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PayPal Buyer-Seller Protection and Avoidance of Fraud-Scam Situations
Donald Reinhardt, January 22, 2013

I like and prefer protection, especially free protection – I like that very much. Most protection that we need, we pay for and we call that insurance – life, auto, home, fire, theft, travel insurances – and almost always all of these require the  payment of a fee and  that protection is not free. So, whenever I buy something from eBay or use PayPal and I am hoping that their free protection, their free insurance, which is always there, will:

1.      never have to be used

2.     and if needed, will work for the person wrongfully aggrieved

Since I value honest dealings and have high standards for all my transactions I expect the same from others. This does not always happen. And, when it doesn’t, it is time to fight to get your money back.

This is the second in a series of two articles on insurance protection afforded by eBay and PayPal and in each case I was a valid and true purchaser of products that were misrepresented. In the first actual case with eBay, an overseas seller used a scheme to defraud me of money and you can see how well it was meant to work and how there was appropriate intervention and recovery by reading here. The second and most recent case involved an Internet purchase and a PayPal transaction with a gross error by a supplier who shipped the wrong battery replacement even though it was advertised as a suitable replacement for my portable laptop computer. That is the case I will present following and it is interesting due to several layers of corporate intertwining and camouflage and my perceived belief of attempts at delay and deception in the refund process.
Fraud and scams are everywhere and consumers must be wary. Photo Credit: Consumer agency of the

Internet Searches for the Best and Cheapest Prices are Always Important

Before going into the actual case here are a few words about buying on the Internet:

1.      You can save money buying on the Internet, especially if there is Free Shipping. But Free Shipping alone is unsuitable if the price is too high for the product or the supplier or company is suspect.

2.     Buy only from known and reputable sources. If the supplier is an unknown or a new corporate entity look up the supplier under scams, complaints, poor service, refund policy. Don’t take the word of the dealer, especially if the dealer is unknown to you.

3.     If you cannot determine the reliability of the supplier then make a note of that site and move around and gather up some more sites. Once you find a good reliable supplier at the price you like that is the time to make your purchase. If two companies are almost the same, but one is a little pricier, it may well be better to pay just a little more if that is the more reputable or known company.

4.     Finally, money-back guarantees are important and the timeline allowed for returns is also important. Is the return for a week, a month, 3 months or six months? What is the policy and guarantee offered for the product you are seeking? Is it money back or a replacement? These are all important points to remember.

That’s probably enough information for now and we can proceed to the laptop battery story which could be a story about any product you kind of other product you could imagine.

The Laptop Battery, PayPal and the Corporate-Company-Supplier Mistake

I did a standard, quick search and soon found what seemed to be just the right battery at the right price and the company indicated which computers this battery would fit. The battery price was right, guaranteed to be returnable within 30 days, guaranteed for a year of full and good service was new and was located in Brooklyn, NY. So, after comparing and looking, I proceeded to order and used PayPal to pay for it.

The battery arrived within about 7 days and it was new, well-packed and protected. A first look showed that that battery was for a Sony computer whereas I had ordered one for an HP Pavilion. I thought, well, probably both machines use the same type battery – a totally wrong assumption. Upon unpacking I saw a battery much larger than my battery replacement – this was a battery that would not fit in the laptop computer. “Drats!” I exclaimed, yes, I try to keep my epithets under control because this is life as it rolls along like this for us many times during the year.

So, the next step was to return the battery. Simple enough to do that, I thought. The instructions said to contact the company for a Return Item Authorization number.  I sent off the e-mail to ask for that at about day 10. No response by day 14, so out went another e-mail and another no response. I decided to seek the phone  number to call for the RIA, there was none. Upon more research I found this company also has another name which I linked to the supplier in Brooklyn so they had a phone number and numerous calls were made, there was no busy signal ever, but the phone was never answered. I was stymied again and again and the return time clock was still clicking down toward the 30 day return limit to get your  money-back policy. So, to PayPal and the filing of a dispute.

How PayPal Manages Disputes and Claims by Either the Buyer or the Seller or Both in PayPal’s Own Words

Dispute: The buyer and seller have 20 days to communicate directly to resolve an issue with this transaction. All disputed funds are held until the issue is resolved. If both parties can't agree to a solution, either party can escalate this to a PayPal claim.


Escalation The buyer or seller asks PayPal to review the case and decide the outcome. We make every effort to resolve the claim within 30 days and restore funds to the rightful owner.


Awaiting other party's response: PayPal requests more information from the seller to resolve the issue. If the seller doesn't respond within 10 days, we close the case and restore funds to the rightful owner.


