Wandering off the trail: Driving angry, with paypal in my lap

Remember this post concerning my adventures with paypal? The adventure continues. It’s a lot like that movie “Groundhog Day,” in which Bill Murray keeps living the same day over and over again – only I don’t end up with Andie MacDowell at the end. Please enjoy the insanity…

MY MESSAGE TO PAYPAL: I’ve been attempting to receive an answer to this question for approximately two weeks. Each time, my messages to paypal have either been ignored, or I have not received the information I’m seeking. I originally shipped the item in question to an address in California. When I received the tracking information for it’s return, I discovered the item was being shipped back to me from Hong Kong. I would like to know why paypal granted the buyer a refund, when the buyer didn’t file a complaint until after he shipped the item to Hong Kong, and a third party took possession of the item. How many times must an item I sell change hands before I’m no longer responsible for it’s condition – how can paypal be certain that the item, if it was in fact damaged, was not damaged during it’s journey from California to Hong Kong. The reason I say “if it was in fact damaged” is because I have not yet received the item, contrary to paypal’s claims. The post office claims that they attempted to deliver the item, but I received no notification of this delivery attempt, and was told by a Post Office employee that they cannot locate the package. Once the item left the buyer’s possession, no one – including paypal – can account for how it may have been handled, either by the shipping company, customs in Honk Kong, or the third party in Hong Kong that took possession of the item. I would appreciate an explanation as to why I should be held responsible, and forced to provide a refund in this case.

Thank you

PAYPAL’S RESPONSE: Thank you for contacting PayPal. In response to your complaint of non-receipt of merchandise, the buyer has provided reasonable proof that the merchandise has been delivered to you. Therefore, in accordance with our User Agreement, we cannot reverse the transaction. If any issues in regard to your dispute remain unresolved, we encourage you to work directly with the seller to reach an amicable resolution.

For the Terms and Conditions of the User Agreement, click the “Legal Agreement” link at the bottom of any PayPal webpage and click “User Agreement”.

Please let me know if you need further assistance.

MY MESSAGE TO PAYPAL: Thank you for your reply. However, my complaint is not in regards to not receiving the returned item. My complaint is that the buyer, before filing a dispute with paypal, shipped the item I sold to him to a third party in Hong Kong. I originally shipped the item to the buyer’s address in California. When I received the tracking information for the item’s return, it stated that the item was being shipping back to me via Hongkong post, from Hong Kong. In my opinion, once the buyer transfers possession of the item I sold him to a third party, the buyer assumes responsibility for the condition of that item. Why should I be held responsible for damage that might have occurred when the buyer shipped the item to Hong Kong? Once the item left the buyer’s possession, no one can account for how it may have been handled, either by the shipping company, customs in Honk Kong, or the third party in Hong Kong that took possession of the item.

Thank you

PAYPAL’S RESPONSE: Thank you for contacting PayPal.

After your dispute was escalated to a claim, we carefully reviewed the information you and the buyer provided and your original eBay listing.
We found that the item the buyer received was significantly different from the description in your eBay listing.

You can appeal this decision if:

The buyer returned the item in worse condition than when they originally received it.
The buyer sent back an empty box or a different item.
You feel that we made an error or didn’t have enough information to review the claim.
Here’s how to appeal the decision:

Go to http://www.paypal.com/ and log in to your account.
Click ‘Resolution Center’ near the top of the page.
Find the claim in ‘Resolution Center Cases.’
Click ‘View’ under ‘Action,’ then select ‘Appeal.’

You have 10 days from the date this case was decided to appeal it.

Please let me know if you need further assistance.

[editor’s note – I already appealed the decision. You’d think they’d be aware of this]

MY MESSAGE TO PAYPAL: Could you please be more specific? For instance, exactly how was the item that the buyer received different than the item described in my listing? What evidence did you consider in reaching this conclusion? What evidence did the buyer provide to paypal to prove that the item was damaged, that it arrived damaged, and that it wasn’t damaged while in his possession, or when the buyer shipped the item to a third party in Hong Kong? I have offered to provide high resolution images of the item before it was sold, and high resolution images taken with the item(a camera lens), yet I received no response from paypal to this offer. I will also repeat my previous complaint, since it is not being addressed by anyone at paypal. My complaint is that the buyer, before filing a dispute/claim with paypal, shipped the item I sold to him to a third party in Hong Kong. I originally shipped the item to the buyer’s address in California. When I received the tracking information for the item’s return, it stated that the item was being shipping back to me via Hongkong post, from Hong Kong. In my opinion, once the buyer transfers possession of the item I sold him to a third party, the buyer assumes responsibility for the condition of that item. Why should I be held responsible for damage that might have occurred when the buyer shipped the item to Hong Kong? Once the item left the buyer’s possession, no one can account for how it may have been handled, either by the shipping company, customs in Honk Kong, or the third party in Hong Kong that took possession of the item. Since the item in question belonged to me, and since I have now lost both the profit from the sale of this item, and apparently the item itself, I believe I deserve an answer to all these questions.

Thank you

PAYPLAL’S RESPONSE: Thank you for contacting PayPal.

PayPal has concluded the investigation of the following claim:

Your buyer provided sufficient documentation to show that the item(s) were received significantly different than originally described. As a result, this claim has been closed in the buyer’s favor.

Since the tracking information shows the merchandise was delivered to you, we have issued a refund to the buyer on your behalf. If you have any further questions, please feel free to either respond to this email or send a message to complaint-response@paypal.com.

We appreciate your patience and cooperation regarding this matter.

Please let me know if you need further assistance.

