Archive for April, 2008
At lunch last Friday, I learned about “the float.” Today, I found this article, What PayPal does with your money that says, “The money-transfer service earns interest on funds in its custody” and describes how other folks are kind of miffed at paypal. Cool. I’m not alone.
Actually, now that it’s been explained to me, I’m not miffed anymore. Now, I’m just puzzled. Why couldn’t the customer service folks tell me about the float?
service rep: “Listen, chick, you get this service for free. In order keep it free, we need to accrue some interest. You signed an agreement that said your money could be combined with others and blah blah blah.”
Done and done.
I am schooled in the ways of human factors. I know that if your user feels dumb, there is probably something wrong with your system. I know that you should give your user a way to back out of a mistake. I know that most of the “user errors” that cause harm could have been prevented by better design.
I feel dumb.
Here’s my situation: Yesterday, I tried to transfer money from my checking account to my paypal account. It didn’t show up. I poked around and finally noticed the “details” link on the transaction and learned it was going to take 3-5 business days to transfer the money. That wasn’t what I had in mind. I searched for a way to cancel the transaction. No dice.
I called my bank. “Nothing we can do.”
I called paypal. “It takes 3-5 business days. Nothing we can do.”
me: “Why does it take 3-5 business days?”
service rep: “It takes 3-5 business days. Nothing we can do.”
me: “May I talk to your supervisor?”
service rep: “Sure. But she’ll tell you the same thing.”
me: “Ok. I’d like to hear it from someone else.”
service rep’s supervisor: “3-5 business days. Nothing we can do. It’s a process. If you want to complain you can print this form and mail it in.”
me: “You are an online service and you want me to print and mail something?”
service rep’s supervisor: “You could email firstname.lastname@example.org”
me: “Right. That sounds really helpful. Thanks.”
I was kind of huffy at this point and sent out a couple tweets. Then, here’s where I feel really dumb: On the “Add funds by electronic transfer” page in paypal, just above the drop-down and text entry field is this line, “It takes 3-5 business days to electronically transfer funds from your bank account to your PayPal account.”
Ok. You told me. But, I missed it. I’m dumb. And that mistake will cost me 6-10 days without access to my money while it sits in limbo to transfer from my bank to paypal then more limbo when I transfer it back to my bank account.
I get it. Dumb. But, how is it that when I buy my groceries down the road the transaction shows up in my online checking account before I’m home? How is it that when I pay my bills online, the payment is taken out of my account the day that I say I want it taken out of my account and it doesn’t take 3-5 business days for the company I’m paying to receive the payment? How is it that if I make an error in paying someone, I can call my bank and say, “don’t let that one go through?”
Ideally, I’d like a way to stop a process and don’t understand why paypal can’t stop a process that they initiate. (Could someone explain that one to me?)
At a minimum, could they give me some sort of alert message after I click, “submit” that says, “Are you sure? Are you really really sure? Go back and read the terms, dummy.”
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