Selling eProducts Through PayPal and Common Courtesy

Okay, this is kind of a rant on a couple of issues.

I sell e-products on my website via PayPal, as part of my online marketing strategy. While this is a convenient and normally great selling method, once in a while there’s a problem. This, I guess, is the way with ecommerce.

The Cause of the Problem

PayPal, for whatever reason they deem necessary, makes it very unclear as to how to download your purchase once you’ve bought it.

This in no way is the consumer's fault. PayPal just uses a confusing way to provide the ‘instant’ downloadable link to the product you bought.

Once you pay for the product, you’re brought to a PayPal page that shows this:
“[Name of buyer], you just completed your payment.”
It gives the transaction number and notes that they’ll send you a receipt via email.
Under this you’re given three links:

Return to [the seller’s email address]
Go to PayPal account overview
Add funds from your bank

NO WHERE does it say: Click Here to Get Your Product, or other clear call-to-action.

The buyer must automatically know that one of these three links is the product download button.

Just so you know, it’s the first link – the link to “Return to [the seller’s email address].

How is anyone to know that’s the link to get the purchased product?

Because of this confusing process, I’ve had a couple of people who have filed a dispute against me with PayPal over the years. While they have been quickly resolved, it’s annoying and time consuming for me, the seller, and for the buyer.

Fortunately, I was able to get online and check my email to find the problems. BUT, when super storm Sandy hit, I was without electricity for almost two weeks. And, I couldn't drive anywhere for internet access.

What happens then? What happens if you have a problem with your internet service or electricity? Or, if your computer crashes.

PayPal needs to develop an easier method for buyers to be able to quickly find the download button.

People get upset when they can’t immediately get their purchases!

This leads me to the second rant.

When Purchasing Online, Please Use Common Courtesy

My most recent mishap with a PayPal purchase just happened. I promoted a product related to the content in my newsletter, The Writing World. Happily, subscribers found the product to be helpful and I got a number of purchases.

This is GREAT and I appreciate every sale, but . . .

One buyer, after 'not being a mind-reader’ and realizing she needed to click on my email address to get the ebook, filed a dispute with PayPal.

Now, I can understand the frustration in buying a product, even at $7, and wanting it immediately. However, I buy e-products online also and my first course of action if there’s a problem with the download is to contact the seller, not file a dispute or complaint.

To add to this, the people buying were buying from a promo in my newsletter. These are people I send useful writing and marketing information emails to regularly and offer free webinars to.

This is where common courtesy comes into play. The buyer who couldn’t get the product not only filed a dispute with PayPal, but also sent me this email:

Hello Karen,

As you can see by the receipt below, I paid the $7 for the eBook "Editing Books Like A Pro" , however, I have NOT YET received the instantaneous download as promised. Please send immediately!

Thank you,


I, of course, immediately sent an email apologizing for the inconvenience and attached the ebook.

Then I had to go to my PayPal account and let them know I took care of the matter.

Then, annoyed over the matter, I created a test .49 cent product, uploaded it to PayPal, put it on my site, and bought it through my husband’s account, just to test the buying process.

I have to say the PayPal 'download process' is sorely lacking.

After that, I wrote this post.

So, thanks to PayPal, for a $7 product I wasted well over an hour and a half.

What's to Come

I'm sure I'm not the only PayPal merchant this occasionally happens to. PayPal is making enough money from its merchants; they should make the buying process much easier and clear.

Aside from this MAJOR problem, I'll still use PayPal, at least for the time being.


Want to learn how to sell products and services through PayPal, right from your own site? Then you need Create and Build an Author/Writer Online Platform - Website Creation to Beyond Book Sales. One of the Lessons covers using PayPal to sell your products.

For more all the details, CLICK HERE!


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Unknown said...

Thanks for this helpful information, Karen. I don't remember if I was using paypal to purchase a book from someone in our club, but honestly, I contacted the seller and presented my problem with downloading, he gave me a solution and I still couldn't download the book. I just didn't do anything more about since the book was only $7.00 but I now wonder, after reading your blog, if that was the problem, it might have been a paypal purchase. At least you cleared that up for us all when making future purchases.

Karen Cioffi said...

Marlene, I'm so glad you found the post helpful. And, you should have contacted the seller again, even it's only $7. You paid in good faith and should get your product. The seller could have easily simply emailed you the ebook in PDF format. When a buyer of my products has a problem with PayPal, as soon as they contact me I send the product personally.