Advise extreme caution using PayPal

  Al94 22:03 29 Jul 2004

I would advise extreme caution when using PayPal to purchase items on Ebay.

My friends son, ill advisedly, purchased an Ipod through ebay, £170 was paid via paypal but the item never arrived and investigation showed that the account was closed the day after payment was made. Apparently the seller was not covered by PayPal protection, this wasn't known by my friends who wrongly assumed that using paypal offered them some kind of protection. Result - one 16 year old £170 worse off!

  Forum Editor 23:18 29 Jul 2004

like this, although I appreciate that's no comfort to your friends' son. To be fair to PayPal they do display very prominent warnings on their site and it's difficult to miss these when siging up for an account. They display icons alongside those items which are covered by their buyer's protection scheme, and they'll pay out up to £250 by way of refund in cases where goods are paid for but not received.

PayPal aren't the sellers - they're simply a payment handling organisation - and it's not really their fault if someone doesn't make the recommended checks before parting with their money. PayPal process millions of online payments a week, and they have an excellent reputation in the e-commerce world. It's unfair therefore, to advise caution when using them - better to advise caution when purchasing something from a complete stranger and sending them the money without making any checks whatsoever. After all, why should PayPal or anyone else protect people from themselves?

  ajm 00:42 30 Jul 2004

The FE comments are valid. Ebay has thousands of genuine, honest sellers. Its the few that give it a bad name.

If you have Paid by PayPal uisng your credit card, you can contact your credit card company and do a chargeback. The chargeback involves your credit card company reversing the original transaction and crediting you with the money.

Have a word with your credit card company as credit card transaction have some protection.

  Talented Monkey 01:26 30 Jul 2004

I have been using Paypal for years to purchase and sell items on Ebay and have had no problems what so ever. Its easy to blame the big names, but were they really at fault? You point your finger at them, but have 3 pointing back at you. It is human nature to pass the buck and never ever consider ones own actions. Ebay and Paypal take fraud very seriously, but determined con artists and thieves will go to any lengths and will always slip through.

Just like your local car boot sale, Ebay is a place for crooks to operate. If you see something that’s too good to be true , particularly with electrical and computer items, then It normally is. Would you hand over £300 for a laptop to someone you never seen before in your local pub, who will then tell you to wait there while he goes out and around the corner to get your laptop from his car?? I think not..

Moral of this story is to check the person you are buying from is legitimate. never buy from anyone who has a new account, read the feedback left by others and see how long they have been selling for. If you are happy they are legitimate then go ahead and do business

  Al94 06:02 30 Jul 2004

ajm - you are incorrect, credit card companies will not do a chargeback where funding a Paypal account is involved. I believe they treat it as if it were a cash advance.

FE and Talented Monkey - I too have used Paypal for a couple of years with no issues. I was not "pointing the finger" at Paypal, merely advising caution because it is obvious from our friend's experience and other discussions I have heard of that many people either ignore or do not understand the conditions of making payments through Paypal. It is essential that purchasers fully read and understand Paypal's terms and conditions which as you rightly say are well documented. Some people simply don't read the instructions!

The purpose of my post was to illustrate that if this is not done, it can go horribly wrong therefore caution is required.

Yes, I agree that the onus is on the purchaser to satisfy themselves about the vendor's credentials.

Please don't jump on me from a great height for attempting to save others from themselves!!

  TBH1 09:55 30 Jul 2004

when opening a paypal account, do they not need some kind of bank account details (don't deal with them myself, use Nochex who certainly do require those details). If they have those details surely they will have the details of the person opening the account therefore name and address therefore 'traceable'.

  ouijaouija 13:43 30 Jul 2004

I am weary of this as I use paypal regularly. There is a website called or something like that. In this case, it is not paypals fault. You can't blame them, there is little they can do.

When buying through ebay use some caution. Check their selling rating.

I have 100% positive rating so sellers know they can trust me more than others

  Aristocatman 20:15 30 Jul 2004

Problem is if you are a new seller it takes time to build a good reputation If nobody will trade with new sellers how do the get started? It's a bit like investment if you can't afford to lose the money don't invest, put it in a savings account - eBay is very good but there is a risk percentage wise it is small but as you have found the risk is there. For some maybe it is better to pay a litle more & buy from a discount shop at least you have the protection of UK consumer Law & the credit card company as a backup. Also be aware of what sort of price you can pay in a shop or online seller I've seen many items sell on eBay for far higher prices than companies like Amazon sell for.

  ouijaouija 16:34 31 Jul 2004

yeh true. The new ipod in any shop is £179.99.

Paying 170 on ebay isn't really worth it? Plus the postage they may've paid

  Sturmey 17:38 31 Jul 2004

I am currently in a dispute with paypal.

I received a payment into my paypal account for a mini-disc player that I sold on ebay.

However the person who paid me, used a stolen credit. because I had received this payment paypal froze my account. (this is what most people don't know, at anytime and for any reason paypal can and will freeze you account)

This effectively gives you no control over your money.

When paypal freeze your account you are not able to get access to any of your funds, I could not make any payments from my account or withdraw any money into my regular bank account.

To get my account back into good standing I was told I had to fax a copy of a recent utility bill I have done this on many occasions as well as my driving license.

I have phoned paypal on many occasions, the staff where extremely unhelpful and rude.

It has been over 6 months and my account is still frozen, I cannot do anything to get the £800 I had in my paypal account.

I have contacted the FCC (they regulate Paypal) and they are currently dealing with my case.

Paypal may well be convenient but in my experience it does attract a lot of rogue traders and people who generally want to rip you off.

  Wilham 20:54 31 Jul 2004

If as buyer I use PayPal to pay you, the seller, on eBay, PayPal takes the sum I owe you from my Visa credit card, and pays you from PayPal funds. PayPal retains a small percentage as commission, which you accept for the convenience. PayPal vets my Visa before I can use its services.

I'm curious how a stolen credit card can involve you. The fraud is by buyer on PayPal, not the seller.

Is there something in the PayPal small print I haven't noticed?

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