Paypal Buyer Protection on EBay is Worthless

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The title pretty much says it. Paypal Buyer Protection will not help you if you have a problem and need to dispute a purchase on EBay. Simple as that.

I was looking to buy a copy of Microsoft Office Home and Student Edition. I looked at my favorite places: Tiger Direct, Amazon, BestBuy and decided to have a look at EBay, though I’m always a little leery of EBay. It had what looked like a legitimate copy from a legitimate seller. It was a UK seller, with almost 500 sales and over a 98% positive rating. The description said the item was a retail copy, not OEM, which was important to me because the retail version can be legally installed on three machines, but the OEM version is only for one machine. Everything looked good, but I was still skeptical. Finally, one thing tipped the balance: it was guaranteed by Paypal Buyer Protection. I’m a fan of Paypal, so it seemed like a good bet.

A day later, I got notification that my software had shipped. The email was funny — several characters that wouldn’t render. Uh oh. So I clicked the tracking info and it was shipping from Shanghai! Okay, could be a drop shipper, but it wasn’t looking good. I logged into my EBay account and all trace of the purchase had been wiped clean. The seller account was gone. All information about my purchase was gone. Double uh oh.

So I call EBay. They can’t help because the seller has been kicked out and they won’t arbitrate at this point. They tell me I will have to wait until the item arrives and then take it up with Paypal if there’s a problem.

The item arrives and it’s a recordable DVD with a handwritten product code on it. I call Paypal and they will not cover it until I return it. I’m livid. This person is an obvious criminal without a let to stand on. If I had put it on my credit card, I would cancel my charge and end of story. With Paypal, not only do I need to return the item, I need to return it with tracking. As it turns out, the cheapest way of tracking the item will only track it out of the US, but not to the seller’s door. To do that, I would need to spend more than the cost of a the software at Amazon.

Alas, it’s a sunk costs question. No way to recoup my money. So I went back to Amazon and bought it there. Brand new, retail version, three licesnes that validated with Microsoft. Only about $5 more than the Chinese ripoff artist.

Lessons learned:

  • Never buy software on EBay. There’s just no way to tell unless it’s a merchant you know.
  • Avoid Paypal for online purchases and use a real credit card with reasonable dispute policies
  • Scammers are making brands more powerful and making it hard for small merchants to make a living on the web.

64 Responses to “Paypal Buyer Protection on EBay is Worthless”

  1. Anonymous

    Wish I had read this message before I place the order from ebay. I too, was hesitate to order but then saw the buyer protection program and thinks I am protected. Turns out the only way paypal buyer protection program will work if you sent the item back with tracking. The item is from China and it would cost $27 just to have a tracking number. Lesson learn, never believe what paypal says about your purchase are 100% protected.

  2. Sorry you got stuck too. All I can say is tell people about it. Send them to this page or a similar one. It definitely blows, because one thing I like about Paypal is I don’t give my credit card number to people. Too bad their dispute resolution is so worthless.

  3. Hi!
    Dear,sir!
    I’ve paid DHgate with paypal for a particular item Oct. 13, 2009 10:56:16 PDT
    Transaction ID: 8R7070062N151135G,but the Company to date do not provide any clear answer.One day I receive
    confirmation ,that the money has been received, but after a few hours the opposite pattern, that money has been not
    received.Pay pal multiplexed, has confirmed that the account has money dhgate is creditedi.On my questions DHgate not
    answered.Can you something help me,please?Or ,must I write to Minisrty of Justice, the People’s Republic of China
    Address: No.10 Nandajie, Chaoyangmen, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100020, China and National Bureau of Corruption
    Prevention of China
    NO.2 Guang’An Men Nan Jie, Xuanwu Disrict, Beijing 100053
    What is better?

  4. Rob Lamontagne

    Also note that Paypal Buyer Protection, limited as it is, is ONLY for items purchased on eBay. I bought two ipods on iOffer for $136 U.S. and paid by Paypal. I received a string of plastic beads. I filed a dispute and claim with Paypal, but was told that there was nothing they would do. Had I paid by credit card, I could have disputed the charge for non-receipt. But because Paypal facilitated the payment, I have no recourse: if I challenge the charge, Paypal will simply re-charge my card.

    Paypal is NOT the safe, reliable payment system that they pretend to be. I got scammed and got NO support. Paypal is the only place where the seller’s account information can be accessed, and they won’t do a damn thing. Too bad I filled out their customer support survey BEFORE this transaction. My answers would have been VERY different!

  5. Viktor, I wish I knew. My purchase was not that expensive and figured the Chinese authorities, who normally pay no attention to pirated software, would not care.

    Rob, you learned the lesson I learned. It’s sad really, because I have a vacation rental property and Paypal offers a great system for small-timers like me (but for a bit more money, does Costco). It’s really convenient for me to send out invoices and manage payments. And I still use Paypal to send money around and make purchases with trusted merchants.

    But Paypal sells this whole thing like
    1. They are giving your some peace of mind with Buyer Protection, when it is vastly inferior to anything offered by credit cards.

