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!


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OP, I feel your pain. I had a similar situation happen to me several years ago. I sold a $30,000 boat on eBay, and took a $5000 deposit via PayPal, rest by bank check. Buyer inspects the boat, takes delivery, pays me the balance via bank check. The f’r then turns around and disputes the $5000 with his credit card company. This is why paypal changed the rules....because they can’t afford to be on the wrong side of the credit card companies. so now PayPal wants its 5k back from me and threatens legal action. I have no recourse with the credit card company, don’t even know who it is. 
I took the f’r to small claims court which took like a year. He finally settled for 1/2 after two rescheduled court dates. I never paid PayPal tho ;-) F em. Never have used them since. This whole ordeal took a great deal of my valuable time.....
Wow. It seems some of you guys have really been shafted.
Please note- though I’ve had a lot of stress, extra work and inconvenience, thus far I haven’t actually lost anything other than my time and some hair. The point of my post was to draw people’s attention to some of the ‘loopholes’ one can easily encounter when trying to make a claim or  complete an agreed upon transaction via one of these portals. As for the joker above who accused me of not being transparent, really? You think I spent an hour writing a post... for what purpose exactly, to screw with people here perhaps? 
Anyway, I’m sure that 95% of people have ongoing positive experiences with eBay/PayPal, I’m just highlighting that it can go wrong and it does go wrong and that you’re not always protected against scam deals when you think you’re being protected by their policies.

I am done with ebay as they want me to link my bank account with my ebay account. NOT HAPPENING done with them. Sold a camera on ebay recently and they won't release the funds until I link my bank account and ship the item. 
@czbbcl Yes, that's the thing that tipped me over the edge, the fact that they hold the funds. (My bank account was already linked).
Now, if they released the funds paid by the buyer for shipping, so the seller could actually have funds from the transaction to pay for shipping, then that would be more acceptable. But to hold ALL the funds, including shipping charges....I can't believe that's even legal, to be honest.

Also, they showed an estimated future date for releasing the funds which doesn't coincide with the item being delivered. On the sale I made on Tuesday 18th May, my account is set for 2-day handling time and the buyer was in Texas, so with Ground service, it should have been delivered by 27th May, give or take a day. But the estimated date they showed for payout was June 17th. So they want to hold on to my money for a whole month from the order date, why??

Anyway, I'm done with selling anything over 50 bucks on eBay. 
I just sold several photography items. I have been paid through the new payment system for my last two items and one of the has clearly not been delivered. I guess I am confused when some folks say that they are not getting paid by ebay till the item is delivered.