PayPal Leaves Small Business Out $500 And A Snake

Shawn runs a small reptile business, selling habitats, supplies, and animals. A customer’s purchase of a $500 snake went smoothly, with payment via PayPal and a critter off to a happy new home. Then the buyer reported the transaction to PayPal as fraudulent. They ruled in the buyer’s favor after an “investigation” that didn’t include talking to Shawn, and took back the $500. Voil√† – free snake.

His friend, a Consumerist reader, wrote to us on his behalf.

He has been using Paypal for years as his business account with no problems. A month or two ago he had a buyer purchase a $500 snake from him and everything went smoothly. The buyer then claimed it was a fraudulent charge and the money was immediately removed from Shawn’s account. When Shawn contacted Paypal, they gave him the $500 back while they investigated the matter. A few days later they took the money away again and closed the case. Now he is without his snake and without the $500.

What can he do? Paypal is not really helping much at all.

Not helping much at all is PayPal’s standard way of dealing with disputes. The contact information in this classic post may still be good, and lead to someone who can help. If the buyer is local, small claims court would be a useful and inexpensive route to try to get that money back.