PayPal refuse to close my account

PayPal last week refused to close my account.
I tried to do this online, but reached a blockage at which I was asked to speak to their help desk.
PayPal’s help desk told me that they will not (or cannot - they weren’t clear) close my account.
They told me they have disabled my account.
But when I went into my personal profile online, I could update my phone number and also my avatar image. How could I do that on a disabled account?
So now they are holding my personal information while I cannot use my disabled account.

Has anyone else been able to close a PayPal account with confidence that their personal information has been erased?

A disabled account means it can’t (in practice) be used for any transactions.

But I guess you want to close it to remove any association you may have and details about card number and other things.

Have you gone into account settings, way down to the end, and indicated close account?

If that is where the close process failed, then just pursue the call center process and ask in persitant detail just what is required to close an account.


That’s where the close process failed. The PayPal call centre (02 8223 9500) operator just fudged when I “asked in persistent detail” and told me that she would have to refer my request to her supervisor in was she called the “back office”. I have heard nothing back.
Yes, I want the account closed so that no one can hack my personal information from PayPal’s data base.


If you have heard nothing back, then call them again.

Next time get a reference number, or case number, whatever the business will use to track your issue, and quote that so whatever script-following minion who takes your call will have something to refer to about your problem and previous actions.

And they will know this is a issue to be resolved, not just an inquiry to be answered with a scripted response, or in your case a ‘computer says no’.


Update your account with dummy details? You can use a disposable email account, and find credit card number generators online. Addresses can similarly be spoofed. Save the dummy account data, change the password to something unmemorable, and walk away. As long as the account no longer has your personal details, you can forget about it unless PayPal stores historical data with current data (highly unlikely).

Alternatively, use a VPN that shows you as being located within the European Union. Internet platforms are required by law (right to be forgotten) to delete EU citizens’ data on request. It is a little surprising that PayPal has not simply implemented this worldwide, as many other companies have.


You, @postulative, are a hacker at heart. :laughing:

But seriously, most issues are just a matter of communication and finding sensible ways to solve stupid process roadblocks.


They also refuse to delete my account despite “permanently limiting” it (meaning I can never use it again). I am so furious about all this. The cancelled my account due to some “risk” which they refused to disclose. I used it for the normal stuff: online purchases, payment of my AirBnB income, donations to charities. Nothing had changed and no amount of calls or messages made any difference - they outright refused to tell me what had caused this. Not only that, they kept the money I had in my account for 180 days. Fortunately it wasn’t much, but a web search shows that this is not an uncommon practice of theirs and some people have had thousands of dollars held for 6 months. Frankly I’d suggest giving PayPal the boot - or if you keep using them, NEVER leave money in your account.

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It is possible to permanently close an PayPal account…

To delete your account from desktop:

  1. Click “Settings” next to “Log out.”
  2. Find “Account options” and select “Close your account.”
  3. Enter your bank account if requested.
  4. Click “Close Account.”

To delete your account from the PayPal app on your mobile phone:

  1. Click on the profile icon in the top left corner.
  2. Scroll down and find “Close your account.”
  3. Click “Close Account.”

One the account is deleted, any records kept in the account are also deleted. If you need the records (such as proof of purchase for a warranty), make sure you take copies before closing the account.

BUT, to close an account you need to be able to logon to your PayPal account. If your account has been subject to a ‘limitation’ and login isn’t possible, then one won’t be able to logon to close one’s account. In such case, it is reported that one will need to wait until PayPal automatically closes/deletes the account after 3 years of inactivity.


I can login fine, but when I try to close my account I get the following message, and I have contacted tem and they refuse to close my account BECAUSE it is permanently limited!

We were unable to close your PayPal account

Here are the most common reasons that prevent account closure. Make sure that your account doesn’t have any of the following before trying again:

Learn more about how to close your account.

If you have any questions, contact us.

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My sympathies to you, Yvette. Our situations are pretty much identical. PayPal are high-handed and set (and alter) their terms and conditions wholly to suit themselves - which includes maximising their profits.

In additional to the reasons you have outlined, have they said why it is ‘permanently limited’. There has been reports that some accounts have been ‘permanently limited’ as account holders haven’t provided (or have refused to provide) necessary identification to validate the account holder. Validation of PayPal accounts is required by law.

