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PayPalSucks.Org, Home of the PayPalSucks.Org Cartoons & critical commentary on PayPal.com Why PayPal freezes (aka limits, aka restricts) user accounts and how to get it unfrozen (aka unlimited, aka unrestricted).

Knowing why PayPal froze your account has a lot to do with how to get it unfrozen.

Based on others stories and experiences, here are some possible reasons:

  • you have more than one PayPal account, or PayPal thinks you have more than one PayPal account.
  • you clicked on a link in an email that you thought was from PayPal, but it really was a phishing expedition.
  • you moved into a house or apartment that used to be occupied by a con artist who used PayPal to steal.
  • you got a new phone number, one used by a con artist who used PayPal to steal.
  • you use an ISP that assigned you an IP that was used by a con artist who used PayPal to steal.
  • you paid someone, like a con artist who used PayPal to steal.
  • someone paid you, like a con artist who used PayPal to steal.
  • your name and/or address is similar to a con artist who used PayPal to steal.
  • you sold something to someone who questioned it's authenticity.
  • you bought something from someone who had someone else question the integrity of something they sold to you.
  • you registered a bank account or credit card that someone else used one time.
  • you accessed PayPal at a friends house one time, and that friends account was frozen.
  • your friend used your computer to access their PayPal account, which was later frozen.
  • you sold an item that is a common item often sold by con artists who used PayPal to steal
  • you bought an item that is a common item often sold by con artists who use PayPal to steal
  • you accessed PayPal via an anonymous proxy service.
  • you sent more than $2000 to someone. (See Former PayPal Employee #2)
  • you received more than $2000 from someone. (See Former PayPal Employee #2)
  • you participated (knowingly, or unknowingly) in the "work at home" money shuffling scam.
  • you sent money to someone in foreign country that PayPal considers "evil."
  • you received money from someone in a foreign country that PayPal considers "evil."
  • you used your PayPal ATM card in a foreign country that PayPal considers "evil."
  • your account was "corrupted" by a criminal posing as a PayPal employee. (See Former PayPal employee #1 and WhistleBlower #1.)
  • and other reasons that only PayPal knows about.... Welcome to the world of PayPal customer service.

    Paypal froze my account. How do I get my money back?

    The key to the solution is knowing which one of the reasons above caused the account to be frozen in the first place. If they are accusing you of being someone else, you need to convince PayPal you are not. Most likely, PayPal is not going to believe anything you say. And if you admit to knowing the person they have linked to your account, it seems that makes the problem worse. It could be a legitimate error on PayPal's part. Like your phone number or address are the same ones used previously by someone else. Someone who had a problem with PayPal. So you might try showing PayPal that their information is old and outdated. If on the other hand, they are linking accounts based on ISP or IP, you'll have to prove to them when you got your ISP and that it's not at the same time as when the other person allegedly used it.

    Your account could also be linked based on who you paid and who paid you. This will probably be impossible to resolve. If you made more than one payment or received more than one payment from an account PayPal has determined is fraudulent, the game is pretty much over. The only recourse I see is challenging the assessment made on the other account. You'd have to work with that other party to prove to PayPal that they are wrong in their determination. Hire lawyer. Spend money. Roll the dice.

    It could also be you used a friends computer or they used yours. This is going to be very difficult. Or it could be any of the other reasons listed above. I would suggest you write a letter to the attorney general of Nebraska, California and your state. Tell them what happened, just like it happened. Ask that they investigate. Get their information on the Links Page. You might also hire a local attorney to write a letter on your behalf. Our experience is that PayPal completely ignores user complaints, phone calls, faxes, & email, but does respond to government investigators and private lawyers. From a user in the UK: People living in the UK can complain to the BBCs consumer watchdog program, or the FSA or the FSO or you can write to: The Office of the Financial Ombudsman Service, South Quay Plaza, 183 Marsh Wall, London E14 9SR.

    They froze my account and demanded that I fax them documentation. I did, but they said they didn't get it. Now what?

    First realize PayPal is asking for that information for their own purposes, not yours. Providing the information might get your account unfrozen if it's one of the "identity" issues above. However giving PayPal that information also provides them with information they could use against you if they don't believe you. If you believe this is just an honest misunderstanding, and you trust PayPal with your information, you should prepare copies of all the documents they ask for and mail them to PayPal. We suggest you create two sets of documents and mail them certified mail, Return Receipt Requested, to the two addresses we have for PayPal (see the FAQs page) with a letter explaining the situation. You should always send them certified mail, RRR, so you can prove that you did, and when you did it. When you get your green cards back in the mail, if PayPal has not resolved the problem, make copies, and write your letter to the Attorneys General of your state, California and Nebraska. (You can find this info on the links page.) Include your letter to PayPal, your copies of the green cards and a letter asking that the AG's start an investigation. Don't bother playing the fax game. It's just a ploy/delay tactic.

    Additionally, you may report complaints to the Complaint Assistance Unit of the Division of Consumer Services of the Department of Consumer Affairs by contacting them in writing at 400 R Street, Sacramento, California 95814, or by telephone at (800) 952-5210.

    According to the terms of the class action lawsuit settlement agreement, PayPal is supposed to provide you with the reason your account was frozen, and the information they have (subject to their privacy policy and fraud prevention policy). You should ask for this information if they don't give it. It may tell you what direction you need to go to resolve the problem.

    Also, note that just because you get your account cleared up this time, there is nothing to prevent PayPal from freezing it again. It seems, once an account is flagged, it'll always be on the "suspect" list. They rely a lot on computer analysis of accounts and too little on common sense.

    Lastly, I have to say... PayPal is not crack. You can walk away from it anytime. I hope you'd step back and think about it, why would you want to do business with a company that puts you through all this in the first place?

    Discuss this issue in the forums, or go back.