PayPal Says Man Owes Nearly $300 For Dispute That He Won

Kentaro already went through a dispute resolution with PayPal for an HTC Droid Eris he sold on eBay. He says the reason for the dispute no longer exists, and anyway, he won and that was supposed to be the end of it. But now he owes $287, according to PayPal.

A few months ago I sold a brand new HTC Droid Eris on Ebay. The buyer had trouble activating it, so for two weeks I was on the phone with him helping him out and we finally got it to work. Great! Another satisfactory buyer and transaction through ebay. Now what happened was prior to us figuring out the activation issue, he filed a dispute. I responded to the dispute by explaining our situation and noting that the phone is activated and there is no longer a problem.

I won the PayPal dispute, and the case was closed.
Come two months after, I get an email saying I owe PayPal money. Not sure what was going on since I hadn’t made any transactions for weeks, I log into the account. Apparently, the purchaser who had used his credit card for this transaction had his cc company do a chargeback, and PayPal decided it was my fault.

When I won my dispute, PayPal told me that any further expenses would be paid for by them because they “believe I shouldn’t have to worry any more as I already won the dispute.” It seems obvious that this is not the case, and all emails/phone calls to PayPal have gotten me nowhere for weeks, and $287.37 is a lot of money for me to cough up. What should I do? Thank you for any help in advance!

Any advice?


Edit Your Comment

  1. einstoch says:

    Easiest thing to do is either try to call them and straighten it out, or tell them to eat shit and open up another PayPal account.

    • anarkie says:

      How exactly is giving them more future business telling them to “eat s__t”? That’s rewarding poor practices. Best way to tell them that is small claims. level the playing field forcibly and legally. Then, cancel the account and don’t use PayPal again. That’s how you tell them to “eat s__t”

      • zandar says:

        This, especially the last step you mention.

        The only way Paypal will feel it is if everyone who is treated like this walks away for good.

        • jefeloco says:

          Will people please stop starting their posts with “This,” or “This.”? It is just as obnoxious and unjustified as starting your post with “Pro tip” and should never be done. This is a great example of something catching on with the interwebz that should have died out before it started.

          Back to the topic, I agree; small claims, cancel the account, walk away. Google has a way better service anyways if you really like the whole instant transfer dealio.

          • Angus99 says:

            This! Really!

            • hatemonger says:

              Protip: Some people rather enjoy memes and aren’t nearly as touchy as jefeloco about such things.

              • Spellchk says:


              • jefeloco says:

                You would know how touchy I am, wouldn’t you?

                I enjoy memes just as much as anyone else, when they are actually good and/or funny. Starting a reply or post with “This.” or “Pro tip” is just as grating as someone asking “does that make sense?” after an incredibly simple (and sometimes rhetorical) question or statement.

                My old supervisor at a T-Mo call center would ask that during “one on ones” and reviews; yes, I understand that my average call time is 3:43, which is awesome. Yes, the fact that (insert phone model here) only comes in black because black is the best hue ever makes sense. Yes, it absolutely makes sense that I verify customer information because that is what I was trained to do and I like it.

          • Marshmelly says:

            I’m sure people will now care about your opinion as if it is the deciding factor in what they type. After all, it should “never” be done.

            pro-tip: you are not the internet meme police

            • jefeloco says:

              My cat is though.

            • jefeloco says:

              Also, I asked nicely, in full-on question form, even saying “please”

              You all need to relax a bit. I politely asked a question, I did not tell everyone they are no longer allowed to say that. I am not trying to police anyone nor mandate anything. It was supposed to be semi-funny but it seems a lot of peeps got butt hurt over it.

            • Griking says:

              People are allowed to type any any they wish but using terms like “this” and “pro-tip” still makes them look stupid.

          • Leksi Wit says:


        • MarvinMar says:

          Please tell me what “This” stands for.
          As in “This, especially the last step you mention.”

          You ever try searching on This on google. impossible.

    • buckeyegoose says:

      Then paypal will find the other account and lock down the new account because of the balance owed on the other one. Cant Happen? Then why is mines locked down then when following the exact same advice then?

    • sonneillon says:

      Paypal is a bastard sometimes. I would make a nuisance of myself with certified letters and cease and desist orders. The goal is to become enough of a pain in the ass that paypal leaves you alone and eats the cost.

