My recent experience in PayPal dispute

I want to share this story with fellow Agoners.

I sold a used tube power amp here in Audiogon. In transit, a power tube was broken. I told the buyer that I could either send an additional matching tubes or accept a return with full refund. The buyer opted for additional tubes. I sent them and there was no response from him until 5 months after the sale. The buyer asked me for help since the amp had a biasing problem. The amp was almost 20 year old model.
I told him that I cannot provide any help other than trying new set of tubes. The buyer apparently wanted more helpful afterservice, and filed a dispute for return/refund to PayPal. Apparently PayPal allows filing a dispute within 6 months of purchase.
Well, he did not go through Audiogon. Anyway, PayPal closed the case in my favor. For me, it is rather obvious that the buyer cannot ask for a refund after 5 months of purchasing a 20 year old tube amp.
09-21-15: Mitchchavis
As with Muzikat I had a nightmare experience with PayPal. They held over $8k of my funds for more than three months after a minor issue which was resolved immediately between the purchaser and myself. After many phone calls and pathetic customer service a PayPal rep acknowledged that they had received the funds from the purchaser's bank three months prior to finally releasing them to me. Mine was not an isolated case.
I use PayPal for small dollar purchases and will never again trust them for major purchases.
Mitchdavis, could you suggest who you would use for major purchases since you don't trust Paypal? Thanks.

good to read that Paypal had the sense to rule in favor of the seller esp. after the buyer piped up after 5 months.
i had an almost exact experience as you several years ago. I sold a Counterpoint SA9 pre-amp to someone here.

the buyer had some initial questions after he received it. it also looked like his plans were to use it a bit and flip it for a profit. I entertained his questions for about a month and eventually referred him to Alta Vista Audio or web searches. The latter questions, made it clear he was trying to flip it for a profit, which made me a lot less inclined to continue to respond to his questions

About 6 months later, i received a PayPal notice email in am email account, I rarely used anymore. They placed a $4000 hold on my account. I had, at the time, 5 days to respond and clear it up. The seller claimed it was non-receipt of goods.

I contacted the several people, including the former owner of Counterpoint, Michael Elliot, who was extremely helpful to me. He had even been contacted by the buyer of my item, looking for info and upgrades. (ie, proving he was in receipt of item)

the seller ended up dropping his claim, with his excuse initiating it, that I stopped answering his questions.

Moral of the story, yes, this can happen and there are a lot of out there people you can run into via the web
Bombaywalla, I am comfortable with bank transfers and certified checks although with certified checks I would be more vigilant. Feedback for an individual is a good indication of their integrity and I always prefer to communicate over the phone with a buyer/seller if high dollar transaction is involved. I have used PayPal on many occasions without problems but I would be especially careful if you're the seller and high dollar is involved.
Many thanks for all of your feedback.

In my case, I received his first email about the problem a couple days before my Europe trip, and I forgot to respond to him before I took the plane. Then, I got another email a few days after I arrived in Europe. It was about five months after I sold the amp.

I had a limited access to the Internet in Europe, and I told him that I could not help him for the problem he had -- the biasing problem -- and suggested him to try new tubes.
Then the buyer sent me an email and said how disappointed he was about my response, and went for a dispute with no further discussion.
So, apparently he seemed to have expected more help from me. Had I had more knowledge in biasing (the amp is self biasing), and had I had a better Internet connection, I might have tried to be more helpful, but as a matter of fact, I could not give any more helpful advice than changing tubes. If changing tubes did not work, then I might have advised him to contact the manufacturer.

The amp functioned just fine before I sold it, and that may be why I did not hear anything from him until five months had passed. Anyway, I felt sorry for him that the amp started acting up, but it was beyond what I could do for 20 year old used power amp five months after it was sold.
Also, I had no knowledge of how the amp was used or abused by the buyer for several months, and there was no way that I would accept the return.
I had a Michigan Ebay buyer tell me that a 9/10 perfect ARC preamp I sold him might be going to need a part _in the future_ because he could hear relays click during the warmup process. This as most of us know is normal, and mentioned in the manual. I had the exact same preamp in my other system, and they both worked identically (No, both of them weren't broken). He said three hundred dollars would resolve the problem, and he said he had his local dealer look it over, and that was what they wanted to replace the part that wasn't yet broken, but "might fail in the future".

I told him I was wise to the scam, and to return it for a refund, as I wasn't falling for it... and I'd rather deal with honest people. Then he decided to keep it, but left no feedback... And I deserved a "rave" positive, that pre was perfect in every way.

You really are more vulnerable as a seller than a buyer.