How To Withdraw Money From A Limited PayPal Account Before 180 Days Pass
One of the most damaging things that can happen to an eBay seller is getting hit with the dreaded “Notification of Limited Account Access.” PayPal will limit just about every seller who does more than $2,000 worth of sales per month and even limit sellers who sell less, depending on numerous other factors. I’ve written in length about ways to minimize limitation risk in past articles, as well as how to restore account access once a limitation is placed. However, to restore account access you’ll likely have to provide personal documents and information, including your Social Security number, credit card information, a copy of your driver’s license, supplier contact information, invoices for the products you’re selling, proof of delivered goods, and succumb to a personal credit check. Even if you submit all of these documents, it’s still possible that PayPal will deny your limitation appeal and keep your account permanently limited. They won’t tell you why either, except for one of only three or four canned responses. In addition, some people may not be comfortable giving out all of the information PayPal requires or may not be able to provide it. There’s also no guarantee PayPal will even give you an opportunity to appeal the limitation. PayPal routinely blocks accounts permanently, with no reason provided. Restoring account access is a painfully frustrating experience that will take at least a week to resolve, if not more.
What Happens If I Can’t Restore Account Access?
PayPal reserves the right to limit a PayPal user’s access to their account and freeze any funds in the account for 180 days. Here it is, right out of the user agreement:
We may close, suspend, or limit your access to your Account or our Services, and/or limit access to your funds for up to 180 Days if you violate this Agreement, the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy, or any other agreement you enter into with PayPal.
As well as:
We may hold your funds for up to 180 days if reasonably needed to protect against the risk of liability.
10.8 Acceptable Use Policy Violation – User Fines. If you violate the Acceptable Use Policy then we may hold your funds up to 180 Days, fine you up to $2,500.00 USD for each such violation and/or take legal action against you to recover additional losses we incur. You acknowledge and agree that a fine up to $2,500.00 USD is presently a reasonable minimum estimate of PayPal’s damages, considering all currently existing circumstances, including the relationship of the sum to the range of harm to PayPal that reasonably could be anticipated and the anticipation that proof of actual damages may be impractical or extremely difficult. PayPal may deduct such fines directly from any existing Balance in the offending Account, or any other PayPal Account you control.
The bottom line is that PayPal can, and will, hold any funds remaining in the PayPal account for 180 days if you are not able to resolve your limitation. On top of that, you will be unable to send funds, receive funds, or close your account at any time in the future. You will receive an email similar to the following if your account has been selected for permanent limitation:
Notification of Limited Account Access RXI034
Hello Meg Whitman,
As part of our security measures, we regularly screen activity in the
PayPal system. During a recent screening, we noticed an issue regarding
We are very sorry, but in accordance with the PayPal User Agreement, we are
no longer able to have you as a customer.
We have had to close your account for the following reason:
We have observed activity in this account that is unusual or potentially
We apologize for any inconvenience this account closure may cause. You may
still log in to PayPal to view your transactions history and personal
information for a limited time.
The funds in your account will be held for 180 days, due to the risk of
outstanding chargebacks and complaints. After 180 days, any remaining funds
will be available to you for withdrawal.
For your protection, we have limited access to your account until
additional security measures can be completed. We apologize for any
inconvenience this may cause.
To review your account and some or all of the information that PayPal used
to make its decision to limit your account access, please visit the
Resolution Center. If, after reviewing your account information, you seek
further clarification regarding your account access, please contact PayPal
by visiting the Help Center and clicking “Contact Us”.
We thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. Please understand
that this is a security measure intended to help protect you and your
account. We apologize for any inconvenience.
PayPal Account Review Department
How To Withdraw Money From A Limited PayPal Account
First of all, check the Resolution Center to be sure that you do not have the ability to withdraw funds. All PayPal limitations are different and you may get a “soft” limit before the permanent limitation sets in. Withdraw all of your money to your bank account immediately if you do have the ability to withdraw. If you do not have the ability, then try to restore account access by completing the steps with the help of this guide. If that fails, then your goal becomes getting the money out of the account as quickly as possible.
First of all, it’s unlikely that PayPal will release any funds until after at least 45 days have gone by since you received the initial notification of limited account access. This is because buyers can file a PayPal dispute up to 45 days after payment was sent and PayPal wants to be sure they have your money to cover those refunds. After 45 days has passed, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org containing something similar to the following:
Subject: Status of Limited PayPal Account Withdrawal
My account has been limited since (date of first received limitation email) and I have not had the ability to withdraw the (insert amount) that is remaining in the account. When will these funds be made available to me?
I would appreciate any help you can provide.
It may take a while to get a response. The usual turn-around time is about five days. Your initial success depends on how long your account has been limited and whether there have been a lot of complaints or other problems with the account. If the account has been limited for more than 120 days then it’s likely you’ll receive an email with the subject “Your PayPal Funds are Eligible for Withdrawal” along with a response to your original email with a case number in the subject line along with your original subject. In the example above, it will look something like “Re: Limited PayPal Account Withdrawal (KMM156434026391L0KM) :ppk1.” If the account has only been limited for a short time then it’s likely you’ll receive a response similar to the one below.
Dear Poor Seller,
My name is Carrie and I work for the office of Executive Escalations. I
want to personally thank you for contacting PayPal. Your concerns were
recently forwarded to our office for review in the hope that we might be
able to assist you further.
A review of your Account indicates that PayPal elected to sever the
business relationship due to excessive risk. Due to that risk, the funds in the Balance will be held for 180 days from the date the limitation was placed (Date).
