Happy Stitches

Keep your stitches smiling!

The PayPal Saga: Supporting Small Business? June 13, 2019

pluto

Posting cute cat photos to my social media accounts helped to save my sanity these last two weeks…

I wrote the following blog post yesterday; see update at the bottom.
I’m fit to be tied and have been pretty much out of business for the last 13 days.
Sometime in May, PayPal put a little Red Dot on my business account page. I clicked, as one would: they were looking to update my business information. I followed the link. Apparently, owing to new government  (Canadian? US?) regulations, they needed more business details than had been provided when the account was set up 14 years ago.
This didn’t seem too hard to deal with…
Little did I know!

This shouldn’t be a problem!

I looked at the list of requirements: they seemed to need confirmation that my name, address and business were all correctly associated.
The first hurdle appeared to be that the name on my PayPal account somehow read as Lucy Neatby Designs rather than the registered company name of Tradewind Knitwear Designs Inc.  No idea how it came to be that way, but that had been set up 14 years ago.
The online document listed  a list of the items that they needed. Many of them were quite personal, with confidential information that I would not normally share.
Initially, I set out to submit all the information documents requested but not the entire sheet. For example, they asked for a company bank statement with address and bank account details –  IMHO they really didn’t need to see my balance or transactions, so I submitted only the top halves of several of the sensitive documents, which included the requested address and company name, etc.
Satisfied with having now fulfilled my obligation, I moved on.

still smiling… the calm before the storm

A couple of days later I received the first (of many) emails with a subject line of “Request for Additional Information”. I called customer service; apparently they don’t accept partial documents. Every document must show all four corners of the sheet.
OK, privacy be damned! I resubmitted the full documents. A couple of days later,   another “Request for Additional Information” was sitting in the Inbox.
I had to go out of town for a week.  Upon my return, a second Red Dot had appeared, informing me that, if I didn’t comply, I might experience ‘service interruptions’.
I sent more documents and received more rejections. What points was I missing?  It was very unclear.  At least my personal profile now appeared satisfactory…
pluto2

Cats make everything better, right?…

Just after the first of June I attempted to pay my Ravelry invoice through my PayPal account and found I was not able to access the funds in my account. Consequently, I could not pay the invoice. Ravelry gives a few days grace in which to get an invoice paid, so I figured that, as soon as I got the PP issue sorted out, I would pay it.
Our sales record on-line led me to discover that our last sale had been on May 29th. Nothing since. Nor any notification from PayPal.  I was starting to receive messages on Ravelry asking why PayPal was refusing to allow my customers to make any purchases.
The enormity of the situation was beginning to reveal itself:  PayPal was holding my funds from May. They were denying all purchases, both through my website and Ravelry. As an on-line business owner, I began to realize the absolute vulnerability of my situation.

keeping calm with more cute Pluto photos

And so began my romance with the customer service department.
I would call customer service. Most of the customer service agents tried very hard to give me an explanation of what document was still needed.  I provided the documents (often duplicates of ones that had already been sent).
Every time I hung up feeling as though everything was now in place and life could commence as per usual, only to receive another banal “Request for Additional Information” 24 hours later.
To add further psychic pain, every time I rang PayPal they would let me know that I have a balance of $1472.91 in my account! That’s nice. Can’t touch it.  Apparently money in PayPal is theirs, and not yours, until you have transferred it.

Pluto, give me strength!

 After each rebuttal, I uploaded more documents, but didn’t receive any indication that they had been received or inspected.
I eventually made it to 13 customer service calls! I spoke with a number of very pleasant guys called Jason, and one *** who simply read the “Request for Additional Information” email back to me. Another one kindly gave me access to a link where I could upload multiple documents at a go.
I fell into a routine of uploading, and then calling Customer Service (I know all the codes and questions by heart now), to let them know what had just been uploaded and if there was anything else that they could suggest. I requested expedited service – this just resulted in faster rejections. Lovely.
The ninth guy I spoke with assured me that, in his opinion, all that could possibly be asked for was there, and said that if that was rejected he wouldn’t know what else to suggest. So…the next rejection read that they now needed a “- Published Annual Report, eCertificate of Corporate Status or Articles of Incorporation.”
I don’t have a published annual report; I’m not listed on the stock exchange! My accountant’s year-end report didn’t count.  I hated giving it to them, too. I sent the Corporate summary, Memorandum of Association and the last signed page of my company book.  I sent all 35 pages of it. I sent the listing on the Joint Stocks Registry.

