To Paypal Hell as they consider China and Hong Kong are two different countries

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    Martin Williams
    Keymaster

    Just emailed Hong Kong Monetary Authority:

    Are these two different countries:

    Hong Kong, China
    and
    Hong Kong, Hong Kong ?

    Would it be ok, say, for PayPal to say someone who registered with an address in Hong Kong, China has moved country if later address is in Hong Kong, Hong Kong?
    – same island, same place in Hong Kong.

    To many people in the world, I would think same place, same country [the country is China, as those of us living here know very well; even if can enter “Hong Kong” ]

    I ask as been in this situation; and PayPal stopped my account, even froze it for six months, never mind it’s not a business account so can’t be any issues with customers.

    Though I’ve tried asking Paypal for help and commonsense, I have found them completely unhelpful.
    – the claim re “potential risk exposure” is nonsense, as I did not have a business account, so no customers to have any problems. [Mostly account used for my mum sometimes sending money from England, for Xmas etc; and paying for Netflix, which I now do with credit card.]

    To me, this is terrible behaviour on their part.
    Small money involved, but it’s the principle here; perhaps HKMA could ask Paypal about the notion Hong Kong and China are different countries; or perhaps encourage them to use commonsense.

    Below, an email from Paypal; attachments with further information.

    A tiny case, but I hope of a little interest to you.

    I included part of an email from Paypal, with comments from me added:

    Hello Williams Martin Derek,

    Our records indicate you may be living in a country different to the one you signed up with on your PayPal account.
    [Note, the only difference in addresses is that one has “Hong Kong, China” for sign up – when I used actual country; and now they use “Hong Kong, Hong Kong”
    so, no country difference at all; I live in the same place in fact, still on Cheung Chau.]

    [[[deleting unneeded info]]

    Option 2. Money in your PayPal account will be held for 180 days. After 180 days, we’ll email you information on how to receive your funds.

    We regret any inconvenience this may cause.  [no, there is no regret]

    Thanks,
    Trista
    PayPal

    Now, if I try link to Resolution Centre, I get this:

    you can't use paypal any more

    Also had this message slapped on my account:

    paypal permanently limited your account

    I have tried contacting Paypal support, in Hong Kong and elsewhere; even posted comments re this on Linkedin for some senior exec pages. One of these, Guru Barat, Vice President – Customer Success Platform at PayPal, responded asking for more info – which I gave, as below. But, alas, he was unable to encourage any commonsense here.

    Thanks for this; and yes, I tried escalating after no help from the regular contact/help channels. 1. My account has been suspended, then terminated, as accused by PayPal of now living in a different country to the one I signed up in.

    This is not true: I signed up here in Hong Kong; and still live here. Hong Kong is not a country; the country is China. BUT to PayPal, China and Hong Kong are two different countries.

    Turns out I had signed up with address given as Hong Kong, China [in country field]; when evidently should be Hong Kong, Hong Kong [in country field]. – originally figuring, perhaps, that PayPal is financial services company so better get the country right. Woah, big mistake, years later.

    All was well with my account, till very recently when I set up a store on WordPress site, clicked option to accept payments through PayPal. This led me to setting up a business account [think I set one up before, no issues; but I proceeded]. For some reason, became stuck as if in mainland China. And my account was suspended. 2. I indeed communicated with PayPal; messages and email.

    Very angry at this being error by PayPal; cuss words initially, but not thereafter. I explained problem; but replies seemed robotic. I’ll post couple of emails, but excerpts: “Our records indicate you may be living in a country different to the one you signed up with on your PayPal account.” [so Hong Kong and China are separate countries?! See HK govt website, for instance: “On 1 July 1997, Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China” https://www.gov.hk/en/about/abouthk/facts.htm ]

    “Unfortunately, we do not accept business registration certificate for non-mainland China companies.“ and need national ID; never mind I live in Hong Kong, and never lived in China.

    I had submitted Hong Kong ID, and business reg; but no use. After getting no help via text methods, I tried phoning, At first, had been given code for tel numbers to call: one didn’t work; the other was in Shanghai, and office was closed, even though I had just an hour before code expired. My wife helped find help number from Hong Kong; I called this and a customer service lady seemed to understand issue; told me I’d signed up back in 2004, with “China” in the country field. Said she’d ask someone to have a look, resolve the issue, might take five days. I waited, heard nothing; after more than five days visited my account to find it has been permanently limited, and I can’t use PayPal any more. Hence, the comments you’ve seen.

    Later from Guru:

    Hey Martin I did the best I could by escalating this to the right channels. I have nothing to do with the adjudication of these matters. I’m afraid I’m not a decision maker here.

    I asked about who this decision maker is; but only:

    Martin – I can’t compromise the privacy of my colleagues by telling you their names without their permission. I will check and if they are ok, I’ll connect you

    No contact re this, 9 days later. Decision maker presumably favours hiding in shadows…?

    Also posted to the Paypal support forum; but this is perhaps of very little use. Indeed proved unhelpful; I only got a snarky comment:

    If you are in HK you should have opened an HK account and not a C2 account.

    When you click on the drop down box to select a country you can see HK and China, not rocket science to pick the correct one is it?

    Which is clueless, given all the fuss here about Hong Kong being an inseparable part of China.

    I sent another message to PayPal Support on Twitter, and initial response was:

    Thank you so much for contacting PayPal. Reviewing your conversation, you mentioned your PayPal account was restricted due to an address issue with Hong Kong and China. Please know, PayPal would not restrict your account for this reason. In this situation, so I may determine the options available, could you provide me with a screenshot of the email received advising you of the restriction? ^AF

    But after learning PayPal had restricted/suspended my account for exactly this reason, the PayPal Support account replied that I had selected “mainland China” as country/region, which is not true, not when I first signed up [I selected “China”]; after I pointed this out, I received no further response.

    I’m just updating a little on 21 November 2022; have today completed and returned a complaint form I received from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.

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