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Buyer trying to scam me and PayPal is a facilitator!

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  • Buyer trying to scam me and PayPal is a facilitator!

    Here is my scenario:

    I had a customer purchase a CPAP battery over two years ago. This spring he emailed us saying that he was having problems with his battery. I gave him some testing instructions to follow, and unfortunately it turned out to be a bad cell in the batter = no way to repair it. At this point he was 1 1/2 years outside the one-year warranty on the product, so I could not warranty it for him either. If a customer is within a month or two I usually try to give them a grace period, but obviously can't do this for 1+ years outside the warranty. I apologized to him for the trouble, and offered to sell him a replacement battery at our cost. Later that day he tried to submit a product review on the battery saying that it was a crappy product and how unfair we were to him by not replacing it. Obviously, we did not approve that review.

    Several months go by, and he puts in an online order for a new battery and we ship it out to him. A few weeks later, we get a notice from PP saying that the buyer is filing a claim, saying that the products was not as represented. We could see it coming at this point - his intention all along was to buy the new battery, claim it was defective and then send his old battery back to us. Sure enough, we get a box sent back to us with the old battery in it. It showed obvious signs of damage - he had apparently tried to open it to try to "fix" it or something. It was missing a piece of trim that goes down one side of the case to hide some screws. He even went as far as removing the serial number from the new battery and sticking it onto the back of the old one that he sent back. You can see where the corners of the sticker are rounded off from him peeling it off.

    What he didn't count on was the fact that the manufacturer made a significant change to the finish of the case of the newer batteries. The new ones have a matte finish, and the older ones like he sent back have a shiny finish. We took detailed pictures of the one he sent back alongside the new ones, and the difference is obvious. We also obtained emails from the manufacturer stating that the unit that was sent back had been tampered with, and also stating that the newer style case had been in production for over a year.

    Nevertheless, after submitting all of this information to PayPal to support our case, they unbelievably ruled in favor of the buyer! Do we as sellers have any protection at all against scam artists who pull stunts like this? Of course we sent the product via FedEx with signature required, but sadly there is little if anything to protect us from this.

    Has anyone had any success with an appeal process with PayPal? I have read that a few found some success by contacting the BBB in California, PP's home state. That might be my next move. Aside from that, we may have to think about putting a dollar amount limit on transactions that can be run through PayPal to minimize our exposure.

  • #2
    BBB is a toothless organization. PayPal, as with all credit card processors, will err in favor of the buyer if there is a question. I think you are going to have to take a loss on this one, but do try the appeals process.

    I don't think you would be any better-protected with any other card processor in a situation like this, unfortunately.

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    • #3
      I don't think you would be any better-protected with any other card processor in a situation like this, unfortunately.
      Completely agree. As on-line retailers we are completely at the mercy of processors and the good will of the customer.

      All a customer has to say is they did not authorize the transaction. Without a signed slip, they win every time, and they do not even have to return your merchandise even if you show that the item was delivered to their billing address.

      Just let it go, and hope that bad karma gets even with him.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by elightbox View Post
        Without a signed slip, they win every time
        That's the thing - I have a signature, and I have irrefutable proof that he sent back an old battery. I might be pizzing in the wind, but I'm not giving up on this one without a fight. Sending additional photos to PayPal along with emails showing the customer had an out-of-warranty issue with his original purchase and made a second purchase weeks after our emails with him. PayPal sent me an email asking for feedback about the claim. It might go nowhere, but I'm at least going to vent about it.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by BestCPAPprice View Post
          That's the thing - I have a signature, and I have irrefutable proof that he sent back an old battery. I might be pizzing in the wind, but I'm not giving up on this one without a fight. Sending additional photos to PayPal along with emails showing the customer had an out-of-warranty issue with his original purchase and made a second purchase weeks after our emails with him. PayPal sent me an email asking for feedback about the claim. It might go nowhere, but I'm at least going to vent about it.
          Yes this one is definitely worth fighting and venting about. Get it all out!

          Your proof that the battery is old requires some patience and nuance to understand why it is irrefutable. I just don't have much faith in the front line Chargeback investigators to do more than give it a 30 second once-over.

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          • #6
            Just a clarification:
            with a "signed slip", I meant a charge slip with the customer signature on it, not a delivery signature.

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            • #7
              This sounds like fraud to me. I would suggest contacting the police in his are and advise them of the problem. Perhaps they can help nail this guy.
              Rob

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