Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Taking Care of Business

On a international crafting forum, someone who does not reside in the US was complaining because her PayPal account had fallen victim to fraud. She was angry because PayPal was making her pay for the fraudulent charges, when there was no way she could have made them, because she was in the hospital giving birth! I sympathize with victims of fraud, and it can happen to anyone. It's a headache getting things sorted out, although usually you can work to get fraudulent charges removed without having to pay them. This person claims no one at PayPal is willing to work with her. Someone else said her husband had fraudulent PayPal charges show up, and although it took a lot of work, things did get taken care of in the end. Perhaps the fact that the original poster does not live in the US means she is getting poorer customer service, which of course is not right, but may help explain her difficulties. On the other hand, it almost sounded like she was simply expecting PayPal to take her giving birth story at face value, and that's just not what a business does. Does the general public not know anything about running a business anymore?

In the comments section, people were looking for all kinds of alternatives to PayPal. The problem right now is: there isn't any. Not that handles so many countries and so many different currencies, at a reasonable price. And why would a handful of people running a international forum site want to get into the difficulties and risks of handling international transactions anyway? Bottom line is that right now PayPal is the only game in town.

Unfortunately, the take away from this by the original commenter? Maybe some nice, crafting-friendly person will someday start an alternative to PayPal. I definitely wouldn't mind seeing a PayPal competitor. As I just said above, right now the business has a monopoly. However, if such a competitor actually enters the market, it won't matter if the founder is "nice" or enjoys sewing or woodworking. What a business founder really needs? Money. In the LEGO community, there was at least at one time a system where if two people wanted to buy/sell LEGO, but they didn't know each other, a trusted third person would agree to receive the funds and let the seller know it was safe to ship. But that's one transaction, in a community where the most trusted people were often known in real life to many in the group. Heck, Mr. BTEG and I even had dinner with one of the big names in LEGO collecting, when the Musician was just a wee little thing. But expecting to run an international business? You'd better have some start-up capital, and expect to gain trust slowly. And sharing a hobby with someone else in private life, does not change how fraud needs to be handled in public life. I do hope this woman can work through the fraud issues, but it won't be because the business is "nice."

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