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PayPal Is No Pal Of Mine

By Paul Bezaire

Needing to edit some old video tapes, I bought a video tape recorder on E-Bay. The seller was (seller name) and the cost of the recorder was $273.00 including shipping, which. I paid through PayPal. (So far so good) The seller was immediately paid by PayPal. (I believe this to be true, otherwise the seller would not have sent me the product)

I was sent a tracking number by the seller and waited for delivery. (Again, so far so good)

Then it happened: Opening the box I was very pleased to have found an old, but reliable, Sony VTR I hooked it up only to discover that the unit did not work. Micro switches on the front and back of the unit were frozen and non-operable.

I immediately filed a dispute with PayPal as follows:

Buyer Complaint

The response from PayPal was as follows:

We need you to provide additional information about the item in question before we can proceed with our investigation. Before we can proceed with your claim, you must submit documentation to support your claim that the item is damaged. Please obtain a document (such as an estimate or invoice) from a dealer, repair shop, appraiser, or another individual or organization that is qualified in the area of the item in question, which details the extent of the damage. If possible, the document should also include the dollar amount required to complete the repairs necessary to correct the damage.

I made a few calls in an attempt to find someone who could give me the estimate that PayPal requested, starting with Sony. I did find a repair shop, but they would not give me an estimate without charge. I was required to pay an estimate charge of $50.00. The estimate to repair the recorder was $250.00. At this point, I had $323.00 invested in the unit.

I submitted the estimate to PayPal and their reply was that:

“A full refund on the PayPal transaction will be awarded to you.(including shipping and handling) once the item, in its original condition, is returned to the seller.”

When I went to pick up the VTR to send back to the seller the technician told me that it would be as much trouble to put the unit back together as it would be to repair it.. He said that he would finish repairing it for $150 instead of the $250 he quoted me. Since I had already paid him the $50 estimate that was credited toward any repairs, it would now cost me another $100. That would mean that my cost would be $273 + $50 + $100 for a total of $423. in the unit.

After the technician informed me that in good repair, this unit would be worth around $400. I then decided to keep the unit and have it repaired.

When dealing with EBay, sellers and buyers have the opportunity to post remarks about each other. This feature is available so that prospective buyers or sellers will have an opportunity to obtain some information about the person(s) with whom they will be dealing. I placed the following statement about the sellers name on EBay:

Call at 310-574-XXXX(using my own telephone number) and I’ll tell you how much of a scammer this guys is.

However, I supposedly now had a video tape recorder that cost me $425.00, and the seller has his money. End of story. Right? WRONG!!!!

After I converted hundreds of video tape to digital, I decided to see how much the VTR was worth on EBay. I went to my name and found the following blot on my name apparently posted by the seller. It read “Worst Ebayer! Lied and cheated me out of money! Scam artist F@#%ed me !!!!!!!!!

In addition, (seller name) has posted the following messages on the EBay site:

: “Follow up by (seller name): Cheated me out of almost $300. He has my money and the product! BEWARE!!!!!!!!!

“He received product working, broke it, got a refund. Scammed me for almost $300.”

I have no idea why the seller posted that notice on EBAY. It will certainly hurt my chances of using my name again (I never hide behind some fictitious name like many people do). I visited the seller’s site again to see if I could get some indication of what incited him enough for him to post that statement. I had already paid him in full through PayPal. I don’t believe he would have sent me the VTR if he had not been paid. The fact is that I did not get a refund–that is simply not true.

When I called PayPal, I was informed that the seller had been paid by them. The answer must lie with PayPal. Given the volume of money that PayPal processes, they could realize a lot of income by using some of the money for their own gain–and it appears that they do exactly that.

What I believe happened is that when I notified PayPal that the product was not in working order, they took $273.00 from the seller’s account. Then I was told that I could send it back under the conditions as stated above. The seller must have believed that I received a refund and I cannot find fault with his conclusion. He apparently is now under the impression that I have both the product AND the money. In the meantime, it would appear that PayPal is using the money they are holding as an “interest free loan”. I did inform PayPal that I was getting the product repaired and would keep it. I would imagine that the $273 was then released to the seller.

Posted: May 7, 2012 at 8:12 am

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