A Paypal Offer - Is This Secure?

Hi All,

I am selling a CAT amplifier and have a paypal offer from a buyer who has very little feedback (only one transaction) and does not speak english well and communicates only small bits of information at a time. I am nervous about this. I spoke with paypal and they told me that as long as:

1) I am selling something of substance
2) I ship to the paypal address, no other address
3) I can document the shipping of the product

I am protected as a seller. If this is true, I should be able to accept his offer and make sure that I am shipping to the address listed in paypal, and I should be fine shipping pilot air insured (with tracking and all, including photos of packing, etc). What do you guys think? Is this too much of a risk, or not really a risk at all?
Since the buyer has little feedback, don't ship until the paypal funds post to your bank account. It takes about 3-4 business days. Ship to a confirmed paypal address, with the package to be signed for. When the funds post to your account, take the money out until you have cofirmation that the item shipped was received. Note.. It's your gamble if you choose to ship overseas due to customs and buyers that want you to help them cheat on taxes. Try to sell major items lower 48 states only. Best of luck.
Have found PayPal to be the best way to go. Don't ship until all funds clear. And to a PayPal verified buyer.
Watch out for the charge back policies of PayPal, not to mention the extremely high fees, which the seller pays. Remember if the seller charges it to a credit card, not paypal's in house financial shop, it leaves you with a 90 window of uncertainty if the buyer challenges your goods.
Paypal will be very safe as long as you comply with all of their stipulations for sellers, read all of them on the website. Also, make sure you understand how to get your money
out of your PP account! Take plenty of pictures so there is no doubt about condition of your amp.
You should check out the archives here as well as AA, Audio asylum.

As a buyer I only buy using Paypal. Safe and secure.

As a seller, reading the experiences here as well as on AA, not so good. Something as simple as buyer's remorse can cause a seller, a charge back on his account.

Oh sure the buyer doesn't tell Paypal he changed his mind and now doesn't want the equipment. He just says the equipment is defective....

Once the buyer starts a dispute resolution with Paypal the funds are pulled from the sellers account.

Like I said, research the archives.....
I have a friend who got burned by PayPal and there are a lot of web sites that tell horror stories of how folks are cheated, and how long PayPal may hold your money. I know many people use it, but there are risks you may not be aware of until something goes wrong. Proceed with caution, and make sure your shipment has to be signed for by the person receiving it.
Lack of communication will make you feel uneasy so use your gut instinct.
I have found that many audiophiles willing to spend the money on nice equipment are Asian decent. So I myself had to get past the communication issue to sell to some very nice audiogoners. But I would definitely document everything with pictures and use paypal
Only thing tat I would add to what has been already said is that make sure on step #2 that you ship to a Paypal VERIFIED address. That's an important step in the seller's protection, making sure that the buyer's address is verfied in the Paypal system.
Best way to be 100% sure is to accept only bank transfer to your account. Just make sure you understand if/what your bank will charge you and account for that. if it's a big transaction, it will almost undoubtedly be cheaper than paypal and once the money posts to your account, it cannot be reclaimed. Second best is USPS M.O.
I have done 65 transactions here on Audiogon and all involved PayPal. 50% of my transactions were as a seller and the other 50% transaction's were as a buyer. I never once had a problem. In every case where I sold something, as soon as the funds cleared, I used my PayPal debit card at a local atm machine and withdrew all the funds immediately before shipping the item.