Requiring your action: PayPal requests more information from the buyer to resolve the issue. If the buyer doesn't respond within the allotted timeframe, we close the case and restore funds to the rightful owner.


Being reviewed by PayPal: We review the information the buyer and seller have provided. We try to reach a final decision quickly, but complex cases may take longer and require additional information from the buyer or seller.


Item return: The seller or PayPal may decide to grant a full refund to the buyer if the merchandise is returned. Once delivery is confirmed and the refund is processed, the case is closed.


The Buyer-Seller Dispute and Claims Comments for a Sale Gone Bad and Paid for with PayPal

Here are the commentaries I filed with PayPal with no response on the PayPal site by the seller except for one e-mail sent to me by the seller to my regular e-mail. What you see below here are the actual content and commentaries of the claims made and filed at PayPal by me from the initial dispute to upgraded recorded dispute and after 1 week the escalation of this whole process to an actual claim for the refund of $50.95.

  • 11/15/2012 12:25 PST - Buyer: These messages were sent to A and B companies which are intertwined or one and the same with no response for RCA (Return Customer Authorization). Please note that phone at company B does not pick up but rings constantly. Info below is about this dispute:
  • This is the wrong battery size despite triple checking and verifying. This is the third request for RCA (authorization) for return. No response to two previous e-mails and you have no phone customer service. This is not a good sign folks. Please respond today. I will seek legal remedy including the NY State Attorney General for failure to respond to this request! Thank you.

E-mail to Company A:  I need an RCA. Order Confirmation/ incompatible battery size received. Dear Company B folks: I need an authorization for return RCA immediately for mailing today. Please see e-mail below regarding the details of the battery received from you. Sincerely, Donald Reinhardt--------------------------------------------------------------------From: …Sent: Friday, November 9, 2012 9:04:37 AM Subject: Re: Order Confirmation/ incompatible battery size received

Dear Company B: I have received the LH27 WKN 1204050222 Battery which absolutely is oversized for my HP Pavilion dv6-1030us computer which the battery was supposed to fit. The inside instruction indicates in a trouble shooting guide that "MY Sony computer keeps showing battery incompatibility..." The advertisement for this battery was carefully screened by me and the battery is oversized and does not fit this HP Pavilion dv6-1030us . I need to return the battery and need a Return Confirmation or Return Authorization number. I will ship the battery back by priority mail insured and am wondering how could you advertise so poorly.

  • 11/20/2012 04:52 PST - Buyer: I received the e-mail from Store C as copied and pasted below. I have not received the Return UPS label as promised and have e-mailed them to send that item as promised. They should have sent that label with the same e-mail to me and never did. I am waiting for that and have sent them a follow-up e-mail today. Store C’s (intertwined with stores A and B) e-mail to me: “Dear, We really apologize for the inconvenience and late reply. Could you please kindly provide us the part number of your original battery in order to find the compatible battery? we need to check the part number before we purchase. Before that, you just need write RMA#20604 on the outside of the package, then send it to : C at this address (edited). We have already sent you a UPS shipping label with tracking#1Z888R809094086728 to your email address so you can print it out and send the item back to us free of charge. Please be sure to check your spam messages also. If you don't receive the shipping label within 24 hours please contact us again tomorrow. Should you have any further information, Please feel free to let me know. Best regards.
  • 11/23/2012 16:50 PST - Buyer: I have sent e-mails for the actual promised labels for return after receiving the Return Authorization number. Because these e-mails have been ignored I sent the battery by USPS Priority Mail with delivery confirmation. That battery was delivered complete with all 4 of the enclosed and required printed materials to the Company C alluded to in their e-mail to me. Appended below is the actual receipt and delivery confirmation from the USPS which delivered that item today Friday the 23rd of November. Further, the cost of my paying for this return, which was promised to be covered in the e-mail from Company C in their apology for the delay was $10.65. Receipt and photograph evidence for the same is available. Appended below is USPS actual report on deliver and delivery number: Your Label Number Service Status of Your Item Date & Time Location Features 03122120000210876807Priority Mail® Delivered November 23, 2012, 8:16 am BROOKLYN, NY 11214 Expected Delivery By: November 23, 2012 Delivery Confirmation™ Insured Arrival at Post Office November 23, 2012, 5:14 am BROOKLYN, NY 11214 Depart USPS Sort Facility November 22, 2012 ATLANTA, GA 30320 Processed at USPS Origin Sort Facility November 21, 2012, 7:27 pm ATLANTA, GA 30320 Dispatched to Sort Facility November 21, 2012, 1:37 pm GRAYSON, GA 30017 Acceptance
  • 11/23/2012 17:07 PST - PayPal: Buyer escalated this dispute to a Claim.
  • 11/23/2012 17:07 PST - Buyer: I have contacted the Supplier multiple times to get a Return Authorization. Only when I filed a dispute with PayPal did they respond within the next day and apologized for the delay. They promised to send me a return label for return by UPS in a separate e-mail and gave a tracking number, but they sent no label with that first e-mail, or the next day, or the next day and when 4 separate requests were made – they NEVER responded at all. Next, this a layered company with three different names as I found out over the last week. They have no direct functional e-mails for company A, B or C (here changed to letters for legal reasons) and did not responded to any e-mail sent to any of those e-mails. Further, no phone calls seem to work for any of the last sites of this C company which was the respondent via PayPal dispute e-mail. I would never deal with this company again because they advertised a battery they listed as appropriate and it was not, they never responded to a request for RCA or RMA until I filed a dispute and they promised a return mail label which they never delivered (see e-mails involved in dispute). This company has amazingly poor consumer response and seems to be engaged in a routine practice of non-response and avoidance. The company needs to be accessible and responsive. The use of two overlay companies A and B to hide the real corporate entity C and the inability to be contacted by C until the dispute was filed with PayPal is simply amazing. I have dealt with many companies via eBay and PayPal over many years and this and one other transaction about a year ago are the two worst transactions I have ever experienced.

