Take a look at Chapters 13 and 14 of Paypal's terms and conditions page here.
Look at 13.2 which states in relevant part:
- Open a Dispute within 180 Days of the date you sent the payment, then follow the online dispute resolution process described below under Dispute Resolution. For Pay After Delivery transactions you must open your Dispute within 180 Days of the date of your transaction.
So, you can see where Paypal is getting the 180 days time frame from and why. It is trying to make sure that before it releases the funds to you, it waits the full time period [which can even exceed the 180 days from the actual transaction date if payment was made sometime later].
Now look at 14.1 and 14.3; if you feel that you are not able to get a resolution under 14.1 then you will need to initiate an arbitration to be conducted by the American Arbitration Association ("AAA"). See this link. Look at the "Services" tab.
1. Is there anything I can do to help speed up this process and get them to release my funds?
Make contact to them under 14.1 and ask how much longer should you wait before submitting this to AAA. The reason this may add pressure is because the rules state:
Payment of all filing, administration, and arbitrator fees will be governed by the AAA's rules, unless otherwise stated in this Agreement to Arbitrate. If the value of the relief sought is $10,000 or less, at your request, PayPal will pay all filling, administration, and arbitrator fees associated with the arbitration.
2. Can you please help me with this or help me to write them a letter from an attorney showing that we are serious and mean business.
You do not need an attorney letter. If the steps above do not work, then you need to send them a notice. See these rules:
A party who intends to seek arbitration must first send to the other, by certified mail, a completed form Notice of Dispute (“Notice”). You may download a form Notice here. The Notice to PayPal should be sent to PayPal, Inc., Attn: Litigation Department, Re: Notice of Dispute, 2211 North First Street, San Jose, CA 95131... All information called for in the Notice must be provided including a description of the nature and basis of the claims the party is asserting and the relief sought.
If you and PayPal are unable to resolve the claims described in the Notice within 30 days after the Notice is sent, you or PayPal may initiate arbitration proceedings. A form for initiating arbitration proceedings is available on the AAA's website at www.adr.org.