Even with PayPal you should check the seller’s credentials

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LOTS of Islanders enjoy buying and selling on eBay, the internet auction site, but sometimes, in spite of all the checks and security measures in place, things can go wrong.

Simon Gavey got in touch after he had a bad experience with PayPal and eBay.

He bought a Playstation 3 on eBay using the ‘buy it now’ format which requires instant PayPal payment. The playstation cost £289.99 including postage. The day after he had made his payment, Simon received an e-mail from eBay saying that the item had been removed and the seller suspended.

So Simon contacted eBay who told him that he would have to try to reclaim the money through PayPal, which he tried to do.

However, they were unable to contact the seller but still awarded the claim in his favour.

Unfortunately he was only credited £150 as the seller never had the funds in their account, which means Simon lost around £140.

‘I really feel like I have been ripped off,’ said Simon. ‘I was under the impression that eBay and PayPal had more protection for buyers. I am really surprised they don’t work together so that when a seller is suspended their PayPal account is frozen to protect buyers’ money.

As we thought Simon had a fair point we got in touch with PayPal to see if they could re-open his claim, which they agreed to do. However, the outcome was less than satisfactory and we received the following statement:

‘PayPal provides free layers of additional insurance known as Buyer and Seller Protection on eBay. This is offered to all PayPal users for all eligible transactions.

‘Mr Gavey met most of the criteria for Buyer Protection and PayPal were able to refund him £150 towards his purchase as he met. To qualify for PayPal’s top tier of Buyer Protection, an eBay transaction has to involve a seller with at least 50 pieces of feedback which are 98% positive.’

Following this disappointing news, Simon contacted the police for their advice. ‘They informed me that because I had been through the PayPal dispute process and received a partial refund it is therefore a bad debt and not a theft and therefore it is a civil case,’ he said. ‘The result of that means the police are unable to help and I would have to go through either petty debts or a debt collection agency.

‘I think the advice has to be that if you are using PayPal and eBay, check the seller’s feedback thoroughly and ensure the seller’s PayPal protection level is greater than the value of your purchase.’

*Terms you need to be aware of if you need to make a PayPal claim:

How to pursue via the Buyer Protection Programme:

Open a dispute which facilitates communication between buyer and seller to obtain resolution.

If agreement isn’t reached within 20 days the dispute can be turned into a claim. This enables PayPal to investigate the problem.

Resolving a claim will conclude in one of the two ways:

*£500 refund (‘Top Tier’ amount – or those eBay users with over 50 feedback which are 98% positive) for eligible items purchased on eBay from one of 38 countries

*£150 refund (‘Basic Tier’ amount – or every eBay item fitting other criteria in this section) for all other eligible items purchased on eBay

PayPal will not claim unless the person first initiates a dispute in the PayPal resolution centre within 45 days of the date of the relevant payment and then escalate the dispute into a claim within 20 days of the date the user files a dispute.

*Full details can be found at: https://www.paypal.com/uk/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=p/gen/ua/policy_pbp-outside

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