Feeds

PayPal meltdown wreaks havoc on some ecommerce websites

'Bring me the head of the IPN admins!'

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.