just about ready to give up and hide away

Update on Wednesday June 12th:
After yet another call with PP Support in the morning, I was ready throw in the towel. Done. No more of this insane stress.
And then, it would seem out of nowhere by this time, within the hour of that call, what should appear to my wondering eyes but the following email:
Subject: PayPal has confirmed your identity.
  Dear Lucy Neatby,
Thank you for using PayPal. You’ve completed the procedure that helped us confirm your identity. Now you can use PayPal to receive payments.
sleepingcat

we can finally rest

Epilogue:
Last night I slept.
Today I’m feeling very grateful for all the messages of support and advice that you have all given me. Also, THANK YOU for the many of you who have generously made a purchase of a pattern or DVD, or have placed a yarn order since we have been allowed to resume business.
I feel that the PayPal treatment I received was very high-handed and arbitrary.

the KnitStars team, what a lovely bunch!

During this period, since the first Red Dot, I had a pre-arranged week away, and four days given over to working with the team from KnitStars and being filmed. These are the commitments I have to honour and give my full attention to.
I have been unable to concentrate on my preparations for an upcoming private 3 day workshop that I am to host very soon; I have made little or no progress on a new sock pattern for my Adventure Knitting gang heading up to the North West Territories next month. The Pyramid DK Blanket has made some small progress, but essentially my time has been spent fighting for my business and the folks who work with me.

back to work on the sock pattern

What stressed me out was the circular and vague nature of what PayPal were asking for.
Over the course of this saga I submitted:
  • A power bill from NS Power
  • A Canada Revenue GST statement
  • A full business bank statement
  • A full credit card bill
  • My company accounts published by my accountant
  • Proof of GST payments to Revenue Canada
  • A paid invoice from a supplier
  • A selection of documents from my lawyer relating to the incorporation of my business, including the company details and the signed pages.
  • Later on in the process, having checked with my lawyer that there was no other form of document that could be considered to be ‘Articles of Incorporation’, all 35 pages of my company book. This contains not fewer than 7 repetitions of the business address. (The subsequent PayPal response was that they needed confirmation of the business address.)
  • A printout of — and an active public link to — the Provincial Government Registry of Joint Stocks NS, documenting my incorporated business since 2002.
In return, as always, I got the phrase: “The document we received from you could not be accepted as a Business Registration document. Please provide us with a valid document.- Published Annual Report, eCertificate of Corporate Status or Articles of Incorporation.”
In the end, I purchased and obtained a Certificate of Status from the Registry of Joint Stocks NS. This was the last document I submitted. It didn’t answer the description eCertificate of Corporate status, but it was my last hope and it came good. Don’t know why.

I’m determined to keep my small business running!

This whole experience has made me very aware of the lack of regard the PayPal entity has for their customers. They are large, we are small and mostly powerless.
We are now done with this drama, and I have to move on and get caught up.
I apologize if I haven’t answered every comment (time was a scarce commodity), but we here certainly do appreciate the support you have shown us.
Happy Stitches,
Lucy
PS There is still one ominous Red Dot on my account….
beerug
 

#AlpacaMyBag April 17, 2019

Filed under: Announcement,colour,General Musings,home,Knitting tips and hints — happystitches @ 08:48

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Stay tuned for my Big Announcement tomorrow, I can’t wait to share it!

 

Narrowboat Adventures 2018: Along the Shropshire Union Canal July 16, 2018

 

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Our last week has been just about ‘perfic’- warm but shady, a breeze, a view, cows in the distance, knitting, feet up, dinner cooking!

We took a little side trip along the Middlewich Branch the other day. This east-west canal usually connects two major north south canals, the Shropshire Union and the Trent and Mersey. Months ago, there was a major breach near Middlewich, draining the canal.  It’s going to take a lot of time and funds to fix it and is causing a lot of problems to boaters,  the businesses situated on the canal, and hire boat companies who promote the Four Counties and Cheshire cruising rings.

 

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along the Shropshire Union Canal

 

You can go along the canal as far as the temporary dams.  You can only get to the the last winding hole before the problem, unless you like going in reverse.  So that is what we did! We met up with some friends at an excellent pub walking distance from the canal. The canal was noticeably lifeless.  Apart from regularly moored boats, there were just a couple of visiting boats in the whole length that we traveled. The water, not moving much now, had become distinctly scummy and the two marinas, normally bustling,  were ominously quiet.

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Back in Chester after a day on the locks!

