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recurring payment skipped


recurring payment skipped

I set up a number of recurring payments a week ago.  They were to have posted the next day.  I received an email message for each on the posting date that the recurring payment was "skipped" and to contact Customer Support to lift the restrictions.  After spending all morning being shuffled all over Paypal's various departments and being given quite a lot of misinformation, I finally found someone who apparently knew what he was talking about.  He told me that the recurring payments were skipped because they missed the posting deadline, but that they would post properly in 5 days.  However, today, 5 days later, I received an email message for each recurring payment saying it was skipped again and to contact Customer Support to lift the restrictions.


Since I'm paying $30 a month for this service, it's imperative that it actually work!  Can anyone enlighten me on the cause of these skipped payments? 


Re: recurring payment skipped

Hi ladia,


You can learn more about recurring payments here:




Re: recurring payment skipped


Re: recurring payment skipped

Hi,  the answer to this was that almost no one at PayPal could help me - the last person I talked to said recurring payments won't work unless you have Website Payments Pro.  I have Virtual Terminal and was offered the Recurring Payments option there, but that's a "bug" - it shouldn't be shown as available to me unless I have Website Payments Pro.  I'm not very happy with PayPal support at this moment.


Re: recurring payment skipped

The answer you were given does not sound right. I just wrote an extensive article about the different options for merchant services, including the different offerings by PayPal. I've had the Website Payments Standard (Business PayPal account) for years now. And recurring payments is included.


If this adds any additional light to the mystery, last month I started taking subscription payments (fixed-term) and the first payment (using the PayPal subscription button) worked fine, no problem with all my customers.


Now that the next monthly payments have started to come through, all of them have been working fine, except one. I've received almost the same message you did, two times now. "We cannot process the following recurring payment. We will try again in five days." And as with you, five days later I got the same message.


I will call PayPal now too and see if I can't get a more definitive answer and resolution. If I do, I'll post here again.


Re: recurring payment skipped

Just following up. I called Customer Service, and got a similar to the previous person who posted on this issue. They said that they did not know about this type of a message and couldn't help me with it. They told me that I should contact my buyer and find out if they have a problem with their PayPal account. (Thanks a lot.)


I did, however, attempt to contact my customer, but within a couple days, PayPal then sent me a message saying the subscription was cancelled because it has failed attempts (twice). So that was the end of that.


In my case, my suspicion is there was, in fact, something wrong with my customer's PayPal account - maybe their credit card had expired and PP was waiting for them to update their info?? Dunno. But it was definitely something to do with that customer's account and I don't' believe it was a problem with the subscription system, since my other customers who are on the same type of subscription seem to be processing okay.


Bottom line: it appears to be a different issue that you have been facing (previous poster), but it is still unsettling to know that the Customer Service people (who apparently are in the Philippines - I recognized the accent) are totally in the dark about the meaning of skipped payments!


Wish I had a more enlightening bit of information. But it is what it is.

New Community Member

Re: recurring payment skipped

I am also having this problem.


I have started a membership site and have monthly recurring payments. We have 50 members and at least 6 of these have had the skipped payments for some reason.


We have looked into this with the clients and still not with a clear understanding why it is happening. My first thought was that their account was not verified with a bank account or that the credit card was not sufficient. But this does not always ring true when we have been in contact with the client.


There seems to be a missing link ..... from the creation of the subscription and the status of the clients account. Meaning that paypal will set up the subscription take the first payment but then the clients account does not support the recurring payments.

As a merchant this is very frustrating and does little for the buyer seller relationship!


I am also aware that if the client does not have a paypal account then it will create one for the client as part of the payment process for subscriptions.


I don't know if this experiences the same problem or if it is the clients paypal accounts that they had before the subscription?


Whatever! There is a break down in paypals subscription process. It would be good to find this answer for someone in paypal as otherwise I will be looking for a new payment service.


Imagine when we get our subscriptions to 1000 plus.... it will be a very expensive and time consuming!!!!


New Community Member

Re: recurring payment skipped

Hey everyone - I see this a timely post. Yes, I have the same issue as well. I signed up for the Virtual Terminal product yesterday (April 30th, 2010) and scheduled 3 membership payments to start today (May 1st). This evening, I get 3 emails saying "Payment Skipped" and 'We cannot process the following recurring payment. We will try again in five days.'


I sent an email to customer support to resolve the issue - and I'll be giving them a call first thing tomorrow morning. These clients do not have PayPal accounts, I directly entered their credit card information into the virtual terminal product. Also, I am 100% confident these credit cards are legit and work.


