PayPal Abandons Another Scammed Seller

Todd got ripped off by a scammer on an eBay purchase. He made sure to insure the device before shipping it off via the United States Postal Service, but it turns out that an insurance claim won’t help him get PayPal to step up.

So I had a old Palm TX that I did not use anymore and thought if I could get $150 for it I would be happy. I sold it on eBay, and I sent out the item via USPS and insured it for $300.

It was shipped on 10/28/09 and I emailed the buyer that info. Didn’t hear back from the guy that he got the item nor did he fill out feedback.

I then got word via PayPal on 11/23/09 that the buyer was disputing the charge since he says he never received the item. I thought it was odd that the buyer took almost a month to tell me he did not receive the item.

So now since I think the item was lost I file a claim with the Post Office on 11/24/09 in order to pay back the buyer. The claim gets denied because the Post Office records show delivery of the item:


I then submit that information to PayPal and they say that it is not enough information. They need a date and time that the item was delivered. So now I spend way too much time trying to get in touch with a real person at the post office. Finally I get through but they say they are not able to give me the information and I would need to call the St. Louis Office which handles insurance claims. Now I call the St. Louis office, and I am told to go to my local Post Office branch and they will be able to print out a delivery record which shows the date, time and who signed for the package.

I get the delivery record and it shows the item got delivered on 10/30/09 at 11:09am.


Again I submit this information to PayPal and they come back and say that this is not enough information to settle the dispute. PayPal says they have to be able to look online and see for themselves that the item was delivered.

I’m at a loss of what to do. The USPS considers the package delivered and will not accept the insurance claim and PayPal will not rule in my favor since they feel they need more information.

I can understand why PayPal won’t just accept a printout from a stranger as proof of delivery. It seems to me, though, that since PayPal can go to and view the insurance delivery confirmation, there’s no way they can honestly say there isn’t proof of delivery. At that point, now that delivery has been verified, if they want more details on the delivery date they can and should accept print outs–especially if that’s how the USPS provides such information.

I would also think that PayPal could arrange for some sort of special relationship with the USPS to allow customers to directly send such delivery info upon request. I mean, if Netflix can strike a special deal with the USPS to improve its business, surely PayPal can.

Does this all sound too complicated? If so, then should PayPal even be in the business of making money off of wire transfers?

I know it’s an extreme position, but I still feel that if you can’t use CraigsList to sell an item face-to-face, for cash, in a public setting, then you’re out of general-purpose online options. Scammers ruined the eBay party, and PayPal–with its useless link farm disguised as a “Seller Security” section–has repeatedly shown that it doesn’t care what happens to your money, just so long as it gets a cut.

Todd, you might want to try making a case to the executive level of PayPal and eBay. Here are some email addresses that may or may not work:

John J. Donahoe, President, CEO

Scott Thompson, President


Edit Your Comment

  1. temporaryscars says:

    I really hate using paypal, but there’s no other alternative. Sure, you can send money orders, but most sellers don’t even accept them and it takes FOREVER to send and receive.

    • FooSchnickens - Full of SCAR says:

      Try gunpal. They’re an up and coming service like paypal but will let you buy/sell just about anything (so long as its legal) including firearms as the name suggests which is sorta what caused it to pop up in the first place.

      From their site:

      “GUNPAL is an alternative to PayPalâ„¢ that donates a portion of the proceeds from every transaction to a Non-Profit Organization of your choice. GUNPAL does not discriminate based on the nature of your transaction, requiring only that the merchandise or services you buy and sell be legal.”

    • subsider34 says:

      There’s always Google Checkout.

      • Noadi says:

        I love Google Checkout but unfortunately not all venues online allow you to use it. For those that do or a standalone website it’s great. I still do take paypal on Etsy but I wish I could dump it completely.

    • Red Cat Linux says:

      Money orders are not much better than cash, for either party. PayPal is the least annoying of the other options for buyers. Sellers aren’t given a choice but to offer it on eBay now. There is ample opportunity for either side of the transaction to get stiffed, and I’ve more or less given up on eBay.

      I still go back and buy the odd item or two from sellers I’ve used in the past, but I don’t look for anything there anymore. It’s not fun to shop, in spite of what the ads might think you to believe, when you look at every transaction as a rules game to figure out if you covered every possible opening through which you might get screwed.

      I avoid Amazon Marketplace sellers now for the same reason. I don’t want to go ten rounds with some dude in Ohio selling knockoffs, while juggling PayPal and credit card complaints. I can’t imagine why sellers want to do this with fraudulent buyers either.

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      Not to mention that Ebay has banned sellers from so much as mentioning money orders in listings. It’s all part of their racket — er, I mean, ‘secure’ payment plan.

  2. redhead29 says:

    I dont LOVE PayPal, but sometimes its the only option. Last year, I was charged $20 dollars US for a piece of software I had bought the year before (apparently it was a subscription? Which was news to me).. anywhoo, when I contacted PayPal and my bank, they said PayPal does not investigate claims of under $100. So now I hate them.

