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My eBay/PayPal experience

Christian Ney

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Following this thread.


I feel like it is my duty as “customer†and former reviewer to share the experience I had with eBay/PayPal. Everyone knows what they are so I do not need to introduce them. But very few know how they are.


Of course, I probably would not talk about them if everything was good (if it was an awesome experience maybe). I have been on both sides (as a buyer and as a seller). I do not have the exact value but I for sure have bought more than 500 items and also sold north of 500. While ~95 % went just fine, I will focus on the bad. Why you may ask? Well, because the bad is not just bad, it is terrible, so terrible you may actually not believe what you just read.


As a buyer:

- Empty package arrived: 0. As surprising as it may sound, I have never received an empty package.

- Item not shipped or never arrived: Only 4 cases that I can remember. I usually wait 3-4 weeks after the item has been marked as shipped before contacting the seller about an item not received. The first three cases where solved without the need to open a case, the sellers said they were sorry for the inconvenience and refunded, all good. There was just one time when I had no news from the seller and the item was quite expensive so I opened a case after a month or so. Seller also did not reply on the case and therefore the case was closed in my favour. Couple of weeks later, I received a message from someone claiming to be the girlfriend of the seller saying that she was sorry, that the seller had an accident, was in hospital for weeks and she totally forgot to ship the item.

- Item not according to description: ~50, not sure how many exactly but understand many. Most of the time sellers that just take hardware parts out of computers and list them without any proper testing (or any testing at all): memory that have errors or not working and motherboards not working or damaged (leaking/bumped capacitors, heavy scratches (traces cut), heavy physical damage). I would say that 80 % of them were solved exchanging messages with the seller but I had to open cases for the rest (seller unresponsive or dishonest). This is actually how I got my first PayPal account blocked. PayPal blocked my account because the “claim ratio†was too high… I told them it was not my fault if eBay sellers were not capable of testing hardware properly, they basically told me it was not possible to change their decision. I just created a new account (which they blocked 6 months later because it got matched (I did not even try to hide it, I used the same name, address, bank account, everything, just the email was different…))


Note: I have always opened a case as last resort and only when necessary: I never opened a case right away, I always contacted the seller first to ask them how they tested the item(s) and told them about the issue I was having. I only opened a case when the seller was unresponsive or dishonest. I also do thorough testing before concluding that an item is defective/not working. I also was not complaining if an item had minor damage (bent pins, light physical damage, wear, etc...) or if part of a lot was damaged/not working as long as the item I was interested in was functional.

Also, I always had to return the item and pay the return fees (I mention that, because as you will read below (as a seller), eBay asked me to pay for the return fees every time, not the buyer).


So, overall my experience as a buyer was quite positive despite having received many items that were not according to description since most were solved talking with the seller (yes, it was still a waste of time but this is nothing compared to what will follow).


Warning: The following text contains facts that may be disturbing and shock some readers.


As a seller:

I will not post all cases I had, only the “WTF†ones.