We then returned back to the mainline Shropshire Union and continued on up towards Chester. Here we devised a plan to get John’s mum to the boat so she could spend a day with us. Deciding that a tour of all the locks in Chester would be ideal, we cruised through the 8 locks. These are big and heavy and it was hot work. After going down the 3 step staircase lock, we turned around and went up again, returning back to where the hire car had been left.  We had time for a drink at the pub,  dinner on the boat, and then John took his mum back home!

 

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oncoming traffic

Yesterday marked Day 70 on Ali’s Dream.  We had an early start, completing 25 locks before lunch. The flight was fairly busy and we had a good number of locks.  This was very easy, as an uphill boat would exit the lock as we left each downhill one. Going downhill in narrow locks, after entering and stopping the boat, the helm can close the back gate and wind up one of the two paddles, and then hop back on the boat before it gets too low. The half-width gates can be opened, first the towpath side, then hop across the lock and open the far side, boat exits, whilst the far side paddle is lowered, far side gate closed, hop back and repeat and on to the next one. It appears that some 700 locks have honed us into a slick team!

nantwichwaitingintheshade

No need to warm up with soup during this hot summer1

Things are starting to wind down.  We are beginning to whittle down our supplies. However, the cans of soup purchased for a quick warm lunch on a cold day, will remain in the cupboards for Ali’s next journey.

 

This week’s half-price pattern:

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Socks are a fun, portable project!
Lucy’s charming bead-topped Double Diamond Socks feature a choice of two different diamond patterns. The Diamond Lace gives a traditional lacy effect, while the Waffle pattern gives a denser, more textured look.  A lovely treat for your feet!
The Double Diamond Socks pattern is half-price ($4.50CAD) until July 19,
Happy Stitches!

 

 

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Narrowboat Adventures 2018: Cruising into July July 8, 2018

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Breakfast on the sun deck!

July made its appearance in the midst of a heat wave. A UK heat wave usually only lasts 2 days, but this one has held out. We’ve adjusted to the weather by setting off even earlier in the mornings to catch the cool bit of the day.  It’s too warm to do anything other than read, and definitely too sticky to knit.

 

 

 

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Langley Mill at the top of the Erewash Canal

 

We celebrated Canada Day by doing 16 wide beam locks, making it up to Langley Mill, at the end of the navigable Erewash Canal.

The Erewash was rehabilitated from a stagnant swamp in the late 70s, and what a transformation it is! The water is crystal clear (you can see right to the bottom), with a disconcertingly vast number of fish. It’s hard to stop gazing at them and pay attention to steering! The fish are mostly 6” and smaller, but when walking up the towpath between locks I did spot a couple of pike at least a foot long lurking under the lily pads.

 

 

riverknits2

We took a diversion the other day.  We were going to head north at Autherly Junction and get onto the Shropshire Union, but then I received a message from Riverknits on instagram that we were very nearby one another. It appeared that, if we turned left onto the Staffs and Worcs canal and headed down about 12 locks, we might be able to meet up. John and I decided to give it a go.

 

Becci and Markus arrived a hour or so after we tied up. Their range of mini-skeins dyed in 72 colours was most impressive. All of the dye-work is performed on a 60’ narrowboat (with a 2 1/2 year old underfoot)! Formerly conventionally employed engineers, maternity leave and a redundancy payout spurred Becci and Markus into trying yarn dyeing full time. I’d say they’ve found their niche! They sell the prepared skeins at shows and through their web site, taking parcels to the post office nearest to where they happen to be tied up!

 

alisdream

25 hot locks before 12:30!

We’ve had our conference with Ali’s owner, and she’d like the narrowboat back at Swanley  in about two weeks.  It’s a bit shocking to have such a finite period, but now we can plan our final couple of weeks (assuming we don’t succumb to heat stroke).

To finish our trip off we plan to head up the Montgomery Canal. This is a fairly newly reopened branch off the Llangollen that we have never had time for on our other trips.  We have to book passage through Frankton Locks in advance.  This is limited to 12 boats a day, so we have to determine when we will be there and when we will return.

 

 

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This week’s sale pattern:

Wow, it’s hot out there!
Lucy’s cool cotton Swirling Sun Hat is a quick summer knit requiring little finishing. Knit the lace brim to fit the head, pick up sts around the brim, and work in the round up to the crown.

A quick and satisfying hot weather project!
The Swirling Sun Hat is half-price ($3.75CAD) until July 12,
Happy Stitches!