    • sonneillon says:

      Dang. My bank mediated a dispute over $8.50 for some shady business practice. And ended up canceling the payment against them and my banker lady kind of gave them a scolding while we were on conference call.

    • Trick says: will “renew” your subscription if pay via PayPal each year. You have to go to your subcriptions option in PayPal and remove whatever autopay crap is put there. I found that out when renewed my subscription a month early of its expiration date. When I contacted PayPal they told me it was my fault… I didn’t know did that even though their terms state they would… my bad.

    • coren says:

      That’s crap, they definitely do. I’ve had it happen

  3. IphtashuFitz says:

    I’ve gotten to the point where I refuse to do business with PayPal and strongly urge everybody I know to never use it. And stories like this just provide me with more ammunition when explaining why people should avoid PayPal like the plague.

  4. FooSchnickens - Full of SCAR says:

    Paypal is already in bed with USPS and UPS as their “preferred shipping services” so it’s funny that they wouldn’t even trust their own partners in crime.

    Looks like an EECB is the only solution for this one, short of finding some way to file for some kinda interstate commerce fraud which is unlikely to work.

  5. PhiTauBill says:

    Nothing short of hideous, but absolutely typical when it comes to PayPal. Please email carpet-bomb the sh!t out of their executives until you receive a satisfactory resolution.

  6. tamaracks says:

    Is there a tracking number? If so, why can’t it be looked up online? This post confuses me, although I do hear too many bad stories about Paypal to be comfortable dealing with them much any more.

    • Kitamura says:

      Depends on your Postal Service, tracking and delivery confirmation are sadly not mutually exclusive. Delivery Confirmation just means the post office can pull up some piece of paper with a signature on it that says the box was delivered to someone with that signature on such and such a date which may or may not be viewable online.

      • katstermonster says:
        • Kitamura says:

          Uhh, if they are mutually exclusive you can’t have one if you have the other. You can though, it just tends to require more $$$.

          Maybe I worded it wrong, Delivery Confirmation doesn’t always infer tracking, especially if you pick the cheappy shipping options. On the other hand, tracking doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to get a signature confirmation since signature is generally not included with any government postal shipping option even if tracking is.

  7. trentblase says:

    I never really understood delivery confirmation type features because there’s never any confirmation of what was in the package, only that it was delivered. A seller could send an insured box of packing peanuts and still get confirmation of delivery… in the end it’s still “your word against mine”

    • GMFish says:

      I never really understood delivery confirmation type features… in the end it’s still “your word against mine

      That’s a great example of why you should never buy stuff online, but that’s not what happened here. Here the buyer never claimed the seller shipped the wrong thing or an empty box, but that he never received the shipment.

  8. Difdi says:

    I imagine the OP also win a small claims court (or even a regular court) lawsuit against PayPal, since you can prove that USPS did deliver the package to the buyer and PayPal refused to accept any proof. In court, the OP wouldn’t need to convince PayPal, just a judge.

    A police report for fraud against the buyer might not be a bad idea either. The OP could possibly sue the buyer as well.

    • IphtashuFitz says:

      I might consider simply filing suit in small claims court. Depending on where he is he may even be able to go after triple damages against PayPal.

    • Corporate_guy says:

      A police report might be the next step. If he fills one out he can send it paypal with his confirmation. If paypal still refuses to give him the money, court is then the only option. But I would think a police report is important, you don’t want Paypal to claim that is the extra info they needed in court thus leaving you hanging.

  9. myrna_minkoff says:

    So….on a semi-related issue. I have a bunch of used good quality items (some of them relatively expensive originally) from an estate that I want to sell. Is there another option besides using Craigslist?

    What about using one of the ebay consignment stores that lists it for you for a cut? (I’m more interested in unloading the stuff than in getting top dollar for it — although I don’t want to get taken for a ride either.) If you use one of those stores, are you still subject to PayPal’s whims?

    • Xerloq says:

      Yes, you’re at their mercy. eBay protects the buyers more than the sellers.

    • jesusofcool says:

      Agreed. My mom had a nice piece of jewelry and I had a few electronics so I was going to sell everything on ebay but before I did I posted on a few ebay forums to get current sellers reactions. An overwhelming number of them basically said the ebay leaves sellers out to dry and it’s pretty risky to sell anything worth more than ten bucks, so I ended up not doing it.
      Honestly, I’ve had pretty good luck with CL, but I live in a major metro area so our CL gets fairly heavy traffic. If you have estate stuff, you might also look around and see if you can consign or sell items to a local upscale secondhand shop. You might also check if there’s someone in your area who will ebay your stuff for a fee, especially if they’re willing to take the hit if you get scammed.