- Case #01: The item was blocked at customs of the buyer’s country and he did not do the necessary steps to retrieve the item. He opened a claim on PayPal for item not received and PayPal closed the case in my favour based on the evidence I provided (that the package was blocked at the customs and customs contacted the buyer several times). Note that this is the one and only time a case was closed in my favour (as a seller). You are now thinking yayeh? Well… The buyer then opened a case on eBay and guess what, yep, eBay closed the case in his favour and refunded him. Not only was he able to open two different claim for the same item but this is not possibly by eBay/PayPal policy. Yet he managed to do it and eBay allowed it. I complained, like… a lot. After countless emails and phone calls, eBay finally admitted in one email that they had made a mistake and that they were going to refund me. They never did and on top of that banned/blocked my eBay account. Again, I contacted them many times but all I got was “the decision cannot be changedâ€. I was so angry/furious, you cannot imagine. I stayed away from eBay for a couple of months and created a new account. Ho btw, some time later, French postal service contacted me to confirm the package was successfully delivered… I told eBay but the answer was again “the decision cannot be changedâ€.
- Case #02: Buyer opens a case for item not received. I check the tracking and it said the package arrived in the destination country two weeks ago and then nothing. So, I contacted the French postal service, they told me that for some countries, the online tracking stops after the package arrives at the destination country, there is no more update after that. Obviously, PayPal closed the case in the buyer’s favour. Some time later, French postal service (they have 90 days to reply to an investigation…) sent me an email to confirm the package was successfully delivered a couple of days after it arrived in the country. Meaning, if you compare the dates, that the item was delivered before the buyer opened the claim. I told PayPal and you guessed it, got “the decision cannot be changedâ€.
- Case #03: Buyer opens a case for item not received. In the description, he claimed that the package arrived empty and that for every item he receives, he makes a video of the “unboxingâ€. I watched the video and noticed that the tape was not the same one I used (you could also see that the tape went over the postal service sticker, clearly the package has been opened before the video and retaped). I replied to the case asking the seller to weight the package. He replied with a picture showing the weight was 35g. On my receipt it was written that the package weighted 86g when it was handed to the postal service. Despite all the evidences, the case was closed in the buyer’s favour.
- Case #04: eBay member contacts me and asks me if I was okay to sell him the item for only 850 USD outside eBay. After the previous events, I was down with anyone who wanted to deal outside eBay so I said yes. He paid and asked for the item to be declared as i7-930 with a value of 99 USD to avoid any customs fee. I said it was not possible since I ship such items with insurance and I cannot insure the shipment at 850 USD if it is being declared at only 99 USD. He insisted that it must be declared according to his instructions so I told him okay but then since I was not able to insure it, if the package was lost or damaged, no refund was possible. He agreed. He paid on 13.12.16 and I shipped the item the same day at 17:30. Postal service said the delivery time was going to be 10 business days from the 14, so estimated delivery date was: 28.12.16. Buyer opened a case on PayPal the 21.12.16 (7 days before the estimated delivery date). On top of that, he said in one of his messages that his local postal office was closed until January 9. In other words, he could not receive anything before January 10. PayPal closed the case in his favour on January 11 (one day after the buyer's local post office reopened, they just didn’t care that the buyer’s postal office was closed until January 9)… I made an appeal, PayPal gave me 3 days to provide a proof of delivery from the French postal service (in these 3 days, there was Saturday and Sunday, so in other words, I had less than 24 hours to provide the document (and even if I had 3 days, it is not possible to get a document nor a reply from the French postal service in less than weeks (they literally tell you that they reply within 90 days))). The appeal was rejected on January 17. According to the information I later got from the postal service, the package was delivered on January 16 (one day before they rejected the appeal). I made a new appeal which was accepted on January 20 but they did not refund because and I quote: "even if the appeal was accepted, the decision to refund the buyer was right and it is not possible to go back." I just went berserk, I spammed them with emails and phone calls, even sent a recommended letter to PayPal EU. Everything I did was useless, they didn’t care.

More on this case: PayPal did not reply to most of the messages/emails I sent about the case (they only replied to maybe 4 / 25). A PayPal managed was supposed to call me back 9 times, he only called me back twice. PayPal refunded the buyer when it was agreed that no refund was possible. During the time the case was open they blocked/froze my account so it was not possible for me to buy/sell during more than one month. And I even had to fight after the case was closed to get the account restored…

