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Paypal & Bill Me Later Scam Nightmare

November 11, 2009 by debbie T | InternetRamblings
Updated 2009-11-18: Justin from Bill Me Later left a message on our answering machine tonight. He read my blog and wanted to discuss my problem. Yay! I phoned him back, and he is crediting my account in full. Hopefully, my next statement will be zero. And again, it wasn’t the $25 that I cared about. It was that I opened a new credit account and it felt like a huge waste. But I am satisfied now, but the only reason I got help was because I wrote this article, so it’s a bittersweet victory, but a victory nonetheless.
Updated 2009-12-11: See below for new updated screen shots of another email I received from Paypal with the same offer!

OMG, today is the last straw! I am sooo sooo angry and upset with Bill Me Later. And I am most upset with myself for not listening to my instincts.

My advice to EVERYONE, if you receive a pre-approved email from Paypal offering you a credit for $25 or more to use Bill Me Later, RUN AWAY! Don’t fall for it. It’s a complete scam!

It’s been a constant battle to deal with them from the beginning, even before I made my purchase. They are poorly trained (and informed) and now they are refusing to apply the credit! Thankfully, I only spent $26, so it was a cheap lesson to learn.

Let’s start at the beginning! I received TWO official emails from Paypal at the beginning of October:

Do you like choices? We thought so. That’s why you’ve got a brand new choice from PayPal. Shop now – and pay for your purchases later. It’s called Bill Me Later®.

Just check out with PayPal as usual when you shop online. Choose our Bill Me Later option, and you can pay when it’s right for you: now – or later.*

Even better, you’re pre-approved. Shop by 10/31/09 and get up to $25 off your first purchase and no payments for 90 days.
Sound good? Start shopping at one of our participating stores – just a few of the thousands that accept PayPal.
Get up to 25 dollars off and no payments for 90 days
Want to know more? Check it out!

Sounds great, right? My DH needed to purchase something on Ebay. Two separate merchants, I purchased with my Paypal account, and there was absolutely no option to choose “Bill Me Later”

I called Paypal a couple of times, no one knows anything about the promotion (and I assure you, it was an official email, they were just ill-informed) so they pass the buck over to Bill Me Later, who were equally idiotic.

Bill Me Later customer service told me that perhaps the Ebay merchants weren’t included in the 1000’s of merchants (even though it clearly stated on the FAQ that Ebay was included). No one was able to offer any insight to the details of this promotion.

I put the email aside, and really didn’t want to deal with it. I should have listened to that “little voice” and just walked away from the deal. Eh, it was only $25 credit (others were receiving $100 credits – my God, thank you that I didn’t receive one of those, as I would now be paying for $100 of merchandise)

But my inner greed took over and I sat down on October 28 (three days before the Oct 31st deadline) to find something to buy for around $25. I finally decided to purchase two books from Walmart.

So, my cart was filled, and I clicked the “check out with Paypal” button. I signed into my Paypal account (the same account that the email was sent to). I tried to change my Payment Options, and as with Ebay earlier, there was absolutely NO OPTION to change the payment to Bill Me Later. See my screenshot below:

Bill Me Later scam

I was livid, so I phoned Bill Me Later again. The customer service rep told me that I should using the Paypal link, but to use the normal check out process and choose “Bill Me Later” as the payment. So, that is what I did, and it appeared to work. EXCEPT, I then received a “Welcome to Bill Me Later” email with the email address that I used for Walmart, NOT the email address that the original offer was sent to.

Oh crap! I called Bill Me Later, and they assured me that they would send a request through to their Account Resolution department and I would have an answer in 5-7 business days.

So, today I receive an email from Bill Me Later (using a Do Not Reply email – grrrr)

Dear Debbie xxxx,

We have received your inquiry about your Bill Me Later® account. Unfortunately, we were not able to apply the promotional credit you requested. The promotional credit with Wal-Mart was not being offered. If however you can provide proof of the offer we will be able to research this further.

Bill Me Later Inc. ®
Customer Care
Financial Services for Bill Me Later® are provided by CIT Bank, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Okay, first off, no telephone number? No last name? No return email address? Talk about wonderful customer service.

Secondly, who said anything about a promotional credit with Wal-Mart? The promotion was offered through Paypal and Bill Me Later! One more moronic statement to add to the pile.

So, of course, at this point I am beyond angry. Beyond being reasonable!