      • myrna_minkoff says:

        Thanks. I’ve been a little leery of inviting a bunch of random people from Craigslist to come to my house to complete the transaction exactly because I’m in a major metro area (and am slightly paranoid in this one regard). Perhaps I will just make sure my BF is always home with me.

        • IphtashuFitz says:

          If that’s your concern then why not just agree to meet the buyer in a public place like a nearby Starbucks?

        • AstroPig7 says:

          I once sold a Macbook on Craigslist, and we met in a Best Buy parking lot. If you don’t mind a large cash transaction in public, than this might meet your needs.

        • jesusofcool says:

          I am a single young female and I’ve sold loads of stuff on Craigslist. I only meet people in a very public bank parking lot about a ten minute walk from my house during daylight hours. I suggest you do the same : )

    • Skankingmike says:

      Do not use an Ebay Consignment shop they take the majority of the profit. It’s really simple to sell online. I started doing it and now use it as a side business of mine. Craigslist is annoying because you have to take time out of your world to meet people and there’s a lot of haggling. it’s time consuming mostly. I would use it for larger items.

      It also depends on what you are selling. jewelry should got to a Jewelry store or pawn shop. Furniture should go to a antique place.

    • madog says:

      Sell it a local consignment store.

    • unpolloloco says:

      In 99% of Ebay transactions, there are no problems. So the question becomes: can you incur the 1% risk, or should you farm that risk out to another entity (and earn 50-70% of what you would get otherwise)?

    • Verdant Pine Trees says:

      It has a lot to do with what you’re opting to sell, too. Electronics and certain collectibles are more likely to attract fraud than say, book sales. Clothes buyers can be difficult. You might consider etsy if you have something vintage. Check out AuctionBytes too to see the number of places you can sell. I’m considering eCrater to get rid of a few things.

    • myrna_minkoff says:

      Thanks everyone. Lots of food for thought here. Much appreciated.

  10. dreamsneverend says:

    Par for the course with PayPal it seems, since ebay decided to have their evil child be the main conduit of payment on their auctions I’ve used it less and less.

  11. Raekwon says:

    Last time I had similar issues with proof of delivery for paypal and USPS I contacted eBay directly and they immediately handled the situation. I also sent out an EECB about the problems in the system and also got a pretty quick response from paypal executive support.

  12. Karita says:

    I’ve had ok experience when using PayPal to pay established companies. But policies like the ones shown in this post are what drove me from selling on eBay. I got ripped off by buyers/ignored by PayPal too many times.

    It’s a shame there is no real and credible alternative. These days I sell on Craigslist, have a counterfeit pen to make sure the cash I get is real, and I’m happy enough.

    • BBBB says:

      “….counterfeit pen to make sure the cash I get is real….”

      Those pens only detect the most amateur copies – they give a false sense of security.
      I’ve seen bills fresh off a copy machine pass the “counterfeit pen” test.

      Check the treasury department pages on counterfeit detection.

  13. NJDave says:

    This experience also illustrates how haphazard the USPS’s tracking and insurance procedures are. My wife and I recently got burned for $175 in a similar scenario — no fraudster, but an insured item requiring a signature was left on a doorstep and USPS wouldn’t pay.

    Shipping eBay items by mail is cheap, and eBay automates it to a great degree, but if the item’s value is significant, it should go via someone who knows how to track an item: FedEx or UPS.

    • myrna_minkoff says:

      Fed Ex left a package (for me) that required a signature on a neighbor’s doorstep. On a busy street in downtown Philadelphia. Neither I nor the neighbor was home, and I didn’t know the neighbor.

      The package was a $50k cashier’s check. When I didn’t get it on the day expected, I called and they could not tell me where they had delivered it. Only that it was dropped off.

      Thank God the neighbor was honest and she tracked me down the next day.

      When I called FedEx back and asked how that could have happened, they basically said, “Well, sometimes they leave it anyway even if it requires a signature.”

      Which is all a long way of saying, “Never trust FedEx.”

      • tonberryqueen says:

        FedEx delivered flowers to my bookkeeper on Valentine’s Day this year here at our office. Only they never bothered to actually ring the buzzer to let us know they were here.

        Her fiancé called around 2pm to see how she liked the flowers. She went down to our stoop to investigate, and, lo and behold, an empty, ripped-open box was sitting there. (The best we can figure is that one of the punk high school boys who used to hang out on our stoop and smoke pot probably saw the flower box sitting there and stole the contents for his girlfriend.)

        My bookkeeper’s fiancé was livid. FedEx refused to take any responsibility, and said that the driver left it because nobody was there–blatant lie, as neither one of us left the office all day up til that point. FedEx said it wasn’t their problem.

        The flower company, however–and I wish I could remember which one–graciously offered to deliver a bouquet to her house the next day, no charge.

        …not as bad as leaving a $50k cashier’s check out on a random person’s stoop, obviously, but…seriously, they just don’t care.

