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I bought my domain Wadeswebworks.com I was in web dev school and we had a project to create a FB ad. So I did even though I thought FB was a waste of time. Back then you could not delete the Ad so I locked it or turned it off. Somehow one day about 5 years later PayPal contacted me and said FB was draining my account?? WHAT??

So I went into my old never-used FB account and found the ad had somehow turned on about 5 days ago?? I turned it off and I put a hold on FB charges to PayPal, PayPal somehow sucked the money back into my account.

Now, 10 years after the ad was created, I would like to run FB ads for my business but they tell me I can not because I owe them $222.00 for an Ad I never ran. I have even gone in and deleted it. But the poor FB computer keeps dinging me for being a FB bastard, unfortunately, I have never found a way to contact anyone and I am not paying for an ad I did not run.

Totally not my fault, lucky I only had about $300 in my Paypal account so I found out very fast.

Does anyone know how to contact them or have any advice on what to do?

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  • Is the $222 what you ran up in fees originally, or does it include interest and/or late-payment fees added since then?
    – timday
    Oct 8, 2021 at 11:39

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The time to address this was 5 years ago, when you claim that the ad was run without your consent.

You blocked the pay and got away with it(*), but as far as you explain you never contacted Facebook to challenge the charge itself, and just thought that the matter was settled because you got your money back.

But from FB POV the matter was not settled, for FB you contracted a service and failed to pay for it.

So, the issue is not the billing -that goes to the correct person-, but challenging the charge altogether.

Unfortunately, if these challenges are usually complicated, the time elapsed since this happened can have further worsened your position. It is quite probable that the logs that could have proven that you did not switch on the service (for example, login logs) no longer exist; and since you did not challenge the charge then (and you were aware that it existed) this might complicate your claims.

Things to consider:

  • in most jurisdictions, unclaimed debts "go stale" and become uncollectable after a number of years. But that only means that, even if that debt is no longer valid, FB cannot start proceedings to collect it. It does not mean, in general, that FB must forget about it. Data privacy laws (GDPR and the like) may force FB to forget the debt, but those depend a lot of jurisdiction and your actions (if you kept the account even if you did not use it then you were an user and FB had to keep your data).

  • In general FB is under no obligation to make business with you, and is free to propose its own contract terms. So it can add a clause to the contract stating that you must pay $222 upfront. It does not even need to justify it as "there was a previous debt", it may add a "$222 fee only because I feel like it" clause.

So, you may try to contact FB customer support and try to challenge the original charges, but at this time your chances of them agreeing with you are slim. You may want to talk to a lawyer, but it does not seem worth the effort.

If you want to do business with FB, the easiest way seems to be to pay the $222 bill.

(*) Note that getting the money back does not mean that the debt no longer exists. FB could have opted to file a lawsuit against you, for example.

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    GDPR would not force a debt to be forgotten, because collecting money owed is a legitimate purpose. Oct 8, 2021 at 9:11
  • @AndrewLeach But what would happen when the statute of limitations for the debt kicks in? That debt can no longer be reclaimed. You could argue that there is a "legitimate interest" for the company to remember past defaulters, but courts and data protection agencies usually take a narrow view on what constitutes "legitimate interest". So I am not 100% sure that data privacy laws would not be appliable, (although maybe more time needs to have passed since the debt was claimed).
    – SJuan76
    Oct 8, 2021 at 9:19
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    Well, in Scotland a debt can become "prescribed" and uncollectable; but in the rest of the UK a debt will never expire, although in most circumstances it will become impossible to start legal proceedings to recover it. Oct 8, 2021 at 9:43

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