I have been a customer and user of PayPal/Ebay for over 20 years. Over the years, PayPal/Ebay has screwed me over a few times, but I’ve always gone back to using them out of sheer neccesity.
After this latest incident, I am 100% FINISHED.
On October 1, I sold three American Girl dolls and a doll wig to a buyer in Hawaii. We discussed shipping cost and the buyer expressed that she needed the cheapest shipping and did not care about the speed. That ended up being Parcel Select. The price was still nearly $40, and I just wanted the dolls out of my craft room, so I offered to split the cost. I packed up the dolls and the wig in a good box (a moving box, book-sized, which are sturdy and reinforced for heavy books) and shipped them. Each doll was wrapped in several feet of bubble wrap, which was held closed with tape. And I used about 60 pieces of tissue paper for padding so nothing in the box would move during shipping.
Somewhere along the line, something went wrong on USPS’ end, and the tracking movement stopped after 7 days. At that point the dolls should have already made it to their destination, but they were delayed somewhere. They began movement again 13 days later and arrived at their destination within another day.
During this time, the seller had contacted me, worried, and since the last tracking update was in her state and not mine, I advised her to contact USPS and to please let me know what happened. She said she was told there was no record of the shipment. We decided to give it more time and I was quite relieved when I started receiving tracking updates again! The box finally arrived on October 25th.
The seller claimed that the box arrived but was damaged and one of the dolls was missing. USPS did not label the damage on the box, which they usually would…and she seemed unwilling to speak to USPS about it. She sent me pictures of the partially crushed box and there was a gash in the side, but it didn’t appear large enough for a bubble-wrapped doll to just slip through. Plus, the wig, which was packaged in a quart sized ziplock bag, flat, managed not to escape the box, so I was a bit concerned that maybe she was trying to scam me.
She asked me if I had insured it, and I reminded her that she asked for the cheapest shipping and did not request insurance. (Tip…any time you are shipping something to an online buyer without insurance, make sure you put “Insurance Declined” in the description, so that you are protected if they don’t request it, or they decline it. Hindsight…be more specific in spelling out that you aren’t liable if they decline insurance.) She didn’t ask me to refund or partially refund her, she didn’t ask me if there was any resolution I would offer. I would have advised her to contact PayPal and see if they could help compensate her for the missing item, and I know from experience that sometimes they will, without involving the seller as though they seller had any wrongdoing.
The following morning, I awoke to an “item not received” complaint and my PayPal account in a $181 negative balance. I immediately responded to the complaint and escalated to a claim, and submitted my proof that the items were delivered, and stated that it was out of my control if after shipping in good faith, USPS delays and damages the package. My PayPal account status soon after stated that PayPal had ruled in my favor and that the dispute was CLOSED.
Within five minutes, I had won the dispute and moved on with my life. Or so I thought.
A few days later, PayPal allowed the seller to not only file an appeal, but to CHANGE her claim from “items not received” to “items significantly not as described.” Again, they removed $181 from my account. Incidentally, I had a $100 payment come in around the same time my account went into a negative unexpectedly, so they just held onto that money as well…and my account is now negative $81. I also cannot print a shipping label for another item I sold on PayPal late last week without paying back the negative balance. This put a HUGE financial strain on me, as it’s the end of the month and my personal account doesn’t have much $ in it. I was counting on being able to transfer that incoming $100 payment to my bank account and now I can’t.
The buyer now claims that she ordered a trio or dolls and I only sent two, so this is why the “lot” she purchased was “significantly not as described.” She also notes that even if I did included all three dolls and USPS caused the damage to the box that allowed one to become lost, that I should refund her and take the issue up with USPS myself because I didn’t insure the package. I have no proof she did not want insurance, since the Facebook message where we discussed it will not load for me, so she has the upper hand there. She also said that I should owe her a refund because shipping took so long, and that I had told her I would ship Priority and not Parcel Select. Again, I don’t have proof because I cannot load the Facebook discussion.
Moral of the story…get and keep everything in writing. Put every detail into the invoice before sending it, so when the buyer pays the invoice, they’ve esssentially agreed to all the details. I was in a hurry and did not specify shipping method or that she did not request insurance; I only put that I was selling her three dolls and a wig. My husband says that I should automatically insure all packages at my own cost, but I haven’t done this. It never made sense to me since often the things I sell this way are already steeply discounted and the last thing I want to do after having to pay PayPal fees is to spend $5-10 on insurance that the buyer claims they don’t need.
Of course she can’t prove that all three dolls did NOT arrive (and I’m not sure I believe her that one is lost!)…but PayPal is still letting her have the advantage here, particularly since they have stated that this new decision will be FINAL and neither party can appeal. I have to admit I’m quite livid that she had the opportunity to appeal AND change her claim, but if I lose, I won’t be able to appeal.
I also was not able to submit my explanation of why I disagree with her claim (PayPal.com timed out and the option to submit an explanation disappeared upon reloading it) and when I call PayPal, I simply get a recording that they will let me know their decision within 30 days. I haven’t been able to figure out how to talk to a real person about the fact that I cannot submit my explanation (I did submit one in .jpg form with my other documentation, but I have no idea if anyone will actually read it!) or about they fact that they really shouldn’t be removing money from my account until AFTER they’ve proved I have done something wrong ~ remember, tracking shows this package delivered.
I have an excellent history selling through my PayPal account and linked Ebay account, so it’s easily clear to see that I am not in the habit of defrauding buyers and not sending everything they purchased.
PayPal is offering all their protection to the buyer, and ZERO to me as a seller. This has left me stressed and worried for days about my bank balance and how I will pay for other things when I have had $181 removed from my account unfairly and they are holding the incoming $100 I received hostage and I may or may not ever see it. I am ALSO out the $20 I paid torward her shipping PLUS the three dolls and wig I sold.I have proof I shipped, I have proof the box was delivered. There is photo proof (submitted the photos the buyer sent me) that the box was damaged.
(photo sent to me by buyer)