Here I am, sitting at my computer, listening to the incomparable soprano, Marita Solberg in order to refresh my mind and consider my next move. After almost three weeks of trying to join PayPal – I’m still unable to do so.
The debacle started because the publisher of Sabine Dolls only does monitory transaction through PayPal. I had no choice, therefore, but to join - or as I said, try to.
I opened a rudimentary account, only to be told that they'd put a restriction on it because they'd detected some "unusual activity". In order to lift the restriction, they said, we only need a proof of address from you.
I tried to send them a copy of an official letter but discovered they only accept files with certain file extensions on them. Now, being a complete numskull around computers, I had to get the computer "medicine man" in the town to change my chosen proof of address letter to a different file extension. (PayPal, I also discovered when I tried to send one with a query e-mail, doesn't accept attachments of any kind).
After finally sending them a copy of the same letter, this time with the correct file extension, they came back to tell me they now needed one of my bank statements, so I had to wait until my bank did one for me. Bulgarian banks, you see, don’t bother putting addresses on their statements.
In between all this toing and froing, I got several stock e-mails from PayPal, all from different people, saying that I only had to send my proof of address and then they would unlock my account. Unlock my account? It had never even been opened. But I couldn't be bothered to tell them that because, apart from running around getting bits of paper for them, I still have my third novel to complete – an activity which to me is much more interesting.
A few days after sending the required bank statement, I checked my account again, to find a new requisite which was proof of identity. After a bout of consequent unrepeatable language, it occurred to me that PayPal must have suspected by then that I was a member of the Bulgarian Mafia, which made me laugh - a lot!
All this brings me up to this morning, when I tried to upload a copy of my passport, (only the page with the picture) which PayPal promptly rejected because the "File was too long, please reduce it." (They said somewhere else, "please make sure the picture is large enough to see", but no matter) How the hell am I going to bloody-well reduce a simple passport picture with my computer skills, I thought? Ah well, I'll use my Drivers Licence instead, so off I go to get it. When I pulled that out, I saw with a sinking feeling, something I'd forgotten: it has my last address on it, which was in the UK. Bulgaria accepts UK passports but -"Oh my Gad", I thought, if I send PayPal that, in their arid way, they'd think: a woman living in Bulgaria, taking ages to produce a bank statement with an address, and then sending us a driving license with a different address to her Bulgarian one - she really must be a Mafia member!
What to do now - get frustrated and then try again? I think not. I've just written to my publisher to say that PayPal can - well - do the other thing, and we’d have to find other ways of me getting money to him, and he getting royalties to me.
What I wanted to say here is that organaisations like PayPal: beauracratic, emotionless that they are, purport to perform a service, but are only too ready to present obstacles, when a hapless, potential customer, isn't fitting into one of their boxes. They should know this: they aren’t doing the public a service, the public are doing them one by paying them to transact for them. If they cared about causing annoyance to people, which they say they do, (while coining in their commission, of course), they’d accept simple e-mail attachments, like most mere-mortal organisations. If they are worried about viruses, then I say there are enough good anti-viruses around now to zap anything untoward that some, deranged person, might want to send them in an-mail.
Hey-ho, so I've got to find another way of getting copies of my book from my publisher now. But I'd rather suffer the vexation of that and still hang on to my sanity.
So, I'm going to put on another of Marita's arias and write another passage or two, while I think of what to do next. PayPal? PayPurgatory fits better, I think.