    2. They are keeping your information more private than the credit card companies. I don’t know about that, but if I keep my paypal balance small and don’t link it to my main bank account, my downside risk should be low.

  6. Anonymous

    I had a problem with a website that I bought items from. I only got part of my order ( I ordered books and was sent only 3 of the 4 that I ordered) After I paid, the company told me the book was back ordered even though they have these books listed “in stock” on their website. The company is refusing to contact me in regards to my request for a refund on the book I never received so I filed a paypal dispute, and paypal won’t help me because I didn’t purchase the items from ebay. They told me that their buyer protection only covers items bought on ebay. I think as long as I use their service, they should protect my purchase no matter where I buy from. I am highly disappointed in paypal. I kept getting “auto responses” with no real person to answer my emails. Paypal used to be a lot better than this.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  7. I ALWAYS pay with a credit card, paypal is no use they never get the money back. So i pay with a credit card with a “safe” number and i am at ease with my purchases. BUT to be honest i have gone more to amazone than ebay better protection and customer service

  8. ebay Buyer Beware!

    I don’t think very many buyers realize that they, not the seller,
    may assume the risk for items under $250 that are not
    delivered.

    As in – you won the auction – you paid, and then you never got
    the item. And then ebay basically tells you to go to hell when
    you contact their resolution center.

    No item. No money. You lose. Thanks sucker.

    Ebay’s “eBay Buyer Protection” has some VERY fine print.
    See if you can find it.

    Just saying. Check it out.

  9. Well Don, that pretty much sums it up. I actually ran into a Paypal employee at a conference and he pretty much confirmed that there are a lot of complaints about the PP Buyer Protection… and EBay Buyer Protection is a joke, but from what I hear from sellers, the seller protection is pretty crappy too.

  10. Small tip, I ve been conned a few times now using paypal. If you get a copied DVD (as oppose to the gen one you ordered), company claiming to unlock ure phone, then telling you to go to a phone shop. Or any other purchase that is now what you paid for. Dont mess around or waste your time saying you received it. File a non-receipt claim, fraudelent sellers usally dont have proof of postage or dont want to even admit to the post office what their selling. In all the 5 cases I filed in the last 4 years Ive won and the seller cant do jack. You can even stick their rubbish back in the post to them with no postage on, they have the option to go and collect and pay for it then. Dont be honest where these criminals are concerned.

  11. I always think honesty is the best policy, but in the face of these cheats and thieves, your approach sounds like the only one that could possibly work.

  12. I just got off a phone call with paypal today. Make that a few. The first go-round, they put me on hold for 20 minutes, while their “specialist” was checking details for me. Finally, when I got to conclude the conversation, they assured me I would be protected in the case of fraud (not just on e-bay), but if I send money for goods that I do not receive, or someone on my behalf does not receive– I will get my money back, if I file a dispute. They also assured me that even if the vendor/merchant has fled the country, closed their account, etc., Paypal will foot the bill, if need be.

    I am a seller on ebay and was looking for other merchandise to sell for. I’ve been approached by numerous individuals to sell their wares. As I have all excellent feedback, and do provide honesty and good service, I’m skeptical of these sellers, and try to investigate with each one, starting with a phone conversation, some probing on company, and asking for samples. I can’t even get that far.

    Basically I think that UK seller that was mentioned here was suckered in like some are trying to do to me, and it was probably no fault of his own. He set up relations with a foreign seller and got duped too–meanwhile his account got closed down, and the original merchandiser is off to another ebay seller, well-rated with history. They are finding them all over. I am seeing them on freelancer.com.

    They have nothing to lose. I have my history and reputation to lose. I just don’t want to lose my money also.

    I purchased software from a woman back around the holidays. It was for regedit. I used it with no apparent problem, although the seller wasn’t the best at customer service, and I had to wait a while to receive this magic number (an odd assortment of characters I thought) to legitimize the software (bought very cheaply, by the way==about $7.00). When I tried to use it again, I couldn’t. It was limited to a trial or something like that. This seller was shut down, I got my money back, but I suspect she didn’t even know what hit her. Just a suspicion as she later popped up following me on twitter, oddly. She didn’t seem the scamming sort, and I felt like she was used as an intermediary as I’m trying to be–selling other people’s things.

    Probably not much worth the risk.

  13. Syl, I don’t think there’s any possible way that a seller sends you digital goods and then later a registration key without that being an illegal transaction. Software will get sold one of two ways
    – either an affiliate relation that takes the buyer to the vendor site and the salesperson gets a commission through an affiliate deal, but the purchase and issue of the registration key all take place on the vendor site,
    – it comes in a nice box and with a registration key on the proof of purchase.

    The woman you’re talking about in your last example is a software pirate or is utterly ignorant of the basics of copyright law and is aiding and abetting software pirates.

    It’s possible in my case that the UK seller was a drop shipper who got scammed, but more than likely, I don’t think there ever was a UK seller and it was a profile from this guy in China.

    I must say, it’s a very smart scam – figure out what return shipping cost is, find a product where the legitimate retail price is slightly below that price, send illegal goods, and then let the customer complain and try to get his money back, which will cost him more than just forgetting the whole thing and going down to Best Buy and getting a real copy. I should say that part of the reason I didn’t do that is because I live way out in the country, so it’s a 2-hour drive to the nearest bricks and mortar retailer.