I phoned Bill Me Later. Spoke to “Scott” who listened to my ranting, and ended up giving me his “fake” email address (that bounced) swahba@billmelater.com telling me to forward the email I received to him. As I said, the email ended up being fake, so of course, that made me even angrier! grrrr. I phoned them again, and the new person forwarded my call to Matt who was in the “Account Resolution” department.

At this point, all three people at Bill Me Later kept mentioning the “promotional credit with Wal-Mart”! And it set me off every time! Why do you think this is a promotion from Wal-Mart??? It was an email from Paypal and Bill Me Later!!!! I was screaming I was so upset! (note, yeah, I know you can get more flies with honey, but I was beyond angry, and there was no calming me down!)

So, Matt told me to forward him the original email, which I did. He phoned me in a few minutes and told me that because I didn’t go through Paypal’s checkout, I was out of luck (I am paraphrasing of course)

What??? What? WHAAAATTTT? I screamed bloody murder. That is what I tried to do (at least three times with Ebay and Walmart) and there is no option for Bill Me Later when checking out with Paypal. Matt calmly “assured” me (yeah, oh I love that word, assured) that there certainly was an option.

Show me where then! To this day, no one can tell me! Know why? Because it’s impossible, because it’s a total scam! You will receive the promotional email, you will try to make a purchase, and you will end up being stuck with the charges yourself because they won’t give you the credit. Thankfully, in my case, it was only $25, but others might not be so lucky.

I am thinking I might return one of the books to Walmart anyway. So, it won’t be too bad.

Oh Gawd, I really really really hate Bill Me Later!!!

ETA: It appears I am not the only one that didn’t see any option for Bill Me Later when using Paypal for checkout.

And the internet is riddled with Bill Me Later complaints dating back years ago. It appears they have a reputation for their lack of customer service skills and sweeping problems under the rug.

This complaint from 2005 sounds so similar to my situation. They pass it to the “Accounts Resolution” department, and then after their investigation, they deny that there was a promo for Walmart, Amazon or whichever store you used for the purchase! Wow. They are still doing the same thing four years later!

I really want to close out the account, as I don’t want to give them the satisfaction of having me as a customer, but I am afraid it will hinder my credit. I have excellent credit, and from what I have read, by opening the account, they did a “hard pull” on my credit account, which reduces my credit score a few points for 6 months or so. If I close the account, I have a feeling it might also affect my score. Something to check out!

UPDATE: Just received an email from Matt (in reply to my email with an attached screenshot of my Paypal screen with no payment option for Bill Me Later)

Again I apologize for the frustration that this issue has caused, and I want to assure you that we are committed to providing you the best service that we can. There has been some confusion during the release of this new offer through PayPal, and many of our agents including myself have not been giving the right information.

The heart of this issue seems to be this, though Walmart may be a Paypal merchant they are not offering Bill Me Later through PayPal at this time. This is likely because Walmart is one of our regular Bill Me Later merchants. In the future it is likely that Walmart will be available with Bill Me Later through the PayPal wallet but it is currently not offered.

Also addressing your issues using Bill Me Later through the PayPal wallet on eBay, likely the merchant you attempted to use was also not offered. Unfortunately there is no list of merchants that offer this payment method, because of the large number of merchants on eBay all desiring different methods it would be virtually impossible to list them all. So in the future if you desire to use Bill Me Later through the PayPal wallet and receive your $25 merchant reward if you do not see the option at your point of purchase you will know that it is not offered. Then you will be able to back out of your order if you so desire.

Again Ms. xxx, I apologize for the inconvenience that this has caused and appreciate your patience with this issue.

This makes this promotion look more fraudulent by the minute. How could they possibly offer this promotion and not know who was participating? And I think his excuse is a bullsh*t answer anyway.

What’s happening is NO merchants are set up to use Bill Me Later through Paypal. That’s what I think! Why wouldn’t they all be set up? If a merchant like Walmart is set up to receive both Paypal and Bill Me Later, how difficult would it be to merge the two? And furthermore, how could they possibly roll out this promotion when even the merchants listed in the actual email weren’t in participation? I checked back in October, and at least one of the three wasn’t set up! Sorry, but that is misleading!

Scam scam scam. Stay away from Paypal and Bill Me Later or you’ll be sorry!

