The truth behind PayPal

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by smudged, Jul 6, 2008.

  1. smudged macrumors member

    May 14, 2008
    I've read so many things about Paypal lately...

    Safe or not?

  2. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    As with so many things in life -- it depends.

    If you are selling, make sure to ship only to a Confirmed PayPal address, no other. Ship by a name-brand courier company, with insurance and a signature on delivery, no exceptions. Never use PayPal for face-to-face delivery or pickup orders (if you don't have proof of courier delivery, you have no defense against 'never received the item' claims) Take digital photos of the goods and the packing to prove against courier damage.

    Similar if you are buying. Make sure the seller has a verified account. Double check the auction terms and conditions. Print out or save a PDF of the auction page, including the seller's feedback rating to prove eligibility for Buyer protection. Read the auction and PayPal fine print to know what you are covered for and what you are not, and what you have to do. Know the time periods for filing disputes, and if it is getting close, file before the deadline, EVEN IF you have been assured the product has been shipped (you can always cancel the dispute when the shipment arrives. You can't file after the deadline if there is a problem).
    Insist on courier delivery with insurance and signature on delivery, and pay for the insurance (this is your defense against the seller claiming they sent it). Get your shipping and payment terms detailed in writing from the seller before sending PayPal.
  3. kingcrowing macrumors 6502a


    May 24, 2004
    Burlington, VT
    Paypal is just as safe as a credit card or cash. As long as you aren't stupid and don't send five grand to Bill in Nigeria, you'll be ok. If theres a particular offer someone has made you and seems sketchy you can always check here. I personally have made thousands of dollars worth of transactions through paypal (Trading/buing/selling on this and other forums, eBay, online merchants, and even with my paypal Debit card) and have never had an issue.
  4. illidian macrumors 6502

    Mar 27, 2008
    Cincinnati, OH
    It's as safe as everything else out there, but it's not the holy grail which some people believe. If you do do stupid things with PayPal, you're still SOL, just like any other form of payment.
  5. arkitect macrumors 603


    Sep 5, 2005
    Bath, United Kingdom
    PayPal is OK — I have had no problems apart from my account being "limited" when I accessed it from abroad.

    However, if you are selling never ever accept PayPal if the buyer will pickup or you deliver in person.

    When you use PayPal you have to ship via secure — and signed — mail.

    Face to face transactions = cash.

    But don't stress too much. Just keep your eyes open. :)
  6. nomar383 macrumors 65816


    Jan 29, 2008
    Rexburg, ID
    I hate PayPal. They act like a bank with no offices and no regulations. I was selling iPhones for a month before Christmas and they froze my account with no explantion for 3 months. I called 5 times asking what I could do and they said "we'll review it and email you" everytime. Meanwhile $1200 was sitting in my account makin them money. Between them and ebay you get nailed in about 8% worth of charges if you are a seller. My biggest mistake was not doing delivery confirmation on every one. I had receipts for every iphone purchase and every shipment, that I faxed, but they wouldn't budge. BTW eBay feedback (which was positive for every one) means nothing to them. It was just annoying.

    As a buyer PayPal is pretty good, however. there is a MASSIVE amount of buyer protection.
  7. kalex macrumors 65816

    Oct 1, 2007
    Its a bloated company that puts profits over everything else. they want you to belive that they are a bank when they are far from it.

    Its also a monopoly. The only viable alternative is google checkout and its slowly getting acceptance, but still a lot of people prefer to deal with paypal. their fees are very high and customer service is horrible. basically there are few things to keep in mind:
    never keep any balance in your paypal account as it could be frozen or suspended with no notice and good luck getting it back.

    when buying always use a credit card to pay for the goods, never use paypal balance or echeck or instant transfer. if anything goes wrong, not much u can do. I had this happen to me before and paypal was able to recover $5.89 on a $1600 payment. My credit card got me the rest of it back.

    Paypal tries to discourage you from using your credit card and tries to confuse you when you want to use it. they also can suspend your account if u file a dispute with your credit card company.

    So if you do online selling and buying use paypal with caution.
  8. madmaxmedia macrumors 68030

    Dec 17, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks for that pointer, I will definitely keep that in mind.

    I buy and sell a lot on EBay and have personally never had problems with Paypal, although I know others have. It's not going to safeguard you against all bad transactions. The main point of Paypal was to allow people to pay each other without having to disclose credit card numbers or other personal information, and in that sense it is great. But of course it is another 'middleman' in the process, and can introduce its own complications.
  9. Le Big Mac macrumors 68030

    Le Big Mac

    Jan 7, 2003
    Washington, DC
    I don't think using paypal enhances the risk of getting ripped off. It's just a payment mechanism.