- Case #05: Buyer opens a return case on eBay for item not according to description claiming that the item was not brand new (seal was not sealed) and one memory module was defective. I replied to the case with something similar to: “Hello, Sorry to hear the packaging was not sealed anymore. Honestly, I bought the two kits from the shop and I have never used them so I did not check if it was still sealed and I am surprised it was not. I checked the other kit I have here and it is also not sealed so I believe you. Can you please confirm that one module is working and one is defective? If yes, I see two options: One: You can RMA directly at Corsair. Two: I send you the other kit I have here and you return this one to me and I will RMA them myself. Please let me know and sorry for the inconvenience.â€. I also send this message to the buyer directly outside the case. I contacted the buyer again one week later because he did not reply to my message nor in the case. Still no reply so 10 days later I escalated the case into a claim saying that the buyer was unresponsive so eBay could step in and do something. And ho boy something they did: This is the email I got: “[…] and pay for the return shipping. […] We’ve placed the return on hold for 5 days to allow you to arrange the return shipping with your buyer. If you don’t provide a resolution to the buyer or facilitate the return of the item by 22 of March, we’ll close the return in the buyer’s favour and issue them with a refund, even if they haven’t returned the item.â€. I replied that the buyer did not open the claim (I did), the buyer was unresponsive, I asked them why I need to pay for the return of the item when every time I had to return an item that did not match the description I had to pay for the return (seller never paid return costs) and finally that what they wrote about “refunding the buyer even if they haven’t returned the item†was against their policy. They did not reply and closed the case in the buyer’s favour five days later. I wrote them many emails. They did reply to some (9/29) but it was always the same prewritten reply “the right decision was made†and in Spanish (because apparently, the eBay “team†that takes care of a case is the one from the site the buyer bought the item from and since the buyer bought the item on eBay Spain, I had to deal with the eBay Spain team). I even called eBay Spain and they told me the same “the right decision was madeâ€. I decided to call eBay France and the guy reviewed the case with me on the phone and agreed that eBay Spain mishandled the case and that what they did was wrong but unfortunately, he couldn’t do anything but send an email to eBay Spain asking them to reconsider the case. He did and eBay Spain replied once more “the right decision was madeâ€. On top of refunding the buyer and the item not being returned, eBay also did not refund the transaction fees (both eBay and PayPal fees were not refunded, which is also against their policy). I also sent a recommended letter to eBay France which was ignored I guess since they did not contact me or did anything.
- Case #06: Buyer sends me a message saying that he received the item and that the box, manual, accessories were missing and the item had traces of use, aka it was not new. I replied to him that this was normal since the listing was listed as “usedâ€, in the description it was written that the item was used and sold naked, the picture was also contractual (actual picture of the item). He then replied that since there was a part number in the listing that this meant that the item was new… Anyway, after many messages, he then opened a return case for item not according to the description. I obviously did not accept the return and 10 days later he was able to transform the case into a claim. eBay obviously closed the case in favour of the buyer. I contacted eBay asking the reasoning behind, they replied in German (because the buyer was from Germany) and basically said “we are not able to verify the item so whenever a buyer opens a case for item not according to description we close the case in favour of the buyerâ€. I called eBay Germany right away and the person who replied refused to speak anything other than German or transfer me to someone who speak English. For a good 20 minutes I was repeatedly asking him to transfer the call to an English-speaking employee and he repeatedly replied the same sentence in German over and over again… The call was terminated by him. At this point I was so upset you cannot imagine. I tried to call again and this time the person who took the call transferred me to someone who was speaking English and explained to me the same that I was told in the email. One day later I received an email that said “As I would really like to help you, I came up with an idea how you can receive a refund of the value fee for this item. Once a case has been opened, if the seller resolves the issue for the buyer within the first 10 days, the seller will qualify for an automatic final value fee credit. If the seller does not manage to resolve the problem within that time frame – the fees will not be credited. That means, if eBay closes the case in favour of your buyer, you will not get the fees.†I replied that this was against their policy (and linked to said policy) so if they do that it will be considered illegal. She replied “I have seen you provided us the French link with the return process. Please remember that this case has been resolved in accordance with the German PayPal’s Buyer Protection policy as your buyer has opened the case using German eBay website. As I mentioned before, according to the German PayPal's guidelines, you can get the eBay fees only if you issue a full refund to your buyer. If eBay closes the case in your buyer's favour, eBay will not refund the eBay fees anymore.â€. I replied that it did not make sense, I mean, I am registered on eBay.fr I agreed to eBay France terms and policies, I was not going to learn every single language and read the terms and policies of every single eBay website. To me it did not make sense that the policies from the buyer’s country will override the policies for the seller. I asked two times a link to said policy, and I was never provided one. Anyway, to not risk fees not being refunded I decided to issue the refund. Couple of days later I receive a package in the mail from the seller and the package was empty. I emailed eBay and they replied that since I decided to issue a refund, it was recognised by their system as a “case closed†and that an agreement was reached and therefore there was no possibility to appeal…


Except for case #06, the buyer never contacted me prior opening a case, they open a case straight away as if messaging the seller was not a possibility.


TL;DR: There are dishonest buyers and eBay/PayPal are protecting them and allowing them to operate. Their customer service is incompetent and deplorable. They do not even respect their own terms and policies since what they do is against. They don’t care about sellers. They will close a case in favour of the buyer no matter what, literally no matter what. They never do a proper investigation. Actually, I believe they do not even read the case since even with a ton of evidence in the seller’s favour and against the buyer they will close the case in favour of the buyer anyway. They also not reply to all messages/emails. Every single case has been mishandled and they don't care if they did something wrong. eBay/PayPal are two of the worst companies.


In the end I lost more than 2’000 € and wasted hours and hours and hours.

Edited by Christian Ney
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Just came across this article:

Ebay accused of failing its sellers as fraudulent buyers manipulate the system

Turns out there are many articles like this.



Maybe posting on reddit ?


I don't know which sub is more appropriate.


Why do you keep selling with PayPal? I don't get it. Already after the first case you should've just gone with IBAN


Different reasons:

- Bank transfer seem to be only a thing in Germany. I have rarely seen it elsewhere.


- Most buyers are scared off when they do not see PayPal (now I know why I guess, they want stuff for free)


- With my very first account, I had this every week: Buyers "buy" the item and then never pay. You then have to open a case for item not paid and wait and then relist. This wasted so much time weekly that I decided to use the option "require immediate payment" and this option requires PayPal.