  14. Well, I have to defend e-bay (horrors!) although they don’t deserve it. And I purchase off there quite a bit … when I shop around, I always check the prices everywhere. Occasionally ebay wins out. Sometimes I get really annoyed at apparently volume sellers who act amateurish. They wait 2 weeks without shipping, and then tell me their mother got sick and went in the hospital or their sister or whatever. I’m not unfeeling, by the way. This actually really happened to me and I shipped everything out then went to the hospital. They make up excuses for why they are not prompt, which bothers me.

    The problem is getting to be the infiltration of Chinese merchandise EVERYWHERE on the net (as well as our brick and mortar stores). It’s bad enough we’ve been importing the junk for years. Sorry to sound like this, but it’s been damaging to our economy, and now they has not been enough–they are stalking the boards and I get e-mails daily about some new site selling electronics and designer things. I mean they’ve been selling on ebay for a while, but they can’t do that real well–most people don’t trust them, even if they can get something cheap, they don’t want it shipping all the way from China. I tried buying from China a couple years ago. Generic mp3 and mp4 players. They lied about the product, they lie about role in the line of business (they are distributors, not manufacturers), they pretended they actually had to “make” the one I chose for a sample, they just lie. The stuff was ok but they are a dime a dozen, and they’re buggy. Junky. If Apple makes the stuff over there, they have quality control in place, trust me. They couldn’t market this stuff.

    So, they figured out a way around that! They’re getting American sellers and others to sell for them. I truly believe the intermediary has no idea. They’ve been selling for a while, racked up good feedback, and then began selling for the crook overseas in the east. The crooks overseas move from one body to another. The only reason I am not shut down, is because I make phone calls, want to speak to a person, want to see what I’m selling. I’m not just worried about my money, I can’t take responsibility for scamming someone. I don’t want karma like that.

    And the rep at Paypal tells me … (sit down for this) “you have to trust people.”

    Sorry for the rant. But really, it’s not ebay that’s so bad, but the infestation of immorality which pervades the marketplace. If those sellers could break through on the Amazon front, they’d be selling there too. They’ll figure it out. Give them time!

  15. The thing is, Paypal says “you have to trust people” but they have this Buyer Protection thing. The whole point of that is that I don’t trust people and I want to make sure someone has my back. But nobody does if I buy through Paypal. That’s my gripe.

    If I had made the same purchase with my credit card, instead of Paypal Buyer Deception, I would have disputed the charge and gotten my money back. That’s why the CC companies are much better at detecting fraud than Paypal – it costs them more because their guarantees actually mean something.

    And there’s my rant!

  16. Buyer protection sucks and has made me not sell anything on Ebay for more than a year. When I am told I cannot accept checks or money orders and am forced to use PayPal they lost me as a seller. They say “It is for my protection”. What protection? If I do not get the money order or check and it does not clear the bank they do not get there item they bought. All it is about is greed! Plus they bought out PayPal, go figure!

  17. I had similar experience, but it was with a COMPUTER. There should be fiable Ebay competitor. There policies are horrible.

  18. I also trusted Ebay & Paypal because of their so called “buyer protection” which is useless indeed! At least, I only lost $17 to a seller who obviously knew how Paypal wouldn’t do anything and never bothered to respond. Now I’m using a CC for all my purchases and will avoid paypal at all cost. The only items I will buy from Ebay now are less than $5. Just not worth the risk to buy or sell high value items through such a horrible lying company anymore.

    Ebay definitely needs some competition.

  19. But US Sellers are hurt I had a buyer lilylotus52 buy software from me then use buyer protection to get a refund and of course keep my product on her computer … she even said she liked the bulk of my product but due to her computer could not view some of the videos. I am out $120 with shipping and she gets rewarded by ebay buyer protection … geez … I am letting my account go into collections I am not paying ebay for this unjust refund!

  20. Terri,

    That’s a bummer and I’ve heard a lot of complaints from the merchant side too. It’s obviously a broken system.

  21. I sold a phone on craigslist, and the guy who bought it is claiming the screen has some bright spots on it. It did NOT have these spots when I sent it. For all I know, he did something to the phone. So does anyone know, is paypal going to expect me to take back damaged merchandise?? The phone was sold as used, and he admits that everything on it works…

  22. Ebay (and Paypal) are nothing more than massive failures at this point. We got screwed by this guy in Utah, called “thunderboltboy”, who bought a very good condition (used) MP3 player and he claimed it didnt work. We tested it and packed it WORKING. He claimed it didnt work and wanted his money back. Foolish us, we didnt record the serial number, so we refused the return request. Not only that, it was an “as is” auction of a 5 year old MP3 player. He STILL wanted his money back. Ebay doesnt believe in “buyer beware”, even if we werent scamming him. They sided with him though he was instructed that he could KEEP the MP3 player as well! So we lost the money AND the player – which worked fine.