I find PayPal to be hassle free and it is the only way I want to be paid when selling something. It is also the only way I will pay for something when I am buying.
Paypal is my preferred way, however it is not foolproof. I recently had
trouble with a buyer, he wrongly claimed a piece of gear I sold him did not
work several weeks after receiving it. It did work.
Well he started a dispute on Paypal. They usually take the buyer's side.
Long story short, Paypal put my account into a negative balance for two
months until all was sorted out. I got the piece back and just as I said,
worked perfectly. Paypal just took his word that it didn't.
Muzikat, the buyer simply wanted their money back. Probably used his CC attached to paypal. Paypal has to side with the buyer since the buyers CC Co. makes the final decision. You did the right thing selling a good item and got screwed. Paypal puts a negative in your account so that they can turn it over to a collection agency to get back the money that they refunded the customer. One way to get around selling an item that works is to word it correctly in the heading. Works fine but selling as is. No returns. Sorry you had bad luck trying to sell a good item. I don't beleive in karma because it just can't happen fast or repeatedly enough to those who take advantage of others. Keep on keepin on.
PayPal is GREAT, until YOU get screwed.
Then you learn your lesson.
Sure it is wonderful 99% of the time. It is that 1% where they freeze your funds for months, or take the money back with no recourse..
Then you learn not to trust PayPal.
Agree a bank transfer is THEE safe for the seller no matter what deal.
Any odd business with the buyer? Bank transfer. If they want it and trust YOU, a Bank transfer is the way to go.
PayPal could be a nightmare, I sold a pair of speakers 4 years ago to an audiogone member in TX, UPS damage them on transit, took me forever to get an agent to visit the buyer home and give a report, of course always will blame the shipper for not proper packing by ups standards.
To make the story short, the communication between buyer and myself was great but he got frustrated and complained to credit card, credit card get he money from PayPal, and PayPal put my account with negative balance immediately of course I refused to pay, they even not communicate with me to let me know what they were doing on the transaction.
End of nightmare, guy got his money via credit card, I have to pay for damage speakers shipping to me, they sent me to collection agencies tha I never answer after a while, and now I'm unable to use PayPal making my life specially in this web a little hard, cause I have to pay by certified or personal check always.
But I found out that. The best that work with me is to stablished a communication with the person or dealer you are dealing with, as always communication is the key for success like many things in life.
You must keep a small seperate account for paypal and never leave any money in it. Ship the item after the funds post to your account. You may lose a case with paypal but they can't take money out of an account that has nothing in it. Just be careful. I'd never pay for something with a check or money order unless it was sent C.O.D. If the seller doesn't ship, you may lose out. I have a good amount of transactions on ebay but I'll be the first to say that the buyers have way too much power when it comes to just changing their minds about a purchase. There needs to be an all sales are final (except D.O.A.) option and if it is not checked by the buyer, they are blocked from bidding or buying. In other words, if the unit works, no buyers remorse or excuses for finding an item that is being offered for less a few days later.
Guys - I thought bank transfers were reversable. Am I wrong about that? If they are reversable, they are less secure than paypal... I will ask my banker about this...

No, Paypal is not telling the whole truth. I sold to a person who decided to put a claim into Paypal because he did not get the item in one day! No kidding. PayPal locked up these funds from my account with no questions asked. PayPal will do what the buyer wants with no good reason.

Your buyer can make any silly claim and the funds be held so the money is not yours.
Peter_s, bank wire transfers are the safest method for the seller. It is by far my favorite way to deal Internationally, beeter than Paypal. There are some fees involved, so check with your bank so that you are aware what the fees are.
My bank tells me that wire transfers are not reversible.
Bank transfers are not reversible. But paypal has other info for every participant (checking acct/credit card) so that if you received $ by wire for a sale and then immediately withdrew the $, paypal can still charge back your checking acct or credit card.
That's why if you are a seller, a pure bank transfer or cash is best. If you are a buyer, you want paypal in order to have recourse in the event of a problem.
That's why if you are a seller, a pure bank transfer or cash is best. If you are a buyer, you want paypal in order to have recourse in the event of a problem.

So if you are a seller, for safety, you should not use Paypal.
If you are a buyer, for safety, you should use Paypal.

Makes sense to me.... LOL.
Jea48 is right. Unless you are a seller and withdraw the funds and have your bank change your CC# each time you make a deal. I've been waiting 33 days for 2 sets of Linn IC's form England. The sell said he'd shipped 2 more sets 3 weeks ago and I assured him that if I ended up with 4 I'd send the extras back since I didn't pay for them. 2 weeks ago he said he shipped a 3rd set for me waiting so long. Yesterday I had to put in a claim for a refund and the seller has 1 week to respond. If I receive the IC's then I simply close the case. If he has withdrawn the funds and changed his CC# I still get paid back thru paypal and they go after him, or send it to collections. I'm hoping to get the IC's since they were a good price and will leave a positive feedback. The seller has 235 positives and no negatives, so the items could still be in customs. You have only 45 days to file a claim from the sale date.
You must keep a small seperate account for paypal and never leave any money in it. Ship the item after the funds post to your account. You may lose a case with paypal but they can't take money out of an account that has nothing in it.
03-20-13: Polk432



