My view on Yahoo! appointment of PayPay President Scott Thompson as their new CEO

{EAV:84adeba5c5b1539f} I read The Guardian’s article with great disdain this evening, announcing that PayPal President Scott Thompson is being appointed as Yahoo’s new CEO.

A business that’s failed to innovate, allowed competitors to get ahead & steal their market share (Flickr as a prime example of this failure, demonstrated by the rise of Instagram, 500px and ors), and failed to look after & listen to their customers – has appointed a CEO who was president of a company who has failed to innovate, allowed competitors to steal market share, and consistently fails to listen to customers (today’s example of the $2,500 antique violin destroyed to prove a claim is the latest example, as well as my ongoing horrors with this nightmare of a company come to mind).

So this caused me to cast my mind back, and made me think of this quote from Season Five of The West Wing (#504, “Han”). Toby and Will are trying to write a speech on the appointment of Bob Russell as the new veep.

Having hit the wall of writers block hard, they delve into the absurd and unprofessional to best sum up their feelings about Bingo Bob Russell. You could replace all references to Bingo Bob in the following quotes with Scott Thompson – and you’d pretty much hit the nail on the head:

“‘Distinguished’ is as high as we go. You’d have to be high to go loftier. Here’s what it should be: ‘In a triumph of the middling, a nod to mediocrity, and with gorge rising, it gives me great nausea to announce Robert Russell — Bingo Bob, himself — as your new Vice President.'”
Will is typing this and gets into the spirit, adding, “This lapdog of the mining interests is as dull as he is unremarkable—”
“— as lackluster as he is soporific…. this reversion to the mean—”
“—this rebuke to the exemplary—”
“—gives hope to the millions unfavored by the exceptional…. Bob Russell: not the worst, not the best, just what we’re stuck with.”

Scott Thompson: Not the worst, not the best, just what we’re stuck with.


Paypal, the 7th circle of hell

We want to answer your questions

Its the biggest lie I’ve heard from them all day, and it was in writing.

Why I ask, if you truly want to answer my questions does your email go on to say:

…but you emailed us from an unconfirmed email address.  Please disregard any email receipt you may have received as we will not be contacting you back via this email address.

Seriously, are you kidding me?

In short, my Paypal account has been locked for all of ~AUD16 outstanding, and I’ve spent some time today while battling with my other demons to get this sorted out.

Chances are the AUD16 is my fault, I want to pay it, but do you think Paypal will take my money to clear this? Nope.

The following summary of my interactions with them today demonstrates just how difficult they make it for customers to receive decent service when things don’t work from their web-focused world.

Upon speaking to customer service earlier today, the agent twice had me reset my password – which gave me the exact same result I called about in the first place. Of course I’d clearly explained to her and promptly advised that I’d already tried this twice before pressing the button for Agent assistance.

She eventually placed me on hold to speak with Resolutions, finally coming back on the line to advise I have to call a US-based number for Paypal’s collections unit, in order to make a payment and process the account for unlocking. This seems to be o.k. so far, and she gave me all the information I’d need, and was even able to advise when the line would be open (told me in 4hrs, didn’t know the time zone – pacific standard time for those playing at home)

So whittling away these 4hrs hours before they opened, I watched Good News Week and researchedthe intricacies of WRT-based apps for Nokia handsets to pass the time. Realising the house mate had taken the cordless to his bedroom to call a a long distance girlfriend in South America, Skype was fired up for the call to the US.

Queue the call to Paypal’s US based collections team, where I am to find out they are unable to process phone payments for Non-US domiciled citizens. That was useless.

So onwards to an email, as their Australian support phone line is now closed. A nicely worded and accurate description of the events that have transpired leaded up to my email, my required solution, and identifying areas where they need to improve customer service… and the aforementioned email arrives in my inbox a few minutes later after pressing submit.

And you want to see the real kicker to that  email:

Confirming your email address is simple. When you register a new email address, we send an email to that address so you can confirm it.

…you can confirm your email address from your PayPal account. Here’s how:

1.  Go to the PayPal website and log in to your account…

I can’t login to your site, your system knows that – so why are you giving me instructions and information which is entirely redundant to myself and the issue at hand?

So where am I right now? Still with a Paypal business account that’s locked out, unable to email them, unable to transact with any company that uses them as their merchant processor, can’t purchase a piece of mobile software I need – and all in all pretty hacked off with a company who can’t even get the basics of service right.

If not solved in the next few days, a complaint to ARPA is on the cards. Paypal operates under an AFSL down under, which means they have to operate like an authorised deposit taking institution, respond to regulator complaints, and behave like a good corporate citizen – at least to the extent mandated by law.

Another reason why monopolies of any colour or creed should be destroyed with extreme prejudice.