 

Narrowboat Adventures 2018: Along the Grand Union Canal July 1, 2018

After having spent some time on the Grand Union Canal, John, Ali’s Dream and I are back on the top half of our canal map!

When we reached Norton Junction, we might have turned left and gone to Braunston, Napton and the Hatton locks on the Grand Union, where we were a month or so ago.  Instead, we turned onto the  Leicester length of the Grand Union. There it magically turned back into a narrow  canal until we reached Foxton Locks.

 

 

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Flowers and cattle! A cloudy but warm morning on the Grand Union

 

Almost immediately, we were out into beautiful unspoiled Leicestershire countryside, with often not a building in sight. Huge fields of very dry arable land. We noticed cracks in the soil in the fields, and maize crops that didn’t seem to be getting much taller. That particular  section was closed last autumn due to lack of water, although we were assured that the near continuous rains of February to April had refilled the reservoirs. Despite that, every time we dropped a double wide lock 70 x 14 x8’, in volume, it felt like a lot of water going downhill. We met up with other boats occasionally and shared a few locks, but were alone for the most part.

Along our way, we took every canal side spur that presented itself. We took the Wendover arm: 6 miles up to a dead end, a windy narrow little channel that suddenly took you past a modern working flour mill, and later petered out in a small turning basin in a field.

The next one was the Aylesbury arm: after many narrow locks we reached a turning basin in the middle of the town that appeared to have been bulldozed and rebuilt without any soul. There were visitor moorings and services there, but we felt no inclination to stay.  After a quick raid on Waitrose, we were on our way.

 

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the irresistible Hambleton Bakery

 

Our next detour was to Market Harborough, which was quite a surprise: a lovely basin at the end, beautifully redeveloped but in keeping with the former port and wharves. We found excellent moorings and services, too. John and I took a short walk through town to the wonderful Hambleton bakery, a butcher, fishmonger, hardware and all sorts of excellent small shops.

 

 

foxtonlocks

Halfway down the famous Foxton Locks

Foxton Locks are famous, with two 5-step staircase locks with a small pound between them. There were many gongoozlers milling about.   The locks are interesting in that they let any excess water out into a series of side pounds as you go down. This saves water but makes for a more complex operation. Fortunately there are volunteer lock keepers to keep track of both boats and people!

 

sunsetgrandunion

Beautiful sunset on the Grand Union Canal

The weather continues to be extraordinarily dry and hot.  I have discovered the delights of dipping my feet,  socks and all, into a bucket of canal water.  What a relief, especially when they feel that they might catch fire! In the evenings, we endeavour to moor in the shade.

We are headed towards Nottingham now, then the Erewash canal before heading east towards Shardlow.

 

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Happy Canada Day from Ali’s Dream, John and me!

Hoping that summer has found you wherever you are, Happy Canada Day!

 

 

This week’s sale pattern:

 

 

Happy Canada Day to our Canadian friends and Happy Fourth of July to our American ones!
To celebrate, my  Zinnia DK Blanket and its accompanying Tutorial are our very special downloads of the week.

The Zinnia is a spectacularly beautiful double-layer blanket; something lovely to knit on, whenever you need it. Knit a smaller Zinnia and create a lovely chair pad or coaster!
The Zinnia DK Blanket and its accompanying Tutorial are both half-price until July 5,
Happy July Stitches!

 

Narrowboat Adventures 2018: Our Last Days on the River Thames June 23, 2018

turfsidelock

 

We enjoyed our last few days on the River Thames, which was busier and busier the further down it we went. We enjoyed viewing all the crazy houses, castles, follies, and wide varieties of boats while also looking forward to more mundane, workaday peace of the canals to come.

queensdoorstep

One magical day stood out! We leisurely cast off from our bank in Windsor in the morning (aka, not quite at the crack of dawn), watching  the castle looming larger and larger, then disappearing behind the trees. The canal then looped around behind the Home Park (or castle grounds), giving us a lovely view from the opposite side. The bank was clearly marked: no mooring– trespass being a criminal offence.

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We chugged on as the skies slowly cleared and tied up at Staines-Upon-Thames, where I had a quick meet up with a knitter who lives near the canal!