Edited by Christian Ney
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After the horror stories above, here is a nice one:


Buyer asked me if it was possible to deal outside eBay, pay by bank transfer instead of PayPal and have a little discount (since I did not have to pay eBay/PayPal fees). I told him there was no problem. He paid via bank transfer and I shipped the item. Couple of weeks later, the guy sends me a message on eBay telling me he was so happy with the sale (item was in mint condition, he thought it was new) that he wanted me to relist the item so he could buy it on eBay in order to leave a positive feedback and then cancel the sale. I told him it was a bit "complicated" just for a feedback but he insisted. So we did it...


This happened three times (three different buyers).

Edited by Christian Ney
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I already pre-filed my claim for your next sale. :D


Thank you for your message, I will be able to prove it was premeditated and win the case... not


No wonder your having problems in eBay. Selling out side eBay is a big no no and if eBay finds out they will not care about you one bit.

Ebay has a system setup that scans all messages sent and if that system picks up people selling out side eBay your get in trouble such as losing seller protections.


This happened after most cases and I agreed solely because of all the past mishandled cases, I would not have agreed if everything was fine.


I checked and the account I am using now does not have any sanction so I do not think this has anything to do with it. And even if it did, I should have been informed no? I was never told that I lost seller protection or that I did anything wrong, it was always "we followed the PayPal Buyer Protection procedure" and "the decision that was made was right".


There is no such thing as a seller protection anyway.

Also, dealing outside eBay/PayPal is only a risk for the buyer because in this case the buyer is not protected (the seller is though). Ironically, it is in the best interest of the fraudulent buyer to deal inside eBay/PayPal since eBay/PayPal will protect them no matter what.


Not if the tracking says delivery and it was an item sold for less then 250$

If it was a item sold over 250$ and shipped without signature confirmation the tracking is worthless to eBay.


Call up eBay/PayPal and give them the tracking info.


Buyer chose a shipping option without tracking/insurance.

Edited by Christian Ney
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- Also, even if you do not use PayPal and a buyer opens a claim, eBay will close in their favor and ask you to refund. If you don't they will block your account and forward to debt collection. While this is good because they don't steal you, you are then registered at the debt collection office (or whatever it is called) and the account is blocked. So you need to make a new account if you want to continue selling on their platform.


I just learned today that what I wrote above is totally wrong. eBay will no do anything when the payment method is something else than PayPal.



Bad idea, offering such a shipping option say scam me.


Yes, just learned that eBay will ignore whatever you write in the listing. If you write this for example:



"Too many buyers take advantage of Paypal's policy. From now on, if you select a shipping option that does not offer any compensation, no refund will be possible. Choose wisely."


eBay will ignore it completely even if the buyer bought knowingly and "agreed to these terms". If the seller cannot provide a tracking, he is screwed no matter what.

My fault for offering cheap shipping options?


First no eBay/PayPal policy says you cant open a case in eBay and PayPal,Your allowed one case on both PayPal and eBay so long as they are not open at the same time or you won one already. The right thing to do in this case is to call eBay ASAP and open an investigation (get a claim ID) give them the evidence that the item was not delivered do to the buyer not dealing with customs and state the PayPal case was closed in your favor. If you are unable to file a counter claim or investigation before the case is closed file a appeal ASAP.


Both eBay and PayPal told me (on both the phone and via email) that it is not possible to open a claim on both sites for the same object. Only one can be made no more. So I don't know where exactly this is written in their Policy but they told me it is not possible. They could not believe when I told them that someone managed to do it, they said that the system does not allow it, it is not possible.

Yes, I did all that, I told them all that, I wrote them all that.


Ok this one is a bit tricky, I would suggest shipping with something like DHL or ups when shipping internationally so this kind of thing can't happen.

You can appeal a case upto 90 days after the case was closed, if you filed a appeal after the 90 days your just about crap out of luck.

However not all is lost, file police reports for mail fraud before trying filing a appeal, let PayPal/eBay know of this and they may buy you off even after the 90 days, your have to call PayPal/eBay to file the appeal.

If the tracking says delivered and PayPal lets the buyer win ether PayPal made a mistake or a item sold for over 250$ was sent without signature confirmation.


DHL, USP is too expensive for those cheap buyers. 90 days really? I was given 7 or 12 days (I dont remember exactly but I can look it up).

I did go to the Police once or twice, was useless and just a waste of time. eBay/PayPal did nothing.