  2. ShruggingGalt says:

    Buy a plane ticket, fly to California, file a small claims action, hire a process server, have them serve Paypal, buy another plane ticket and attend the hearing – get notified at the hearing that the court date was delayed, buy another plane ticket and attend the hearing, win your money.

    There you go. Now the plane ticket costs can’t included in your lawsuit!

    /this is the main reason I hate using Paypal anymore. They have too much power and no government oversight because they aren’t a bank.

    • edman007 says:

      Why go to CA? You sue them where you are, make them fly out to you, thats where you were when they rendered their service to you. Of course $287 isn’t worth it at all for paypal, so offer to settle for $500 or so and they probably will, otherwise you sue them for anything relevant and win that.

      • ShruggingGalt says:

        I think a long time ago, Paypal changed their TOS.

        ” Law and Forum for Disputes. Except as otherwise agreed by the parties or as described in section 14.2 above, you agree that any claim or dispute you may have against PayPal must be resolved by a court located in either Santa Clara County, California, or Omaha, Nebraska. You agree to submit to the personal jurisdiction of the courts located within Santa Clara County, California, or Omaha, Nebraska for the purpose of litigating all such claims or disputes. This Agreement shall be governed in all respects by the laws of the State of California, without regard to conflict of law provisions.”

        So, it used to just be CA, but I see Omaha in there as well.

        • mythago says:

          You can file it anywhere you want. It’s then on PayPal to say “Hey judge, this case should be in Santa Clara” and get it moved/dismissed.

  3. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Try contacting the original buyer – they may be understanding. Oh, since he did a chargeback, you can go to small claims against him since he bought the product without paying.

    • DariusC says:

      Then he didn’t really buy it now did he? :)

    • FacebookAppMaker says:

      This here.

      Good luck getting your money from paypal. Instead, get your money from the original buyer. You could possibly call the police in his area, as what he did was technically credit card fraud.

  4. Murph1908 says:

    Write a letter, send it certified mail. Dispute this charge, including copies of the conversations that you were absolved of responsibility by PayPal, and were found to not be at fault. The fact that they failed to defend against a chargeback is not your responsibility.

    Advise them that should they send this invalid debt to a collection agency, you will exercise your rights under the FCRA.


  5. Turnabout is Flair Play says:

    After a series of 4 zombie charges on an abandoned bank account led to over $200 in NSF fees, I called up PayPal to complain. They couldn’t have cared less. They said they’d be willing to credit the $4.19 that was “due” on their end, but they would not help out with the NSF fees, even though it was their fault.

    My bank would not credit the NSF fees without a written letter from PayPal. PayPal refused, saying they “have no way to put anything on letterhead.”

    I filed a BBB complaint, and PayPal promptly responded, but I only got 1/2 of the NSF fees from PayPal.

    I closed my account and will never use PayPal or anything associated with it ever again.

  6. HogwartsProfessor says:

    That picture is creepy. It looks like the poster for The Human Centipede.

    I’m trying to avoid PayPal. Sometimes I have to pay something through them, but I don’t want an account. I hope either someone cracks down on them or people wise up and stop making me try to use them, because I won’t.

    • SunnyLea says:

      I agree. I wish they’d take it down. If there’s anything I don’t really need to be reminded of… ever… it’s The Human Centipede.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        I actually want to see it. I missed it at the indie theater. I watched the trailer and laughed my head off!

    • fairandbalanced says:

      I thought the same thing.
      I am not afraid of the dark, nothing scares me. I dont belived in santa, the easter bunny, monsters, and god.

      Watching the human centipede actually fucked with my head. I felt a dirty, kind of terrified, sickly feeling for the next 2 days after watching that movie.
      I have to give the writer and director credit for making a movie so fucked up that it kind of scared me.

  7. crb042 says:

    Let me sum up the steps…
    Person puts money into PayPal account with credit card.
    PayPal’s service transfers the bucks that PayPal has in their bank from being allocated for one account to being allocated to another.
    Person charges back the money they paid to PayPal.

    Now, can someone who knows the PayPal intricacies explain to me why the chargeback on that person’s account affects the allocation of PayPal “owned” money into someone else’s account?

    What I’m getting at is this: PayPal is not acting as credit card processing for you to directly receive money, so why does the recipient have the vulnerability to the chargeback?

    • ShruggingGalt says:

      Actually they are according to the new federal law. Paypal will issue their “customers” who “receive” payments from them (that exceed a certain limit) a 1099-K beginning with all payments after 1/1/2011.

