It’s that time of year, isn’t it? The time when we buy, sell, and gift all sorts of things with those we love. It can be a great time to find great deals on things you’ve been waiting months on purchasing. It can be a great time to sell some things you’ve been ready to get rid of, giving someone else a deal on a device or gizmo they would never find in a store.
It’s also a painful time to get robbed by PayPal. I just did, and I’d like to take a moment of your time to issue a Buyer Beware for anyone looking to sell on any service that uses PayPal as the transaction merchant.
The Quick Story
Look, I know you’ve got shopping to do and a million other holiday-related tasks to accomplish, so I want to be brief with all this.
Back in early July, (yes, July – as in nearly 5 months ago) I used Swappa to sell a mint-condition HP Chromebook 13 G1 with a Core m5 and 8GB of RAM. The sale went quickly and everything was fine.
Just a week ago, I get an email from PayPal saying a dispute had been raised against me for something I sold. To be honest, I couldn’t remember what that would have been. I quickly looked into the issue and found that the dispute was over the HP 13 G1. As I dug into the issue (wondering first why this took so long to become an issue in the first place), I became aware of what the problem was: I’d been accused of falsifying my listing.
The buyer basically told PayPal that they looked into the “settings” on the Chromebook and found it was actually a 4GB model, not the 8GB that was listed.
I, of course responded to the claim with screenshots of the Amazon order where I’d originally purchased the Chromebook and added in the fact that HP doesn’t manufacture a version of this Chromebook with a Core m5 and 4GB of RAM. That device literally doesn’t exist.
Additionally, the return wasn’t going through Swappa because the buyer had been “removed” from their site. Shady? Yeah.
Let’s just say I felt confident that when they took a look, they’d see the error and put this whole affair behind us.
They did not.
Instead, they ordered me to refund the buyer and instructed me that the device would be on its way and I needed to verify the contents of the package when it arrived. I was upset, sure, but I figured when I received the Chromebook I could show even more concrete evidence that the buyer clearly lied to them and I was in the right.
The Chromebook Came This Weekend
So, this weekend, the device arrived on my doorstep. I quickly opened it up, logged in, and checked the settings. Unsurprisingly, I found what I knew to be true: a Core m5 and 8GB of RAM.
I verified in Chrome System, the System app, and COG. Again, I wasn’t surprised, but I called PayPal and forced the case into appeal status. Once re-opened, I submitted screenshots with further proof the buyer has blatantly lied to them and was forcing me to return a device after 5 months based on an outright lie. Surely this appeal would work, right?
Not so much.
Within 24 hours, I was told that the buyer would need to be refunded. Over this, I had little control as they had already debited the money from my checking account anyway.
Too Big To Fail
So, in the end, I have a very nice Chromebook back in my possession along with a complete lack of confidence in ever selling or buying anything with PayPal. The utter disregard for fact, evidence and proof are startling to me. I can see them being lenient with buyers inside a 30-day window, but 5 months??? How is this even remotely acceptable?
And that is the issue, isn’t it? None of this is acceptable, but PayPal really doesn’t give a rip. After multiple phone calls and tweets to their “help” account, there’s nothing but silence. They won’t fix this and feel little need to. It is a case of “too big to fail” at this point, and it is infuriating.
I’m making peace with it all, but there’s just something so wrong about all of this and it makes me not want to ever use anything associated with PayPal ever again. However, as much as I’d love to just cut ties and be done with them, there’s nothing I can really do to avoid them completely if I want to sell items online. It’s a shame, really, because sites like Swappa are fantastic for buying and selling devices. PayPal should really stay out of the business of returns, though. Let the store handle that stuff.
I can’t imagine a scenario where I call my bank and expect them to broker a return for something I bought at Target. That wouldn’t make any sense, would it?
What To Do?
Again, there’s not much I can actually do about this now. I have a pointed tweet out there about it, so you can retweet and like it to draw attention to the issue. I’d appreciate that, but I don’t think PayPal will do anything about all this.
Wow @AskPayPal, I'm shocked at how poorly you treat sellers. Sold a device 5 MONTHS AGO on Swappa – forced (after 2 appeals) to accept a return. Buyer lied, said the listing was inaccurate. Even after PROVING that was not the case, you ruled in his favor. #shameful #whatAJoke
— Robby Payne (@robby_payne) November 27, 2017
What I’d love, more than any other resolution, is to sell this Chromebook to someone who would love a great deal and not use PayPal to do so.
In that spirit, I’m willing to do a simple, direct sale if anyone is looking for a fantastic Chromebook. Let’s say $399 as a Cyber Monday deal for the HP Chromebook 13 G1 8GB/32GB Core m5. Great device you can see our review of right here, and it has the Play Store out of the box. If you are interested,
hit me up. The first person I get an email and payment from (we’ll discuss that stuff in email) will get the device. I’ll ship it for free, too.
I figure the best way to respond to getting screwed is to extend a killer deal. Hope it helps someone out!
:: UPDATE ::
This morning I’ve secured the sale of this Chromebook to a reader and, because we have the MOST AWESOME readers, recouped my money in full. The sad part is this deal is no longer available, so thanks to all those who reached out. You all are the best!!!