As stated in section 10.4 of our Legal Agreement outlines that if we
have reason to believe that you have engaged in any Restricted
Activities, we may take various actions to protect PayPal, eBay, a User,
a third party, or you from Reversals, Chargebacks, Claims, fees, fines,
penalties and any other liability. The actions we may take include but
are not limited to the following:
a. We may close, suspend, or limit your access to your Account or the
Services (such as limiting access to any of your Payment Sources, and
your ability to send money, make withdrawals, or remove financial
b. We may contact buyers who have purchased goods or services from you,
contact your bank or credit card issuer, and warn other Users, law
enforcement, or impacted third parties of your actions;
c. We may update inaccurate Information you provided us;
d. We may refuse to provide our Services to you in the future;
e. We may hold your funds for up to 180 Days if reasonably needed to protect against the risk of liability; and
f. We may take legal action against you.
PayPal, in its sole discretion, reserves the right to terminate this
Agreement, access to its website, or access to the Service for any
reason and at any time upon notice to you and payment to you of any
unrestricted funds held in custody for you. You can review PayPal?s
Legal Agreement by clicking the ?Legal Agreements? link at the bottom of
any PayPal web page and then clicking the ?User Agreement? link.
I apologize if you feel you did not receive the level of service you
expected of PayPal. We appreciate your willingness to share your
experience with us so we may evaluate our policies and procedures to
ensure we provide good customer service to everyone contacting our
company. Your feedback is valuable and presents an opportunity to
evaluate and continuously improve the level of service we provide to our
Again, I apologize for any inconvenience caused in respect of this
matter. If you require clarification on any of the issues raised,
please feel free to contact us directly at email@example.com.
PayPal, an eBay Company
This is their standard copy/paste email response. If you get this kind of response then you will need to press harder. It’s unlikely PayPal will release all of the money at once in this situation, so you should try to get half of the funds transferred to your bank account at this point. In this email, you want to sound serious and professional. Don’t threaten to sue or assault anyone. Reply directly to the email you received before with the case number in the subject.
Dear (name of person who sent the last email from the Executive Office),
I appreciate the level of risk PayPal is taking on by offering their services. My account has had zero credit card chargebacks at any time and I have zero open disputes and claims. There is no justification for holding (insert amount of money) since (insert date). From the research I have done, there is no legal justification to hold my money for this amount of time either, regardless of what your terms of service say. I will be filing a complaint with the California State Attorney General, Federal Trade Commission, Better Business Bureau, and (insert local congressman’s name). I will forward the complaints to your office as well. I am a reasonable person and all I am asking for is the release of half of the funds now. If you look over my account I am sure you will see that there is zero risk of loss to PayPal. Thank you for your attention and I am sorry we were not able to come to an amicable solution.
EBay/PayPal read everything I put on this website within 20 minutes of it going up. Take a look at the information I have in the email examples above and put it in your own words. If you just copy/paste it then they’ll know where you got it from and won’t take you as seriously as they would if they think it’s an original email.
An email like this example will show them that you mean business and know what you’re talking about. A lot of people will start threatening class action lawsuits and other ridiculous threats. PayPal knows 99.999% of people are going to do nothing. Your promise to file complaints with those agencies is reasonable and something you can actually do. Wait about two days for a response. You should get one much faster than it took to get the first one. Ideally, you’ll receive something like the following:
Thank you for your response. I apologize for any confusion in regard to this matter and I can see how this situation could be frustrating. I have reviewed your PayPal account and your recent inquiry. Based on our review we are prepared to make a one-time exception, and release $3,000.00 USD. The funds will be manually transferred from your PayPal account balance to the Confirmed bank account on file. Please allow one to two business days for the transfer to complete. Once the funds have left your PayPal account, please allow three to four business days for the funds to reach your bank. Due to the inherent risk of Reversals, the remaining balance will be held for the full 180 days. You may log into your PayPal account after January 1, 2010, and withdraw the remaining funds.
Again, I apologize for any inconvenience caused with respect to this matter. If you have additional questions, or would like further assistance, please feel free to contact me directly at 402-952-8338 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PayPal, the safer, easier way to pay online
It usually takes about 24 hours for the money to leave your PayPal account and the usual two to four days for it to show up in your bank account. They may also ask for confirmation of which account you want the funds transferred to. If they want you to call, try emailing them the answer to their questions unless you want to get on the phone with them. Don’t give out the whole bank account number – the last four digits is fine.
If you still get denied, follow through with the complaints. The reason you got denied is probably because it hasn’t been long enough since your account was limited. There is a lot of fraud that goes on through PayPal and they have no idea if you’re “one of the good guys.” If you still get denied and it’s been 90 days or less then try again around the 90 day mark. Chances are that PayPal will be more comfortable releasing some of the funds at that point, provided you don’t have any complaints or credit card chargebacks.
California State Attorney General Complaint Form: http://ag.ca.gov/contact/complaint_form.php?cmplt=CL
Better Business Bureau Complaint Form
Federal Trade Commission Complaint
If you don’t know the name of your congressman, simply “Google” your city and “congressman” and it should be the first result (if your congressman is any good). There will be a phone number and an email address for you to forward your complaint.
There are very few people at PayPal that have the authority to make decisions. I have fairly good intelligence that says there are only about six people in Omaha, Nebraska that decide whether accounts are reinstated after a limitation. Computers do almost all of the work, but a human makes the final determination. Your best chance of getting your money prior to the 180 day mark is the process I have explained above. Calling the 1-800 number and trying to email random people at PayPal won’t do you much good. The chances of getting anyone on the phone that can actually do anything about it are just about zero. The trick is always to stay calm and never say anything you can’t follow through with doing. If you have any additional problems you’re welcome to post here or email directly at my email listed in the “About Me” section above. Of course, I will never ask you for any personal information. I don’t even want to know your last name, let alone your password or banking information (no offense). Don’t give it out to anyone that attempts to contact you directly either.
Good luck and I would be happy to help if you have any additional questions.