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  #1  
12-30-2011, 02:21 PM
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kpmedia kpmedia is offline
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A lot of people sign up for various services as digital subscriptions through Paypal. Two of the most common uses I've seen are for (1) Premium memberships to sites, and (2) Recurring payments for web hosting services. It works well for both parties, as the business doesn't have to pay high credit card processing fees, and the customer can pay using a trusted payment gateway.

However, when users wish to cancel their services, they often mistakenly think that the website (business, company, person, etc) has any control over cancelling payments. They do not.


How Paypal subscriptions work:

Paypal subscriptions work like this:
  1. You sign up for a service, and they send you to Paypal.
  2. At Paypal, you start a new subscription with the website/service, and funds are sent to them based on the subscription schedule.
  3. In other words, the service and the payment happen separately.
When you want to cancel your membership (subscription, service, etc), you must cancel the Paypal subscription yourself !!!
This is done from within your Paypal account, for which the site/service has no access.


How to cancel a Paypal subscription:

Step 1: Login to Paypal: https://www.paypal.com
Feel free to not trust my link, and instead type https://www.paypal.com into your browser's web address bar! (That's what I'd do!)

Step 2: Go to History, and then Basic Search. You'll be taken to a new page of results.

paypal-sub-cancel1.jpg

Step 3: Look for the More Filters dropdown menu, and the go down to Subscriptions and Agreements, and then Recurring Payments, and then Transactions. You'll be taken to a new page of results.

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Step 4: The results page is usually very limited, showing only the current month of transactions. You'll want to alter the date range to include your sign-up date with the service. In this example, I changed the dates to show me all subscriptions for the past 4+ years. The transaction history will show both payments you have made, as well as accepted, either as buyer or seller of subscription services.

paypal-sub-cancel2.jpg

Step 5: Under the Order Status / Actions column, you'll be able to cancel the subscription.

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Step 6: Now that you're done cancelling with Paypal, be sure to cancel your service with the website/company as needed, if needed. Do not assume a service is cancelled just because you've decided to stop making payments. With a service like web hosting, this is imperative. Login to the business' helpdesk or support desk, and cancel the service (or submit a ticket, if that's the proper cancellation procedure).


What if the payment was already made?

At best, the business can refund your mistaken payment, which is entirely up to them, based on their policies. Trying to dispute a subscription payment for "digital goods" or "services" is generally a waste of your time. Paypal will side with the merchant for non-tangible goods and services.

The best advice I have is this: Don't be a jerk. Kindly ask that the payment be refunded, and submit your cancellation request. Threats, attempted blackmail, and "demanding satisfaction" will more likely result in the merchant telling you to piss off, in addition to being served a link to their policies that contain refund information not in your favor. Think about it this way: you sent them money and ordered a service. The company did not take it from you.


Why Paypal subscriptions are a nuisance for business owners:

This site used to use renewing subscriptions for Premium Members and even certain clients, but I changed it to one-time payments only. When the subscription runs out, members are put back into the Free Member group, and can simply re-subscribe to regain Premium Member benefits. While some experts insist that subscriptions cause greater retention, I'd counter that it also increases admin headaches.

I was tired of answering stupid questions, and replying to stupid comments like these:
  • Who are you and why did you charge my credit card?
  • I didn't give you permission to change me!
  • Your site is great, but I finished my project and don't need membership. Can you cancel and refund me? (And this person did this once per year for about 3 years. Each time, he ignored my instructions on how to cancel his membership.)
  • Stop charging me a fee! (The third response from the person above.)
As a merchant, your hands are tied. You're blamed for "charging" them when it is the customer who sends the money. Paypal does not have a rejection function for merchants. All we can do is refund and tell you what to do to stop future billing.

There's no cure for stupidity. (Yet.)



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  #2  
12-30-2011, 02:31 PM
christiwilsonc christiwilsonc is offline
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I don't know how to stop payment from PayPal. I canceled my hosting but I could not do anything regarding PayPal. They have the most confusing site. I looked and I don't see that I have any subscription for #### (or anyone for that matter) I just want to make sure they don't bill me.


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  #3  
12-30-2011, 02:36 PM
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kpmedia kpmedia is offline
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Your situation is very typical.

In fact, it exemplifies another, darker side to Paypal. Because Paypal buries their subscription information so far into the site, most people don't even realize they're scheduled to make a payment. Some shadier businesses actually count on this, because once they have your money, they have no intention of giving it back. The host we were discussing in private is a shady-as-hell operation, one of those web hosts that gives the entire industry a bad name. "Kiddie host" isn't a derogatory enough term for those sorts of duplicitous shysters.

Companies like that (and I use the term loosely, since most of them are one-man shows) have no interest in helping you cancel payment. In fact, I've often read where a bad host cancels the account, and keeps the payment when Paypal next issues it, because the former customer did not properly do it on their own.

So your concern is well-founded, and I hope this new guide helps you and others like you.

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  #4  
12-30-2011, 03:20 PM
christiwilsonc christiwilsonc is offline
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This is GREAT!!!! I followed the directions step by step and low and behold no subscription. But I am going to be watching on the 3rd/4th like a hawk. Thank you for all your help and hopefully I won't be charged. I will tell you later what I said in an email I sent

I think PayPal is remiss in not posting this in their FAQ or knowlegebase or their crappy "help desk/online chat". Geez.

Again, thank you...and if no one has said it lately- you are a wonderful helpful person and whether you know it or not, people do read and appreciate all the time and attention to detail you put into your responses.

Christi
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  #5  
01-02-2012, 06:20 PM
christiwilsonc christiwilsonc is offline
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Hi Kp,
I followed those steps above (gee paypal, way to make it easy) and found no subscriptions pending.

I have been really worried about a certain payment that might go through. I have been checking bank account daily for pending status just to be sure I somehow missed something. I went back to paypal and looked around again! I also found another way to do this.

I don't know how to get rid of personal information so the steps I took will just be steps of what I did. Feel free to add this to your tutorial and delete this post as you see fit.

Okay, go to your step 5
Click on details link of the account/subscription you wish to unsubscribe
This takes you to "Transaction details" page
You will see
Subscription Payment Sent (Unique Transaction ID # xxxxxxxxxxxxx)
See related S-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
You can see all of your recurring payments on the My preapproved payments.

Click on the "See related" link
That will take you to the subscription details page and from the you can cancel the subscription.

You have the ability to cancel the subscription and then again verify that you want to cancel. You will also receive an email verifying your cancelled subscription.

Dang if paypal doesn't make this hard!
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