Don’t ever rely on PayPal notification emails

emailWe’ve had a regular stream of emails over the past week, plus a reader pointing us to a forum thread, all complaining that retailers are missing orders because PayPal notification emails aren’t arriving.

Each time you make or receive a payment through PayPal you should get an email notification. That’s how PayPal is supposed to work. The problem is that if you rely on those emails as alerts to ship orders you are going to be disappointed.

The forum thread titled “Not receiving emails from PayPal” was started in 2012 – that’s four years and people are still complaining about the same thing. We’ve said it before on Tamebay and we’re going to say it again. Do NOT rely on email notifications to run your business – they’re a courtesy not a business tool.

It’s worth taking a look at how email works. It’s what’s known as a fire and forget technology i.e. there is no robust tracking too ensure an email is delivered. Several days after sending an email, you may occasionally get a notification that your email server has given up trying to deliver it but that’s a bonus. Sending email is the equivalent of popping an untracked letter in the post – most of the time it’ll arrive but you’ll never know for certain that it did.

If you’re relying on email notifications to run your online business, whether it be PayPal, eBay, Amazon or your website then stop today. Start logging into the site to collect and print your orders or get some software to do this for you. As we progress through Q4 sales will only get busier and it’s simply not worth upsetting a customer or having your metrics impacted because an email didn’t arrive.

Of course PayPal may have had a glitch which impacted sending emails and we don’t think it’s acceptable for PayPal’s technology not to work. However, we still think that’s largely irrelevant and not receiving some courtesy notification emails should never impact your ability to ship orders and service your customers.