Paypal Buyer Protection: When it hurts the seller.

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by maestro55, Jul 23, 2008.

  1. maestro55 macrumors 68030


    Nov 13, 2005
    Goat Farm in Meridian, TX
    I know everyone loves to read a good rant post, and so I figure I would share one with you. Several months ago I purchased a Gateway tablet notebook PC from a friend as a side project for a new Linux notebook and getting Linux to work with the tablet. However, the machine sat around as I was far too busy with school and work to play with it. Instead I decided to turn around and sell the notebook on eBay. Since the notebook had not fully been testing (other than booting into the BIOS) I sold the machine as untested and as is.

    Due to the unknown condition I wasn't able to get the original $500 that I was asking for but one buyer offered be $300+ $25 shipping. I took the offer as I needed to pay pills. I shipped the item promptly upon receipt of payment. However, a week later I notice that I claim had been filed against me on PayPal saying that the item was "Not As Described". Now mind you before this claim was filed the buyer made no effort to contact me asking for a refund or trying to explain to me that there were problems with the machine. Problems that I didn't know about when I sold it, hence the reason I stated in the auction that the machine was untested.

    The buyer only left feedback on eBay after the claim was filed accusing me of fraud and sent an email to me stating that he knew I knew the machine was broken and I was scamming him and he knew he would win the claim on PayPal.

    I spoke with paypal and the two people I spoke with said that it didn't matter that I sold the machine as is because with Buyer Protection the buyer still has rights. Another lady even said that his definition of untested may be different than mine. Regardless of all that it makes me angry that they have already taken the $325 out of my bank account (putting me in overdraft with my bank) before I even received the machine back. Apparently he has till the 1st of August and then if the machine isn't shipped than I will get my money refunded. The claim he doesn't have the money yet, that it is on hold.

    I guess the bottom line though is less about the money and more about the principle here. By PayPal favoring the buyers claim they have effectively called me a liar and a fraud. The buyer claims that the hard drive and CD-ROM drive are bad, two claims that I have yet to verify because the machine hasn't been sent back to me yet. I will probably re list the item on eBay and specify it for parts. I may even throw in a 250GB notebook drive that I bought that is just sitting around right now (though I really want to get a USB casing for that drive and use it as an external drive).

    Life goes on, this just puts me in a bad situation.
  2. aethelbert macrumors 601

    Jun 1, 2007
    Chicago, IL, USA
    And this is why I never want to use paypal. They just take money out of your bank account whenever the buyer complains, and the buyer almost always wins. Paypal also refuses to play nice with my bank, but that's another story.
  3. Koodauw macrumors 68040


    Nov 17, 2003
    you gotta take the good with the bad with Paypal. It really is very convenient way to pay, but situations like this really suck. I have thought about setting up a specific account just for paypal transactions. that way once the money is in, you can transfer it to another account, and if paypal ever tries to with draw funds, you can close the account before they do so. Thats a lot of effort for something that should be very simple though.
  4. maestro55 thread starter macrumors 68030


    Nov 13, 2005
    Goat Farm in Meridian, TX
    What really got my goat was that they took the money out before I ever received the item back. Okay, fine, they want to grant the refund. It may seem unfair to me; however, they shouldn't be able to withdraw funds until I get the item back.
  5. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Sorry to hear that, here is some info for the future.

    I always test whatever I sell and list any known condition in detail. That typically gets you a higher price and reduce chances of disputes.

    Also, for ebay, it helps to have very detailed conditions, such as buyer has to contact seller first before filing disputes.

    Yes, PayPal is not very seller friendly, therefore I try to use google checkout when possible. (However ebay has a really awful policy on their google checkout the last time I checked). Perhaps you should try Craigslist first next time.
  6. benmrii macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2007
    Somewhat similar to my last experience with PayPal and eBay. Buyer claimed he didn't receive the product, I provided proof that he in fact did, they released the hold on my funds. Then almost two months later they changed their minds and claimed I owed them the $700.

    It's been a long, messy and utterly stupid back and forth. Either they think I am sensationally ignorant or they are (I tend to subscribe to the latter). Every time I get another person's response and almost every time their explanations are different. They don't hesitate to contradict one another... one apologizes that they didn't do X, Y and Z and another claims they did. One states their policy says "blah blah blah" and when I cut and paste from their policy to disprove him I hear back from someone else.

