PayPal’s Live Chat Falls Short

I just had a very strange interaction with a PayPal sales rep. I suppose I was sitting on the Website Payments Standard Pricing page for a while, so I was a prime target for a sell.

A pop-up appeared (that I failed to capture) asking me if I needed help, so I decided to say yes. I had used Apple’s Live Chat feature when purchasing my MacBook Air (wrote about it here), and I loved the experience. Both are powered by LivePerson, so I figured this could prove helpful as well.

Not exactly.

The conversation started like this:

My initial impression was that the chat window was a little buggy. Notice how the “Agent is typing a message” is cut off. And by the way, it was always there. Even when he wasn’t typing and I was.

I left the conversation — rather, Lee the agent left me abruptly — without getting the information I needed. I was simply asking about discount pricing for non-profits. He wouldn’t send me to a webpage, wanting instead to send the info via email. And for some reason wanted my name, business name and phone number to do it. When I asked why, he backed off and split. Extremely bizarre.

I’ve pasted the entire chat below, which lasted no more than 3 minutes. Read it for yourself and let me know how you would have taken this. It’s been an hour since Lee left the chat, and I still haven’t received the information from him. Just as I was pretty sure I was going to use PayPal for my client’s website donations, this experience has left me looking for other options.

Chat InformationPlease wait while we connect you with a sales representative.
Chat InformationYou are now chatting with Lee. For your security, PayPal representatives never ask for your account password.
Lee: Hi this is Lee. How can I help you?
Whitney: I am trying to find pricing for non-profits
Whitney: I’d like to set up credit card donations on our website
Lee: What is the email address on your PayPal account?
Whitney: i don’t have one yet
Lee: Ok
Lee: I can email you info on setting it up and using our donation service.
Whitney: that would be great
Whitney: it’s [email protected]
Whitney: is there a webpage I can go to?
Lee: What is your name, company name, and e-mail address?
Lee: And phone #
Whitney: why do you need all of that information?
Lee: Ok
Lee: I’ll get that info over to you.
Lee: Thanks for contacting paypal
Chat InformationThank you for contacting PayPal Merchant Services. If you require additional assistance, please feel free to contact us again.
Chat InformationYou are not currently in a chat session.

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  1. says

    The execution of IM tools seem to be so important – they have to be authentic – someone has to believe they are talking to a real person not an “auto response” tool. I want to be able to provide IM – but getting over the hurdles of executing this well is a challenge. Have you seen sites/places that do this well?

  2. says

    Wow, not only is the design a bit off, but that interaction is incredibly shady. Even if the design had been well conceived and visually appealing, I think I still would have been wondering what happened.

    I’d almost write to PayPal help and demand an explanation. I guess your email address isn’t too much information, but if it were me, I’d have a serious trust problem with PayPal. (In fact, reading this, I do have a trust problem with PayPal!)

  3. says

    Jeez, that is one weird sales rep. Isn’t he supposed to be the “Face of Paypal” when you address them?

    Kind of shady indeed, in fact, I’m closing up my paypal as we speak. To many phishing and shady things happen with their name/logo on/in it.

    Reading that log almost got me thinking he wasn’t really there to begin with.

    • danny Vu says

      Yeah, I just closed my after 10 year with them. There is no support only suck the money out of ya with e-bay and payal fee. I wish there is another payment system with free bank transfer or small fee and electronic inventories with small free we can all save… Sellers save and buyers save then we don’t need ebay and paypal hold us as pupets. Microsoft can do it since Bill Gate is more generous than those at Ebay. He can make change to make the world better. I quit to be Ebay and Paypal slave. Just think about it how much money to give them a year and how much they appreciate your support?????

  4. says

    The live chat at llbean is fantastic. There’s an old company that has embraced the best of the new technologies and run with them complementing an already successful venture.

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