    Talk about scam artists. Its a COLONY of [scam] artists on Ebay. I sold my stock and closed my account and so did my wife. We’re never going to use Ebay again.

  23. Interesting to hear from merchants too.

    Mike, why did this guy get to keep and MP3 player when I had to return my illegal DVD from a person who had been utterly banned and erased from EBay for his illegal activities?

    I just don’t get that. Is it official policy to always side with the scammer? I’d like to here of just one legit case where EBay/Paypal buy protection actually protected the victim instead of the scammer.

  24. Well people who are happy with their experience probably wouldn’t be looking for help, so that’s why we don’t hear from him. Paypal sided with the guy who claimed the iPhone he bought wasn’t as advertised, but I don’t know if he got to keep the phone, and got his money back, or if he had to send the phone somewhere. But he got his money back, and I didn’t have to pay it or take the damaged phone back. Maybe they are treating buyer protection more like insurance now.

  25. Yeah, I know. I just wish this information could get out there *before* people get ripped off the first time.

    But that’s interesting that the person didn’t need to return the item and you didn’t lose your money. I can see how people could scam this (send item to friend, friend says item was broken, gets money back, merchant sells item again).

    But I think Mike’s situation and mine is more typical – someone other than EBay/Paypal actually does lose cash out of pocket.

  26. Fairfax Mom

    Hi
    It’s pretty easy for Virginian’s to file in Small Claims court. I suggest you include all court fees in your claims and any other expenses. It sounds like PayPal doesn’t provide the buyer protection and has absurd bureaucracy to insure they never pay. A judge will hand the award to the little guy. Make sure you save all of the inane automated emails to show the judge and bring the complete counterfeit xbox game for example, and shipping envelop as evidence. First call PayPal and tell them you are going to file in small claims court. They might just decide to give you your money! :)

  27. Parameswara

    I do not much of the real situation inside paypal but i did get my refund and i get to keep the item. I am guessing that i often buy from top seller,so i think that they consider refund. I have deal with seller from china and they are very nice to me. They are willing to return my item and send me refund. I was buying A ROBERTO CAVALLI shirt. My worst experience was with a seller that refuse to give refund despite that i can return the item if i am not satisfied. Paypal did not bother my hearing. I am fortunate enough that i did not experience fraudulent.

  28. Three years later, still the same. I bought so called solid gold jewellery off ebay Australia from a buyer with 400+ positive reviews. Three days later seller is no longer a registered seller, I lost transaction details. Few weeks later received pieces of plastic in mail. Tried to go through Paypal AU buyer refund, have to pay minimum registered mail to send back to China or else no refund.

    Pay Pal told me I should be grateful I even get a refund, as their other customers are. Seller thinks I’m going to cut my losses and not bother to return it so they can make the $? I’d think I’d pay for the shipping so none of my funds go into that grubby fraudster’s hands.

  29. Sorry to hear that Laura. As you say, the same arrogance and BS from EBay and PayPal. Sad.

  30. This is a comment on the post that was made by “Harry on
    June 25, 2010 at 4:42 pm”

    That’s a great tip thank you for sharing!

    Although, you could still be burned if the seller is willing to provide proof of shipping.

    I won’t bore you with all of the details but last December I bought three Best Buy gift cards on ebay (I’ve done this dozens of times over the last 10 years of being a member) totaling $1200 (from three different sellers). One of them tried to scam me ($485) and sent me an envelope with a business card instead, BUT, get this, he shipped it with a tracking number (he knew how to play the game indeed!).

    When I went to PayPal for help they asked the seller to provide proof that he had sent the gift card, he turn gladly provided the URL to the USPS tracking number, and PayPal said, “great, thanks for playing, nothing to see here move along Mr. Buyer.”

    In other words, PayPal’s, way of corroborating is only by tracking number (in all fairness, I’m not sure what else they could do). At that point, I kept my cool and called my credit card company; 10 minutes later I had the charge reversed!

    That’s why for the last ten years I’ve been telling anyone that will listen, IF YOU HAVE AN OPTION ALWAYS USE A CREDIT CARD!!! Why, because no one cares more about their money than the owner, in this case the bank/company who issued you the card.

    Now, before I get flamed, allow me to clarify, make sure you have the solvency to pay the bill in FULL when it comes do or else DON’T BUY SAID ITEM AT ALL!

  31. Hey thanks Sam! That’s pretty much the conclusion I’ve come to. Paypal provides no useful protection.

  32. promises by paypal to ” warn you in good tiem” in the case of a dispute, is dishonest. they do NOT do so, and when the time allowed for the dispute resolution has come and gone, they glibly announce that the matter is concluded. be aware people, this organization is one way traffic – customer relations do not exist

  33. Randall Marx

    E-Bay and its partner-in-crime (PayPal), are nothing but licensed thieves, and their so-called “Buyer Protection” programs are equally criminal in nature.

    I bought a $1500 item on E-Bay and the Seller offered “expedited” shipping if I (the Buyer) would pay an added premium shipping fee for the item via PayPal, but immediately after payment, the Seller shipped the item via the cheapest possible means (USPS Parcel Post), pocketing over $120 in personal profit. Delivery of the item then took over THREE WEEKS!

