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Christopher Elliott/Consumer Advocate: A Missing PayPal Payment, but Where’s the Money?



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*Kelly Stout’s rent money is missing, and she thinks PayPal has it. But does it? And if so, how do you recover a missing PayPal payment?

Q: I need help with a missing PayPal payment. I paid for my rent recently through PayPal. PayPal withdrew the money from my bank account but my landlord never received it.

I contacted PayPal, which traced the money and promised to return it to my account. But I haven’t seen the money. My landlord is demanding that payment right away and I need those funds returned ASAP. He is threatening me with eviction. Can you help me get PayPal to return my $951? — Kelly Stout, East Rochester, N.Y.

A: I’m sorry your money is missing. PayPal should do everything it can to find and refund the missing money quickly, especially since you could get evicted. Under state law, the next step would have been a 14-day eviction notice, which fortunately you didn’t receive.

Paying your rent with PayPal is a little controversial. PayPal offers two kinds of accounts: a personal account and a business account. Some landlords, in an effort to skirt PayPal’s fees, accept rent payments through their personal accounts. That’s a violation of PayPal’s terms. PayPal may also hold the money when the amount is suspicious. In other words, your payment might not go through.

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You kept a thorough paper trail of the correspondence between you and PayPal — good job. But as I reviewed the efforts you took to fix the problem, jumped out that might have helped to resolve the situation.

At first, you were polite in your communication with PayPal. But then PayPal incorrectly claimed it didn’t take the money because of insufficient funds in your bank. After a representative refused to immediately refund your money, you became combative. (“YOU TOOK THE MONEY. I want my money back now. And I will be contacting a lawyer.”)

OK, I understand you were upset. But when a company says “no” you need to be extra polite. It isn’t so much the yelling (ALL UPPERCASE) but the legal threat that could have really thrown your case under the bus. When people threaten to take a company to court, the complaint often goes straight to the legal department, where it dies. But you were lucky. That didn’t happen to you.

Another reason you might want to remain calm and cordial: At some point, you may have to forward your paper trail of correspondence to a manager at PayPal. I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the PayPal executives on my consumer advocacy site,

I contacted PayPal on your behalf. It found that it had indeed taken your money but that your landlord never claimed your payment. PayPal refunded your $951.

Christopher Elliott’s latest book is “How To Be The World’s Smartest Traveler” (National Geographic). Get help by contacting him at


© 2020 Christopher Elliott.


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New Google-IFC Report Estimates Africa’s Internet Economy Could be Worth $180 billion by 2025



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e-conomy africa

[LAGOS, NAIROBI, JOHANNESBURG] e-Conomy Africa 2020, a new report released today by Google and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), estimates that Africa’s Internet economy has the potential to reach 5.2% of the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025, contributing nearly $180 billion to its economy. The projected potential contribution could reach $712 billion by 2050.

Driving this growth is a combination of increased access to faster and better quality Internet connectivity, a rapidly expanding urban population, a growing tech talent pool, a vibrant startup ecosystem, and Africa’s commitment to creating the world’s largest single market under the African Continental Free Trade Area.

Currently, Africa is home to 700,000 developers and venture capital funding for startups has increased year-on-year for the past five years, with a record $2.02 billion in equity funding raised in 2019, according to Partech Ventures Africa.

“The digital economy can and should change the course of Africa’s history. This is an opportune moment to tap into the power of the continent’s tech startups for much-needed solutions to increase access to education, healthcare, and finance, and ensure a more resilient recovery, making Africa a world leader in digital innovation and beyond,” said Stephanie von Friedeburg, Interim Managing Director, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of IFC.

Google - Africa

Digital startups in Africa are driving innovation in fast-growing sectors, including fintech, healthtech, media and entertainment, e-commerce, e-mobility, and e-logistics, contributing to Africa’s growing Internet gross domestic product (iGDP) — defined as the Internet’s contribution to the GDP.

“Google and IFC have created this report to highlight the role the digital startup sector is playing and other factors driving the continent’s growth, in order to showcase and support the opportunities the continent presents,” said Google Africa director Nitin Gajria.

An analysis within the report, conducted by Accenture, found that in 2020, the continent’s iGDP may contribute approximately $115 billion to Africa’s $2.554 trillion GDP (4.5% of total GDP). This is up from $99.7 billion (3.9% of total GDP) in 2019, with the potential to grow as the continent’s economies develop.

