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
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Exciting Adventures Ahead April 18, 2019

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For a quiet year away from the gallivanting routine that has been my life for the last 20 or more years, this year is shaping up BUSY again… somehow I still feel there are not enough hours in a day!
Two unexpected mini camps have been organized on Big Tancook Island (sorry, both are already full), I’ll be Adventure Knitting with Judy and others in the North West Territories in July, teaching in Edmonton for River City Yarns in July and teaching at Knit East in New Brunswick in October. Whew!

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And, as of today, I can finally announce ONE more exciting teaching gig:
I’ve been chosen to teach in KnitStars for Season 4.0!
KnitStars select 10 amazing thought leaders from the knitting firmament and film them in their respective working environments hosting a series of classes.

I’d love for you to join me and the other fabulous instructors for this exciting on-line global learning event beginning in November! This year’s lineup features craftspeople from Peru to Oregon to Nova Scotia and points in between. You’ll have the chance to join me on Tancook Island without even taking the ferry!

The online style of the conference makes it possible for anyone around the world to join the fun.

Click my affiliate link to see who’s teaching what!

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During my multi-part workshop, I’ll be demonstrating my favourite technique, double-knitting, from my favourite island, Big Tancook, what fun! I’ll introduce you to my lovely home away from home, with sneak peeks at some of my Tancook friends and my little cottage workspace – all while teaching you my take on double knitting techniques in step-by-step workshop lessons.

 

Early bird discounted registration is open as of TODAY and closes at the end of the day on April 26!

If you purchase KnitStars 4.0 using my Knit Stars Affiliate Link, I will earn a commission – at no additional cost to you. Once purchased, all of the KnitStars 4.0 workshops are yours to be viewed at your own pace as many times as you wish.

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Wishing you all the very KnitStarry-est of Stitches,

Lucy

 

#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!

 

It’s Almost Out of the Bag April 14, 2019

Filed under: colour,home,Knitting tips and hints,Yarn — happystitches @ 06:51

lucy2

Shhh… Announcement coming April 18!

 

Narrowboat Adventures 2018: A Fond Farewell July 22, 2018

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It’s over. We have departed from Ali’s Dream.

We made our way super, extra, very slowly the last 1/4 day, stretching it out as long as possible.  We meandered back to Swanley BridgeMarina, to allow time for a last canal coffee, and to savour the last 5 locks.

In total, we completed 939 miles and 874 locks in 81 days (not to mention several bottles of Baileys – the essential ingredient in our canal coffee).

lastnightinamarina

a last bit of knitting while enjoying another glorious sunset

We filled Ali up with fuel, did a few pirouettes and backed her into a very slender berth. Then followed 24 hours of washing, polishing and sorting. I achieved my Fitbit goal and then some just on dashing to and fro between the boat and the marina laundry!

June6_dinnerwithfriendswithalaundryoption

Jackie-the-Boat-owner made a few queries about us being happy to get back to a flush toilet and ample water flow but, honestly, a washing line and good Internet connection were all I’d missed.

rain

Our last was another stunningly beautiful morning but, strangely, between locking the boat and reaching our hire car, there were raindrops. Actual rain drops. This turned into a light shower, requiring windscreen wipers and creating modest puddles. Not enough to break the drought, but it did help to make our departure easier.

AlisDreamMay2

Thanks for reading and joining in John’s and my summer adventure. And now I’m signing off from the cut…

I’ve started putting out feelers for next year’s boat.

 

This week’s sale pattern:

 

 

The  versatile, multi-size Lighthouse Bag is another fun summer project! It is worked in the round in a spiraling lacy pattern that gradually decreases as it winds its way up the bag to finish in a short-row Spider strap.
This quick project requires very little finishing and can be felted to make it resistant to stretching.

The Lighthouse Bag pattern is half-price ($3.75CAD) until July 26,
Happy Stitches!

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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.

 

 

grandunion

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.

 

hambletonbakery

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.

 

alicanada

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 Journey Continues June 7, 2018

Filed under: Canal boat,home,Knitting Travels,Narrowboat Journey 2018,Narrowboating — happystitches @ 20:04

June5SteamingintoHungerford

 

Travelling downstream along the Thames added to our progress considerably. A river is quite a different proposition to a canal. No lack of moving water, it being replenished from many feeders and has to be channeled downwards and out to the sea. Many of the locks are left with one set of the paddles open, a definite no-no on canals, where every drop is husbanded. I didn’t really enjoy the automated or manned by a lock keeper locks — not nearly as much fun or exercise!

 

 

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There are long stretches where you can see nothing apart from the wide river and bushes and trees, then towns with interesting buildings and many ostentatious houses with enormous lawns leading down to the river! These often include docks with equally fancy boats. The boats were noticeably larger and with greater air drafts as we went further down.

 

Mooring up is tricky along a big river too. All the fancy gardens are clearly labelled “Private – no mooring”. The wild banks have many trees. Sometimes there are fairly smooth sheer bits of bank that might work. At least the river is wide enough that you can turn the boat and go back to a suitable spot — not an option on a canal. I believe it is also done to moor the bow to a tree or a pin and just let the stern fall to the current.

