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Avoid PayPal in Vietnam - Missing Withdrawals (Ho Chi Minh City)

Case Number: KMM Protected content

I have made a $ Protected content VND) withdrawal from my PayPal account to my Vietnamese bank account on March 9th Protected content . The withdrawal reflected completed within Protected content . However, it had been almost a month later, with countless of emails and phone calls and I had yet to receive a valid explanation of what happened to my funds.

*Throughout this 1 month, I was assigned to Mr. Ivan Arokiasamy, Escalations Department who is based in Malaysia, he has been personally attending to my case - unhelpfully.

For the past month, I have been in constant contact with my banker from ANZ Bank Vietnam numerous times, saved all my email logs with Ivan and recorded all our phone calls. It got up to a point where Ivan had to personally ring up my banker and speak to her as she has urged me of the urgency of this abnormal behavior by a financial institution - as there was no sign of my funds after all the datelines had passed, and Ivan was unable to provide us with any real tracking code, valid explanations, proof of his claims where my funds were already "successfully credited".

Ivan had claimed to receive confirmation that my bank as responded to them saying that the funds have been successfully credited into my account - citing this news in an email to me, along with a disbursement reference code. However, when I checked with my bank, there was no sign of my funds, no sign of pending funds, and also, the disbursement reference he provided was unrecognizable by my bank. When my bank urged me to push for a proof of statement that PayPal's partner bank had indeed successfully sent out the funds to my bank, Ivan mentioned in a recorded phone call, that he was unable to produce proof of the source of where he got this information from - citing company's protocol. But continues to insist that the funds had been confirmed to have been successfully credited. His claim was proven to be false.

Do not take your customers for a ride. We are educated people, this is clearly a blatant excuse and a waste of my time. Please do not tell me a huge financial institution like PayPal with a commanding market share would have a dodgy Payment Operations team which does not know what codes they are holding and what functions they have even after operating in the industry for more than 10 years.

Subsequently, Ivan provided me with another reference number which he claimed ANZ had responded and provided to PayPal after PayPal had initiated a "Special Investigation" trace on my missing funds. However, this was once again proven false. My bank had confirmed that neither PayPal nor their partner bank or anyone in particular had made any contact with ANZ regarding my account and funds, nor has ANZ's correspondence bank got in touch with the ANZ Vietnam HQ/branch regarding my account or missing funds. The reference number which PayPal provided was once again - proven to be invalid and no information could be retrieved.

My bank has specifically for a single basic proof from PayPal - the MT103 swift message. This is a universally recognized reference code which all banks are required provide to their senders for funds tracing. To users of PayPal, a MT103 swift code message is generated immediately after every successful remittance transfer. This MT103 code MUST be provided to the sender when requested, it is a swift message which allows the beneficiary bank to trace customer's funds. For international remittances, this code is the only code you will need to track your funds.

After I strongly demanded for it, Ivan said that he has put a request out to the relevant departments for the MT103 swift but 2 weeks on, he still has not received a reply from them. But the fact is that - as confirmed by my bank - it does not take more than 3 days for a bank to provide sender with this necessary information. In fact, in normal banking practices, it should usually only take up to a few hours or 1 day to retrieve. However, until today, the MT103 swift message was never provided to me. And Ivan simply let it pass.

*Ivan mentioned that PayPal has a heavy flow of transactions every day and so they are unable to operate efficiently, lose track of funds, not able to communicate with their Payments team efficiently, does not have a real timeframe for anything, not able to do anything to rectify situations even if the mistake lies with them, the only thing they were able to do was advising customers to wait, and surprisingly, finding the time to provide customers with bogus reference codes and information but when a real MT103 code is requested - suddenly all staff at Payment Ops go missing and does not reply to the Escalations department - and Escalations department does not have a phone or any other communication tool to liaise with them if Payments team decided not to reply or go MIA.

*Mr. Ivan Arokiasamy told me in one of our recorded phone conversations that he could have "washed his hands off this" but he made an exception not to this time. Are you implying that I should be grateful to you then? And what does he mean by this statement, PayPal? Do you think you are legally able to wash your hands off customers' missing funds, after I have proven not to receive my funds as you falsely claimed was already credited, taking up to 2 weeks and still not able to get your Payment Operations team to pass on the MT103 swift code to support your claim, unable to provide me with the name of your partner bank yet Ivan urged me to check with my bank for correspondence from your partner bank, every check and recheck and pointed to nothing. So do you you think that you have the right to wash your hands off this? No, you do not. Is PayPal's business model akin to collaborating with a dodgy partner bank and once it receives customer's funds and makes a profit out of it, washes their hands off what happens after. Is this legal? When situations like this arises, PayPal is quick to quote their User T&C - but my solicitor has already advised me that the User T&C does not negate the law. We are not suggesting that any part of your current T&C is in breach of any law/regulation, but if it did, implies, or is being taken advantage of (supported with evidences), acceptance of those terms does not make them legally enforceable.