    I filed claims against the Seller with E-Bay and PayPal, and both claims were denied by both entities. I then filed negative feedback against the Seller and E-Bay deleted the negative feedback entry the same day. I then CLOSED both accounts and I’ll never use either one of their “services” ever again. Done! They are liars and cheats, and you’d have to be an absolute idiot to use either one IMHO.

  34. i bought 28 days ago Guru script,it was a freelancer clone Mapfreelance script…it was a Multilangual script,but later relise that when translating,it was not supporting my own language characters…i did chat with this people from support chanel…they worked on it for fixing the issue,at the end,i was told that would refund…i did wait 14 days,no refund noting,later i dispute on paypal,i used to have full screen shot of our conversation that i would refunded…all information was there on my GURUSCRIPT ACCOUNT…i gave all to paypal too…they told me,we are investigating,in the end they told me that we can not protect you because it is not a physical item….WHICH MEANS NEVER BUY GURUSCRIPT AND NEVER BUY ANY SOFTWARE OR PHYSICAL ITEM WITH PAYPAL….THEY REALY DONT CARE YOU
    i am very honest you all…
    regards

  35. Officially just got screwed by Paypal! Like Laura buying something from china and the guy tells me to return the defective item to china! Of course I returned it! Seller doesn’t reply acts fishy and so I made a claim and escalated it. I sent in all my evidence and upon closing my case in favor of the seller due to the fact that I did not send it to a certain address stated by paypal….how could I? I sent it back before I even made a claim in which seller gave me address!!!!! Spoke to papal rep…. All he can tell me is it’s unfortunate that the seller knows our loophole! WTF! I asked him is there a loophole where I can screw the seller back? Paypal sucks! I didn’t use my credit card to make that purchase….had cash in pp!

  36. So can I use Paypal’s loophole to screw him over? Seriously thinking of it! Email me at [email protected] if u want to help w the cause!!!

  37. So can I use Paypal’s loophole to screw him over? Seriously thinking of it! Email me at [email protected] if u want to help w the cause!!!

  38. Alan Wendt

    This is what I got from Paypal when the merchandise did not show
    and I filed a complaint:

    “We have decided in your favor, however, we were unable to recover any funds
    from the seller’s account. As stated in the PayPal User Agreement, recovery
    of funds associated with a Buyer Complaint cannot be guaranteed.”

  39. Georgina

    I bid on an item on Ebay which looked too good to be true, wanted to retract the bid, unfortunately couldn’t as the seller confirmed it be be genuine. The seller lied, it was a fake. Beware the Sellers that sell items too cheaply and only accept Paypal for the deal. Anyway item arrived and it was a fake, it didn’t arrive from Australia as stated but from China. Seller offered to refund only half the amount because of high shipping costs to China, they the seller know how to steal. So I go to Paypal and they me to escalate to claim and want me to return goods to China, never mind that I bought in good faith from Australia. The goods via tracking no to China cost me more than what I paid for the goods in total. Trying to get my money back from my credit Co: but the girl didn’t sound too hopeful for some reason as I explained to her what happened, maybe she doesn’t believe me? Told me I have to wait 33 days till they investigate. I even had to ask for a reference no because she didn’t want to give it to me. I hold as much hope in getting my money back from my credit card Co as I do from Paypal. That is no hope. Now because I’m still under the Paypal claim I can’t even close my a paypal account.

  40. I had a similar experience when a camera turned out to be a link to a website. Paypal protection would not cover it because it was not a physical item, even though it was clearly stated that it was a camera. Fortunately I kept a screenshot, as the seller got removed along with the auction immediately after the bidding. Even with all the evidence in my favour there was not cover from paypal protection. I wonder if there is any claim against paypal protection for misrepresentation, it would seem that there should be some kind of case to present? Possibly with enough plaintiffs?

  41. I closed my Pay Pal acct. Whenever I buy off E-bay I use my Credit Card, (one used only for this purpose) then if there is a problem, I call the CC company, they do a charge back. If it is a legit seller, that motivates them to solve the problem, if they are a fraud, then I’m out nothing/

  42. Sorry to hear that Georgina! Same exact scenario as me (except my item didn’t even look too good to be true, it was only a couple of dollars cheaper than the Amazon price)

  43. Tim – sorry to hear of another happy customer. As a merchant I use Paypal and find it pretty good, but as a customer I prefer to use my credit card unless I’m sure I know the seller. I don’t know if there could be a class action suit, but my general experience is the plaintiffs receive nothing. All the money goes to the lawyers. Still, if it forced Paypal/EBay to be a little more forthright, it would be worth it.

  44. David – I’ve heard of other people who have a credit card just for untrusted purchases and they make sure it has a very low credit limit so that even if it is used for fraud, there is a limit to the damage. Not a bad idea.

  45. Here is an other reason:
    I bought some bicycle stuff on eBay from different vendors. It so happens that most of the stuff I got was wrong or defective so I complained about it and the sellers refunded my money. However, eBay sent me a letter that my account had been restricted indefinably from their buyer protection program.