MY MESSAGE TO PAYPAL: Each time I’ve contacted paypal regarding this matter, I’ve received a response that has failed to address, even in the broadest terms, the questions I’ve asked. Instead, I’m given the same stock answers over and over – information of which I’m already aware, and which does nothing to help me understand why paypal has taken $349 of my fairly earned money. So I will state my questions once again, and I intend to continue asking these questions until I receive an actual response.

Could you please be more specific? For instance, exactly how was the item that the buyer received different than the item described in my listing? What specific evidence did you consider in reaching this conclusion? What evidence did the buyer provide to paypal to prove that the item was damaged, that it arrived damaged, and that it wasn’t damaged while in his possession, or when the buyer shipped the item to a third party in Hong Kong? I have offered to provide high resolution images of the item before it was sold, and high resolution images taken with the item(a camera lens), yet I received no response from paypal to this offer. I will also repeat my previous complaint, since it is not being addressed by anyone at paypal. My complaint is that the buyer, before filing a dispute/claim with paypal, shipped the item I sold to him to a third party in Hong Kong. I originally shipped the item to the buyer’s address in California. When I received the tracking information for the item’s return, it stated that the item was being shipping back to me via Hongkong post, from Hong Kong. In my opinion, once the buyer transfers possession of the item I sold him to a third party, the buyer assumes responsibility for the condition of that item. Why should I be held responsible for damage that might have occurred when the buyer shipped the item to Hong Kong? Once the item left the buyer’s possession, no one can account for how it may have been handled, either by the shipping company, customs in Honk Kong, or the third party in Hong Kong that took possession of the item. Since the item in question belonged to me, and since I have now lost both the profit from the sale of this item, and apparently the item itself, I believe I deserve an answer to all these questions. It is, in my opinion, grossly unfair for paypal to deprive me of my fairly earned profit without providing a detailed explanation as to why they’ve taken such an action. “Your buyer provided sufficient documentation to show that the item(s) were received significantly different than originally described,” does not constitute a detailed explanation of this matter.

I will also contact, as you suggested, complaint-response@paypal.com.

Thank you

PAYPAL’S RESPONSE: Thank you for contacting PayPal.

Thank you for contacting PayPal about your recent claim. When a buyer and seller are unable to agree on a resolution, PayPal reserves the right to determine whether an item is “significantly not as described.” (For more information on this, please review the User Agreement.) Once PayPal has made a decision regarding whether an item is “significantly not as described,” that decision is final and cannot be appealed.

We make this decision based on the guidelines outlined in our User Agreement and after careful consideration of all available materials provided by buyer and seller.

Thank you for choosing PayPal.

MY MESSAGE TO PAYPAL: Basically what you’re telling me is that I have no right to know how paypal arrived at their decision – I should simply accept the decision and move on. In my opinion, this is not about user agreements or obscure rules, this is about what’s fair. Perhaps you should remove the “pal” part from your name, because at the moment it certainly doesn’t feel as if paypal is my “pal.” You have taken $349 of my fairly earned profits, yet you refuse to offer any real explanation beyond stock answers and corporate stonewalling, apparently with the assumption that I’ll simply tire of the process and go away.

Paypal says that they have determined that the item the buyer received was significantly different than the item described in my listing, yet they refuse to explain how they arrived at this conclusion. The buyer claimed that there was significant external and internal damage to the lens, yet paypal refuses to tell me what if any evidence the buyer supplied to paypal to support these claims. Paypal refuses to tell me what evidence the buyer supplied to them to prove that the item arrived damaged, and that it wasn’t damaged while in the buyer’s possession, or when the buyer shipped the item to a third party in Hong Kong. I offerred to provide paypal with high resolution jpegs of the item in question, taken shorty before the item was sold, to prove that it was in near pristine condition externally when it was shipped to the buyer. I also offered to provide paypal with high resolution jpegs of images captured using the item in question, to prove that it was functioning normally. These offers to paypal received no reply. I asked paypal to explain why I should be held responsible for the condition of the item after the buyer shipped it to another country, and a third party took possession of the item. I asked paypal to explain how they could be certain that the item, if it was damaged, wasn’t damaged during it’s journey to Hong Kong, either during shipping, by Hong Kong customs, or by the third party that took possession of the item. I have received no response whatsoever to this question. If the third party had shipped the item to yet another country, and a fourth party had taken possession of the item, would I still be held responsible for it’s condition? How many times must an item I sell change hands before it’s no longer my responsibility?

Paypal claims I sold an item that was significantly different than the item I described – they have in essense called me a liar. Yet, they refuse to provide evidence to back up their accusation, and their decision in this case. They have acted as if somehow the burden of proof was on me, when it was the buyer who initiated this case, and made claims that he should have had to substantiate with tangible evidence. I shouldn’t be placed in a position of having to prove that an item I sold was not damaged – it’s nearly impossible to prove a negative. It should have been the responsibility of the buyer to prove that the item was damaged, and that it arrived that way. I believe I have a right to know what, if any evidence the buyer presented to paypal in support of his claims. If the buyer presented no evidence to paypal, and only made unsubstantiated accusations, then I should have a right to know why paypal chose to accept the buyer’s word over my own.

There has been no transparency whatsoever in this process. You can rest assured that if given the option, I will not choose paypal in the future.

PAYPAL’S RESPONSE: Thank you for contacting PayPal.

Thank you for contacting PayPal about your recent claim. When a buyer and seller are unable to agree on a resolution, PayPal reserves the right to determine whether an item is “significantly not as described.” (For more information on this, please review the User Agreement.) Once PayPal has made a decision regarding whether an item is “significantly not as described,” that decision is final and cannot be appealed.

We make this decision based on the guidelines outlined in our User Agreement and after careful consideration of all available materials provided by buyer and seller.

Thank you for choosing PayPal.

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