PayPal is part of a huge company which should have the sufficient manpower, resources and tracking services needed to cater to the large chunk of transactions they take up daily. It is unacceptable to tell me that you do not have sufficient resources to cater to your large customer base and yet, you continue to mislead potential customers into placing more of their funds in you. Banks and financial institutions, regardless of their sizes, would have to have their required resources, services and manpower worked out and ensure they have the ability to guarantee customer's funds are safe and accounted for before they market their services into the industry.

*Since Ivan admitted that PayPal is unable to achieve these standards, why is this vital piece of inability not reinforced to let potential customers know before they decide if they are still willing to employ PayPal's services - I am very sure potential and even existing PayPal users would appreciate this piece of information.

*Ivan has reinforced to me that it is company's policy not to allow screenshots, proof of where he receives his information from, and he was not even permitted to send me proof of contact he claimed my bank had made to PayPal. For any financial institution and one as big as yours, don't you think that this is a clear abuse of power? A simple proof of statement of the transaction made to your partner bank and/or proof of statement that your partner bank has claimed to have made a successful transfer to my bank can be shown easily - it is a rather basic and reasonable request. Why are you taking customer's funds like they are your own and you are not able to be transparent about it? This is extremely unacceptable.

Because of a simple fact that PayPal believes after receiving customer's funds, they are protected by their user T&C and are able to do anything they wish to. Even if not rightfully so.

From limiting my account with $ Protected content it the previous time for no valid reason, then requesting for all sorts of personal documentation to be sent before they lift my account limitation, finally resolved after a week - and now this. I have saved all my email logs from the first episode to this, and they were all mostly handled by Mr. Ivan Arokiasamy himself. I am beginning to suspect a conspiracy either between the staff at PayPal, or the partner bank and PayPal - it could also be the fact that PayPal's staff might have a form of incentive to withhold customer's funds for as long as they can - it is fair for me to make such a suspicion as I feel that I have exhausted all reasonable methods of resolving this dispute with you and up till today, I am not even sure when my funds will reach my hands.

Mr Ivan Arokiasamy:
To this date, as a senior figure from the Escalations department I assume, he has no real solution, does not provide genuine support except for excuses and tries to divert my attention, and at one point, even educating me about how a bank works. Why does a customer of PayPal have to understand all these? Why are you unable to provide us with information about how PayPal really works but you are actively educating me about how a bank works? Is it for us to be more generous with our time or to accept the fact that our funds simply vanished and it is not PayPal's responsibility but the bank's? 1. I have been very generous with my time and patience albeit my busy schedule daily. 2. If you understand a bank so well, you would know that it is required that all banks must provide the sender of funds with the MT103 swift code when requested. So why is it so hard for PayPal to retrieve it? - There is only one reason and that is if PayPal indeed has something to hide.

When Ivan first spoke to me, he interrupted me and most of the time did not allow me to speak. He was not supportive nor acts like how a support staff should act. You are a staff of PayPal and should be clear, transparent and fully in control of how PayPal works - with real-time solutions, authority and professional facts. Do not tell me that after being in the business for more than 10 years, PayPal does not have a fixed structure of the way it conducts its business, trains its staff, and supports its customers. This is unacceptable behavior. In the next subsequent emails, Ivan stated that he did not have answers to many questions my banker put out to him and is obvious he did not fully understand how PayPal works, or perhaps he does but has to conceal these information from customers. This is not legally right.

I am also absolutely baffled as to why PayPal would hire an escalations representative who is able to tell a customer: he does not know this, does not know that, cannot do this and that, and the only solution he has is to wait and keep me waiting and waiting? It is either his problem or that PayPal has a knack of training their staff to mainly divert customers attention, sending them on a wild goose chase, buy more time, steal/keep money from users for as long as they can or from those who does not pursue the matter further. Unfortunately, you are messing with the wrong person here.

After Ivan had spoken to my banker and I had submitted all evidences to my solicitor for him to follow up as I absolutely hate having my time wasted, Ivan came back with an alternate resolution to my case. He was willing to credit provisional funds of $ Protected content my PayPal account which I am free to use immediately - though I had to send a copy of my bank statement for cross referencing purposes. Although I knew I did not have to submit that information as Ivan had already admitted in that same email that he just received confirmation that the funds were not credited into my bank account - reason being: Invalid/insufficient beneficiary name. I am not sure if he realized that by changing his story around, it shows that he lied about everything for the past month, or he simply believes that if I accepted this resolution I will not pursue the matter further. And PayPal is once again able to get away with it. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The account information I used was saved and registered in my PayPal account, the first withdrawal I made went through few months ago, so there is no reason why the second withdrawal could not. The structure of my name, spelling, account number, swift code and bank name were all accurate, exact same as the first, and my banker as also advised me that even if according to PayPal - the beneficiary name is incomplete - there will also be a record of the funds attempting to enter my account or within the pool of funds due to be credited into my account number but rejected - but there was once again proven to be nothing. It is clear either Ivan or PayPal had lied as all my claims are supported by evidence, unlike PayPal. I have also submitted my bank and banker's contact of which PayPal is able to correspond if they wish to confirm anything.