      • Skankingmike says:

        I can tell you just as many horror stories from UPS and USPS about how they sign for packages in my stead or just plain stealing my package.

      • theblackdog says:

        Fracking great, and I just paid an extra fee to Fedex to require a signature at my parents place since I was mailing Christmas presents!

        • Powerlurker says:

          I’ve found that a few of my FedEx packages in the past have been signed for by a certain Mr. F. Rontporch (seriously).

          • repeater says:

            I’ve had “Mr F. Rontdoor” sign my packages quite a few times by DHL.

            They did it three times, leaving a huge box of expensive items literally on a street corner which of course were all stolen immediately.

            Talking to DHL was infuriating, since none of their CSRs or managers thought it was odd that:

            1) it was obviously a fake name
            2) even if it were a real name, it sure wasn’t mine
            3) delivery confirmation != rolling the package out of their truck on to the sidewalk without even getting out *

            * I found this out because I happened to be looking out the window the final time they tried to deliver it, watched them do this, and was able to run out and grab the box before anyone else did

        • Rena says:

          They charge extra to require a signature, but don’t actually require it? Isn’t this fraud?

    • Verdant Pine Trees says:

      NJDave, as far as fighting the USPS on this one… don’t give up. Have you sent a letter the postmaster general for the city where it was delivered? Outline a letter, and send it certified mail to the postmaster of the city – you can find this updated info here – – look up your local PCC, then look on their contact page. It’s like writing the CEO of a company – they take these letters pretty seriously.

      This is what we did when we had a situation sending a package to Boston. Let me know if we can help.

  14. hypnotik_jello says:

    I’ve learned to not use PayPal any more. If I need to buy something that requires paypal only (namely ebay) then well, I won’t be buying said item. It’s a good thing I think because it also makes me realize that I probably don’t need the shit to begin with.

    Maybe that SquareUP will be disruptive enough to give PayPal a run for their money.

  15. ehrgeiz says:

    So because they have the item and scammed you out of property wouldn’t that be mail fraud?

    • Odwalla says:

      Indeed, and the USPS takes a dim view of those who commit mail fraud. I’d advice the OP to go to his local post office (might have to go to the biggest one in town) and talk to the local Postmaster. If the OP can show that the recipient is withholding/rescinding payment on an item the USPS shows it delivered they will probably put the Postal Inspectors on the case.

  16. Kid Awesome says:

    I have kinda stopped selling and buying on eBay as I really am fed up with PayPal. They do so many shady things and are CONSTANTLY changing their rules and fees. I now no longer keep any money on paypal and only use them as a last resort.

    It’s sad to hear that the one good thing they kinda did was protect sellers/buys. It souns like that may be in doubt now as well.

  17. Skankingmike says:

    Being an Ebayer and currently receiving a power-seller rating.

    I refuse to use USPS. I have been scammed myself in the same aspects many times by them claiming they delivered the package and did not. Their tracking system is horrible.

    I ship only with FedEx and I know exactly where my packages are and they leave notes like (delivered behind house, or on the side) No they’re not perfect but nobody is as bad as USPS.

    PayPal is not my friend but it’s the only safe way you can buy stuff online from people around the world.

  18. CTAUGUST says:

    I have sold on eBay and taken Paypal payments hundreds of times.

    1. You can EASILY generate your shipping labels for UPS or USPS right from and it loads the tracking information into the transaction records. Then, when this happens, Paypal can see for themselfs the delivery proof on

    2. When I have not used to create shipping labels, all you have to do it prove delivery with the tracking number and that number will tell Paypal the delivery date and time. They then close the claim and tell the buyer to pound sand since you just proved they got the item.

    3. Items with a value over $250 are supposed to be sent with signature required. That is a very clear Paypal rule. No signature, no coverage.

    Paypal can be a pain in the butt, but if you just keep good records, keep tracking numbers, etc. you can easily win a claim by a buyer. This OP seems to be busier writing this site than handling things with Paypal the way it’s required.

    • AstroPig7 says:

      Did you even read the article? PayPal is refusing to accept two forms of evidence from the USPS that the package was delivered.

      • Zclyh3 says:

        That’s cause USPS is old school. Paypal everything is online now. Another reason to use anything BUT USPS for high-valued items. If this was shipped with UPS with a valid signature, I bet you that this article wouldn’t have existed.

        • AstroPig7 says:

          Doesn’t that imply that PayPal is being picky just to avoid having to make things right? I imagine PayPal as the shop owner in a re-enactment of Monty Python’s parrot sketch. The package wasn’t delivered, it’s lost in the ether, pining for the fjords.

      • Michael Belisle says:

        Paypal says “they have to be able to look online for themselves and see that the package was delivered”. So that’s my question: why can’t Paypal look online for themselves? If he gave them the number, seems like Paypal would be able to do so.