    Finally I wrote a concise and polite email that pointed out about 6 blatant contradicting reports and explanations from nothing but quotes from their previous emails and their published policies. Ever since, they don't even respond to me and my account is locked.

    In short: never use PayPal unless it is absolutely necessary, and avoid eBay when you can.
  7. w0ngbr4d macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2006
    Findlay, OH
    I sold a cell phone back in Feb of this year and about 2 months later I get an email one morning saying that the charge was disputed by a credit card company. Thankfully, I followed the seller policy by the book and it didn't cost me a dime.

    Did Paypal actually take the money from your bank account or just your Paypal account? I didn't think they were allowed to just go into your bank account without your permission (permission that would come from you paying someone via Paypal, or transferring money directly to Paypal). My chargeback above gave me a negative Paypal balance, but they didn't touch my checking account.

    I haven't read the Paypal terms very closely...but if they have the power to just reach into a personal checking account without explicit permission for each transaction, thats scary.
  8. Music_Producer macrumors 68000

    Sep 25, 2004
    It's not just PayPal, this holds true for every merchant account provider out there. I have dealt with, Google Checkout, Card transaction services inc, etc.. and honestly, PayPal is the best out there for seller protection.

    Yes, charge backs suck - but they do happen. I would say that 5% of my orders get claims of charge backs or unauthorized transactions. As long as I follow seller protection policies (ship with tracking # and signature confirmation) and it shows that the package has been delivered and signed for, then I have always received my money back. PayPal's customer service is terrible (they don't always know what they are doing) but the protection service works ( so far)

    There's tons of dishonest people who illegally claim charge backs just to get away with a free product - imo, they should be jailed if the merchant can prove that they did ship the product and that it was delivered.
  9. angelneo macrumors 68000

    Jun 13, 2004
    I think you got to look at the other side of the coin, without buyer protection, if a seller sold an item that is not as described (not saying it's you) and refused refund, how would a buyer get their money back?
  10. maestro55 thread starter macrumors 68030


    Nov 13, 2005
    Goat Farm in Meridian, TX
    I fell in the a gray area here. Since I had not tested the machine before listing it on eBay therefore listing it as untested I had not described the machine as working or not working and wasn't aware that the DVD-ROM/Harddrive were bad (two claims that I can't fully verify at this point having not received the machine back).

    It would have been one thing if I had listed this item as working and then shipped it and there were problems. Apparently though I as a seller would have been protected if I had previously known there were problems with the notebook and listed those and therefore there couldn't be an item not as described claim.

    Currently the buyer claims to have shipped the item back, I guess it hasn't been picked up yet because the tracking number isn't working. The money is on hold until I receive the item back. Once I get the item back I can appeal their decision, and I will on the basis that I listed this item as is and untested. This actually could be an interesting turn of events, because the user agreement specifies when an item can be claimed as "not as described" as when an item is described as working and is not and it says that it can't be claimed "not as described" if the item is claimed as not working. It says nothing regarding items that are listed as untested, again a gray area.
  11. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Sorry, not much sympathy here. You took a big risk by selling something that you had insufficient knowledge of.

    If you said "Has a 250 GB hard drive" and you didn't actually check the drive, saying 'as is' doesn't protect you much at all. There's a big difference between "broken" and "untested". Without seeing your ad, we can't tell how close to the line you trod.

    The unit should have been advertised as 'non functional, for parts only' if you didn't have any idea whether it was complete and functional.
  12. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    As for Paypal taking money from your bank account. I had Paypal do this to me once. I just called my bank and told them I did not authorize the transfer to Paypal, when I realized Paypal would not be helpful. Within a couple of days all of my money was back in my account and the bank removed all overdraft fees, since the cause of the overdraft was not authorized.

    I would give your bank a try. You will then have a negative balance with Paypal but you can at least negotiate a settlement when you get your computer back. Also make sure it is the same computer and they did not just send a bum unit of the same model. Did you copy the serial number or is it clearly in any of your pictures?
  13. simpleweb macrumors newbie

    Feb 1, 2012
    PayPal really sucks

    I opened an online store. I sold 4 items and 3 of them were charged back from buyer. The last order, buyer’s shipping & billing address were the same and them packages was signed by the buyer, but still managed to take his money back from me due to PayPal’s generosity to buyer and not giving crap to seller. I closed my account with PayPal and will never do business with them. :mad:

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