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PayPal hit by outages and other glitches today

Users of the online payment system have reported a slew of problems early today, which the company has acknowledged on Twitter.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
3 min read
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

PayPal is suffering from site issues today, according to its U.K. Twitter feed, and is striving to fix them:

We've been made aware of site issues today & are working to get this resolved. Apologies for any inconvenience. Will update asap. Tks, MW

Downrightnow.com, which tracks the online availability of different sites, has recorded a string of outages for PayPal today. As of around 8:30 a.m. PT, PayPal had been up for the previous 30 minutes or so. But the site had previously been down for one long stretch and several shorter stretches starting early Monday morning.

PayPal users have reported other problems, such as delays in payment processing and transactions.

Users chiming in on PayPal's forum say that transactions are not showing up right away on their activity pages. As a result, some have made multiple payments for the same item.

The problems have affected people across different parts of the world, notably in Europe but also in the United States, according to PayPal.

A Web Site called Blue Griffon said PayPal is "apparently suffering from severe system glitches." People who pay for Blue Griffon items through PayPal could be hit with long delays before receiving a link to download their purchases. The site added that it's seen reports from other sellers complaining of the same issue.

Daniel Glazman, a co-chairman of the W3C CSS Working Group and developer of the BlueGriffon software, said on his blog today that PayPal apparently ran a system upgrade on Friday. And since this morning, he's seen delays in the notifications that PayPal sends to shopping baskets and sellers.

"One of my customers has now been waiting for an hour for the notif, and my systems still have not received the notif from PayPal," Glazman said.

A problem with Website payments was reported as early as last night by X.Commerce, the e-commerce developer platform run by PayPal owner eBay. The site reported a system issue affecting Express Checkout and other features used by PayPal developers.

Some people have expressed concerns over instant payment notifications getting stuck in the system due to the glitches. In response, PayPal's U.K. Twitter account said that those notifications should filter through once the overall problem is resolved.

In the meantime, merchants affected by the site issues are being forced to notify their customers and find workarounds for the stalled payment notifications. Since the Instant Payment Notification system is not working, several online sellers checking in on Twitter say they're sending receipts and download links manually.

In response to the system problems, a PayPal spokesperson sent CNET the following statement:

For 3 hours (approximately 11pm PT Sunday night - 1:45am PT Monday morning), PayPal learned of a technical issue where a small proportion of customers made duplicate transactions when they did not receive a notification that their original payment went through. This issue has been resolved. All customers will be refunded for duplicate transactions as soon as possible. We are sincerely sorry that this happened to these customers and we will work with every one of them to make them whole.

The spokesperson told CNET that PayPal is working directly with merchants to resolve any issues related to the incident. Affected customers are encouraged to contact PayPal via its @AskPayPal support account on Twitter.

Updated 11:25 a.m. PT with statement from PayPal.