If it is an account validation issue, have you asked PayPal whether you can validate the account for the ‘limitation’ to be removed. This may then allow you to close the account.


I was a PayPal customer for at least 15 years. Nothing had changed in how I was using my account, and as I said, I asked numerous times for an explanation by phone and in writing and they refused to tell give an explanation other than a perceived “risk”. There was no warning, no request for information, no unusual transactions, no payment disputes. I was receiving monies at least weekly via AirBnB with no problems at any stage until they suddenly decided to permanently limit my account and hold the money in my account for 6 months.

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I am sorry you’ve had this happen to you too Keith. Frankly I find PayPal to extremely unethical with this kind of behaviour.

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The requests for account validation have been more recent - in the past year or two. PayPal has been subject to audits by the regulators and have been under pressure to ensure that all account holders have been validated in accordance with legislative requirements. It particularly applied to older accounts which may not have been set up with information necessary to meet anti-money laundering laws.

Emails were sent out, but as indicated elsewhere, these emails looks like scam emails and may have been ignored by many (I did when I got ours thinking it was a scammer, but something niggled away at me and I logged in shortly thereafter to see that I needed to validate my own account). It is also possible that the emails went to a junk folder.

This website explains what information is/was needed:

and also indicates that accounts are ‘limited’ where information isn’t provided.


I don’t think we can start from the position that PayPal are the “good guys” and we just need to trust them to do the right thing and that any problems are due to our neglect or our misunderstanding.
They have sent me “confirm your information” emails and I have kept my information up to date, but all the time my account has been permanently limited. My account was closed in September 2021 and PayPal have been as communicative to me as they have been to Yvette. I have lived without PayPal since then without significant problems.


My case had nothing to do with this, and it seems I’m destined to remain in the dark as to what it was about given PayPayl’s refusal to give any proper explanation. This is all they will say on the matter, and refuse to tell me what this account activity was, and my review of my account transactions shows absolutely nothing out of the ordinary :

You can no longer use PayPal

At PayPal, we value a safe community for our customers to do business. We’ve noticed activity in your account that’s inconsistent with our User Agreement and therefore can no longer offer you PayPal services.

Any bank account or card information that’s linked to your PayPal account cannot be removed or added to another account. You can still log in and see your account information, but you can’t send or receive money. Any money in your PayPal balance will be held for up to 180 days.


Other reasons why accounts are ‘limited’ are…

I wasn’t aware of the PayPal’s acceptable use policy. It indicates that

PayPal requires pre-approval to accept payments for certain services as detailed in the chart below…


A marketplace is an e-commerce solution where third-party sellers can sell their products or services to customers.

As you have indicated that you receive payments through PayPal from Airbnb, you may have been required to gain PayPals approval to accept ongoing payments. This can be grounds for ‘limiting’. How a consumer is expected to know this…one would hope PayPal doesn’t automatically ‘limit’ an account without at least notifying the account holders.

It also appears once you have an account ‘permanently limited’, another account by the same account holder can’t be created in the future. This seems unreasonable if they haven’t given prior notification of an account potentially being ‘limited’, reasons for a ‘limitation’ or any opportunity to ask for a review of their decision.

As PayPal comes under the financial services legislation in Australia, you have the option of lodging a complaint with…

Hopefully through assessing the complaint, more information about your case might come to light.



Did it years ago.

Thanks for this. I went through all of this at the time, tried my very best to get PayPal to be reasonable and give me a clear explanation about what it was that led to my account being permanently limited (without any warning) and they utterly refused to give any explanation. They also couldn’t explain why they needed to hold onto the money in my account for 6 months. Bizarrely, one PayPal rep I spoke to told me I COULD open another account (though the info suggests otherwise), but as I pointed out to them, given I remained clueless as to what had caused the problem with the one they just permanently limited, how was I to know what I could or couldn’t use it for?

I did lodge a complaint with AFCA at the time and they looked into it but said that PayPal were operating within their T&As that I had agreed to when I signed up so there was nothing they could do.

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I wish I had! And I wish more people would so that they might rethink the way they operate.

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