  19. Tallanvor says:

    Paypal is evil. I outright refuse to use them for anything anymore since every time I do, they seem to find a way to make things difficult.

  20. lifestar says:

    I used to like selling some old stuff on ebay, but haven’t done it for a while and now I don’t think I ever will go back. Too many scammers and the price differences are not worth the trouble for either selling or buying to me now. I rather sell or give away my old stuff to friends and family these days instead of worrying if a complete stranger got my package and will not lie to get his money back from me.

  21. StanTheManDean says:

    Since this is a pro consumer site, let’s evaluate the situation from the perspective of the consumer.

    The OP is not the consumer. His customer is the consumer.

    The OP can not prove he shipped the goods. Sure, he has a ticket saying he shipped a box… it could have been a box of rocks for what anybody knows… and it is for this reason that CC companies and Paypal will automatically believe anything stated by the consumer.

    We must also believe the consumer, as this is a pro-consumer website.

    Sorry OP, you failed.

    • bitsnbytes says:

      Au contraire, the OP is the consumer of services from USPS and PayPal.
      “Fail” back at ya, Man.

      • StanTheManDean says:


        Next week we will hear from the real consumer, on how he got ripped off by a seller on ebay and how Paypal is siding with the scammer.

        • GMFish says:

          Next week we will hear from the real consumer, on how he got ripped off by a seller on ebay and how Paypal is siding with the scammer.

          Let me get this straight, because next week a different buyer might get scammed by a different seller, we should not feel sorry for this seller who was ripped off by a buyer?!

          Not only do you make up facts, you make up hypothetical situations which have absolutely no bearing on the matter at hand.

          I’m beginning to think you’re nothing but a troll with nothing to to say on this topic, other than getting people riled up. So I’ll stop wasting my time on this portion of the thread.

        • Shadowman615 says:

          The buyer said “he never received the item.” The seller has proof that “Something” was delivered. If the buyer got a box of rocks Styrofoam peanuts he would have had a different story.

          • pot_roast says:

            That is a problem that is all too common on eBay nowadays. They’re bending over backwards to protect *buyers* but screwing over *sellers* in a bad way. When you use PayPal (and really you have little choice with ebay these days) then no matter what terms & conditions you put in your auction, you’re forced to use *PayPal’s* t&c. If you say “Only 7 day return policy” it doesn’t matter because PayPal allows 45 DAYS. This is why scammers are waiting 30-40 days before filing claims. The only viable solution to this that I have found is by using our local Postmaster. We live in a small town and I know our local Postmaster on a first name basis. I bring an itemized list of what the auction included along with a printout of the auction itself. I have a “Verified by USPS” line on the itemized list, and she (the USPS Postmaster) signs it. Not an official service, but it sure does help when the buyer claims that I shipped them a box of rocks.

    • GMFish says:

      The OP can not prove he shipped the goods. Sure, he has a ticket saying he shipped a box…

      it’s real easy to find error when you completely make stuff up. You have no evidence that the buyer received an empty box or the wrong product. None.

      You have no evidence that the buyer made that argument. PayPal is not making your argument. It is willing to accept that the seller shipped it, if it can get some specific online proof of “a date and time that the item was delivered.”

      So when you look at this situation through the facts, and not your made up facts, it is clearly a consumer issue. Trying to get PayPal to help a customer.

    • SacraBos says:

      OP Succeeded. The Buyer stated that they did NOT RECEIVE the item. Not that the box was empty, not the wrong item, but not receive anything.

      The OP, Paypal’s customer, provided everything Paypal asked for the first time, then the second time, and still got denied. When using a shipping service suggested by Paypal.

      “I didn’t receive it” scams happen on Ebay all the time, which is why you track, require signature, and USE PAYPAL for the buyers protection as well as the customers.

      Paypal failed.

  22. Colonel Jack O'neill says:

    Ebay sucks, they don’t care about the sellers, you can’t leave negative feedback for the seller, which doesn’t make any sense, so if you selling something, you can’t tell if that person is gonna scam you or not.

    And PayPal also only protects the seller, it doesn’t matter what kind of evidence you have or what you tell them.

    • Coelacanth says:

      Most complaints I’ve heard about PayPal is that they won’t protect the sellers. Perhaps it’s just PayPal doesn’t really protect anyone, even though they act as a financial clearinghouse of online transactions.

      I think PayPal ought to experience the joys that only a bit of government regulation can bring.

  23. GMFish says:

    I mean, if Netflix can strike a special deal with the USPS to improve its business, surely PayPal can.

    Netflix struck a special deal with the USPS to improve its business in order to give customers better service. PayPal does not give a flying frick about its customers. Hence, the difference.

  24. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    I haven’t used ebay in years. Are they only allowing PayPal for payments these days?

    • madanthony says:

      pretty much. They will let you use a few other “approved” payment services like propay, but they charge even more than eBay, or your own credit card processor.