Investments in infrastructure, consumption of digital services, public and private investment, and new government policies and regulations will play an important role in supporting Africa’s digital growth. The report notes that investment in digital skills will also need to increase in order to help drive technology usage and continue to grow the continent’s talent pool.

About Google
Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Through products and platforms like Search, Maps, Gmail, Android, Google Play, Chrome and YouTube, Google plays a meaningful role in the daily lives of billions of people and has become one of the most widely-known companies in the world. Google is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc.

About IFC
IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2020, we invested $22 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit

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Mpho Mokoteli
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‘Shop Black Week’ Is On for Nov. 20-27: Support Black Businesses & Recycle Black Dollars (Video)



Shop Black Week

*Early projections indicate that over $400,000,000 could be spent during “Shop Black Week” (SBW) 2020.

SBW was created to encourage ALL Americans to spend money with Black-owned businesses.  With the success of the SBW campaign last year, early interest from supporters, copycat initiatives, and the SBW website’s daily organic traffic, SBW Organizers predict that millions of Americans will participate, and if only 15-20% of Black adults spent at least $50 with Black-owned businesses, the $400,000,000 projection is an easily attainable goal.

Everyone making a purchase from a Black-owned business during SBW November 20-27th should hashtag #shopblackweek and let everyone know about any purchases including business names, locations, dates and photos. All interested businesses should register and become qualified to be listed in the SBW Directory at

“Everyone now seems to recognize that Black lives really do matter, and thanks to Shop Black Week, everyone will understand that Black economics matter too,” says Carla Tillman, PhD, SBW’s National Director. Fortunately, many high-profile celebrities, athletes, and influencers see a tremendous personal responsibility to do something to shift the narrative and hopefully Black and non-Black influencers will support SBW too.  “We believe the heightened awareness of the campaign is slated to be well-received and gain massive support and partnership,” says Aysha Jackson, SBW’s Campaign Coordinator.

In order for SBW to be successful, 1) high-quality Black-owned businesses must be made readily available; 2) the impact of SBW must extend beyond a week, and 3) if ALL Americans supported SBW spending just $35, it could be the biggest economic campaign in history for Black Americans.  Therefore, SBW Organizers 1) ensure that high-quality Black-owned businesses can be found via the website (, 2) the impact starts during the campaign, then extends into the holiday season and throughout the following year, and 3) urging ALL Americans to participate, means that SBW would be the single most important special shopping week for Black Americans.

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Vet Surprised With News That His Entire Mortgage Was Paid Off on Veterans Day (Watch)




Hank Bolden and his wife are surprised with news that his mortgage has been paid off.

*Grab some tissues.

To thank veterans for their service on Veterans Day, Veterans United Home Loans surprised 11 vets on Nov. 11 by paying off their mortgages.

Among the 11 recipients of this incredible gift was Hank Bolden, an atomic vet, or one of thousands of soldiers exposed to secret nuclear weapons tests during the Cold War. Bolden was exposed to radiation in 1955 while serving in California and was given just a few years to live. He is now 83 and a jazz saxophone student at the University of Hartford, on track to complete his degree.

Veterans United Home Loans surprised him in the video below by paying off his mortgage.

Watch below:

NPR got the full story of Bolden’s exposure to radiation during secret nuclear weapons tests:

Bolden is one of only a few African-Americans still here to tell the story.

In 1955, Bolden was in his late teens and stationed in California. One day he was told he’d been chosen to participate in a special military exercise. “I had no idea what I was selected for,” he said.

Bolden was flown to Desert Rock, Nev., where he joined hundreds of other soldiers from across the country. He didn’t know anyone else there. A day later they were marched out to trenches.

“In the trench that I was in, there was nothing but soldiers that looked like me. All black faces in my trench,” he said.

A countdown began.

“When it got down to zero, that’s when the big flash went off. That big flash was the dropping of the atomic bomb for the testing,” Bolden explained. “And they had us placed 2.8 miles from ground zero, not only in the path of the fallout, but in the predicted path of the fallout.”

Then came a wave of heat and dust.

“And there weren’t any goggles that we had to place over our eyes. Just had a helmet and our arms supposedly to protect your eyes,” he said. “And you visibly see your bones. And you visibly see other folks’ skeletons. That’s what I saw.”

After the tests, Bolden and the other soldiers had to swear an oath of secrecy never to talk about what had happened — not to family, doctors or to each other. Violation of the oath was punishable by 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Bolden says for decades, he never talked. But as the years went on, he was diagnosed with bladder cancer, multiple myeloma and subcapsular cataracts. He began to worry that his health problems might be connected to what he’d seen.

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