eBay / PayPal: Beware - enough is never enough.

OK, I'm just venting here, but maybe some folks will find some useful information in this...

  • eBay's New 'system' for screwing you, uhh, I meant 'paying you'.
You've all had the emails and gone into your eBay account to accept the new system for getting paid, right?

In the old days, we could sell a pair of $4,000 speakers on eBay and the buyer could pay you and the money would be transferred to your PayPal account instantly. PayPal would dock their fees and eBay would reconcile your monthly sales and charge you fees at the end of the month based on what you sold. Not so anymore.

You sell your $4000 speakers, for which the buyer has paid, let's say $350 for shipping. Now, eBay holds on to ALL the funds, including the shipping payment, until the item is delivered!

So, you have to fund the shipping fees from your own pocket while eBay sits on YOUR money. What if you don't have the $350 and need the money the seller has paid you to fund buying the shipping labels?? Tough Luck. (how can this even be legal, never mind ethical?)
Then, what happens when UPS loses the package?? Some 'robot' at eBay arbitrarily decides that you don't get your money because their automated system indicates the item wasn't delivered. Now you have to wrangle with UPS, meanwhile, your money is sitting in eBays vaults earning them interest.

What a joke.

  • eBay screws you for NON-SHIPMENT
Here's another example of eBay screwing you - this happened to me in January.

I listed a big/heavy item, $3000 + $160 fixed rate UPS shipping

A prospective buyer contacts me to ask if he could pay for shipping through his business UPS account because he thinks he can get a better rate. Fine.

I agree, he hits 'Buy Now', and I send him an eBay invoice without shipping costs. (THIS IS BEFORE THE NEW EBAY SYSTEM WHERE THEY HOLD YOUR MONEY!)

I pack the item and contact the buyer showing photos of the packing process, supply the dimensions and weight, and request that he sends shipping labels and arranges for UPS to pick it up from my address, all as agreed prior to the sale.
A week goes by, nothing. I contact him and tell him I need to get this out of my space, can he send the labels.
After almost 3 weeks he emails me through eBay and just says 'I want a refund'. I message back and say no fric*en way. We go back and forth, he opens a dispute with eBay. I counter and also open a ticket with eBay and provide all of the correspondence and documentation, which is all sitting in my eBay messages account anyway.

A few days go by and eBay decides in his favor, removes the money from my PayPal account, and enters an invisible 'STRIKE' against my selling account for NON SHIPMENT!!! (I only found this out after speaking with an eBay customer service manager, don't even ask how long that took).

So basically I have to start over trying to sell the item as this loser couldn't get a decent shipping rate through his UPS account, and wouldn't pay the $160 that was listed with the ad. And eBay PUNISHES ME for non-shipment!
Word to the wise - Don't allow the buyer to organize shipping. Even 'local pickup' is fraught, should they just decide not to turn up.

  • PayPal Screws Sellers Under Their Seller Protection Program
Be super careful to read the small print when you sell and ship an item after being paid through PayPal, even when their system tells you that your transaction is covered by their Seller Protection Program. It isn't worth the paper it's written on.

Let me demonstrate by flipping this around and assuming the role of the BUYER to illustrate what a joke their Seller Protection Program is when you really need it the most - 

I'm a BUYER and I want to scam someone and get a nice $2000 CD Player for free. 
I pay using my PayPal account and the seller ships it to me, he thinks it's safe to ship 'cos he's qualified for PayPal's Seller Protection....ha ha.

The trick is, I need to use the credit card linked to my PayPal account to fund the transaction, using PayPal only to provide the gateway for the deception. 
The item arrives. I then file a dispute with my CC company (Not PayPal). I state on the dispute that the item received was 'NOT AS DESCRIBED' (no other wording or explanation needed). Bingo. My CC company instigates a charge-back and I've got myself a free CD Player.

Switching back to the seller's angle - 
I wake up to see that $2000 has been removed from my PayPal account pending a review. After X days, and after my complying with all documentation requests, PayPal informs me that the item I shipped was 'not as described' and that I'm NOT entitled to Seller Protection because their system excludes instances where a third-party credit card was used to fund the transaction, and where the Credit Card company authorized the charge-back!!

What, you're kidding me, right? NO. Read the terms of the seller protection program and it's clearly stated.

