Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Behold! 'Tis the Scarlet Letter of Paypal Shame

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Behold! 'Tis the Scarlet Letter of Paypal Shame

Article excerpt

PLEASE ENTER A VALID ADDRESS.

Don't you hate when computers tell you what to do?

Especially when they do it in capital letters. Or, even worse, red letters.

I saw the nasty red letters three weeks ago, when I tried to purchase a DVD of "The World According to Garp" on eBay, after my first destination -- Amazon.com -- let me down.

It's been years since I've seen the movie, which stars Robin Williams and Glenn Close. So, I went to Amazon and ... FOUND IT!

For $49.09.

So, I did an Internet search, hoping to find something cheaper. Instead, I found private sellers who had the DVD but wouldn't part with it for less than $79.

Apparently, the DVD is OOP (out of print), which means that if you want to buy it, you have to sell your house first, which means you'll be living in the street when it arrives and have no place to watch it.

On a hunch, I traveled over to eBay, a site I haven't used in years. And there it was! "The World According to Garp" for $12.95! Hooray!

I put in my bid, waited, waited ... and ... eureka! Two days later, the movie was mine.

Almost.

When it came time to make the payment, I had to do it with my credit card, via PayPal.

A large PayPal form popped up on my screen and I filled it out. Name, address, credit card number, the expiration date on my credit card and the "secret code" on the back of my credit card. (Is it really a secret? Every website in the world knows my secret code.)

Then I clicked a button and the evil red type appeared.

PLEASE ENTER A VALID ADDRESS.

Oh, stupid me, I thought to myself. I entered my address incorrectly.

Or did I?

I studied my address. It looked right to me. My number, my street, my town (Wood-Ridge) and my ZIP code (07075).

I re-entered all of the info again.

PLEASE ENTER A VALID ADDRESS.

I Googled my ZIP code, just to make sure, and entered it a third time.

PLEASE ENTER A VALID ADDRESS.

I grumbled, mumbled and called the PayPal/Need Help? number at the top of the page. I then waited on hold for 73 hours, until the battery in my phone died.

Frustrated, angry and miserable, I sent a polite email to my new enemy, PayPal. No luck. So I sent an email to eBay. No luck. So I sent an email to the seller. …

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