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From Suspicion To Real

By Robin Hidayat

In early March, I sold a $975 Walmart gift card to Nelson Ng (I have this item posted on Ebay and Nelson approached me via email).  After a few emails back and forth (he contacted me using his 2 separate email addresses, AOL and Yahoo, his AOL email is registered with PayPal), we agreed upon a price. At first, he asked me to e-mail him the card number and PIN before he paid in full.  I told him that once I emailed him the card number and PIN, he can use the card online.  I therefore insist on a payment before I can email him the information.  He then sent me the payment via PayPal, requested me to email him the info and for me to mail him the card and the receipt the day after.  Thinking that because he has paid for the card the card is his, I emailed him the card number and PIN (he told me he needs this to check the balance on the card). 

The day after, before I mailed out the card, I checked the balance on the card and it’s zero.  I then emailed him that I do not mail a $0 Walmart gift card.  At this point, I got suspicious because Nelson told me he only wanted to check the balance of the card, while instead he immediately purchase an item online after receiving this info. Also why would somebody want a $0 card and the receipt for the card unless he wants to destroy all evidence.  Alas, my suspicion come to reality, when the next day I received an email from PayPal stating that the fund I received from Nelson might be fraudulent.  I tried explaining to Paypal what had happened, and telling them that I will print out all email communications, send them the card and the receipt (in case they want to call Walmart to check to address the item Nelson had purchased at was sent to, etc).  They told me that they’re doing the investigation and that the information I have might be of help.

A few days ago I received an email from PayPal stating that they have decided that in this case they believe the fund is fraudulent and that they have returned the money to Nelson Ng.  Also, because I emailed Nelson the card information, I am not covered under their Seller’s Protection Policy. I then asked to see what kind of evidence Nelson has (even in the court of law, I will be allowed to examine the other party’s evidence before the judge rule on a case).  PayPal refused to give me that information under the pretense of their privacy policy.  I have also asked them whether they have done a thorough investigation because in this case, they are acting as the police, the judge and the jury.  They will not disclose any investigation they have done.  I asked them if they’re going after the thief and they told me “No.  It’s up to the financial institution to go find the thief.”

I have also told them that the PayPal system is legally flawed because the common law of the real world will not hold the seller liable when he/she receive stolen money for his merchandise.  I told them an analogy to this situation would be if my money is stolen and then used to buy items at Walmart, neither the police nor the court will hold Walmart liable for the stolen money.  The police will go after the thief, gather evidence and ask a court of law to force the thief to reinstitute me.  But in the PayPal world, the seller is liable for fraudulent money used to purchase his or her item. PayPal’s Seller Protection Policy only cover up to $5000 per annum and is therefore inadequate for any Ebay Power Seller (or anybody with a Merchant account at PayPal).

I’m sorry I have ever joined PayPal and have now refused to use PayPal.

Thanks for your time,


Posted: May 8, 2012 at 1:32 pm

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