Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ebay / Paypal Dispute System Sucks

so i bid on a pair of new jeans which ended on memorial day, 5/26 for $57 ($51 plus $6 shipping). on the auction description, the seller stated that the item would be mailed via priority mail which takes 2-3 days. paid via paypal immediately after auction ended. paypal withdrew the money from my bank account. i didn't hear from the seller after 3 emails to her in over a week and assumed she might have sent the item already. i did not receive the item the following week either and no response from her, so my only option was to file a dispute with paypal. ebay/paypal make you wait 10 days to file a dispute and then you have to wait another 10 days for them to resolve the issue after they notify the seller to respond. what a drag. i just wanted my money back. she finally contacted me on 6/13 (almost 3 weeks later) stating that she sent the item on 5/30 and she hadn't had time to respond because she was busy with school. it was a sorry, unbelievable excuse. whatever. i told her i would wait one more week and she agreed that she would give me a refund if i didn't receive the item by then. she told me that paypal's dispute system only allows her, the seller to either refund the money or submit tracking info, which she did not have, and asked me to cancel the dispute because they were going to automatically withdraw money out of her account and refund it to me. she didn't want to refund the money because she claims she sent them and i would be receiving it any day now. i told her i was not going to cancel the claim because i wanted to protect myself and if money was withdrawn from her account, i would mail her a check if i ever did receive the jeans. apparently, she withdrew all her money from the account before the paypal dispute ended so paypal would not be able to withdraw money. here is paypal's email response i got:
After careful review, we have concluded our investigation of the Buyer
Complaint described below.

We have decided in your favor, however, we were unable to recover any funds
from the seller's account. As stated in the PayPal User Agreement, recovery
of funds associated with a Buyer Complaint cannot be guaranteed.

Please know that we will make our best effort to recover the funds in
question if they become available in the seller's account in the future and
will take appropriate action against the seller. Such action may include
issuing a warning, a temporary restriction, or terminating the account.
Keep in mind that PayPal uses a number of factors to determine when to take
action, including member complaints. Due to privacy laws, we cannot discuss
the details of any action taken. We hope you understand our policy and that
it assures you that you are safe using PayPal.
So basically, i may never get my money back. thank goodness this wasn't a more expensive item. lesson learned here: always pay with your credit card and let paypal charge your credit card instead of withdraw from your bank account.
at least you have some protection with your credit card. i also don't think paypal's punishment of issuing a warning, temporary restriction, or terminating the account is harsh enough.