The PayPal Dispute with the Supplier Company Timeline

I sent the first e-mail to the PayPal dispute center and explained all the details. Here is the actual recorded PayPal timeline and the list of the actions as PayPal dealt with and recorded the dispute between me as the Buyer and the supplier:

  • Dec 4, 2012 - PayPal: Email sent to seller
  • Dec 4, 2012 - PayPal: Email sent to buyer
  • Nov 23, 2012 - PayPal: Email sent to seller
  • Nov 23, 2012 - PayPal: Email sent to buyer
  • Nov 23, 2012 - Buyer: Dispute escalated to claim
  • Nov 23, 2012 - PayPal: Email sent to seller
  • Nov 20, 2012 - PayPal: Email sent to seller
  • Nov 23, 2012 - Buyer: Dispute filed
  • Nov 15, 2012 - PayPal: Email sent to seller
  • Nov 15, 2012 - PayPal: Email sent to buyer
  • Nov 15, 2012 - Buyer: Dispute filed

How Good is PayPal Protection and Service – This Customer Says A+ and Excellent

Yes, it is only one transaction, but everything is in place at both PayPal and eBay to get it right. If something is wrong you have to find out what is wrong and who is wrong. Therefore eBay and Paypal are each a judge with no jury and they judge the situation based on all the known and presented facts. Everytime you use a credit card, eBay or PayPal the judge is the big company who handled your transaction of merchandise or money or both. PayPal works and they work to get it right. I know because I got my $50.95. What did I lose? Some sleep, some rest, the right battery, the $10.65 which the company said they would reimburse me for but never did. It was a win for me and possibly for others because the mark of incompetence and poor service is on the back of companies A, B and C which are all part of the same layered scheme that delayed and tried to obfuscate this transaction. Hopefully, they will correct and mend their ways or go out of business – either situation works for me.

Remember it is always a policy of “Buyer Beware.” Money is too hard to come by and to easily taken by scams and deceptive business practices.

Fight for your money to be returned, but always be better prepared not to give it to someone who really has no intent to do you justice and correct the situation unless forced to.

Buyers always need Protection, Guarantees, Insurance and Enforcers. Better to avoid the bad situation, spend time to find the right supplier and enjoy a worry-free transaction.

The punctuation mark on all this is written below by PayPal in their final summary message to me on this claim and dispute:

Disputed Amount: $50.95 USD
Buyer reason(s): Different Model
Status: Your claim has been resolved and you'll receive a $50.95 USD refund.
What happens next: Please allow up to 7 days for the refund to appear in your account. Once the refund is complete, the case will be closed.

The case was closed. PayPal backed the buyer and the claim made and the wronged situation was made whole!

Yeah for PayPal! Yes, Three cheers for PayPal.
Consumer Agency of the FTC. 2013. Consumer Information. Accessed, January 22, 2013 @
Reinhardt, Donald. 2011. Facts: An eBay Seller Scam Fails As Buyer Protection Vanquishes & Wins. Accessed January 22,2013.
Reinhardt, Donald. 2011. Guinea Pig People Buyers as Economic Experimental Animals and Lessons to Learn. Accessed January 22, 2013