    That said, a vendor who uses paypal exclusively may be one that's less established and harder to track down if something funky happens. And cc cos. will do more if you are actually ripped off.
  10. fk51785 macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2008
    South Florida
    I sell alot of things on ebay and paypal has been ok.
    I only had problem once where I shipped something to unconfirmed address and lost my money but paypal decided to give me one time credit which was nice. I haven't had any major problems other then that. There fees are little too high but they are only reliable company out there.
  11. gcmexico macrumors 6502a


    Dec 22, 2007
    New York City
    I've never had a problem with Paypal...I use ebay all the time...paypal services it's purpose...but keep your eyes open, based on some post paypal is like any other company and only cares about the bottom dollar
  12. ij3ffy macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2004
    Paypal was a nightmare for me. To be fair, this experience was about 5 years ago. Paypal may be a lot more secure now and a lot more user friendly, I do not know.

    My confirmation never worked right from setup. I don't know how they do it now, but back then they deposited a low amount, and then you reported the time/date/amount back for verification. Never worked, never verified. I had this done a couple times. Just wouldn't work. Then after a while, no problem. I was a casual ebayer, so there were sprints where I wouldn't use it for 2 or so months. So finally I needed it one day, I logged in, it said I owed 1300 dollars. I checked activity, someone hacked in, created a checking account, and was moving money like crazy. I called paypal, and needless to say getting hold of a human was most difficult at the time. When I finally got a human to talk to, noone knew how to navigate their system. Finally after weeks it got sorted out. After which I cancelled/closed the paypal/ebay accounts, and I will never ever do paypal business again.
  13. ZachsMacDaddy macrumors 6502


    Dec 24, 2007
    I have been using Paypal for about 7 years and so far I have been lucky. I have probably done over 1000 transactions with no chargebacks. However, over the last few years my confidence in the level of protection paypal offers me as a seller has gone down. It seems they give you a long list of rules you have to stick to and should you break any one of them you are on your own.

    I have shipped to non-confirmed addresses a few times, and every time I get this worried feeling until everything is done and I get my feedback from the buyer. Recently I shipped something to an alternate address because the buyer was traveling there and would not be home to receive the order. Then on the Friday night before a Monday delivery I get an email asking if I would accept a return because they found out they didn't need the item. I refused and luckily I have detailed tracking information including a signature. I think that will be my last non-confirmed shipping address.

    Like others have said, PayPal is great for buyers and a little riskier for sellers. Some people have no problems, others have nothing but.

    But, look at it from a buyer's perspective - would you rather deal with someone who takes paypal and can ship your item same/next day or with a seller who only takes Money Orders that could make you wait weeks before your item even sells?

    Paypal is a necessary evil for most of us as sellers. Unfortunately Ebay/Paypal takes full advantage of this and dips into our profits as many times as they can. Listing fees, closing fees, paypal fees (which they apply to shipping costs as well). What fee will the make up next? You're not allowed to transfer PP fees to your buyers and you can't charge excessive shipping, but they are allowed to dip into the money you are supposed to use for shipping.

    ok, I think I'm ranting a little off topic, but you get the point (I hope).
  14. Moof1904 macrumors 65816

    May 20, 2004
    They suck and they won't stand by you

    I bought something last year from a merchant on eBay. The merchant charged me for insurance and then instead of buying insurance with the money, bought cheaper "Delivery Confirmation" which isn't insurance. Because the seller didn't buy insurance the postman left the package on my porch without a signature. When he dropped the package off, though he scanned the useless Delivery Confirmation. (How is it Delivery Confirmation if nobody is around to accept it?).

    Because the Delivery Confirmation had been scanned by the postman before he dropped it on my unattended porch for it to later be stolen (I was out of town at the time it was left on my porch), the Post Office would do nothing to help me. When I tried to make a case with PayPal that they seller took my money that I gave him to buy insurance and didn't buy insurance with it, instead pocketing the money and spending only $0.50 for Delivery Confirmation, PayPal said, "tough; we don't involve ourselves in shipping disputes." I argued that it wasn't a shipping dispute: the seller took my money and didn't buy the insurance for it that he promised to buy. They didn't care. I was out a $120 Bluetooth headset nonetheless.

    PayPal sucks and I'll never trust them to protect me again.

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