How To Say Sorry – And Avoid PayPal’s PR Crisis
By Louise Findlay-Wilson, Creator Of PrPro And Owner Of Energy PR
Businesses were given a Masterclass in how not to handle a PR disaster by PayPal last week.
There was tremendous online anger aimed at PayPal after it allegedly shut down an account run by the satirical blog Regretsy.com. Regretsy was running a gift exchange in which its readers could buy toys for about 200 underprivileged children. Sadly, Regretsy used the ‘donate’ rather than ‘buy’ button and that’s where the trouble started. According to the blog, its account was frozen by PayPal. The blog was told that it had to...
...be a not for profit in order to use the donate button, and it isn’t.
Regretsy then attempted to collect money for toys by using the buy button, and allowed the buyers to send purchased gifts to the 200 children. After what the blog post calls “a very long and jaw-dropping conversation with an incredibly condescending representative,” this approach was also stopped. PayPal insisted that unprocessed orders be refunded — and then kept all of the transaction fees!
Scrooge couldn’t have done a better job and the spectre of an angry web was mobilised!
Regretsy founder, April Winchell, blogged a couple of times in her inimitable style and over 1000 comments ensued. Other blogs mushroomed, Facebook was on fire and Regretsy then broke into Twitter’s top trends.
Only once the online world had been berating PayPal for some time (the story spread and then lingered on blogs, facebook, and twitter like a bad smell) did PayPal publish an apology on its blog. It was a ‘sorry for the inconvenience caused’ kind of an apology that didn’t sound convincing. What’s more, PayPal didn’t allow people to post comments, thus fuelling a second wave of opprobrium. In its apology it... continued on page two >