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Old 10-03-2011, 06:07 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Chicago
Posts: 11,948
Can paypal debit my bank account without my permission?

I did try to Google, but all I ended up with a mess of sites on how to get around paypal and eBay rules. Here's the story. I recently created a paypal account with my current email address to pay dues for a fantasy sports league. Today, I get an email telling me that my account is 'limited' because I have another paypal account under an AOL email address that I haven't used since the early 2000s with a debit balance. Now, from 1999-2001, I was buying and selling on Ebay and I used paypal for some of those transactions. I"m not aware of anything that went wrong and certainly don't know about a negative balance. I haven't been on AOL email or Ebay since probably 2004 at the latest.

I'm dreading the idea that paypal will probably debit my current bank account for the roughly 200 dollar debit balance that I supposedly owe in the old AOL paypal account. Paypal won't let me remove my bank account from the new paypal account under my current email.

I can't really find anything in their user agreement. The paypal balance in my new account is currently zero.

I'm afraid I see a long, time consuming mess ahead.
Old 10-03-2011, 06:27 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: SE Michigan
Posts: 5,146
I had a similar sorta experience involving an old, old PayPal account and a new one getting somehow conflated. They weren't trying to take money from me though, they just wenern't letting me use the new account.

Assuming that what you got is legit and not some sort of phishing scam (which may be likely, I certainly wouldn't hand out any information online), I'd call PayPal customer service and talk to a human. They're quite helpful.

Your circumstances indicate that whatever communication you've received from PayPal isn't legit....not sure how it would be possible to run up a debit?
Old 10-03-2011, 06:43 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Chicago
Posts: 11,948
I think the communications are legit: The new yahoo email and the old AOL email are completely different email addresses, not sharing any characters in common.

We see that your PayPal account registered at<my new email> is
connected by one or more pieces of personal information to another PayPal
account registered at <my old email>, which is currently negative
-189.72. Before we can remove the limitation from your accounts, you first
need to resolve the negative balance on any associated account(s).

You may choose to complete a payment in one of the following ways:

Call us at the phone number provided below and complete a
payment over the phone or provide authorization to transfer funds.
Send a check or money order to the following address (please
indicate the associated email address in the memo):

PayPal Accounting
PO Box 45950
Omaha, NE 68145-0950

If we do not receive a response from you within 14 days,
funds from your PayPal account with a positive balance will be deducted to
resolve the negative balance on your associated PayPal account.

For more information on reasons why we limit access to accounts, please
refer to the 'Closing Accounts and Limiting Account Access' section of our
User Agreement.

You can contact our Customer Service at 1-866-648-5870 for further


Please do not reply to this email. This mailbox is not monitored and you
will not receive a response. For assistance, log in to your PayPal account
and click the Help link in the top right corner of any PayPal page.

PayPal Email ID PP1589
Old 10-03-2011, 08:07 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: SE Michigan
Posts: 5,146
Huh. Looks legit, in that they tell you to log into PayPal or contact them by phone.

I'd call them, I would. They ought to be able to give you an accounting of how you ended up almost $200 in the hole. If you owe it...well then I guess you have to pay up and move on. As long as it's legitimate, I guess they can rightfully take it since you gave them the banking information voluntarily. If there's a dispute, hopefully you can work it out.
Old 10-03-2011, 08:51 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Chicago
Posts: 11,948
I'd be willing to pay them, but I'm 99.99% sure I don't owe anything, I can't log into the old AOL email address. I don't remember the password nor can I answer any of the challenge questions, which were probably added years after I last accessed that email address. I'll call them tomorrow when I am less angry. I'm guessing they have a name match and that's it since that old email had been dormant for about ten years.
Old 10-03-2011, 09:58 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Southern Indiana
Posts: 4,040
The first thing I would do is forward the email to: [email protected] If it is a scam, they will get back to you telling you so. You can call them, too, they really are very helpful, they have helped solve several probems for me thru the years.
Old 10-04-2011, 06:14 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 11,413
Something else that comes to mind: if this *was* a legitimate balance, it's 10 years old. And it's a debt which was owed to Paypal.

As such, it should be subject to some kind of statute of limitations governing how long a creditor can pursue old debts. Sounds like Paypal didn't try all that hard to resolve it at the time, and I don't know that they have a legal leg to stand on.

1) contact your bank. Tell them you wish to revoke Paypal's access to your account. I have to assume there is a way to lock them out from that side of things.

2) Contact Paypal, and ask for a detailed statement of ALL transactions on your old account, and that barring that, you challenge that you even have such a balance.

Is it possible that someone you sold something to issued some sort of challenge / chargeback, and Paypal refunded the money to them and you missed the notice back then?
Old 10-04-2011, 06:29 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 11,413
Do some googling of "paypal" and "statute of limitations", there are a number of instances where people have been pursued by Paypal, many years after a supposed debt occurred. One such mentioned a paypal user agreement, but of course I would think a user agreement could not supersede federal or state law, even if you clicked on "yep, you can go after me forever, and my children and grandchildren until the sun goes nova".

Treat it as any other outdated credit and demand written documentation of the amount they claim is due.

And do check with your bank to see if they can put a stop to Paypal being able to debit your account. It sounds pretty fishy that Paypal can unilaterally prevent you from unlinking them!!
Old 10-04-2011, 06:35 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 11,413
One relevant cite:

And another one: - that says that Paypal can't pursue through the courts, but presumably can chase you through other means (including attempting to nab your bank account that you've already linked, apparently).
Old 10-04-2011, 07:33 PM
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 1,178
I had the exact same issue. I set up a paypal account and they somehow linked it to my fathers account and then proceeded to limit my account because he had a negative balance.

In order to clear the matter, they want my bank info as well as my SSN.

I dont think so.

Also, how do you get a negative balance with paypal? It's a not a credit line.
Old 10-04-2011, 11:19 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 11,413
Originally Posted by Quintas View Post
...Also, how do you get a negative balance with paypal? It's a not a credit line.
As with one of the cites I found above: you sell something, you get paid, you withdraw the money (or spend it on something else), the buyer of your "something" files a claim or their money turns out to be stolen or whatever, and Paypal takes it away from you, only there's no money left in your account.

Same thing as if you get a check, deposit it into your bank account, it "clears" 5 days later, you spend the money, and a few weeks later it turns out the check was fraudulent so the bank takes it right back out of your account.

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