      They will not let you list an auction with the words “money order” or “cashier’s check” in the text. I put in mine that “alternate payment methods are accepted upon request”.

  25. dwb says:

    I think I’ve discovered what the problem is…

    Scott Thompson, better known as a member of the comedy troupe Kids in the Hall, is now president of PayPal. Obviously, this is just some kind of joke he’s playing on Todd.

    Seriously, when you get Ebay, PayPal and the USPS together, you may be asking for trouble.

    • Sanspants says:

      I’m just now finding out Scott Thompson runs Paypal? He must be the most hilarious president ever. I envision him walking into the office every morning yelling, “I like sausages!”.

      • AstroPig7 says:

        I think that was a joke.

        • Sanspants says:

          No, I know KITH Scott Thompson is not running Paypal and entering offices yelling “I like sausages”. My comment was also a joke.

          Though that Sausages sketch probably being their finest work is no joke.

  26. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    I’ve said it before, and I still stand behind it. eBay/PayPal is among the most evil companies in existence. They haven’t the slightest shred of decency, and are actively aiding and abetting fraud in cases like this all the time.

    I can’t believe it’s even legal for eBay to REQUIRE PayPal payment on auctions…you know, it’s against their rules to accept other forms of payment…the payment to you, not them, for the items you sold… You can’t offer to accept checks or money orders anymore, since they bought PayPal.

    …anyway, as you might imagine I can go on forever. eBay/PayPal is a wildly abusive monopoly (abusive to sellers, anyway…probably fine for buyers) and seriously needs to have the #$%^ smacked out of it.

  27. eyecon82 says:

    We also have paypal issues where they help us…i had a fake TAG watch sent to me that I could have lost $700 over…but paypal backed me up

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      PayPal/eBay essentially always sides with the buyer against the seller. So that’s not surprising.

      The problem is that if you’re a legitimate seller, and get a fraudulent buyer, eBay/PayPal is going to leave you swinging.

  28. TBGBoodler says:

    I had a problem years ago when I purchased an old iMac on eBay that the seller claimed had a DVD drive and it did not. It turned out NOT to be the model the seller claimed in his listing.

    PayPal would not refund any money because it said an item had been delivered. So apparently you can sell what you claim is, let’s say… an HDTV but actually ship a small rock; pity the poor sucker who buys it and pays through PayPal thinking he is “protected.” He did get a rock, after all. PayPal considers that a completed and satisfying transaction.

    In my case, eBay gave me some sort of settlement, but not as much as I had spent on the item and shipping. I’ll never use a bank account for PayPal again; at least if I’d used a credit card it may have been protected through that company.

    • Bix says:

      Sometimes I wonder what would happen if someone set up a fake scammer scenario where the scam-ee videotapes documents everything (packing and sending including travel or opening a package including delivery) on videotape and they tried to get PayPal to make it right.

    • BBBB says:

      Don’t think it is any better with credit cards – I’ve heard lots of complaints from both customers and businesses about chargebacks and stolen cards.

      Then for the people who only deal in cash transactions in public places – I’ve read of accounts where the seller is followed and mugged. (some with a carjacking thrown in as a bonus)

      Everything has risks – business people assess the risk and have a business model that takes the risk/benefit into account.

      Unfortunately, the occasional seller does not have large numbers of sales to offset the occasional loss if they hit the scammer lottery – successful businesses know what the shrinkage rates are, minimize them, and don’t agonize over them. [but it still hurts – I do Ebay and PayPal only for small and low risk items. I’ve been burned twice. The few high priced items I bought and sold had me nervous; I decided that the risk was worth it.]

  29. malimal99 says:

    i hate paypal…i with there was a better option.

  30. Hodo says:

    This is why I’ve stopped using eBay all together to sell anything. Purchases? Sure.

    I had a similar experience where a buyer claimed an electronic item I sold online didn’t work (even though I sold it “as is” without guaranteeing it would function AND I took a video tape of it functioning prior to shipment AND the item was double-boxed).

    I now use Craigslist. Less convenient and smaller audience — but the hassles and stress related to simply getting people who take your stuff to pay up on eBay (via PayPal) is simply not worth it (to me).

  31. Strausy says:

    I had the same problem with USPS. They couldn’t give me any information regarding the supposed non-delivery of the package. I had to argue with them for 15 minutes before they would even bother to look it up. That’s when all common sense went out the window and they insisted I shipped the package from myself at my house to myself at my house. I showed them the shipping details and they basically said they didn’t care to investigate and just gave me my money back. I will NEVER ship anything via USPS unless I want it to get lost.

