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eBay and PayPal shed little light on power outages

November 5, 2015 12:52 PM
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A power outage at PayPal and eBay data centers may have resulted in millions of dollars in lost payments.

Power to the PayPal data center went out just before 10 p.m. Central on Oct. 29 and was restored about two hours later, PayPal acknowledged on its Twitter feed. In a statement to Internet Retailer, a spokesman for the payments processer declined to specify what caused the outage.

“This interruption was caused by a data center power outage, which we have addressed. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused,” the spokesman said in an email. “As always we are committed to giving our customers around the world trusted and reliable ways to manage and move their money.”

Top500Guide.com data shows that 202 out of the Top 1000 online retailers in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 and Second 500 Guides use PayPal as their payment systems vendor.

About the same time, eBay Inc. experienced a similar outage. A company spokesman says power in one of its data centers was off from 6:50 p.m. to 8:54 p.m. Pacific time.

In an email to sellers on Friday, Steve Boehm, eBay’s senior vice president, global customer experience, wrote:

“As a seller impacted by this outage, know that this situation has been resolved, and that no action is required by you. Additionally, we are working diligently to make things right, as follows:

  • We will automatically credit all associated fees for listings that were scheduled to end on Thursday, October 29 between 6:45 PM PT through 9:00 PM PT. These fee credits will apply to:
    • Auction-style listings that ended within this window of time (except those that sold for a Buy It Now price).
    • Fixed price listings that ended within this window of time without a sale (with the exception of 30-day and Good 'Til Cancelled listings).

Credits will be applied to your account by November 5 and reflected on your next invoice.

  • Any transaction defects we can identify as resulting from this event will be removed and not impact your performance record, as follows:
    • 'Item Not Received' Money Back Guarantee cases that we determine are the result of this situation will be de-scored, and will not count towards your seller performance rating.
    • Any transaction you cancel because of this event will not impact your seller performance rating.
    • Top Rated Sellers: If--due to this issue--you were unable to upload tracking information to eBay within your stated handling time, your Top Rated status and Top Rated Plus discounts will be protected.

We understand the impact that situations like this can have on your business, and we sincerely apologize for this disruption.”

Jared Dreiling, business intelligence manager with electronics payments consultancy The Strawhecker Group, says while outages like the one that happened last Thursday are a headache, they typically go away quickly.

“It seems like initially when they have an outage, there’s a lot of hysteria and once they’re up and running again, all is well,” he says. “I don’t think that they’re going to see a huge loss. I don’t think we’re going to see a lot of their customers leave and go elsewhere. Most of these outages have been short-lived.”

This isn’t the first time that PayPal has experienced such an outage. A network hardware failure took down its system for about an hour in 2009, causing headaches for merchants and shoppers alike.

 

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