Muzikat posted,

03-19-13: Muzikat
Paypal is my preferred way, however it is not foolproof. I recently had
trouble with a buyer, he wrongly claimed a piece of gear I sold him did not
work several weeks after receiving it. It did work.
Well he started a dispute on Paypal. They usually take the buyer's side.
Long story short, Paypal put my account into a negative balance for two
months until all was sorted out. I got the piece back and just as I said,
worked perfectly. Paypal just took his word that it didn't.
It appears Paypal can get blood from a Turnip.
Indeed, I keep a separate bank account for Paypal only. I also keep a very small balance there until I need to make a purchase.
The thing is, after a dispute Paypal deducts amount of sale from seller's account. If it is negative, then you must bring your account up to zero, then ad funds if you want to make a purchase elsewhere while this is going on. That was over 2 months in my case.
I understand the negative, but if there's nothing in it the negative only means that paypal will send it to collections if not paid during the alloted time. The bad part is that if you do not pay the collections agency you can ruin your credit. If you have bad credit to start with then the Turnip has no blood for paypal. I don't use credit very often but I have credit better than 95% of the country and I plan on keeping it that way. Muzikat did the right thing and honestly sold a good item and got burned due to buyers remorse. I had a buyer strip a PC manual and demagnetizer off of a perfectly good working Cassette player that he claimed was not good. I had a Sheriff come over to my house to make out a report and I still had to repay him due to his credit card company that makes the final decision. Next time I have a return on an item I know was good when I shipped it, I'll have it returned to the post office and open it in front of wittnesses. I still use paypal, but have made enough deals off line to compensate for any losses. It sucks to have to put selling as is especially on an item that is not electrical to avoid the not as described crowd. Most people are honest, and it's a shame a few have to screw things up. It is kinda fun putting their names and information in swingers magazines then calling them. You wouldn't beleive the SPL of some phone receivers when I have a girl call and the guys wife answers.
I also keep a seperate account just for Paypal. I transfer funds from Paypal into that account, and then from that account to another account. I keep a zero balance in the Paypal account. Yes, as Muzikat shows, you can let Paypal bully you into using their services, but you don't have to.
Depending on how much $$$ and what I thought of the buyer, I could live with a negative balance on Paypal, and just stop using that Paypal account if I had to. Maybe set up another Paypal account with a different e-mail address and bank account if I was desperate. Leave that negative Paypal account rot into eternity. :)
Just curious,.... Paypal is a credit card/ banking institution. Correct? Can Paypal damage a persons credit report if a persons account is charged a negative balance and said person refuses to work with Paypal to remedy the problem in a timely manner.

When a person signs up for a Paypal account isn't the person required to electronically sign an agreement?


Did Paypal email you a monthly statement showing your account was in a negative status? In other words you owed Paypal money?

For Paypal to show your account in a negative status wouldn't a like amount of funds have to show up in some type of a dispute holding account?

The books have to balance out.
There was no money in my account so they put it in the negative until dispute was resolved. In my case it was $2000, so if I wanted to buy something for $10 I would have to deposit $2010 into the account. When dispute was ruled in buyer's favor, I had to cover negative amount. This dispute process took 2 months.
Jea48, good question, I've never thought of that. Paypal is not a credit card or banking institution, but they may have sway on a credit report, I don't know.
The only true secure payment is a cashiers check and then wait 1 week before shipping product for check to clear and 3 to 4 weeks if check is from out of country.

Paypal will take the money back out of your account if the payment from customer fails regardless of how long it took.
Secure for whom? I've had buyers with suspended paypal accounts (suspension would be over within 30 days) asking if they could send me a postal M.O. for an item. Fine with me as long as if it's off of ebay or agon to avoid fees. The check has to clear first thru the post office, not my bank. I also let them know to send the check registered mail, so they'd at least have something showing that they sent me money. Without paypal there is no guarantee that the seller will ship the actual item, so paypal is good for buyers and so so for sellers. Buyers have to have some type of recource if the seller is not on the up and up.
Actually, the most secure (for seller) AND FASTEST payment is direct deposit to the bank account of the seller. As far as I know, buyer and seller must use the same bank for this to work, but maybe not. The negative for the seller is that he must give the buyer his (the seller's) bank account number. However, the seller may employ the same two bank account strategy that some sellers do with Paypal payments, only here there is no charge back mechanism (as there is with Paypal).