    Well, without buyer protection, eBay is no better than any other e-commerce site. I’m taking my business somewhere else from now on.

    Here is a list of the stuff I bought:
    1. Bicycle water bottle white/black – got a red/black bottle
    2. Front + rear bike lights – never got them, the tracking number is fake.
    3. Universal roof rack for 3 bikes – turns out is not universal and will not fit my Toyota Sienna or any other Toyota or Lexus roof rack. How is that universal when it doesn’t fit the most popular cars?
    4. Sport optical glasses rims – got a pair with a manufacturing defect
    5. Bike pump – got a pump that doesn’t hold pressure.
    6. Bike saddle bag – got a different model.
    7. Cycling shoes – out of stock

    I did have some good deals:
    1. Bike computer
    2. optical glasses for my kids
    3. cycling bib+shirt
    4. Water bottle cage for bike
    5. Keyboard stickers
    6. Backpack
    7. lots and lots of parts for my vintage car

  46. I recently bought a diamond ring on ebay it was advertised as 0.40ct but it was only 0.33ct. I bought on a buy-it-now from a seller, who also offered returns which gave me peace of mind.
    When I contacted the seller to ask for a refund he refused as apparently he sold it for a friend so within 4 days of buying it I made a claim with paypal and paypal sided with the seller because the claim was not significant enough. apparently 0.33ct and 0.40ct is only a tiny difference. I disagree because in a diamond a small size difference is big money. Also paypal chose to ignore the distance selling regulation cooling period which is against the law. I was entitled to a refund because 1) I bought it from a buy-it-now and I had 14 days to check it and return it if im not happy, 2) the item was not described it accurately.

    so paypal is incompetent to make fair decisions, I would be careful using paypal.

  47. Tom-
    You sir are so correct…
    eBay is Worthless.
    I pay a fee for services like everyone else.
    But,,, if and when there is a problem, eBay is the “Elusive Butterfly”. Unwilling to help.
    I have been there!!!
    I wish that someday, someone would come up with another eBay type of selling.(craigslist is not in the same category)
    I would “jump ship” in a second…

  48. Can’t you dispute it on your credit card? It seems the best way to recover your money is to raise it directly with your bank.

    Or are there nasty consequences with Paypal when this is done?

    Or perhaps you had a balance in your paypal account which you used to pay the vendor, so no credit card transaction?

  49. Janelle

    Well Thomas, I have to say that I have had some good purchases from e-bay, previous to “big-business” there. Living in Canada, U purchased a small fortune from a reputable vendor there, whom I had bought from before, then went on a holiday, however, before I left I noticed that the vendor wanted more $$ fir shipping, “to cover th US/Can $ exchange rate. Pardon? Although I had no problem paying it previously, on occasions where th Cnd $ was indeed lower than the US, on this occasion the Canadian dollar was actually on par, or a bit higher; I e-mailed the vendor back, asking them to explain, but then left on holiday. By the time I got back there was another e-mailed bill from the vendor, but no explanation, again I queried them, but to no avail, by this time it was too late to file any complaint, they took my money for the purchase (off of my credit card), and nothing EVER shipped. By the time e-bay informed me that I had to make my complaint to my credit card Co., once again, too late. So, they took my money and never did send me anything, not even an explanation justifying the exaggerated shipping charges, all their bill ever said was “exchange rate”, um, no, that was a flat-out lie. This Vendor was/is a straight-up thief.
    So I wait a cpl years, and decide that I might try e-bay again, this time I purchase a set of Back On Track horse boots from a German vendor, 98% customer satisfaction, I did all the research. Everything looks good, The boots finally arrive, I’m pretty excited… Until I realize they only sent 1!! So, I contact E-bay who directs me to Paypal, since I paid that way this time, thinking foolishly that there was some kind of buyer protection there. I open a dispute clearly stating the issue (FYI, evn had they advertised only 1 boot, they come in L & R, so I would have had to at least specify which I needed, I didn’t b/c it was never a question upon purchase), and that I will return the “boot” for a FULL refund (which would include shipping). Pay-pal then decides in the vendors’ favor.
    A complete travesty of a dispute, all I can see tipping the balance here is that this vendor does more business with Paypal than I do. Such mis-leading advertisements used to be held accountable, now I read what the vendor sent into this dispute and am completely sickened by not only Paypal, but E-bay as well, to allow, even encourage such vendor behaviour is beyond reprehensible.

  50. Janelle, terrible stories, but I have to say, this made me laugh:

    “Until I realize they only sent 1!!”

    Must have been infuriating at the time, but it sounds like something off the I Love Lucy Show or something (How’s she going to tell Ricky she spent $197 on A boot?).

  51. Technica

    Generally we find PayPal to favor the buyer for non-receipt and they are mostly responsive providing you give a clear description of the issue and previously attempt to resolve the issue with the seller. eBay on the other hand has been less than responsive when attempting to discuss issues with a seller.