Even so, I accepted the provisional funds and generously submitted my bank statement. The funds were immediately credited into my PayPal account. I had also reconfirmed with Ivan that I had full access to my funds and was able to make withdrawals, send payments, etc. The only way which I was able to get my funds back was to make a withdrawal - so I did so on Sunday morning. By Monday morning (Apr 6th Protected content received a Completed status. Normally, my bank account is quick to clear all my international transfers as I am a regular user, and they mostly take slightly less than 48hrs to reach. The first withdrawal I made with PayPal came in less than 48hrs as well. This is a norm for my account. Recently, I have also made other international transfers into my ANZ bank account and they were all received within that same timeframe.

**Unfortunately, it is already Friday (Apr 10th Protected content I still have not received my funds. My banker has also updated me earlier that they had still received no sign of incoming funds as well. This time around, I have saved snapshots of every step I took while making the withdrawal, from my account name, number, swift code, bank name, receipt - checked, rechecked and also sent these details to my bank just for added proof that they are indeed all accurate. My solicitor had advised me to take these necessary steps so as to save proof and not allow PayPal to have the convenience pushing the responsibility back to me or my bank once again.

This is the first time I have employed the services of a financial institution which finds it so hard to make an international transfer for customers. I am appalled and absolutely disgusted by PayPal's blatant disrespect of my time, generosity and intellect - so I will be pursuing this matter to its fullest extent and this will start with Mr. Ivan Arokiasamy.

*My solicitor will be making contacting with users who posted online suffering similar fates as mine, or even others in worst scenarios, and encourage them to file a class act suit against PayPal from where their region. We will also be collating evidences from international PayPal users who like me, are being bullied and taken advantage of - with PayPal's staff blatantly disrespecting our intellect, time, resources and money. A legal compensation claim will be made addressed to Ivan Arokisamy. This entire time - he has been the one handling my cases and so it only fair he takes responsibility for his actions. I have been requesting for a fax number from Ivan so that I can fax over the legal documents to him shortly but to date, this request has been ignored. This will only further spur me on to go further to expose Ivan Arokiasamy and PayPal's disgusting behaviors.

*Since Mr Ivan Arokiasamy had also made a rather discriminatory statement in one of our recorded phone calls where he stated that in countries like Singapore, etc.. banks processing might be stable, but for countries like Vietnam.. banks could be rather inefficient. I am not sure where he got this information from, and I'm not sure if he has ever personally held a Singapore bank account and a Vietnam bank account to have derived this conclusion - but one thing is for sure - I currently am holding both a Singapore bank account and multiple Vietnamese bank accounts. I have been regularly transferring my funds between my bank accounts internationally and none has given me any trouble. The banks support teams have always done what they are required to do as well - making traces, getting me codes, updating me when funds arrive, all these things which they do for a customer so efficient - albeit facing tonnes of transactions per day. The support team, procedures and system is always there, reliable, and never fails nor loses my funds, nor withholds information from customers. After all, the funds are not theirs to begin with - as owners of the funds, we have the right to request for certain information from institutions like yours. With that said, the statements made by Mr Ivan Arokiasamy is so biased and defames banks in Vietnam in general - this is unacceptable.

*I will do my best to rope in my friends in Vietnam's media industry to help me garner more attention/do a write up in the local news forum on my case - this is necessary to raise awareness especially amongst international users on PayPal's non-transparent abuse of power. When I have gathered all the required documents and materials, I will write up a blog detailing my experiences with PayPal, what was said and done, and also encouraging current PayPal victims who have had their funds unfairly held for no valid reason, to step out and make their stand known. I believe it is necessary to expose the loophole which PayPal takes advantage of to "threaten" and leave innocent PayPal customers with no other option. I will be continuously posting more detailed reports across all banking, financial & PayPal-related forums until I receive my funds with me and receive a fair resolution. My solicitor on the other hand will take care of the compensation claim I will file against PayPal and against Mr Ivan Arokiasamy respectively.

I believe that with the support of more PayPal victims stepping out and being more proactive - it will make a change to the financial community, for the better. Any other PayPal Vietnam/international victims who are affected by PayPal's very flawed system, do contact me - I might be able to do something.