UPDATED 2009-12-11: I just received another pre-approval offer from Paypal for $25 and no payments until April 2010.

new pre-approved offer from paypal for $25 and no payments until april 2010

I decided to test it out, so I went to Barnes & Noble and added a random item to the shopping cart. I typed my info in the first few forms, and when it go to the payment options, I chose Paypal. As soon as I logged into Paypal, a window popped up informing me that I was pre-approved for Bill Me Later.

popup window telling me I was pre-approved for bill me later

I closed the window, and there was definitely an option for Bill Me Later as a payment choice using my Paypal account.

option in paypal to use bill me later

So, it looks like maybe Paypal and Bill Me Later are getting their act together. We’ll see. Stay alert everyone, and if you do go for your $25 or $100 pre-approval account, please double check to make sure you are purchasing through Paypal. If there isn’t an option for Bill Me Later through Paypal, then you won’t get your credit.

There are 57 comments

  1. my promble with bill me later is that they say i owe them 20.00.iopened a account with walgreens and called back 2hours later and canceled the account and eas tolded it was canceled,i called bill me later and told them to cancel and was told ok.one month later i got a bill from bill me laterfor 20.00,tried to tell them i canceled those accounts and they don’t want to listen,every month they charge me a 35.00 late fee for money i don’t owe them.they call 2 or 3 times a day,what can i do ,i’am on ssa and don’t want to be robed

    Comment by thomas coggins on December 22nd, 2011
  2. Thomas, it sounds like you have to reconcile this with Walgreens. They need to issue the credit on the account. Good luck!

    Comment by debbie T on December 26th, 2011
  3. i had a call from bml about a 20 dollar purchace my son had made and the late fees added up to 126.97 . the guy wanted to settle the account for 50.00 if i would allow automatic withdrawal from my checking account,which i refused. i went that day and mailed a westernunion money order for 126.97 . the next week i got a bill for b23.00 plus a threat of a 25,00 late fee on it. he sounded like the same guy that offered the 50.00 settlement before3 but denied such a offer. my son suffers from serere depression and anxiety tnat he does not leave his bedroom even with counsolers and doctors, but i did not deny what mt son had done and tried to settle the account, but did not want to give permissiom for free withdrawal from my checking account. i go spend 1.75 fot a 2.00 moneyorder and mail bml. i beleive you need to be very careful dealing with these people, it just does not feel honest. the next money bml gets from me will be after a judge orders it.

    Comment by tom on February 19th, 2012
  4. I paid a bill from bill me later that seemed fishy,so I actually got a squirmy guy on the phone from pay pal who seemed to be overlly apologetic from the start of our conversation.
    This little twerp said he would get me in touch with someone from bill me later who said that I had registered with bill me later in may of this year (2012) . I should have challenged him to produce my password, as I record all of my passwords upon filling them out on each site I enter. But may wife died recently and I was In no mood to argue the point , and told him to remove me from his BILL ME LATER service.

    Comment by john de baltzo on July 22nd, 2012
  5. I agree that BML is a scam. I see that several messages have said that “they closed their account.” I have called BML and tried to close the account twice, but they are refusing–with the usual soothing double-talk, of course. So, how DO you close a BML account? Is there any trick to it? Also, what regulatory agencies would be relevant to complain to? Surely if thousands of BML victims complained, that would do some good?

    Comment by Joel Wilcox on August 8th, 2012
  6. PayPal and Bill Me Later services and customer service are completely horrendous, ever since I signed up with Bill Me Later I have made 3 payment attempts, the first one after getting numerous failed attempts and back and forth call/emails between the seller and Bil Me Later agents I was finally able to make the purchase. The second purchase attempt was 2-3 months ago for another issue popped up after 2- months since purchasing the item, and now my last purchase from yesterday which I tried buying via BIll me later, however again failed and error messages, so I had to call both Pay Pal and Bill Me Later at least 4-5 times, finally after following the agents’ walkthroughs multiple times and doing everything I was instructed, and choosing Bill Me Later to pay for the purchase, the system automatically switched back to Pay Pal and paid for the item using my credit card which I never would have wanted it to be chosen as a payment source. Tomorrow Monday I have several automatic debits being withdrawn from my card and I have insufficient funds to cover the payments, extremely disappointed and angry as I will incur penalties and negative credit. Today I called and was on conference call with both PayPal and Bill Me Later and both agents failed to assist me further and said there is nothing they can do to solve the issue.

    Comment by Freddie on March 10th, 2013
  7. I am trying for hours to pay a $34 balance with bill me later that I mistakenly opted to on a purcghase last month and I cannot pay the damn bill.
    What a nightmare. Is there procedure after I get it paid to get out of bill me later completely?
    What a frigging nightmare.

    Comment by B Deasy on May 19th, 2014