PayPal crawls after messaging glitches
Some punters pay double, PayPal promises to 'make you whole' in recompense
PayPal has been hit by glitches that have in some cases confused users of the service so much they paid for the same item twice.
The most severe issue has hit the service's instant payment notifications (IPNs), the messaging system that sellers rely on to learn of transactions conducted using the payment service. IPNs have been delayed or even stopped, leaving buyers and sellers alike unsure if transactions have been successful. Some buyers have assumed the worst and conducted the transaction a second time, only to learn – once PayPal's IPNs landed – that they have paid twice.
PayPal is aware of the problem and has promised, in a statement sent to El Reg, that “All customers will be refunded for duplicate transactions as soon as possible.” The statement also went on to say “We will work with every customer affected to make them whole,” which seems a rather new age way of dealing with a payment system problem, and a statement the psychologically wounded among PayPal's customer base will do well to interpret carefully.
PayPal 'fessed up to the problem just after 7:00 AM on January 28th (GMT), when users started to notice slow transaction processing and IPNs arriving in a less-than-timely fashion. The issue ran for around fifteen hours, with incident update published at around 9:00PM (GMT) stating “We have implemented a fix and IPNs for transactions processed after Jan 28, 10:47 AM PST (Jan 28, 6:47 PM GMT) are being sent now."
"We are expecting IPNs for new transactions to start being delivered in near real-time within the next hour," the company added, promising catch-up on older IPNs within 24 hours.
An update from around 11:00PM GMT has since assured customers “IPNs for new transactions are currently being delivered in near real-time” and that a backlog of unprocessed IPNs will be cleared “within the next 24 hours”.
A second problem hurting performance of the DoExpressCheckout, DoReferenceTransaction and DoDirectPayment APIs, which the company says are producing a “higher than usual error rate” and ran for nearly three hours before it was repaired. Another brief issue hurt the Payflow Link and Payflow Pro on the Payflow Gateway, but was resolved in under an hour.
PayPal has not explained the cause of the outage and declined to respond to The Reg's query regarding how many transactions and/or punters were caught in the glitches, saying only that “A small proportion of PayPal's global customers making payments during the 3-hour period were affected.”
The “3-hour period” mentioned in the PayPal statement sent to The Reg does not correspond to the gap in time between the notification of the fault and restoration recorded on the company's status update page for the incident. We've therefore asked PayPal for clarification, but have been told PayPal Australia's spokesdroids are overseas and may take some time to reply. When they do, we shall update this story. ®
eBay and PayPal Systems have been Unstable for at Leat Three Months
There have been so many problems with both eBay and PayPal systems for the past two months I keep wondering how they were not making the news.
Problem 1: If you add a new shipping address during eBay checkout it automatically changes your default shipping to the immediate previous address you added without your permission. Then if you are someone who make a lot of purchases you may find that your items are shipped to a third party address you added sometime in the past because ebay decided to use it as your default address without you explicitly doing so.
Problem 2: Since the middle of November most items you purchase and pay for are missing from your transaction history. To get transactions for January 19th for example you have to specify a date range starting with January 19th and ending with January 19th. After over two months this problem has not been fixed.
Problem 3: Sales Taxes: eBay automatically dropped sales taxes from all our items last week. Instead of harassing our buyers who were not charged sales taxes at checkout, we ended up just absorbing the additional cost of at least a few hundred dollars.
Problem 4: Duplicate transactions. Early this morning we attempted to pay for a large number of items we won. eBay checkout failed with an error asking that we attempt to submit payment later. We tried making payment three times before we realized that even though checkout failed and the items still show up as unpaid in eBay the payment was made from PayPal on all three occasions even though eBay still showed the items as unpaid.Took a message to our account manager to have all the transactions reversed and cost us a few hours
Problem 5: Every day a different interface, with different features and different defaults. One would expect to site changes wold be thoroughly tested before production implementation, not foisted on users as guinea pigs
These problems are not the entire list, there has been so many more.
Checkout Problems: Selling items and buyers are unable to complete checkout because the transaction just randomly fail and neither eBay or PayPal can explain to the buyer why their payment cannot go through. So they instruct the buyer to ask us to invoice them directly via PayPal.
I make a decent living using both eBay and Paypal and am used to being frustrated by the fact that every six month or so over the past four years they implement significant changes that affect our business. Usually negatively. But the past three or so months have been really testy. It is just unbelievable that companies of this size can have systems that behave this randomly.
The current problems are not isolated issues. yes they are more widespread than earlier problems but this has been going on for a while.
Pay Pal, an alternative spelling for ...
They also provide data to the US government, without warrants.
Problem with Resubmitting payments
Another problem that has been around for the past two months is errors resubmitting payments after a refund or reversal.
Let say a buyer submitted payment with a PO Box address and you have to refund it because you use UPS and do not ship to a PO box address. Or a buyer of a high value item need to item shipped to an alternate address from that submitted with the payment and you have to refund the payment so they can resubmit with the correct address. For the past two months the repayment failed with a message that the item had ended and is no longer available even though it is still shown as unpaid and you can still send an ebay invoice.
For a seller this is a hassle for your buyers and most times means the sale is lost.
This is also the error we are getting when we try to make payment for the items for which the payments were reversed yesterday.
Yeah, in any system you expect a few errors here and there but these have been running for months. That is what is acceptable about the current state of eBay and paypal applications. How do they expect us to continue trusting them with our moneys and livelihood.