"When faced with a problem you do not understand,
do any part of it you do understand; then look at it again."
~(Robert A. Heinlein - "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress")

About to comment here for the very first time?
Check Where'd my Comment go?!!! to avoid losing it.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

An Ode to PayPal...

NOT an accurate title; I've no intention of attempting any poetry here. I just thought it had a nicer ring to it than "In Praise of PayPal" :-)

My previous post detailed the travails of an eBay purchase gone wrong.

It brought this email response from a good friend...
Hi Paul,

I read your blog about eBay transaction. That's horrible!!!
I hope you continue fighting this one.
He's probably doing the same thing to many other people.
If I lost $300 it would hurt me financially too.


To which I replied...
Oh, I intend to keep fighting, all right.

You may have noticed, in the post, that I redacted anything that could identify him, or where he is, but I DO have that information. (At least, the name and address of the contracting company he owns.)

Options I have include...
1) Opening a case with eBay.
2) Doing the same with PayPal.
3) Possibly Small Claims Court.

(Still have some research to do on THAT one;

I understand that a claim has to be filed in the defendant's county of residence. That makes sense, so the court cannot be used to harass someone by compelling him to appear in person, halfway across the country from where he's at, or forfeit the claim.

At the moment, I only have his business address. If that's not sufficient, I could probably find his actual residence for a small fee (which I could maybe add to the amount that I would seek from him).

What I have to find out is the mechanics of filing such a claim when I live in Houston, and he is in California.

For that matter, I've yet to determine if a Small Claims petition can even be filed across state lines, and if it would be required for me to appear there (in which case I would then have to figure out something else).

So, THAT particular option is up in the air, for now, until I learn more.)

What I'd like most is for the item to arrive and be Ok.
Or, to get an email from PayPal stating that a full refund has been put into my account.

In either of those cases, as I promised him, that would be the end of it.

Otherwise, it would really eat at me to just let it go. That just ain't gonna happen.

I have to confess that I can be a truly vindictive S.O.B. if I feel that I've been wronged.

And, I DO feel that I've been wronged.

After thinking about it a bit, I realized that I had been more than patient with this guy, had utterly failed to get his attention, and decided it was time to haul out a 2x4.

Thinking that PayPal could wield a bigger one than I could, and more effectively, I gave them a call, actually got to talk to a real live human being, and learned that, as to opening a case with eBay or PayPal, it's either one or the other.

He convinced me that opening it with PayPal would be more likely to get results. It would then become a matter between them and the seller.

They would contact him, and give him 10 days to either satisfactorily explain things, or to provide a refund. If a refund was called for, and the seller was unable to comply, he told me that PayPal would provide it.

Their web site has this to say about eBay purchases:

Buyers choose PayPal more than any other payment method on eBay.*
Here's why:
You're covered on eligible transactions
PayPal covers your eBay purchases for the full
purchase price and original shipping costs.

This is a feature that I probably read about PayPal when I first signed up, but forgot because, up to now, I've never had to take advantage of it.

A check of the eBay page describing my item shows these very promising words:

Pay with PayPal and your full purchase price is covered.

If you ever buy anything on eBay, using PayPal, that's a good thing to look for.

Here's their automated email response, received 11 Jan 2010...
Hello Paul Gordon,

Thanks for contacting us. We're looking into your case and will decide the
outcome. Here are the case details:
Transaction details
Seller's Name: **** *******
Seller's Email: **@****.***
Seller's Transaction ID: *****************

Transaction Date: Dec 6, 2009
Transaction Amount: -$290.79 USD
Your Transaction ID: *****************
Case Number: PP-***-***-***
Buyer's Transaction ID: *****************
What to do next
To keep things moving toward resolution, your participation is essential.
As we look into the case, we may ask you for more information and you'll
have a limited time to reply. Please respond quickly so you don’t risk
losing a possible refund.

We'll try to decide this case within 30 days, but if the case is
complicated, it may take a little longer.

Of course, we can't guarantee you'll get your money back from the seller,
but we'll give it our best effort. For more information about how PayPal
investigates complaints, please review the User Agreement.



FOUR days later (15 Jan 2010). they sent this email...
Hello Paul Gordon,

We have concluded our investigation into your claim.

Seller's Name: **** *******
Seller's Email: **@****.***
Seller's Transaction ID: *****************

Transaction Date: Dec 6, 2009
Transaction Amount: -$290.79 USD
Your Transaction ID: *****************
Case Number: PP-***-***-***
Buyer's Transaction ID: *****************

You have received a refund via PayPal in the amount of $290.79 USD.

Protection Services Department


I then logged onto PayPal to transfer the amount
back into my checking account. Got this response...
Hello Paul Gordon,

You asked us on Jan 15, 2010 to transfer $290.79 USD from your PayPal account to your bank account. We are processing your request.

The transfer normally takes 3-4 business days.
The money should be in your bank account by Jan 19, 2010.

We will email you if any problems occur with your request.



Checking on my account today (17 Jan 2001) disclosed...
Transaction Details

Withdraw Funds to a Bank Account
(Unique Transaction ID #*****************)

Total Amount: -$290.79 USD
Fee amount:         $0.00 USD
Net amount:   -$290.79 USD

Date: Jan 15, 2010
Time: 21:03:39 CST
Status: Completed

Subject: Bank Account
Transfer to: ****** (Confirmed) x-****

In much less time than they estimated, it's all done. I've got my money back, and as I promised that seller, THIS IS THE END OF IT.

I note several things from all this.

1) Like many careful business, they allow themselves a safety factor by giving conservative estimates on how quickly they can resolve things. Usually it happens much quicker than they say.

2) Although the rapidity with which funds exit my checking account raises hope that lightspeed may NOT be an ultimate barrier, movement in the other direction takes days. They say that banking rules are responsible for this but, tragically, I've gotten a bit cynical in my old age. I can't help thinking that interest on funds they are holding may have a bit to do with it.

3) When buying anything from eBay, or the many other places that accept PayPal, that is definitely the way to go. I cannot recommend them highly enough.

End of commercial for PayPal.



Jimmy J. said...

Very useful info, Paul. Thanks for going to all this effort and letting your readers in on it.

Charles said...

Great post Paul. Good lesson in there for all of us. I must make sure I go through Paypal in future.

Really glad this one worked out for you in the end.


Stat Counter