    IT is important to note that software that you download and purchase a license key after Payment is not covered by PayPal, one recent case involved a software purchase from DNNSpot. We contacted them via email to ask if they would supply the license key immediately after PayPal Payment (for a client project) and they said yes. However we have yet to receive the license key and reported bugs in the trial that make it not fit for purpose. The seller who never provided the license key refuses to refund the purchase, PayPal will not cover this under the so called “Buyer Protection”
    Under Consumer Protection laws we feel that The PayPal service is in breach in Australia however they have carefully crafted their terms of service agreement.

    Summary, walk with care in relation to software purchases when paying by PayPal.

  52. Nedotepa

    TRUTH OR FALSE?
    PayPal and e-bay in favor of PayPal and e-bay and nothing else. Would not surprise if one day they get “merged” with USPS. Counterfeiting is one of the fastest growing economic crimes worldwide. Do not expect it coming only from China. In my case the items were in UK – “China/UK”. E-bay gets “benefits regularly” from Counterfeiting transactions and might be well aware of them as well as closing eyes on these “dirty” money. Their “Buyer protection” does not work to protect the buyer. It’s only protects an e-bay and PayPal!!! In my case i was even charged by PayPal an “International transaction” fee. In case you’ve received a junk instead of the items you’ve believed you’ve paid for as well as opened a case in e-bay “Buyer Resolution center” —- GOD HELP YOU!

    E-bay will make you believe that “The case was decided in your favor”, direct you to return the item to the seller and even provide you with the seller returned address. Do not get excited and you might want to leave a negative feedback to the international seller at this moment because you might have no option to do it later.
    When it comes to returning items and shipping it to overseas, please Do NOT use USPS. USPS does not care on updating the tracking statuses on their website. E-bay will denied your case if the tracking number on USPS site is not updated for over 15 days(rare cases 30) and will translate it as the “item not returned”. In my case it was over $200 lost and it hit me in a bad time. The simple USPS inquiry on an item can take over 60 days to complete. BUT the appeal with an e-bay can be started only if you have on your hands the item delivery prove — time limitation of 45 days. So there most likely 90% + chance here that NO answer from USPS (requires 60+ days) while an option to appeal on your closed case with e-bay (only 45 days limitation) expired. I just wondering if someone really was able to receive an answer on an inquiry from USPS before the 45 days limitation on e-bay case appeal expired? Speaking with the e-bay customer support is like speaking to a WALL! None of them seems to care how many customer complainants received.

    Especially do not ever sent anything by the USPS Registered mail overseas as it is suggested on e-bay or PayPal policy for items over $250. If the recipient will not be “available” to accept the package(3 attempts) – it will be remain on hold at the overseas post office for an additional 30 days — No updates posted on USPS site —- as a result an e-bay will close the case and NOT in your favor. You’ll lose time to appeal on closed e-bay case(45 days) The seller simply can pickup the item after the case closed and time to open an appeal expired. Calculate the options of getting any money back ………… none. It is not in e-bay PayPal interests to refund any money! It is not in USPS interests to refund any money. Do not get surprise to get an answer after 60 days that your items were successfully delivered. So you end up paying for Counterfeiting “goods” and even send them theirs junk back nicely packaged. USPS gets paid by you for delivering an item overseas. The junk will get back listed on e-bay and another hard working naive American will get to these …and another .. and another ..

    Sometimes I believe it is a “well planned and organized scam” between e-bay/PayPal and USPS.

  53. Nedotepa

    TRUTH OR FALSE? For those of you who are new to buying on e-bay and especially if considering buying from an e-bay overseas sellers. A friendly WARNING! Counterfeiting is one of the fastest growing economic crimes worldwide. Do not expect it coming only from China. In my case the items were in UK – “China/UK”. E-bay gets “benefits regularly” from Counterfeiting transactions and might be well aware of them as well as closing eyes on these “dirty” money. Their “Buyer protection” does not work to protect the buyer. It’s only protects an e-bay and PayPal!!! In my case i was even charged by PayPal an “International transaction” fee. In case you’ve received a junk instead of the items you’ve believed you’ve paid for as well as opened a case in e-bay “Resolution center” —- GOD HELP YOU!

    E-bay will make you believe that “The case was decided in your favor”, direct you to return the item to the seller and even provide you with the seller returned address. Do not get excited nor believe it and you might want to leave a negative feedback to the seller at this moment because you might have no option to do it later.

    GET an ALERT right HERE!

    When it comes to returning items and shipping it to overseas, please Do NOT use USPS. USPS does not care on updating the tracking statuses on their website. E-bay will denied your case if the tracking number on USPS site is not updated for over 15 days and will translate it as the “item not returned”. In my case it was over $200 lost and it hit me in a bad time. The simple USPS inquiry on an item can take over 60 days to complete. BUT the appeal with an e-bay can be started only if you have on your hands the item delivery prove and have time limitation of 45 days. So here most likely 90% + chance here that you get NO answer from USPS (requires 60+ days) while losing an option to appeal on your closed case with e-bay (only 45 days limitation). I just wondering if someone really was able to receive an answer on an inquiry before the 45 days limitation on e-bay case appeal expired? Speaking with the e-bay customer support is like speaking to a WALL! None of them care how many customer complainants received.