June5SteamingintoHungerford

We headed on out, past many houseboats of all shapes and types of grandeur, cottages on the little Thames islands, loads of folks out enjoying a beautiful Sunday.

jostlingforspace

In one lock which, on that day often had 7 or 8 boats in at a time, we were the largest by miles, with a wooden speedboat, an inflatable canoe, a lovely launch, and a be-fendered plastic boat. We have grown accustomed to those crafts all giving us a wide berth, as we are 20 tons and steel with no brakes. We nearly collided with a thoroughbred  rowing scull awaiting their race at a regatta! There was nothing more I could do than stay in the Channel. Fortunately, they finally noticed our hoot and  looming bulk and realized there was no contest.

 

Shortly after that, we came around a bend to see a very odd craft. Upon closer inspection, we realized she was the Royal Barge Gloriana!  Decided not to take her on (even though she was on the wrong side of the river. You’ll have to take my word for it, she really is spectacular.

moored

We’d been looking for somewhere to tie up for the day and had been failing for the last couple of hours. I had hoped to moor near Hampton Court but had doubted this would be possible. Then we found one spot that might just be long enough. The boat is 57’. We squeezed in, the gap was 56’ 9”. With a slight overlap of rudders we managed it. Imagine my delight when I looked across the footpath to find that we were right by the golden railings of the back garden of Hampton Court Palace! We went for a little stroll and were surprised to find we could freely stroll around the grounds, rose and kitchen garden. We even saw a flock of green parrots in one of the trees.

goldengate

As we were returning to to boat we found we had been locked in at the side gate. Luckily we could see the main entrance and headed that way and were politely let out by a uniformed gent!

Only wish we could have stayed another day to check out the Royal School of Needlework.  I guess it’ll just have to wait until next time.

 

This week’s sale pattern:

#443 Faroese Flower Shawl

The graceful, shoulder-hugging Faroese Flower Shawl is knit in one piece from the neck down. This gorgeous, airy piece features floral lace stitches and an unusual petal trim at the bottom.
A beautiful summer project!
The Faroese Flower Shawl is half-price ($6.00CAD) until June 28,
Happy Stitches!

 

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Narrowboat Adventures 2018: Daily Life June 19, 2018

We retraced our route somewhat at the beginning of the month, and perhaps even enjoyed it a bit more the second time around! The weather was clearer and the views better. The addition of our boarding plank has widened our options for mooring, too.

wildrosesonthetowpath

Good morning! Beautiful wild roses on the towpath.

Our days are full, and we are usually underway by 0700. Tying up at the end of the day depends on conditions and objectives.

 

Once the engine has been started, one of us heads out and prepares the first lock, and we are off.

swingbridge

a beautiful day, swing bridge in the distance

Apart from a couple of notable flights the locks have been about every 20 mins, with another 20 spent negotiating the upcoming one.

Between locks we: eat breakfast on the deck. Boil the kettle. Make a cup of coffee.  Clean teeth. Wash up the dishes. Put away the dishes. Clean the bathroom- it needs regular maintenance!  Make another cup of canal coffee. Tend to the plants. Dead head and water the flowers (feed on Fridays). Plan and make water/sanitary/ garbage stop.

timetomakethebed

our bed doubles as the charging station!

Tidy up the bed and prep the items for charging (we only have a cigarette lighter adapter to a small inverter- that can only be run after the engine has charged the battery for the engine start for an hour.)

chargingstation

 We can only charge devices whilst underway. Part of the daily routine. Works surprisingly well.

The one battery is reserved entirely for starting the engine, and we always ensure that it is fully charged before charging the domestic ones or the plug in the inverter to charge the devices.

 

Usually only one item can be achieved between locks or swingbridges. No wonder it takes all day!

 

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dinner prep

By 4 or 5pm we are ready to stop, eat, drink and fall asleep. The sun insists on staying up later than we do!

 

June6_dinnerwithfriendswithalaundryoption

we enjoyed dinner with our friends, who generously shared their laundry facilities. A nice evening for drying, as well!

We had a lovely invitation from friends in Woolhampton. They offered us both dinner AND a washing machine. We couldn’t resist, and luckily caught an excellent drying evening, too.

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lovely temporary mooring stop at Tesco–we were able to shop and load our groceries easily!

 

 

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Still looking down at the water and continuing along our way.

And hardly a stitch knit!

 

 

 

This week’s sale pattern

#662 Celestial Baby SwaeterMy Celestial Baby Sweater is a lovely gift for the newest addition to your family! An easy-fit, easy-knit sweater with button-shoulders for a baby or toddler. Knit yours out of machine-washable yarn, and it will become a treasured garment!
The Celestial Baby Sweater is half-price ($3.75CAD) until June 21,
Happy Stitches!

 

 

 
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