  32. shalegac says:

    A similar situation happened to me. (too bad I didn’t know about consumerist then). I sold an item on eBay. I waited for the funds to go through and then sent the item. After a few days I received an email stating that the funds would be withdrawn from me because it was purchased with a stolen credit card. All the while eBay and PayPal both charged me investigation fees. I was out the listing fee, the $250 item and then charged fee’s on top of it with no more than a “too bad”. I hate eBay and PayPal with every fiber of my being. I’d rather throw my wallet into Best Buy and Radio Shack and let the employees sell me thousands of service plans and live strong bracelets than have to use PayPal. I wish there was consumer protection from them since they are the only option at times.

  33. lakecountrydave says:

    Years ago Paypal sucked all the money (approximately $300) out of an account that my wife and I had. This was because a person who had bought from us about a year before had made transactions which Paypal wasn’t able to collect on. They would never say if it was the transaction he had with us, why there was such a long delay or why they took far more than our had transaction had been for. We ended up just giving up as we could find no recourse outside of a court, and it was not worth the time and effort. Thank goodness that we set up the account for the purpose of doing business on the internet. It had very little money in it, and it was not at our normal bank. It could have been a much bigger nightmare.

    Screw Paypal!

  34. Zclyh3 says:

    I’m sorry but USPS has an outdated way of doing things. Apparently they don’t want to invest in upgrading their systems like FedEx or UPS. UPS has by far one of the most advanced information systems out there for their packages.

    When USPS said they needed a bailout, I said hell no. USPS is business like everyone else. If you can’t cut it, then it’s time to cut staff, raise prices, invest in technology or whatever you need to do to make it happen.

  35. Zclyh3 says:

    I also think it’s funny that Paypal does not outline or detail this exact process (what information actually constitutes as not “good enough”) when users even remotely THINK about filing a claim

  36. lemortede says:

    I stopped using Paypal a few months ago.
    They are impossible to work with and allow scammers to do what they want.

  37. twerp says:

    Per Paypal rules, items must be shipped with online viewable delivery confirmation; signature if the item is over $250. This is in the user agreement that you agreed to when you signed up for Paypal. In order to protect yourself, you need to know the rules in place.

    Contact Emailing ebay will do nothing. Also you MUST file a complaint with the State AG of CA and the BBB. Paypal has some actions against them. It will add some more fuel to the fire.

  38. Snarkysnake says:

    I’ve pretty much abandoned Ebay because of Paypal. I simply refuse to be a hostage to them or let them screw me. Yeah ,there are some things on Ebay that I would like to buy and I browse there when I am bored,but they have ruined it for me with their policies and arrogance.I am pretty sure that I am not alone in this. I have seen MANY “Paypal Only” sales going begging over the last year or so. I hope that the greedy bastards at Ebay enjoy the time they have left before a hungry competitor puts a stake through their heart.

  39. LightningUsagi says:

    I had a nearly identical issue several years ago. I insured the item but didn’t put delivery confirmation on the package. I assumed that because the package would have to be signed for, that that would be sufficient for the seller protection policy. I was wrong. The buyer filed a claim 3 days after leaving feedback for me and letting me know he had received the item! After months of faxing paperwork and sending it certified mail to Paypal, they ruled in his favor and reversed the charge of over $100. I did not have the funds in my account at the time, so the account sat at a negative balance until they finally locked it up. I still don’t have a new account.

  40. epoxy says:

    Long ago I quit using PayPal and eBay after this exact scam happened to me, and PayPal/eBay refused to back me up.

    Every time, they’ll freeze your funds and tell you to go away.

    The answer is simple: Don’t use eBay unless absolutely necessary, and then, only to buy stuff.

  41. BillyDeeCT says:

    I rarely had a problem using ebay before they force everybody to use Paypal (to allow ebay to scam more fees from people). My own use of ebay has diminished since this forced policy unless I deal with a local seller where I can pay them in cash. I really think a collective group needs to have Congress investigate ebay and Paypal for what I consider questionable business practices. Paypal is about as evil as the devil and its time for the this travesty to be investigated.

    ebay lost a lot of my business thanks to Paypal and their awful and deceptive business motives and this is just another reason to leave both of them in the dust.

  42. katsuyakaiba says:

    If Paypal rules against you, file a police report for mail fraud. Using the mail to defraud somebody, in this case you, is very very against the law. Many scammed sellers are turning to police when Paypal turns a blind eye to a mountain of evidence.

  43. Zeppelin says:

    I was scammed out of $600 when I shipped a Fender Mustang Bass to Oakland, CA. Paypal said there was nothing they could do since I didn’t “buy” signature confirmation. It’s required for seller protection but not “required” when creating the label. Anyway, the buyer said he never received the item but the delivery confirmation from USPS confirmed delivery. Paypal gave the buyer his money back and tried to come after me for reimbursement. I told them to go f**k themselves and haven’t used eBay or Paypal since.

    Good luck to Todd because he’ll never get his money back.

  44. RevTimmyB says:

    There is an alternative to Paypal, Revolution Money Exchange

    American Express is in the process of acquiring them, which adds another level of legitimacy to the service. You can only send and receive money to or from checking and saving accounts, but it’s free to do so.

