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Don't cancel PayPal recurring donations after 3 failed attempts
Closed, ResolvedPublic1 Estimated Story Points


Summary: A recurring donor's card expires and they don't proactively update on their Paypal account (PP currently doesn't have an account updater). The donor doesn't have a backup funding option, and we have set MAXFAILEDATTEMPTS to 3. After the third attempt, the donor gets an email from PayPal saying "Wikimedia has suspended your automatic payments", and it's tricky to restart.

Set MAXFAILEDATTEMPTS to 0 and PayPal will keep trying.

Event Timeline

Change 541767 had a related patch set uploaded (by Ejegg; owner: Ejegg):
[mediawiki/extensions/DonationInterface@master] Don't give up on PayPal EC contribs till explicitly told to

@Ejegg Thank you! Beyond being tricky (impossible) to restart these, donors are very confused by PayPal's messaging.

Going forward, I understand PayPal will keep trying. Will this affect T230064: generate generic email for failed recurring donations ? I'm curious what our followup process will for for PayPal donors whose recurring donations fail - would we be able to send them an email from Civi that included PayPal account update link/info?

@ejgg Call with PP today to determine that when this occurs, the best approach will be to have an SFTP script send an auto-email to the donor instructing them on how to update their PayPal account vs setting the API to 0 to keep the consumer/donor in an endless loop. I am confirming that this link is the best link to provide to donors to enable them to update their account:
The work is on the Wiki end to determine how to trigger the email per Dylan K. who was on the call.

PLEASE NOTE: when we draft this email to the donor to log into paypal to update their info there, Paypal has advised the following:
Instead of the link above, they suggest using this link:

This takes the donor to the exact article that shows them how to update their card information at PayPal.

They are also adding a link to their IPN (Instant Payment Notification) guide, i.e. the feature discussed on the call today just in case we needs it:

Change 541767 merged by jenkins-bot:
[mediawiki/extensions/DonationInterface@master] Don't give up on PayPal EC contribs till explicitly told to

Ejegg triaged this task as Medium priority.
Ejegg set the point value for this task to 1.
Ejegg moved this task from Backlog to Deployed on the Fundraising Sprint Trojan Horse Wisperer board.
Ejegg moved this task from Sprint +3 to Current Sprint on the Fundraising-Backlog board.

We've deployed a change to fix the behavior for all new recurring PayPal donations, but existing ones will still have the same failure mode after three failed attempts.

@Ejegg . we had a call with Dylan and Paypal and it seemed the best way forward was to spawn an email when the donor gets an error. Setting it to 0 will keep the donor in an endless loop was the thinking. Can we contemplate sending this email as a solution here? Dylan was part of the conversation. Thanks

So there seems to have been some confusion about what "done" looked like on this task. We were able to prevent new recurring from sending the weird email. The old recurring are still capable of sending the weird email and we might be able to convince Paypal to fix this. Fr-tech will at least start an email to start that conversation: T236506

The automatic email suggested above would essentially be the same as the email planned here: T230064 and that will probably only be able to happen after Q2.

I'm going to re-close this for now and we'll need to coordinate on the tasks referenced above.