Don’t ever rely on PayPal notification emails

By Chris Dawson October 20, 2016 - 11:04 am

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.

  • Robert C
    1 year ago

    I noticed the paypal notifications being out of whack for the last few days… but my issue is that there was one specific occasion when a payment appeared on paypal but the order didn’t arrive on ebay until the afternoon 4 hours later. 4 hours!! If you had same day dispatch option and your cut-off point was in that 4 hour window then you’re screwed.

    Something is rather glitchy with paypal and it’s not just their email notifications.

  • Gary
    1 year ago

    For the first time in 14 years my Paypal notifications have not been arriving or arriving randomly days after the sale. Been happening on and off for the last 2 weeks or so.

  • Sam O'levski
    1 year ago

    It’s all very well telling us to log into ebay to see what’s sold, but remember how many glitches there are on ebay, including different sellers unable to use different features at different times !
    I used to rely on my gmail account, as paypal notifications came through every time for a couple of years at least, so a quick click on the notification gave me the paypal guaranteed address, rather than clickety click all over ebay in the hope that everything was working ok and loaded quickly – try using ebay with a slow connection on one of their quirky days to see what I mean…… all the fancy graphics/adverts slows it down, compared to gmail which appears quickly with even a glimmer of a connection.

  • Andy R
    1 year ago

    Had this issue repeatedly every other week.

    Apparently if you have btinternet email as we do you are more likely to have problems.

    You have to check your Ebay sold items, but even that isn’t enough.

    If a customer pays on a mobile device using the paypal checkout and not Ebay, the item might still show unpaid on Ebay.

    So you have to check your paypal payments history as well to be 100% sure.

  • Jonah
    1 year ago

    What a mess, but don’t worry I’m sure eBay will support its sellers and remove any negative feedback and poor DSR that arise through its own website failures…..
    Oh look there’s a flying pig and have I told you I believe in fairies ?

  • Gary
    1 year ago

    Maybe Paypal has been hacked? Could this explain recent system issues? Bit annoying that Paypal is as poor as ebay at keeping its customers in the loop when it comes to issues. They would probably blame ebay anyway!

  • Russell
    1 year ago

    We had the same problem, it started on Saturday 14th Oct and we started getting mail in the early hours of Sunday morning. Below is the log from our server

    Oct 15 14:33:50 disconnect from[]
    Oct 17 02:37:31 connect from[]

    There was no attempt by paypal servers to connect to ours between these times or there would have been a log showing the problem.

    All other mail was received ok

    We have now had all emails that were due in, but they have come in randomly over the last few days.

  • 1 year ago

    It’s not just email notifications.

    The last few times this has happened, I’ve also had a few ebay GSP sales fail completely. The payment has come in at Paypal, but the sale hasn’t registered on ebay at all.

    Ebay blames paypal of course, and for once, I believe them. Paypal have gone from 99.999% reliable to quite poor, since the companies split. They need to up their game and get back to where it was.

  • Jeanne
    1 year ago

    Same here. Notifications coming through at least a day late.

  • Mr Spock
    1 year ago

    Its been like this for months since June, you need to login to paypal for accurate data (Except recent transactions estimate 5mins)

  • Derek Duval
    1 year ago

    Don’t ever rely on PayPal notification emails…in reply

    What are we paying the transactions fees for then?

    This is the service we pay for and what we should expect. Typical us corporation crap…Bombard us with crap new features that are nion useless and add compaigns about new products but dont give 2 shiny shit* about the core service

    1 year ago

    In some respects the Paypal email is more important than the eBay email, as we have to send the orders to the address on the Paypal email dont we?

    • Sam O'levski
      1 year ago

      I also thought that, which is why I always used the paypal emails to get the address.
      As my sales are all low value, I now post to whatever address I can find easily and then if there’s a problem it doesn’t cost much to give a refund or send a replacement.

  • 1 year ago

    10 days of regular service and the paypal email notifications have stopped dead once more.

    Wonder how long it’ll take them to sort it out this time, hours or days?

    • Dave
      1 year ago

      Yep, its packed in for us too.

      Had nothing from them since 23:00 last night (1st)

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