Yes, they only do mistakes.


OK if the buyer open a INR but you have tracking that says otherwise if doesn't matter what was in the box if anything.

INR claims means the buyer got NOTHING, not even a box with a shipping label.

the best thing to do at this point is to call up PayPal and show them the tracking data.

Also PayPal/Ebay will not watch videos unless a real persions is show the vids, PayPal/Ebay dispute system is automated until someone calls in to PayPal/Ebay.


Don't you think I did all that? Man, I sent about 30 emails and also made up to 10 phone calls for each case. Everything was useless.


This is your fault. NEVER NEVER NEVER do anything like this, if someone asked you to do this block them, if they buy a item and ask afterwords block them and cancel the sale. Lying on customs forms is fraud and for a 850$ item, a real bad idea.


Well, I did protect myself including the terms in the invoice. Again, useless because PayPal.

Also, this is not about the customs. It is about PayPal mishandling the case and making mistakes.

But yeah, I agree, I am accomplice of customs fraud.


Looks like eBay made a mistake here, best thing you can do is to call up eBay and let them know, if they say they will do something make sure they do. if they say they will refund your fees and don't, don't pay them. if they sell the dept to a dept collector let them know what happened.


Maybe in the US calling eBay is "useful" but here in EU, as I showed here, it is completely useless. Of course I did call them many times and explained them the situation every single time.


You should have call up eBay ASAP when the case was opened and opened a opened a claim (get an claim ID) and have them look at the case.

You did nothing wrong in eBay's eyes and make the mistake of letting eBay's automated system let the buyer when the case.


Of course I did, no f*cks were given.

Edited by Christian Ney
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Of course they did.

I'm sorry for you. :(


Your post above.....ebay works the same way in the US.

Horse is out of his mind.


Wow, so I made an appeal yesterday and wrote: "Hello, Can you please explain your decision? In the listing it is clearly written: "Too many buyers take advantage of Paypal s policy. From now on, if you select a shipping option that does not offer any compensation, no refund will be possible. Choose wisely.". The buyer chose the shipping option without tracking nor insurance. When he bought the item he agreed the the terms in the listing and bought knowingly. I even pointed it out to him via private message before sending, he said it was no problem. He also requested to declare it as a gift with low value for the customs. Therefore this transaction is non refundable, you have 48 hours to refund me, if you fail, I will have no other choice than taking legal actions against eBay."


PS: I forgot to mention he was a so called "profile-0" that registered 14 days before the transaction.


This morning I received an email from eBay US (item was purchased from eBay US website) and a full refund:

"Dear Christian,


Thanks for contacting eBay about the *item* (*item number*) that you sold. My name is ***** and I am a specialist for eBay's Resolution Center. I reviewed your email, and I understand that you are you would like to appeal our decision. I'm happy to help you with this.


After looking into the case details, I'm very glad to inform you that I successfully granted your appeal and refund was sent thru your PayPal account amounting to EUR ***.**. It will be posted in the next 24-72 hours.


Thank you for entrusting your online trading needs to eBay. We truly appreciate your business.


Thanks for choosing eBay and have a good day!



Someone from eBay US"


Is this a dream? Is this reality? Is eBay US the only eBay that actually does not ignore appeals? covfefe?


This is the first time that I win a case as seller... Lets buy a lottery ticket

Edited by Christian Ney
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  • 3 weeks later...

Looks like when selling hardware you have 85% chance to end up with either scam or people sending stuff back stating it as "defective".


Sold my Antec 1200W PSU which was like a tank - nearly immortal if you ask me. Tested it right before selling it and everything was fine.


The buyer claimed it shut down his entire power, blowing the fuses - I couldn't believe.

Now I tested it here after getting it back and guess what - all I was greeted was a tiny bit of magic smoke when trying to fire it up again. WTF? I can't even imagine how this is possible - I still sended back 75 of 110€ just to close the case and got an email stating "I will inform ebay, leave negative comment, blablabla"...


Seriously what's wrong with those people around ebay? And what on earth are they doing with the hardware they recieve?

For now I only sell old console stuff and keep away hardware from there - it's just not worth the pain and time.

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Just don't accept PayPal you will get negative feedback like this fom people stating they are "computer technic" but got the money :) I just don't give a damn, bank transfer only, except i sell items where i can risk the 50% chance that buyer will just keep the item and my money :D

I also have the same rules for any other trading platform TBH, because the moment you let your guard down on any trading platform you're going to get f***ed in one way or another, especcially with PayPal, since you can also claim refund through PayPal directly unless it's PayPal friends...



Edited by TAGG
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