      So yes, they are basically acting like a passthrough entity.

  8. JMILLER says:

    It seems to me the issue is with the person who bought the phone. Hee did a fraudulent chargeback. Paypal would not initiate the chargeback. Unless you can show Paypal actually has the money it is not on them, it is on the person who has the phone AND the money.

  9. HeyApples says:

    I used to work at PayPal in their dispute department. And according to their policies for this situation, they did everything “right” by their process. How depressing is that.

    I hope you kept a zero balance on the account. I always recommend people do this just in case of this scenario. If they aren’t holding any of your money hostage, I would let the account go and tell them to pound sand.

    If you really want to pursue the matter, there are a couple ways you can go:

    1. A complaint to an attourney general will get their attention.

    2. If you call in, their frontline people are purposefully kept ignorant and powerless to help you. But if you complain enough and are threatening enough on the phone, you can get into their escalations department, which is generally more sympathetic and empowered to help you.

    • HeyApples says:

      I will also point out that this company has some of the most reprehensible and morally bankrupt people I have ever met in this life. I would use their services only if my life depended on it.

      • smo0 says:

        Thank you for an informed answer… I’ll never use paypal, never have – never will… but I’m sure as shit coming to you for advice!

      • Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

        And its a shame that if you want to buy/sell anything on ebay, you HAVE to use Paypal, which is OWNED by ebay. Double-dipping anyone?

        • FredKlein says:

          Completely not true.

          “For most categories, sellers need to offer one or more of the following electronic payment choices:
          Credit card or debit card processed through the seller’s Internet merchant account
          Additionally, payment upon pickup and Bill Me Later are valid payment methods as well.”

  10. midwestkel says:

    Send the guys or PayPal to collections for the charge back. Didn’t that just happen to someone, might work for this guy.

  11. jay baker says:

    There is a difference between a PayPal dispute and a customer initiated chargeback, PayPal makes it clear in their chargeback FAQ that if the other party initiates a chargeback, they are going to pull the money from you. See the PayPal chargeback FAQ

    PayPal users, sellers especially, would be well served to spend some time reading the PayPal policies thoroughly. In cases like this, PayPal will help dispute the chargeback with the card issuer, and if the dispute is resolved in the sellers favor by the card issuer (not PayPal), they’ll put the money back in your account. But if the chargeback stands, you’re just out of luck as far as PayPal is concerned. And like I said, they spell all of this out plainly in their policy agreement (which people agree to when they sign up for the service and agree to the terms) and the chargeback FAQ.

    • fosterb says:

      Looks like the OP is correct though. “PayPal may protect you against any future claim, chargeback or bank reversal the buyer may file for that transaction” MAY being the operative word. Nice little get out of jail free card, eh?

      If a seller resolves a PayPal dispute or wins a claim, is the seller covered against chargebacks?

      If we find a claim in your favor through the PayPal Resolution Center and the buyer subsequently files a chargeback against that transaction for the same reason, PayPal may protect you against any future claim, chargeback or bank reversal the buyer may file for that transaction. To be protected, you must honor agreements made with the buyer during the dispute resolution process. This coverage will not apply if the claim has not been resolved by the time the chargeback is received or has been resolved in the buyer’s favor.

  12. RyansChestHair says:

    PayPal is a scam. I hate them. I used them once, sold something on eBay years ago, the buyer paid with PayPal, received the item then flat out lied by telling PayPal he never received it. I had to quickly take all money out of my PayPal account, close the bank account associated with it, then had to open another checking account at another bank just to kepp PayPal from stealing my money.
    The fact that I had to go through all of this was ridiculous. To this day (well over 4 years later) I’m STILL receiving emails from PayPal saying that they are trying to collect money from me.

  13. MrsLopsided says:

    The buyer lost the PayPal dispute then did a credit card chargeback. PayPal can’t fight the chargeback and is out the money. This is one of the dangers of dealing with strangers and not knowing your customer. How could selling a brand spanking new Droid to a stranger on eBay possibly go wrong?

  14. KennyS says:

    Have you contacted the buyer? Maybe he issued the chargeback when he first had problems and never reversed it.

  15. buckeyegoose says:

    Hey OP, contact Verizon, report the device as lost/stolen, they will see that the device was originally on your account, regardless if its on the “buyers” account now. That will prompt whoever bought the phone to get in contact with you to find out whats up. Tell them you’ll removed the claim once they send you guaranteed funds like a casher’s check or postal money order and only after it has been cashed and successfully cleared the other bank.

