Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Stay Away From eBay and PayPal

If you are the kind of person who likes to buy stuff online, avoid eBay and paying through PayPal because when things go terrible wrong with your purchases, both eBay and PayPal will be useless in helping you resolve complicated problems. Buy from more reputable online stores like Amazon instead. Pay with your credit card so you have more control.

When there are disputes between buyer and seller on eBay, the problem will be handled by PayPal automatically if you pay with PayPal - eBay doesn't give a shit. Although PayPal vouches for buyer and seller protection, the truth is it protects no one but PayPal themselves.

After a bit of research, I've found that as you escalate a dispute to PayPal, the case will eventually be reviewed by a bot. A set of algorithms that will decide your fate on winning or losing the case. The bot doesn't understand the message you send to PayPal. It doesn't know how to solve complicated problems. It just has a set a rules that you must follow strictly within a time limit to decide if your case is genuine or not.

I've experienced this firsthand and I'll re-post the entire encounter I wrote on eBay forum here:

BEWARE: You are at risk if you buy from chogokin.toys

I bought an anime figurine from this sloppy seller, who is based in the Philippines. They sent me a totally different figurine and then had the nerve to tell me they never had stock for the product I ordered. The seller tried to push the wrong item to me by giving me a discount. Since I had no use for it, I requested a return in exchange for a full refund instead.

It took a while before the seller gave me a return address because they were terribly slow in responding. To my dismay, the return address is actually a third-party local forwarder, which I’ve never heard before. I know it’s a forwarding company because the address contains a consignee account number. I suggested shipping the item back to the seller directly, but the seller insisted on using the forwarder.

I packed the returning item with lots of protection and even photographed the packing process as proof. I went to my nearest post office and shipped the package using registered parcel mail with tracking. A few days later, the tracking system on the post office web site indicated that my parcel was delivered.

I informed the seller and to my surprise, they told me their forwarder couldn’t find my parcel. I went to the post office and requested for the receipt of delivery with the signature of the recipient. It was signed by one of the forwarder’s staff and they still denied receiving it. By now, the seller and forwarder stopped responding to my subsequent emails.

I had no choice but filed a dispute on eBay. Since I used PayPal to make payment, the dispute case was automatically handled by PayPal. I provided all necessary information to PayPal, and guess what? PayPal instructed me to return the disputed item to an address in the Philippines and provide a tracking number to that address. What the… how could I return the disputed item when I do not have it in my possession anymore? Did they even understand my case? I felt like talking to a robot.

I calmed down and wrote another lengthy message to PayPal to explain my situation in detail again. I also gave PayPal the tracking number from my post office and even provided photos.

Weeks went by and PayPal kept asking the same information I gave them on the very first day. I timely responded by highlighting the information they requested. Eventually, PayPal passed judgement in favour of the seller because PayPal said that the tracking information I provided was invalid. Ha! What a joke! So much for buyer protection.

Since it’s been a while, I couldn’t give the seller a negative feedback to warn other buyers; my purchase history has expired. I was furious. I thought of putting all these behind me but I still feel injustice done to me, and henceforth this rant.

It was a painful lesson but I know to keep away from eBay and PayPal from now on. Good luck if you're still hanging around here and farewell.


Tl;dr
I got cheated. I couldn’t get my refund after returning an item that does not matched its description. I filed a dispute and eBay/PayPal is totally useless.

Honestly, I won't bother writing this blog post if eBay didn't edit the title, which was ironically brought to my attention by email after I closed my eBay account a few days ago. Thanks to eBay, the original post is now even easier to be searched on Google.

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