CHINESE SILVER TORTURE- sponsored by PayPal- Pt 1

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Okay girls and boys, everyone settle down, and let me read you a little story. Its a bit like Jack and the Beanstalk, but modernised a little- through the wonder of email, I shall let the various characters speak for themselves. There is a moral to this story as always…

A set of gold-plate panda silver coin in the box
Item number: ****8637
"coin is issue by the People's Bank of China"

The item in question, are five magic coins. Now  silver has been rising in value, and these looked good- Ive also dealt with China before, and not had reason to worry- after all, why shouldnt I? Why magic? Read on you shall see:

From: robotnyk_again

Sent:  2002-07-04
a good job but I need one more piece of information from you. what is the origin of the 1kg coin? can you assure me that it is of .999 silver?

Sent:  25 April 2006  To: robotnyk_again
Subject :  Message from eBay Member Regarding Item

Dear friend,
Very happy letter received you. I am a Coin agent, The material is 999 silvers and gild, You can examine, the item is a memorial currency,

From: robotnyk_again Sent :  27 April 2006
Thanking you for your reply.
Maybe you misunderstand- I am asking about the 1kg coin specially.  Can you guarantee that the 1kg coin is made of .999 silver? 

Sent: 27 April 2006  To: robotnyk_again
Dear friend,
Very happy letter received you. we sell coin have appraisal and collection certificate, It is 999 silver If you have any other problem, tell me soon. will reply to you as soon as possible.
Best wishes,

Just to make sure...

From:  robotnyk_again Sent :  28 April 2006
Subject: Message from ...

Hi,
I thank you for the assurance- as I cannot read Chinese, i have no method of being able to tell what the certificate says.  I just wish to confirm that ALL of the coins, INCLUDING the 1kg coin, all all 999 silver- I plan to import more of these coins into the UK, and I do not wish to be accused of deception, if the 1kg medallion is not made of 999 silver.

So to make certain- you are telling me that you will GUARANTEE that all FIVE coins are .999 silver.  Not just the four one oz coins, but ALL FIVE?

Sent:  29 April 2006  To: robotnyk_again
Subject: Message from ...

Very happy letter received you.
I am a Coin agent,The coin is the bank issue,
It is 999silver and gild
I hope we can make friends with each other and do more business in future.
If you have any other problem, tell me soon. will reply to you as soon as possible.


This is where the magic comes into things.  Lo and behold, the one ounce coins turn out to be chromium and gold plated copper! Its easy to tell, just scratch the edge, better still,put a very small drill hole into the edge. Because all the plating is concentrated on the faces, the plating on the edge is very thin and is revealed.   Also, there is no value in chinese yuan on the faces, and in the case of the kilogram, the panda design is for 2003, and the back dated 2005. A “not as described” claim is launched at Paypal. After all, what can go wrong? The seller is obviously “mistaken”, not once but THREE times…but…read on dear ebayer….

Buyer's Comments:
Seller is adamant that these coins are the official government issue bullion coins, when they are obviously not. These coins have no value imprinted, and the assay mark is dubious- these may either be copies in silver, or silver plated copper cored copies. They are therefore not genuine, as bought. I will be happy to continue dialog with seller as regards refund or return, and have the dispute open as a safeguard.

We will make every effort to resolve this claim within 30 days, although we
may require additional time to complete our investigation.

You will be contacted by email and asked to provide information relevant to the situation. If you are filing a claim because you received fake or inauthentic merchandise, you may be asked to submit a letter of authenticity from a reputable expert who can substantiate your claim.

Your participation is essential to the investigation and it is important that you reply to requests for information within the specified timeframe. Failure to do so will result in cancellation of the claim and you will forfeit the possibility of a refund.
Date of Complaint:30 Apr. 2006

Okay, no alarm bells so far.  After all, what better evidence of a fraud than all this correspondence- however, I'm a bit worried about what would happen if I had to send the coins back.  The lot was £16.00 plus £68 shipping after all So, lets make a compromise... 

From: robotnyk_again Sent: 28-04-2006
Subject: Message from

Hi friend,
paypal have been in contact with me and acknowledge your offer of a full refund on your receiving back  the lot. however, I have another suggestion. I would still lose a lot of money sending the coin back to you due to the weight of the box etc. Therefore if you agree to refund of only GBP £50 and allow me to  keep the coins I will drop my claim at paypal.


