders who place orders to be billed even though they are unable to take delivery of the goods or services they've just purchased. PayPal customers began reporting the difficulty on Thursday morning and at time of publication - more than two days later - PayPal owner eBay was still struggling to fix the problem.

"We can't accept payments done with PayPal which is a really large share of our payments since most of our customers are from America and PayPal is almost a de facto standard or means for online payment there," Rikard Froberg, technical director of eClassical.com wrote in an email. "The customer knows nothing about this, orders and pays but never gets the goods he paid for, or gets them very late (for instant delivery, the patience is very short) so it looks like the store ripping the customer off."

Others are fuming, too. Denizens of this forum, among others, are calling for the head of PayPal admins, who are said to have caused the outage when updating the instant payment notification (IPN) system. They also complain that PayPal was slow to acknowledge the problem. The company didn't inform users of the glitch until Friday afternoon, more than 24 hours after complaints began rolling in.

PayPal spokeswoman Amanda Pires said Saturday that a "percentage of merchants a percentage of the time" don't receive an IPN. Company developers are scrambling to fix the problem. "We are looking at this as a high priority fix," she said. "We've been working around the clock. We're hoping to have a fix as soon as possible."

Asked to estimate that percentage of customers or the percentage of times they receive failures, Pires said it's "much less than the majority of the time."

For his part, Froberg says all IPNs to eClassical.com are broken. The Sweden-based website sells DRM-free classical music in real time, so the glitch means that it's customers have paid for files they are unable to download. Many eCommerce websites run on scripts that don't complete a transaction until an IPN is received from PayPal. eClassical.com also accepts credit card payments.

The meltdown comes as eBay is requiring some customers to use PayPal if they want to continue using the service. It also comes on the heels of Friday's discovery of serious scripting error on the PayPal site that could have enabled attackers to create convincing spoof pages that stole users' authentication credentials. It took PayPal several hours, but the company's security pros eventually squashed the security bug. ®

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
Microsoft: We're making ONE TRUE WINDOWS to rule us all
Enterprise, Windows still power firm's shaky money-maker
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.