As a buyer I used cashier's checks from Bank of America, which had a very seller friendly feature. On the back of the check was an 800 number that the seller could call to verify the authenticity of the check. Later he could call to confirm that the check had been paid.
This really isn't that difficult. Bank wire is totally secure. Buyer cannot use your bank account # to get $ out of your account. Only the account holder can initiate an outgoing wire transfer. Once the $ hit your account, they cannot be pulled back (although I imagine that criminal fraud might allow the funds to be seized by the government). Why do you think that they always use this method in the Grisham and Ludlum novels to rip off the bad guys??

Not sure what USPS would do if a counter agent cashed a counterfeit M.O. but a bank would definitely try to pull the $ back if the issuing bank refused a cashiers check or m.o. for any reason.
I am still thinking about selling this guy my $5000 amplifier via paypal. It would be shipped to his paypal certified address. I would do all the necessary documentation. Paypal says that they process disputes within 10 days of registering a dispute. I would document with paperwork and pictures.

Muzicat - did you fight back against the claim? Did you have any opportunity to? If a buyer were trying to scam me, paypal would do no good, as he would have to send the item back, and it is a very big and heavy item. Not worth his time and effort for absolutely no profit. The only time I would get burned is via buyers remorse - and how would the buyer prove their false claim that the amplifier isn't working?

Thanks, Peter
The only time I would get burned is via buyers remorse - and how would the buyer prove their false claim that the amplifier isn't working?
Peter, while I'm not suggesting that it is likely to be a significant possibility in this particular situation, you should be aware that if you Google "paypal empty box scam" (without the quotes), you will find many reports of scams, generally involving eBay sales transacted via Paypal, in which either the buyer claims to have received an empty or weighted box, or claims that the item is significantly not as described and then returns an empty or weighted box.

See for instance the post dated Jan. 2, 2011 at 2:53 p.m. in this thread, in which a seller on eBay lost his case with Paypal against such a scammer, despite having been able to present extraordinarily good documentation and photographic evidence in support of his case.

Just something to keep in mind.

-- Al
Photograph everything. Ship the item to be signed for by the buyer only. Ship to the verified paypal address only. Send the buyer the tracking #'s and fully insure the item. Only ship after the funds have posted into your bank account, then withdraw the funds. Always use selling as is in your heading. If for some reason the buyer ships the item back, refuse to sign for it then go to the local post office to open it in front of witnesses, take pics too, to make sure nothing was stripped off of the unit. Best of luck.
Peter, I got a chance to respond to the Paypal dispute. What I said did not seem to matter, even though I had a timeline and was telling the truth. Supposedly my buyer produced documentation to them stating the DAC was broken. I never saw any, even though I asked.
Again, I got the DAC back in good working condition. It was however missing a $200 cable and some inner packing.
I tried to start my own dispute about this but Paypal "declared" case closed.
Fortunately Audiogon took my side in all this and I was able to leave negative feedback. Some consolation, but a nightmare over all.
Read your Paypal user agreement. You have no recourse to Paypal's decisions, whatever they are. If, for example, you sell to a customer, the customer receives the item then cancels the credit card transaction they used to fund the paypal transaction, paypal will not be able to collect from the customer and they will chargeback the transaction to your account.
Thanks all for your input. Ultimately, I decided not to go with Paypal and convinced the buyer to pay with a wire transfer. Once he realized it was the only way I'd be willing to sell it to him (given the vagueries of the deal and lack of conformity with typical procedures), he stepped forward for wire transfer and all went OK.
Totally agree with Elizabeth.

With PayPal and eBay, they always prefer buyers no matter what the truth may be, unfortunately. You can write a novel about your honest sale but they hardly even take a look at your ad and photos on it. eBay as a third partner is not neutral. PayPal is not safe for sellers, as they can freeze your money whenever they want and you can´t do anything about it. Normal action in business? Hardly, it´s illegal if you ask me. I´ve been selling for ten years on eBay with 100 % score of 800+ transactions and now been freezed by a help a random fraud who has score less than a hundred and very little history. After having read a few horror stories about PayPal fraudulence I don´t trust them at all anymore.
Bank Transfer is the ONLY safe way for sellers. If things get really bad, with PayPal seller can lose all his money + his items and nothing can help it. So seller loses EVERYTHING. I wonder who cares for sellers business anymore. Customer is always right is a myth. Actually this is the biggest problem with doing normal business today.
Agreed with Buconero17.
Make sure to use prepaid debit card instead of your credit card or bank.
You can't get less than zero balance on your prepaid debit card.
That's the trick.
In todays world nothing is secure.