Sent: 06 May 2006 23:10:51   To :  robotnyk_again
Subject: Message

Dear friend,
Very happy letter received you. we sell coin have appraisal and collection certificate, and is 999 silver, it isn't currency.

I do't think anywhere discontented of my coin, I send back you GBP30.00 ,please repeal paypal above of complaint, Or you need return my item ,whe ni accept it,i wll return you all miney (sic) soon,

£30??? So I lose £54 on a box with five valueless lumps of copper in it? not flamin likely- check out similar on ebay, i dont see them fetching THAT much!  Still, PayPal will sort it out?

Comments:
We have determined that you may be eligible for a refund on this PayPal transaction. To qualify for a refund,  just return the item to the seller in its original condition. (You are responsible for postage and packing costs for the returned merchandise.) The amount you will be eligible to receive is determined by the terms of our buyer protection policies, and we may be unable to make a full recovery of your payment from the seller.
Beijing ChaoYang District 100021 China

Please log in and provide tracking information for the item you are
returning within 10 calendar days.

Errr..whoa!!! just check the wording here...MAY be eligible? MAY be unable to make a full recovery? And just return the item to the seller in its original condition. (You are responsible for postage and packing costs for the returned merchandise.) Just wait a minute, this is CHINA!! How much is this going to involve exactly??? Well, £47 airmail MINIMUM, as the package is 2.125 kg..and NOT covered by the Royal Mail's conventional parcels service (maximum 2kg).  And that is for an unsecured package with no tracking number- that is considerably more!  So, I'm paying more money out money, to get my own money back!! Now can anyone see a whole load of possibilities here?  All of them involving the loss of a considerable amount of money to myself?

But hey, PayPal Likes buyers doesnt it? it protects us...

From: robotnyk_again Sent: 09 May 2006

 Wow what I choice ive got- spend £47 of my own money sending back the item to get a full refund (net loss to me GBP£54) or accept a part refund of £30 (net loss GBP £54). 

Well thank you also for giving me the choice to refuse the offer made through paypal- I either had the choice of resolving the case as it stood, or closing it.  I didnt even have the choice of the dispute going to an  "investigator".  Well thank you very much for your so-called protection.

I would like my case reviewing- I have a full set of correspondence. And watch ebay for a full account of my experiences, Im sure it will encourage others.  Because as far as Im concerned, the £54 I am now down because of this matter has been STOLEN.  And as such you are responsible as well as the seller.


Dear robotnyk_again,

Thank you for contacting PayPal with your concerns. Regarding the claim PP, we have determined that you may be eligible for a refund on this PayPal transaction. To qualify for a refund, just return the item to the seller in its original condition. (You are responsible for postage and packing costs for the returned merchandise.) The amount you will be eligible to receive is determined by the terms of our buyer protection policies, and we may be unable to make a full recovery of your payment from the seller. Please review the buyer protection policies in our User Agreement before returning theitem to the seller.

I do apologise for any inconvenience this has caused you.

Sincerely, St* Date of Complaint: 09 May 2006


Okay, anyone have déjà vu??,  yes, PayPal has got a bot program!


From :  robotnyk_again Sent :  09 May 2006
St*, I am sorry to say that you have completely missed the point. To qualify for the full amount of GBP £84 I have to spend GBP £47 OF MY OWN MONEY shipping the coins back by airmail- so my total refund is £37. THIS DOES NOT MAKE SENSE, especially as the "coins" were worthless fakes in the first place. So it seems in this case crime, even if unintentional (which is as about as believeable as this complete joke of a transaction) really DOES pay.  And incidentally, how much did paypal make out of this transaction?

You really REALLY ought to look at this system carefully- because this is now 4 out of 6 times Ive been ripped off by using paypal, and I really am questioning the worth of such a system. Again honest buyers are being punished for dealing honestly with unscrupulous sellers.


Dear robotnyk_again,

Thanks for contacting PayPal. Unfortunately your email came in unreadable and shows error messages. Please resend your email so that we can assist you. I am sorry for the inconvenience and look forward to your email.
Sincerely, Ar* PayPal Resolution Services Date of Complaint:10 May 2006


“Unfortunately your email came in unreadable”??? This is the best a multi-national banking corporation
can manage???  Paypal’s mail can’t read simple plain text email messages???