 

yellowirisonK&A

yellow iris along the Kennet&Avon canal

We reached Reading sooner than expected and decided to continue on to the start of the Kennet and Avon. We turned into the mouth of the Kennet and faced a formidable current against us.

We slowly made headway against the flow. We reached a ‘one boat at a time’ section controlled by a traffic light!  You had to push the equivalent of a pedestrian crossing button. When the light changed to green, you could proceed, giving you 12 minutes to reach the lock at the other end. This section wiggled and wound around the Center of Reading taking us right through the middle of a ritzy shopping area, where we formed the entertainment for those drinking at the bars and restaurants on either side. After having exited the next lock, we were happy to tie up for the day.

 

afewstitchescanalside

happy to tie up for the day, getting in a few stitches canalside

 

The Kennet & Avon is different. The first day or two was a mixture of river and canal sections and lots of “Danger” signs. The River Kennet was flowing strongly against us. Wherever it leaves the canal, it swooshes off over a weir, sucking your boat to that side. For the period that it runs as the waterway it works against you, and where it enters the canal, it pushes you across (often just as you approach a lock). The locks here are very large and somewhat aggressive, not at all consistent in size and method of operation.

ChocolateBoxVillageAllCannings

chocolate box village!

 

Here in  Wiltshire, the rolling hills and unspoiled scenery are glorious with villages few and far.  In them, thatched cottages abound.  The canal took us uphill for 3 days and once we  passed the summit headed down to Bristol.

 

 

caenhilllocks

above the Caen Hill Locks

We did our usual crack of dawn attack on the Caen Hill Locks. We had about an hour to go before we reached them and we were just in the first lock when the thunder clouds rolled in and drenched us. Fortunately it wasn’t very cold rain and working the locks kept us warm.

CaenHillLocks

29 locks in five hours!

These locks were distinctly heavy and we were just getting a system worked out between us (each set seems to be different), when up popped a couple of Canal & River Trust volunteers offering assistance!  As there were no other boats around, they stuck with us most of the way despite the deluges. We cleared the 29 locks in about 5 hours.

 

May28BradfordonAvon

May 28, Bradford on Avon–gongoozlers on holiday!

We had planned to pump out, get rid of rubbish and take water in the sleepy little town of Bradford-On-Avon but, as we reached the bottom of the locks, there were suddenly a lot more boats!  A fair was being held and the quays were brimming with people. Luckily for us there was a CRT guy on the quayside ensuring that the sanitary berth was only being used for its intended purpose and we left as soon as we were done.  The towpath was awash with people, dogs and bikes and also heavily wooded.

Eventually we found a spot where we could moor in –  a concrete ledge prevented us from getting fully alongside, but gave us a grandstand view of a string of frazzled hire boaters failing to make the next bend.

yellowirisonK&A

Along the Kennet & Avon canal,  the lilacs were starting to go over, the ducklings becoming adolescent, the yellow iris coming out. Swans just hatching and the Canada geese herding the chicks into community daycare systems.

Next we worked our way west until we connected with the River Avon.  The intersections between canal and river were less frequent and the current not as strong. Here we encountered a bit of a problem:  in order to secure to a rough bank, you had to be able to get off the boat to drive in  mooring pins, but we had no boarding plank suitable for bridging the gap!

We reached the final lock that released us onto the Avon and called the lock at the Bristol Docks to check that their lock was open and headed on downriver. Both gates of the entry dock were open,  we tied up and paid our dues and then chugged on into the Bristol Floating Harbour.

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entering Bristol Floating Harbour

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the new pedestrian bridge in Bristol

After a fair stretch of Feeder Canal we turned into the heart of Bristol. Tall buildings both ancient and modern, exotic bridges, and all manner of boats, coastal vessels, harbour ferries, water taxis, Dutch barges, sailing, tugs, historic exhibits, gigs, paddle boards, with narrowboats being in the minority. We spent the afternoon being tourists, and evening watching the harbour traffic. The harbour was impressively well organized, with visitor moorings and facilities for water, rubbish and sewage in several locations, and the harbour was immaculately free of trash.

 

 

 

 

makinguseofthenewboardingplank

Making use of our new boarding plank!

 

We have become fairly adept at planning day visits from friends and family! Arrange to meet up at a location where they can leave their car and access the canal, enjoy a day together, then plan the departure at a canal side pub where a taxi can be obtained to take them back the 6 or so miles that we have achieved.

We had a full shopping list request for our good friends who visited last week, top of which was a 2 meter long plank! They were happy to oblige and we are now equipped with our own official boarding plank.

 

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Bristol Harbour

 

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Meanwhile, back at home, we are continuing with our weekly half-price sales: this week we’re featuring my Aqueduct Hat and Tea Cozy pattern!  I had so much fun designing this project–an homage to the Pontsycllte Aqueduct in Wales and a lovely knit for the narrow boaters and tea drinkers in your life!

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