Also, even if the buyer uses PayPal funds from their account, you can still end up getting screwed. You MUST always enter the shipping information inside of PayPal -  a full tracking number. Always use 'adult signature' and always ship to the verified address on PayPal. If the buyer emails you after sending payment and gives you a different shipping address, send a refund and walk away. Trying to enter tracking numbers for proof of delivery retroactively after a dispute has been started, may land you in a situation where PayPal find in favor of the buyer, refund them the money from the transaction, AND, decline to reimburse you under the Seller Protection program because you didn't follow the requirements of the program post-sale. This isn't speculation. I've read many forum posts where people have shipped an item believing it safe to do so, then had the money removed from their account by PayPal following a dispute, even though the initial transaction was shown to qualify for Seller Protection at the time of sale.

  • PayPal hangs on to your refunded money for as long as they care to.
Even when a transaction between buyer and seller is harmonious, PayPal can still find a way to screw with you.

Perhaps this is a less egregious example of PayPal's utter disregard for their customers, but valid nevertheless. And a warning to those of you using a linked credit card to fund a PayPal purchase - 

(I'm in the midst of dealing with this now, outcome unknown).

I buy an item for $2000 using PayPal, funded from a linked Credit Card.
After a few weeks, the item hasn't shipped and I ask the supplier that the order be canceled and the money refunded (to PayPal). 
The seller complies with my request and I see the refund issued inside my PayPal account. 
After a few days, I log in to my Credit Card account but the refund hasn't been credited through from PayPal, so there's a $2000 charge on my account, and payment due pretty soon.

I wait a week and still nothing. I look closely at the transaction inside my PayPal account and see this -

"Refunded. Pending Until" Pending until when? It doesn't say. I open a ticket inside my PayPal account to ask how long I'm supposed to wait to get MY MONEY back. After 24 hours the ticket is responded to. The PayPal operator responds with "Please let us know your first and last name and we'll be happy to help". Remember, this is a ticket opened inside my PayPal account and after I've logged in!! They know who I am, FFS!

After 9 days of PP holding on to my refunded money, just arbitrarily and without any explanation or forecast as to when I'll receive it, my credit card payment is due. The only balance on my card is the $2000 transaction and I need to pay it to avoid interest since it's been a month since the original transaction. However - CREDIT CARD COMPANIES MAY SUSPEND YOUR ACCOUNT SHOULD A REFUNDED PAYMENT RESULT IN A POSITIVE ACCOUNT BALANCE, OR REJECT AN INCOMING TRANSACTION THAT WOULD APPLY A POSITIVE BALANCE TO YOUR ACCOUNT.

Yes, I was given this information from the CC company. It's something to do with the Patriot Act and preventing Credit Card accounts from being used erroneously to send money illegally from overseas. So, if I pay off the $2000 statement balance, then a few days later, the refund is miraculously posted from PayPal, the incoming credit MAY be rejected by my CC company. So where does it go? IN LIMBO? (Note to Catholics, you thought limbo was removed from the Catholic Catechism, but they were just messing with you, sorry). 

Remember, this is my money - the supplier refunded it. Now I'm at risk of it disappearing into some finance system's black hole because PayPal won't just refund it promptly.

Rant Over.

There are many documented examples of what little regard these companies have for the rights of the consumer (YOU HAVE FEW RIGHTS), and how little they care about anything other than growing their bottom line.

I can't believe there isn't a class-action lawsuit (multiple) against these companies. Oh, yeah, PayPal is owned by eBay, but....legally, they're two separate corporate entities. I wonder why that is, exactly.

Have a nice day!


I've never had any issues with 100s of transactions on ebay. This isn't ebay, but you knew that already   Didn't you.

Oh, and on several occasions I've paid off my account and received a refund to my account.  Each time I've received a check in the mail when requested.  The last occurrence was for $1800. 

I love a good rant, this wasn't one of them. 
PayPal screwed meseveral times,No more.
2 years ago I sold a preamp for $4k  he wanted 2 day shipping 
and extra packing UPS packed it cost over $360 
it was shipped , after it was shipped he decided he wanted something else and refused UPS 3 times and it was shipped back to me , pay pal said I was right , and I got the funds, with 24 hours 
they returned the $4k but stuck me with the $360 ups packing,and 
shipping fees, which was total BS. Enough is enough .
I wish Google  started doing this.
I use stripe once in a while ,but PayPal needs to go ,ebay even worse,and part of EBay.
@audioman, doesn’t that mean you ended up with the preamp and the $4k minus the shipping charges? Or did you have to reship the item to the buyer?

Lots of bad juju sounds like. Thanks for the info. 
 Glad my transactions thus far have been smooth/lucky. Maybe I will just have a stereo system in every room rather than take a chance selling stuff ha.