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      I think this idea is GREAT. Since he DID essentially steal it from you. Keep in mind that in order to claim this, you need to file a police report.

  16. michelsondl says:

    As nice as it would be to be able to stick it to PayPal and get your money back that way, the previous posters that said that it’s not on PayPal to pay you were right. If the buyer did a chargeback, and the CC company decided in his favor, then that means that he got his money back in his account. Now he has a brand new Droid and didn’t pay for it. If you were to jump through all of the hoops to take PP to court, all they would have to do is point this fact out and your case would probably be over. The judge would probably tell you that you need to take the correct party to court to recover your money. If it were me, I’d contact the buyer and explain the situation. If they aren’t receptive to the idea of paying you your money, then file in small claims court against them. Hopefully they will settle or not show up to court, and if not then you still probably have a really strong case against them.

  17. Dre' says:

    Horror stories like these are why I refuse to use PayPal for anything.

  18. FacebookAppMaker says:

    Consumerist: If you are reading this, i’d like to share you my story with paypal.After reading stories here, i decided to test something using two paypal accounts. I’d like to share with you a deceptive practice paypal has

  19. damageddude says:

    I assume you’ve asked Buyer to resubmit his CC and buyer has refused? If so, tell “buyer” (possibly renamed felon) you plan to file criminal charges against him for stealing your phone.

  20. Mystern says:

    Well . . . I’m an eBay employee, and I’d recommend calling eBay customer support and asking them to speak to PayPal on your behalf. Many times, a lot more can get done with one agent on one side talking directly as an agent to the other side to get it taken care of.

  21. Powerlurker says:

    If you sent the item by USPS, you can file a mail fraud complaint with the Postal Inspection Service.

  22. tronn says:

    yeah, kiss that money goodbye. paypal is worthless. i paid $200 for a nintendo ds. waited weeks, nothing. filed dispute. after 3 months of email limbo with paypal, they said “you won the dispute. heres $18 from the account of the seller.” “btw, we’ll get more money when the seller puts more money into their account” like some idiot is going to do that.

    that was 3 years ago. if i log into paypal right now i can still see that message. i log on once a year to see if they did put more money in. but i think i’d have more luck winning the lotto than that happening!

    dont start a new account. forget ebay and paypal. their lack of customer support is really infuriating.
    best thing to do is call this guy back and tell him these ongoings. request a money order on good faith. if nothing, i’d report the phone stolen and call the guys local police department with all this info. break some balls son!

  23. Baka-no-Kami says:

    I had a similar situation a couple of years back. I sold an old cell phone on eBay and the winner filed a dispute with Paypal that I never shipped him the phone. He paid for the phone on a Friday and filed the dispute the following Monday, so it wasn’t possible for the phone to have reached him before he filed the dispute. After he did get the phone he asked to return it. I said no because the auction did say “no return”. He shipped it back to me, but I refused to accept it. I sent all this info to Paypal and they ruled in my favor. About a week later he filed a chargedback and Paypal pulled the money out of my bank account.

  24. Bojangles says:

    If you have mailed it with USPS, you could call the buyer and tell him to pay up or face charges on federal mail fraud. Otherwise contact Paypal since they have not notified you for the chargeback, and they were aware that the item has been delivered and working as described.

  25. leoneomeo says:

    How about stop using pay-pal and don’t pay…

  26. mattoreo21 says:

    If you read the PayPal user agreement it says you agree to file all suits in California, A lower court in Tenn (if I remember right) ruled that this was unlawful as PayPal customers hail from around the globe. My advise is to file a lawsuit in small claims court for the amount charged and if PayPal fights jurisdiction explain that all of your transactions with PayPal happened in your home state NOT CA. Also Google “how I sued PayPal and won” . Don’t give in to PayPal hell.

  27. bumblefoot2004 says:

    This might work (I don’t know):

    Do you have any money in your PayPal account? If so, create another account (or have a friend do it), then sell something to yourself. Transfer all of your money to the other account, then withdraw the full amount. Ta da

  28. mikells43 says:

    402 935 2017 blow their phone up! and ask for an american!

  29. edrebber says:

    It will cost you more than $287 in time and effort to fight this. If you don’t want to use paypal ever again, then just don’t pay. Otherwise, ask paypal for a payment plan.