  45. MyTQuinn says:

    Several years ago I shipped an item I sold on eBay via USPS priority mail, with delivery confirmation. USPS denied my insurance claim despite the fact that their own records showed that the item was “successfully” delivered to a zip code that was different than the zip code the item was shipped to.

    Paypal requires that sellers meet certain requirements to be covered by their “seller protection”, yet they partner with and direct sellers to a carrier that doesn’t meet their own requirements.

    Still using eBay and Paypal for things that don’t move on Craigslist, but that’s few and far between.

  46. coren says:

    This is why I sell through Amazon’s marketplace, if at all. The fees are higher, but there isn’t an option to jerk someone around with shipping (there are flat options), people will pay more cuz it’s Amazon and reliable, and if you complain loud enough, they *will* do something. And not just if you’re the buyer.

  47. elislider says:

    I had a very similar issue with paypal and ebay a couple years back. i bought an amazon giftcard through a credit card deal, but ended up really just needing the cash afterwards, so i sold it on ebay, and a guy in canada bought it, for more than than the face value (value $300, sale price $324 or something). i knew if i just emailed him the code he could claim it was never delievered since you cant prove anything from email, so i physically mailed the “giftcard” with the redemption code on it. the customs form allows for basic tracking. weeks later the guy said he never got it. i checked my account and the gift card shows “Redeemed”. i called customer support and verified the person that used the gift card was the same guy (for a scammer, he was stupid enough to use the same amazon login as on paypal, and all his name and address from paypal was the same as on amazon). paypal disputed my information because the tracking was not official tracking, it was just the customs id# that happened to also have info attached to it on the usps website. i had all the information that proved he was the same person that redeemed it and even got amazon to fax paypal that information. however paypal still said “not sufficient/proper information”. seriously? wtf? i lost $300 that time.

  48. chulo_allen says:

    Me, I would just wait untill Paypal abandons Paypal for being a scam :P

  49. tvmitch says:

    An important thing for all eBay sellers to remember is that eBay and PayPal do not care one iota about sellers. Not one. They will side with the buyer on any dispute 99.9% of the time. You cannot win against them on a regular basis, and the time and effort usually isn’t worth it. It’s completely and maddeningly frustrating but that’s just the way eBay and PayPal operate right now. If you sell any volume of items on eBay, you will lose money to fraudulent buyers.

    Good ideas include: don’t sell internationally (this is key!), budget for about 5% of your sales to go awry and fully expect it to happen that way, and know PayPal and eBay’s customer service phone numbers by heart if you do need to get a situation resolved, because their email support is worthless. Follow every eBay and PayPal rule to the letter. Half the time, following rules doesn’t matter because both organization fabricate rules based on the situation (i.e. in buyers’ favor).

    I have been on eBay for 11 years now and it’s just about the worst it’s ever been in terms of sellers being treated fairly, but there really isn’t an alternative for me for what I sell. Learning to live with it, and budgeting for fraud, is essential.

  50. christoj879 says:

    I’d call the police in the buyer’s town and ask them to have a word with this a-hole. PayPal is going to be too hard to get your money from, go for the low-hanging fruit. Also I bet you could get a default judgment against the person in small claims court.

  51. SoCalGNX says:

    Heads up to all who sell on Ebay – buyers are doing all sorts of things like sending returns back filled with pop bottles instead of that fancy vase you sent them. If you get a return, you might want to take all printouts to the post office and open it in front of the postmaster. I don’t know if this will save you and you can file mail fraud but opening it at home will get you no where.
    Ebays recent policy of not being able to give buyers negative feedback is partially responsible for this. Since all buyers can only get positive feedback, there is no way to sort out the terds.

  52. true consumer says:

    Instead of blaming systems and jumping on as a mob, i would say think of the root problem. The problem is with either the seller of buyer being a fraud. Or USPS being a fraud. USPS might not be a fraud, its either buyer or seller or BOTH being fraud. In order to make sure that people are not misusing the system, every company has the make multiple checks in order to assure that its a legitimate claim and something like this is not releated. Paypal has not denied your claim, they are asking for more information, which if you are a genuine seller you can provide, and ask what all they want, If there something like a presidential letter they are asking you should raise alarm. Think of this, if both seller and buyer are fraud, its so easy to misuse the system to siphon off money. So stop being a mob, and understand the specific problem. There are some 100 or more disgrunted people who just misguide the resolution and take it to specific companies. Do you think google or amazon would have immediately refunded without asking a question ? Try and see and then complain who is bad .. its all process and process takes time, every company has to make sure its not a misuse. Everyone wants money isnt it .. so in the craze for getting back money you forget rules and regulations. Also this was a specific problem, who know who is fraud ? Who says both buyer and seller are not fraud … ? I used amazon payments and i lost money to a seller , should i bring that up here ? That way every company is a fraud.