    Especially do not ever sent anything by the USPS Registered mail as it is suggested on e-bay or PayPal policy for items over $250. If the recipient will not be “available” to accept the package – it will be remain on hold at the local post office for 30 days — No updates posted on USPS site —- as a result an e-bay will close the case and NOT in your favor. Calculate the options of getting any money back ………… close to none. It is not in e-bay PayPal interests to refund any money! It is not in USPS interests to refund any money. Do not get surprise to get an answer after 60 days that your items were successfully delivered. So you end up paying for Counterfeiting and even send them theirs junk back nicely packaged. USPS gets paid by you for delivering an item overseas. The junk will get back listed on e-bay and another hard working naive American will get to these …and next ….

    Sometimes I believe it is a “well planned and organized scam” e-bay/PayPal and USPS.

  54. I use ebay to buy EVERYTHING, and always have done. Although occasionally you get a bad seller, ebay’s dispute system has always refunded me.

    By the way, 98% feedback is considered very low. Always go for 99.5% or higher.

  55. I bought a lot of bridesmaids, I pay and the purchase was covered for ebuyer protection. the item was a mess, I paid 1.600 dollars, the items were stained, smell like cigarate, those were posted as new with tags. the items were not the same that the ones that I paid for, were totally differents, diferent sizes, etc. I submit a claim, ebay suspended my account after I submit the claim and cancel my ebuyer protection. they declined my claim in the favor of the seller according to ebay because my ebuyer protection was canceled. was like you have car insurance and they drop you for not reason after a car accident and do not want to cover the cost because they drop you. after sending pictures, talking with 4 different persons for over 1 hour and half nobody knew why my ebuyer protection was canceled and they did not wanted to give me the most fair thing that I asked to return the dresses and get my money back. I am filing a law suit against ebay and I invite everybody to do the same thing. get a small claim form in the court, filled up. ebay more likely will not respond because lawyers fees are higher that most small claims. get your rights, do not be afraid of big companies that violate your rights. eBay is getting a fee for the sale, they are involve and responsible for the transactions made in their website and they should protect the buyers.

  56. mschoonover1700

    ebay buyer protection is a joke and a half. I ordered 4 fans for computers the seller did not ship them till after they were due to arrived and i had requested a refund and repurchased them elsewhere. The fans I purchased through a different seller arrived before the ones i asked to cancel my order due them still not having shipped a week later and i filed an ebay case. End result i got a used set of fans from the seller ebay wouldnt take action they even removed my negative feedback at the sellers request which makes feedback also a joke. Tip of advice go to amazon i know i will from now on better to pay a bit more and actually get what you ordered and get it on time and working than save a couple dollars and end up with nothing.

  57. Simeon

    PayPal is absurd. They are not bound by banking regulations. They cab basically do whatever they want. Case in point regarding an item I purchased that looked like it worked great in the promo videos.

    The seller only offered PayPal for payment (stay away from such merchants). I also found out awhile back that if you use a credit card through PayPal the credit card company usually defers disputes to them, so you will not be likely to have that protection using a credit card through PayPal..

    My product arrives and it’s a piece of junk basically. Yes, it shipped from Hong Kong I discovered. I requested a refund from the seller. They delayed and stalled and sent meaningless emails. No problem I thought, I’ll open a dispute with PayPal.

    I did open a dispute with PayPal and then hit the problem with the item having to be returned and within a specified time limit and full tracking verification has to be supplied.

    The address PayPal supplied to return the item to was bogus, half in Honk Kong and half in UK.

    The seller told me they would collect the item. They delay several days and finally I hear from their courier DHL. DHL tells me they were supposed to send me documents, which they hadn’t. After several more days going around reporting things to PayPal and contacting the seller they finally send me some documents with instructions to print them and hand to DHL driver.

    Ha! The document is locked as a secure document, and cannot be printed. I tried everything under the sun and could convert or print that document.

    I finally took screenshots and assembled them in Word to print the documents. Then I was able to schedule the return pickup with DHL.

    The day after DHL picks the item up I get another email from PayPal stating that if I did not have verified delivery wit tracking info uploaded to their site by a deadline date (3 days hence) they would deny my refund and cancel the dispute. They stated clearly that there was NO options for getting the deadline extended.

    Now, I ask you, how is that PayPal, a company who makes a big deal out of how they protect consumers, would allow a seller to delay the refund process so it would negate the refund and not give the buyer any options to deal with that?

    There can only be one answer to that, they simply do not care on iota about buyers or sellers (I have been on the merchant side of the fence with them too). They only care about making profits. PayPal is a huge black octopus with it’s tentacles wrapped around everything online now.

    What can we do> We can stop doing business with PayPal merchants and let them know we will not do business with them unless they offer other payment options other than PayPal.

  58. Hi there, I stumbled upon your site by mere coincidence or accident. I recently was a victim in an extreme case of PayPal abusing sellers. The screwed up “so-called protection” tactics of eBay and PayPal are not only divided and conflicting but should be criminal. Please see my article http://charmingmommy.com/2016/11/13/paypal-buyers-not-sellers/ to share with others the nightmare of trusting Super-Companies like eBay & PayPal when selling online.

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