Paypal IPN has stopped working

Paypal has stopped working!

Actually, that’s not quite true.

I just read about this on Frank Haywood’s blog and thought it’s worth sharing.

It seems Paypal have done what many of us do when we’re ‘tweaking’ things – they’ve broken what they were trying to tweak!

For anyone who doesn’t know, Paypal’s IPN is the method that lets your payment script know that money has been succesfully received from the customers. That’s pretty important if you’re selling downloadable products because you want to make sure you get paid – of course – but you also want the customer to have the product immediately after they’ve paid.

That’s basic good customer service.

So where’s the problem? Well, right now, for reason Paypal don’t even know, some transactions aren’t updating the IPN properly. So your customer pays, you get the money, but your script doesn’t deliver the goods.

Unhappy customer.

For busy sites it’s affecting thousands of transactions. I’m not quite that busy myself, but I’m seeing a lot of support calls asking why the customer didn’t get their download.

Right now the only thing you can do is be aware of it, apologize to your customers and make sure they know it’s a temporary glitch. You don’t want them to think it’ll happen every time they buy from you.

Oh, and look into alternative payment methods. That’s probably not a bad idea, under the circumstances. Everyone needs a backup – even a multi-billion dollar company like Paypal.

You can read Paypal’s responses to the problem here.