PayPal Return Policy: 'Destroy this $2,500 WWII Violin'
PayPal Makes Buyer Destroy Vintage Violin
PayPal doesn't like to make small mistakes. They prefer to completely fuck things up. Take the case of Erica, who contacted Regretsy over a strange and destructive encounter she had with PayPal.
Erica sold a $2,500 vintage violin to a customer via PayPal. The customer disputed the violin's authenticity. (Erica says that a luthier appraised the violin and declared it legit). PayPal's ruling: the violin must be destroyed.
Not returned. Not reappraised. Destroyed. That violin had survived World War II, but did not survive PayPal.
Rather than have the violin returned to me, PayPal made the buyer DESTROY the violin in order to get his money back. They somehow deemed the violin as “counterfeit” even though there is no such thing in the violin world.
Wait, PayPal can force a buyer to destroy an item in order to get a refund? Hang on, there it is in the Terms of Service...
For SNAD Claims, PayPal may require you to ship the item back to the seller - or to PayPal - or to a third party at your expense, and to provide proof of delivery. Please take reasonable precautions in re-packing the item to reduce the risk of damage to the item during transit. PayPal may also require you to destroy the item and to provide evidence of its destruction.
If you're wondering how destroying the contested item helps anyone, you aren't alone. Note that PayPal's policies are intended to make life easier for PayPal, not you. This is why ebay's payment service doesn't make the seller send a prepaid shipping label, or, and I'm just throwing this out there, defer to someone who actually knows what they're talking about when verifying the authenticity of an item.
PayPal: Not the Only Game in Town
PayPal is owned by eBay, which is why it's the only payment service that the online auction house allows. However, you don't need to use PayPal webwide. Here are some alternatives:
- Amazon Payments: Useful for Cydia Marketplace, for all you iPhone jailbreakers.
- Dwolla: Leverages your existing bank relationships; free micropayments.
- Serve: Run by AmEx, this one's US-only.
Just because PayPal is the biggest player, doesn't mean you have to play with them. Remember, eBay isn't the only place on the web where you can buy stuff. The story above illustrates the reason I closed my US PayPal account: I don't want such a badly-run organization to be handling my online transactions if I can help it, and there are too many viable alternatives here in the year 2012.