My first bad experience with PayPal and Ebay was about 2000 or 2001. I was building my own PC when I went back to grad school (and money was tighter than time) and needed to buy an operating system. I had a copy of Windows XP that someone had loaned me, but I wanted to buy an official copy (instead of using the license number from a program that my friend was no longer using since he moved on to another OS). So I bought one on eBay, paid by PayPal, and awaited my disc. When it arrived, the Windows XP disc worked, but it was obviously a copy (on a CD-R). I protested and asked for a refund. The seller refused, PayPal refused and eBay all refused, even when I pointed out the seller did not keep his word to send an “authentic, official version of Windows XP.” Both eBay and PayPal pretty much replied “Buyer Beware” and refused to help. I also reported the seller to Microsoft and never heard back from them. So I was out some cash for a useless product (useless to me, I refused to install a pirated OS on my system and ended up throwing the disc in the trash after keeping it for years in case Microsoft wanted to go after the pirate).
After a bit, I decided to continue using eBay and PayPal. They were still useful services even though they act like typical monopolies. After several years of selling items on Ebay. I had developed an excellent rating on eBay. Then in 2004 or so I sold something on eBay that was clearly listed as used. The buyer was upset (the first upset buyer that I had in my years on eBay). She was upset that the product was used and threatened to sue me if I did not take it back and give her a full refund. I had already spent the money she had paid, but if she had approached me nicely and said she was disappointed with the unit, I might have taken it back even though the unit worked fine and was clearly advertised on my eBay ad as used. However, I do not take kindly to threats and her statement that she would sue me did not bring out my best. So I refused to take it back since the product worked and was clearly as advertised.
The picky and litigious buyer had paid via PayPal and used her credit card. She protested to PayPay, but they could have cared less. Then she disputed the PayPal charge with her credit card company. Her credit card company naturally took her side (why hack off a loyal client when they could just oblige her at no cost to themselves?) and refunded her money from PayPal. PayPal then sent me a bill and locked down my account. Fortunately I had already transferred the money out of my PayPal account; otherwise they would have stolen it without my permission. PayPal was quite upset with me for transferring out the money. They then threatened to sue me over this (so two lawsuit threats over one sale!!!!) until I pointed out that the crazy woman still had my unit and that they had to ensure that that was returned before I would consider their problem. I also warned them that I would consult an attorney if they blemished my credit rating since I had acted properly and had shipped the unit as specified and promised (Even though I despise most litigation, I figured if they threatened me I could return the favor). Other than getting automated dunning emails from PayPal until I put them in my junk mail folder, I never heard another word from PayPal. However, in addition to locking my PayPal account, they also locked my eBay account (at this point in time, eBay had recently bought PayPal.).
While I could start a new account with either (or both) organizations, I decided to live without them. Bad service should not be rewarded with my business.
Category: Economics , Category: Personal , Category: Quests for Change