Wednesday, December 08, 2010

How I lost £800GBP through Paypal

This is a true story.
About six weeks ago I put a pair of JBL bass bins on Ebay. We'd bought them for a PA rig, but hadn't enough funds or work to complete the project. Chris' VAT was due, so we reluctantly put them up for sale on a "Buy it now" for £800.

Tuesday Nov 2nd was an eventful day for me. First of all I got the all clear from the Haematology Clinic and decided to go back to work the next day. Later that evening I had a call from someone called Barry to tell me that he'd just bought my speakers.
These are big bulky items. I purposely advertised that they were "buyer collect" only. When I checked my emails I saw that I'd received an email from Paypal saying that they'd received £800. The email text says quite clearly that I could send the items. I arranged with ny buyer that he would send a courier to collect the speakers the next day, and sure enough I had a call to say they were on their way, so I left work and met the courier at home.
No problems so far. Everything was exactly as I'd experienced many times before. There was one slight niggle. The speakers were to be delivered to Greenwich rather than Slough (where "Barry" lived). I only knew this because the postcode that he gave to the courier wasn't recognised by her satnav. As luck would have it, he rang me and I was able to give my phone to the courier and she took the full address.
She drove off and I went back to work.
Two days later I had an email from Paypal advising me that my payment had been frozen while they investigated a complaint from the real Barry, who said that someone had hacked his Paypal account and used it to buy a number of items including my speakers.

I'd like to say that Paypal were most helpful, but I'd be lying.
Their useless automated system doesn't allow for any deviation from the script.
I had to supply proof of postage. How could I? The item was collected.
I contacted the person whose account was hacked. He was adamant he hadn't bought the item.
I contacted Ebay and told them. Their useless automated system lurched into action.
A couple of days later and I had discovered that my buyer had registered about four hours before buying my speakers. He'd used a false name, incomplete address and spurious telephone number.
He hacked into Paypal to pay for my speakers and got away with it. There is no address for the guy, his phone number is false and Ebay protection only applies when you buy goods, not when you sell them.
Paypal tried to tell me that the email saying that I'd received £800 didn't come from them. So how can they explain the £800 in my Paypal account?
No reply.
They refused to accept any blame. They have returned the money to the real Barry, but I'm out of pocket to the tune of £800 plus my Ebay listing and selling fees.
Both the real Barry and myself are victims. He got his money back but I didn't.

It appears that sellers on Ebay and Paypal have no protection from thieves who steal your goods.

My Paypal account is overdrawn and I can't buy or sell on Ebay until that's rectified.

My advice to anyone selling on Ebay is to insist on cash only.
I may never use it again.

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