My Perfect eBay Feedback is Gone, Thanks to a Seller that Hides Behind PayPal Policies to Perpetuate Fraud

Edit: I rewrote and cleaned this post up a bit, since a bit has changed.

A little bit ago, this was my eBay feedback:

Feedback Score: 335
Positive Feedback: 100%

Members who left a positive: 336
Members who left a negative: 0

All positive feedback received: 516

But, yeah, that has now changed.

A while back, I wanted a copy of the recent Blender issue with Biggie on the cover. I wanted one without an address printed on it. I found one. The listing even had a picture of the magazine. No address printed. No mention of the photo being altered, no mention that it is a stock photo.

So, I won the auction at $3.50 (with shipping). So, I receive it and I open it and… great, it has an address on it. So, I contacted the seller on March 31. No response. Contacted him on April 7. No response. Finally, I opened a claim with PayPal on like April 15. He responded finally, telling me to send it back. The only thing is that it wasn’t my mistake. If it is my mistake, I’ll gladly pay for return shipping. But, if it’s not – if I was mislead – then I shouldn’t have to.

So, he got rude, asked me if I was serious, told me I didn’t know what I was talking about and so on and so forth. So, it became clear that it was time to end communication with the seller – he doesn’t care about buyer satisfaction and he said so (see below). So, I said that I would have to escalate it to PayPal. I said: “Very well. I will escalate the claim now. Thank you.”. His response?

Very well. now you will pay for ship. and get bad feedback. 100% not no more. i don’t care about my feedback mr. every penny counts. lol

Nice guy. “100% not no more” – he was right about that because he gave me negative feedback. The comment? “.” Of course. People like this are, of course, what’s wrong with eBay, PayPal… and everything else on the internet. I don’t have perfect feedback anymore because of this idiot. I realize it’s just eBay feedback… but, it’s still annoying when you try to do everything right.

Anyway, I’m not one to be threatened or to bow out when I’m in the right, even over $3.50. Money’s money and I value mine. So, I escalated the claim to PayPal. Little did I know that PayPal policies favored the sellers in such a way where they could simply silence the dispute by selecting a (ratio button or drop down menu, I’m sure) option saying they’ll refund my money if I send the item back. Here is an exact quote:

The seller has offered to provide a full refund once you return the item in its original condition. Please send the item to the seller at the following address:


You are responsible for shipping and handling costs associated with returning the item. Once you ship the item, please provide us with an online tracking number by Apr. 27, 2007. This tracking number allows us to confirm that you shipped the item. Please understand that if you fail to provide this information, your case will automatically be closed.

We recommend that you ship the item using a service that can supply proof of shipment or a tracking number. Otherwise, you may need to rely on the seller to confirm if the item was received.

Shortly thereafter, an e-mail from that great fellow, the seller:

Subject: LOL

Message: ship it back.

Of course, I am not going to ship this guy anything. I’d have to pay the $2.55 plus tracking since he can’t be trusted. I imagine that’d push it even closer… perhaps over… the original $3.50 I paid. So, sending it back makes no sense. I’ll just cancel the claim, I guess, since that makes the most sense. This guy has effectively hidden behind PayPal policies to perpetuate fraud and I’ll be saying as much when I leave feedback for him.

I don’t know how I feel about a system that allows this guy to get away with this. As an eBay shareholder, it’s really concerning. Are there any eBay or PayPal bloggers out there?

Patrick O'Keefe

Managing online communities since 2000, I publish a collective of websites known as the iFroggy Network. I wrote the book Managing Online Forums and, as a public speaker, have presented for organizations like CNN, institutions like Australian National University and conferences like SXSW. More about me.



about 13 years ago

Man, that sucks. This is one of the reasons I hate how anonymous the internet can be. Some people are so petty and small. Pathetic.



about 13 years ago

I had a problem sort of like that a while back, though in my case is was a ~$40 game that turned out to be fake. I didn't want to pay the return shipping either, since the seller never really shipped what I purchased, but based on some research I did, there's actually some kind of law (in addition to the Paypal policy) that requires the buyer to pay for the return.

Fortunately, my idiot had already left positive feedback.



about 13 years ago

Thanks for the comments, guys. :)

I'd be curious to know more about that law, Jeremy, if you remember the details or a link.

I'm considering disputing the charge with my credit card company, but am not sure of the ramifications to my PayPal account...



about 13 years ago

I've been selling though e-commerce for more than 7 years, and I've never heard of such a law. PayPal may have a policy, but if you order something and it was not accurately described, or the seller misrepresented the product you have the right to do a chargeback which will refund EVERYTHING, and there's nothing stating you have to send the product back either.

And most of them will stick, especially if you can provide evidence to support your claim. If the seller wants his product back, he can pay to ship it.



about 13 years ago

Thanks for that.



about 13 years ago

I didn't save any links about that law, unfortunately. This was all about a month ago for me, so my memory is a little sketchy on some details.

I guess I should rephrase the previous post a little too; it sounds a bit misleading in retrospect. From what I read (and this isn't confirmed, so it could have been total fabrication), sellers aren't legally required to pay return shipping. They can if they want, but if the seller chooses not to pay it, then the buyer has to cover the cost if the item is shipped back.

Either way, when dealing with the issue through Paypal's disputes, they do have a policy that says return shipping is the buyer's responsibility. It doesn't seem just to me, but that's the policy.



about 13 years ago

No worries. Thanks Jeremy. :)

That is definitely their policy.


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