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If you think using PayPal is safe, think again!!

Posted on Monday 24th February 2014

I am writing this guide, it is not just because I have had many problems with PayPal, but also to warn those who use PayPal to buy things on eBay or on the internet, using PayPal is not safe at all!

Nothing is better than a physical example.

Example number 1
I used PayPal to buy some printed material from a printer online a couple of months ago. When the goods were delivered to me, I discovered the printer did not supply me with what I originally ordered. The goods had a specific deadline and in the end I could not use the goods at all, so I suggested to the printer me returning the incomplete order for a full refund. The printer rejected the suggestion, I had no option so I contacted PayPal.

I told PayPal that the goods that I paid for were significantly not as described. I filed a claim to PayPal to request for a full refund. After 6 weeks of ‘battling’, PayPal decided my claim was in the printer’s favour. The reason they gave me was the goods that I purchased from the printer were excluded from the Buyer Protection Policy – custom made items. I was completely shocked and furious with this rule.

I explained to PayPal that if the printer had supplied me what I originally ordered, I would be more than happy to keep the order. But the truth is, the goods were significantly not as described, as a result I could not use the goods at all, so I could not see why the goods would be excluded from the Buyer Protection. Despite the fact that each transaction is different, PayPal still would not put my claim in my favour to reimburse me the money that I have spent on an incomplete order. PayPal simply would not help at all, all PayPal did was kept on saying it was its terms and conditions. It is just a pile of cow poo to me!

Example number 2
I bought an item from an eBay seller in USA two weeks ago. I received the item but it is damaged. In fact, I believe the item has already been damaged before it was shipped to me, but the seller still advertised the item as new in original box. The item with the shipping costs me US$54 (£32) in total.

I phoned PayPal to explain the situation. I told PayPal that I was happy to return the item back to the seller but I would not accept to pay for the return postage which is £20. PayPal told me, under its T&Cs buyers are responsible to the return postage. I think this is purely unfair to the buyers. I explained to PayPal that I simply would not pay £20 for the return postage, but PayPal said that was the only way I could get my full refund. I just couldn’t believe what I heard.

So thank to PayPal, I only have two options here. Option 1, keep the damaged item. Option 2, pay £20 to send back to the item, so that I can get my initial £32 refund. I just cannot see I am protected by PayPal here at all!

Example number 3
This one is the classic one out of the 3 examples!

I sold a re-conditioned dehumidifier privately on my website a couple of years ago. A buyer bought the machine and paid for it by PayPal. The buyer demanded to have the machine delivered to her next day (guaranteed), but she would not pay for the guaranteed service, so I sent the machine by a standard delivery.

Anyway, 3 weeks later, one day out of the blue, I received a phoned call from the buyer telling me that the dehumidifier was not working. I asked her what she meant. She said the machine stopped working and demanded a full refund. I told her she had the machine for 3 weeks, there was no way I could refund her the money. She then said she would report me to PayPal.

She filed a claim against me on PayPal. PayPal made the claim in her favour and immediately refunded her all the money. I was extremely angry with PayPal’s action and decision. I told PayPal that the buyer had the machine for 3 weeks. If it was really not working, the buyer should have contacted me immediately, but not 3 weeks later!

The buyer sent the machine back to me for her refund. When I checked the machine, it was all filthy and full of scratches on the body. When I took it to a repair shop to get looked at, I was told the machine had been dropped so the thermostat was broken. I didn’t think the machine got damaged on its way to the buyer because she would have contacted me straight away once she received the item. So basically this buyer had used my dehumidifier for free for three weeks, then sent back a damaged item for a full refund. I cannot think of any company would accept a case like this than PayPal!

So after 3 examples of mine here, you can see why I say it is not safe to use PayPal at all, no matter you are a seller or a buyer. PayPal has a 28 pages A4 T&Cs which PayPal expects all users have read it and remember it all the time. If you haven’t yet read it I think you should go and read it now before you get a big shock from PayPal. If you have already read it, make sure you can memorise and remember everything within 15 sections and a table on the T&Cs, because PayPal will throw the T&Cs at you when you go to them for a problem.

PayPal T&Cs are simply not fair to account holders. I would love to take its T&Cs to the Unfair Contract Term Act 1977 to get looked at.