Have this issue been resolved for anyone? I'm not looking forward to speaking with the support department tomorrow.


Re: recurring payment skipped

Well, here's a new wrinkle.  I finally got paypal to turn off recurring payments on my account since they never worked.  However, they did not turn off the profiles attached to the recurring payments, so I continued to receive the "recurring payment skipped" emails for each profile.


Today, Paypal has notifed me that they have emailed each of my recurring payment clients that they are in arrears for 8 months of back payments and have listed the balance due!  Since I have been forced to manually enter all of these payments, that is NOT the case and none of these clients is in arrears for anything with me.


In calling Paypal in the past hour, I have gotten no resolution, and the help desk people (even the supervior) are giving me canned responses that don't even relate to this issue.  My attorney is going to love hearing about this!

LEF Member

Re: recurring payment skipped

[Ladia, my answer to your most recent post is at the bottom]


Hi all, wanted to weigh in on this topic as I have been dealing with it quite a bit these last few months. I use Website Payments Pro and we have developers who, using PayPal's API interface, have created a signup page for us that allows 'members' to pay in 'installments' (i.e. it sets up a recurring payment profile for them). We have about 325 customers on the "monthly plan", and I get about 25 'payment skipped' emails a month. It has been totally exasperating, because neither PayPal customer service nor Technical Support can definitively tell me *why* a payment was 'skipped' so that I can resolve the situation! I finally got on the phone with BOTH a customer service guy AND a tech guy yesterday, and after about an hour, I believe I have worked out a work-around.


As you know, a payment will be 'skipped' and then 'retried' 5 days later. If that doesn't go through, it will be retried again in another 5 days, and if THAT doesn't go through, then it will become a 'Failed' payment. So for us, the installment payments always process on the 1st of the month. The 2nd attempt is on the 6th, and the 3rd is on the 11th. One thing to note is that as long as the transaction is in 'skipped' mode, there is no record of this in your PayPal account - the only way to know it's been skipped is because you receive an email. Nothing posts to PayPal until the payment 'fails'. So the entire transaction is in limbo for 10 days. And during those 10 days, my customers are still receiving product (they receive perishable product weekly, and so cannot 'return' it for lack of payment) and of course I don't want their accounts to be going into the red  while I wait until the 11th to find out whether or not their payment will go through.


So here's my work-around:

For each customer that I receive a 'Payment Skipped' notice, I call them as soon as possible and

1) using Virtual Terminal, collect a payment for the installment that did not go through (so as to bring their account current)

2) I then go in and update their profile (different card, same card; doesn't matter - paypal requires you to 'Submit' the update, so if Paypal approves the update, that's all that matters) (note that if the customer is paying with their own paypal account rather than a credit card, THEY need to go into THEIR paypal account and update the linked card or bank acct info; you can't edit someone else's paypal account).

3) now there's a new problem: I've collected a payment and updated their profile... and paypal is still going to 'retry' on the 6th and 11th, so there is a risk of our customer now being *overcharged* (because I've already charged them for that installment via Virtual Terminal) SO --

4) I go into their profile *again*, and "Suspend" it (all the info stays in the profile, just no attempts to charge will happen while the profile is 'suspended') and leave it Suspended mode until after the 11th...

5) then lastly, after the 11th, I go back into their profile *yet again* and 'reactivate' it. REMEMBER if you have several accounts like this, as I do, you'll want to keep a list somewhere of all the names so as to make sure you unsuspend them all; if you forget to unsuspend someone, they won't charge the following month.


Hope that helps!


PS - in response to your comment, Ladia, about paypal turning off recurring payments and your customers still being charged: here's what you have to do: any time you want to stop a customer from being charged recurring payments, you have to go into your paypal account and cancel their profile. If you don't cancel their profile, they will continue to be charged (or attempted to be charged, as you experienced). To cancel a profile, do an 'advanced search' by customer name or email to find the transaction where their profile was originally created [in the All Activity page, the Type will be "Recurring Payment From", and Payment Status will be "Created"]. IMPORTANT NOTE: to find the profile, you have to know the date it was created, because you need to search in a particular date range. Once you find the profile, however, it is easy - you just click on 'Details' and then when you're in the profile detail, click on 'Cancel'. FYI Paypal records separate transactions (i.e. separate line items) for each time a profile is Created, Updated, Canceled, Suspended or Completed, with 'Completed' meaning the installment payment went through successfully.