I’ve had a Skype account since the service started.  I’ve never used Skype to make a single personal or business phone call — even though I always thought one day, any day, I would start Skype-ing like a madman.

With the advent of the iPhone 4 and its native video conferencing, and now with Google Voice powering up as your one-stop communications connectoid, I just don’t see the need to further complicate my life with yet another communication service like Skype that only can confuse people looking for one way, and one way only, to get in touch with me.  Email is always better for guaranteeing a quick and cogent reply.

Yesterday, I was surprised when two emails arrived.  One was from Skype.  The other was from PayPal.  Both emails told me my PayPal account had been “successfully charged” $30.00USD for another year of service.

What?

Huh?

How did that happen?  I don’t recall giving Skype permission to auto-charge me via a PayPal subscription every year.

I logged into my Skype account.  I saw no automatic charge authorization anywhere.  When I clicked on the most recent charge, and tried to cancel it — there was a link telling me to go to PayPal to cancel.  Clicking the Skype link took me to a generic PayPal page.  Not helpful.  There was nothing to cancel.

I was finally able to find a way to check all my PayPal subscriptions and, Skype was not listed as an approved vendor.  In fact, Skype didn’t appear anywhere else in my account except as that single, successful, charge.  Curious.

I went back to the Skype email and replied, telling them I was not interested in paying for a another year of service and that I would like the charges reversed.

The email to Skype instantly bounced-back as a dead address.

I went back to PayPal and found the Skype invoice and I wrote to the official email-of-record for Skype to dispute the charge.  That email, too, bounced back.

Now I was getting frustrated as I had to go back to the Skype website to try to find a way to delete my account and/or stop these charges from happening again.  I was able to cancel my paid service — effective a year from now!  Not adequate.

I did searches. I looked everywhere for 45 minutes.  I could not find a way, via the Skype website, to dispute a charge.  I finally found an “email customer support” button I could click, done did, and filed my dispute that way.

A few hours later, I received an email from Skype telling me the $30.00USD had been reversed and that my account would not be charged again in the future.

Why does Skype make it so hard to manage your account and to get in direct contact with them?

How were Skype able to charge my PayPal account when I never authorized that subscription and Skype are not listed as a recurring subscription in my PayPal account?

Why are Skype getting away with providing a dead email address to PayPal as the official means of contact to directly dispute a charge?

I never did find the link to permanently delete my Skype account.

Posted by David Boles

David Boles was born in Nebraska and his MFA is from Columbia University in the City of New York. He is an Author, Lyricist, Playwright, Publisher, Editor, Actor, Designer, Director, Poet, Producer, and Boodle Boy for print, radio, television, film, the web and the live stage. With more than 50 books in print, David continues to write 2MM words a year. He has authored over 25K articles and published more. Read the Prairie Voice Archive at Boles.com | Buy his books at David Boles Books Writing & Publishing | Earn the world with David Boles University | Get a script doctored at Script Professor | Touch American Sign Language mastery at Hardcore ASL.

20 Comments

    1. HI Gordon —

      I don’t think that link does it. That tells you how to cancel a subscription — as I did — but it doesn’t remove your account from Skype. Your username stays active in case you want to reactivate later.

      PayPal, on the other hand, has one link you can follow to close and delete your account. Clean. Simple. Intuitive. Skype is not that way at all.

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  1. This is outrageous!

    “Unfortunately, for technical and security reasons, deleting a username is not possible. In order to prevent someone else from registering with the same username, an act that could lead to identity theft,” says Max Wolf from the Office of the President of Skype.

    http://news.softpedia.com/news/Deleting-Your-Skype-Account-Is-Not-an-Option-90793.shtml

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    1. Yeah! Outrageous! Skype should do what WordPress.com does: If a user deletes their bog and/or username — they’re Graveyarded. Dead forever never to be resurrected unless and until some very rare and specific terms and needs are met and proven — and then it’s still at the discretion of the higher-ups if a username or blog URL can be used again.

      Canceled Skype accounts and usernames should work precisely the same way.

      Skype just keep hoping to drag you back as your friends keep calling for you. The personal phone number I bought from them better not automatically “update” with a payment to Skype next month, or I’ll be really steamed.

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  2. To cancel the Skype auto-payment in PayPal,

    1. Log into your PayPal account and go to My Account
    2. Click on Profile (ignore the drop-down options)
    3. Click on “My Pre-approved payments” under “Financial Information”
    4. Click on Skype (in the Merchant column)
    5. Click on the Cancel link

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    1. Right, I tried all that, Julie, but Skype doesn’t appear anywhere in that list as an active/inactive, authorized or canceled vendor: So how were they able to auto-charge my PayPal account without my permission?

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    2. Thank you…it worked.

      No more thieving from skype!

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  3. If Skype doesn’t appear anywhere in the My Pre-approved payments, then…

    1. Log into your PayPal account and go to My Account > Overview.
    2. Click on Payments sent link.
    3. Locate your Skype transaction.
    4. On your Skype transaction click on the Details link.
    5. From the Transaction Details page you’ll be able to cancel your Skype subscription via PayPal.

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    1. Hi Binaryfish —

      If those steps work now, that’s great news. None of that was available when I tried to previously tried to cancel.

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  4. Thanks, Binaryfish. This worked. I remember the first time I cancelled was quite impossible too.

    Now that Google Voice is free, what do I need a paid Skype subscription for😉

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    1. KR —

      I’m 100% in with Google Voice now, too. It’s an outstanding service and, for now anyway, it’s pretty much free.

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  5. […] first blush, you might not understand why you would want to collect credit card payments if you use PayPal or some other online banking service — but if you think about your work day and how you […]

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  6. How do I cancel a Billing Agreement?

    Question :
    Answer :
    We’re introducing a new and improved Profile to some customers. Until all customers are using the new Profile, there are 2 sets of instructions on how to do this. Please follow the instructions that match what you see on the site.

    Use the following steps to cancel a Billing Agreement:

    1. Log in to your PayPal account.
    2. Click Profile at the top of the page.
    3. Click the Pay List link in the Financial Information column. (Don’t see this step? Follow the instructions below.)
    4. Find the merchant whose agreement you want to cancel.
    5. Click the merchant’s name or email address.
    6. Click Cancel.

    Or

    1. Log in to your PayPal account.
    2. Click Profile at the top of the page.
    3. Click My money.
    4. Click Update in the My preapproved payments section.
    5. Select the merchant’s name or email address.
    6. Click Cancel.

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    1. Thanks for that updated information, Dan!

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  7. […] not a big fan of Skype — but I am a Mac man — and MSFT buying the premier VOIP client for the Mac is a […]

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  8. […] was on their end and that they would fix it.  For four years they fixed nothing, and I finally cancelled my subscription with the service because I was tired of being identified as a woman instead of a rich Los Angeles […]

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  9. Log on Paypal-My Profile-My Money-My pre-approved payments-Update-Select Skype on Merchant List-Cancel

    Regards

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  10. Google “skype paypal”. Top searches are paypal scams. Scammers are sending fake emails using fake addresses with paypal to lure you into writing your account and password to charge your paypal automatically, which is the reason why paypal is no longer a valid payment source for skype.

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    1. Thank you for sharing what you found. It’s too bad when scammers ruin honest business.

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