From :  robotnyk_again Sent :  09 May 2006

Oh yes. Of course its unreadable...why am I not the slightest bit surprised? Even more strange as Hotmail seemed to send it perfectly okay. Right...lets try this another way. Im sorry to say that you have completely missed the point. To qualify for the full amount of GBP 84 I have to spend GBP 47 of my own money shipping the coins back by airmail- so my total refund is GBP 37. So under your terms of settlement, I have effectively spent GBP 54 on absolutely....nothing. That to me is grounds for theft, dont you agree? After all, the person who has that GBP 54 is the person who sold fake coins in the first place. So it seems in this case crime, even if unintentional, really does pay. Again honest buyers are being punished for dealing honestly with unscrupulous sellers. And if you have problems reading this email- then I suggest you get your webmasters to check their system. In fact in light of this transaction your whole system ought to be looked at- because if others such as these Chinese find this loophole involving a return under claimants expense, then that leaves the door wide open for anyone selling fake, damaged or counterfeit goods to sell on ebay quite happily, and then to rip off when a refund is requested.
 
Comments:

Thank you for contacting PayPal, my name is M* and I am happy to assist you today on your query in relation to the refund and the sending back of the item.

Unfortunately you do have to return the item within 10 days of receiving the refund.

I understand your frustration regarding this matter and regret any inconvenience it might have caused you.

Thank you for the email. I do apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you. We are pleased to have you as a member of the PayPal community of online payment members.

Sincerely, Mi*  Date:10 May 2006


From :  robotnyk_again Sent :  10 May 2006
Frustration is not the word i would use for this- its theft. And will this change this stupid "let the buyer get screwed for postage policy?" no.  Will I be stupid ebough to trust paypal again for anything this important? you have to be kidding. thank you for making me feel so valued (thats sarcasm, look it up.  Im sure the seller really appreciates all £54 of it. and next time, if you really feel as though you’re doing something useful, contact me by phone instead of getting a bot to send an automated message.


The icing on the cake- or the coup de gras, depending on you viewpoint….

Sent:  Thursday, May 11, 2006  To:  robotnyk_again
Thank you for contacting PayPal with your concerns .

After reviewing your account I understand that you didn’t get the refund back from the seller as you did not send the item back within 10 days. I sincerely do apologise for the inconvenience .

PayPal is committed to delivering first class service. We aim for the highest possible standards of customer service but we recognize that sometimes we make mistakes. If you feel that something has gone wrong with your account or you are unhappy with the level of service received, you should contact us and let us know. Your comments are important, not only do they allow us to improve our individual service to you; they also help us to enhance our service to the entire community of PayPal users.

If you are able to log in to your account, you may submit a PayPal European Limited Complaint

Sincerely, Jay* Resolution Services Department Date: 11 May 2006


Wait a minute here- of COURSE I didn’t get a refund- and does this procedure sound familiar? Yes ebayers this is exactly the procedure to log a complaint against a seller in the first place!  That was exactly my problem!!! Now I have had to agree to the £30 refund, but guess what? NO REFUND!! In fact no contact from the original seller in the first place!  Now would anyone be surprised if my Chinese friend has run like hell???   As if to make sure,….

Sent:  Thursday, May 11, 2006  To:  robotnyk_again

Subject :  Resolution of case no. PP-

We have concluded our investigation into the following claim:
Our records show that you have not responded to requests for additional information about this claim. This claim has been cancelled.  We hope that you have worked out this situation amicably with your seller.

Thank you for your cooperation. Yours sincerely, Protection Services Department

PayPal does not tolerate fraud or illegal activities. Your complaint has been noted in the record of the PayPal member you reported. If we find this member has violated our policies, we will investigate and take appropriate action. If this occurs, you may be contacted in the future about the status of this complaint.

To make sure future transactions proceed smoothly, we suggest you visit the PayPal site and click the Security Centre link located at the bottom of any page. There you will find tips on how to avoid fraudulent sellers in the "Fraud Prevention Tips for Buyers" section.
Date:11 May 2006

In other words- WE'VE MADE UP OUR MINDS, NOW GO AWAY! “We hope that you have worked out this situation amicably with your seller.”  Erm, if that was so why have I bothered asking you for help?  “Our records show that you have not responded to requests for additional information about this claim” Ermm…well excuse ME!!  Try asking your bot. “PayPal does not tolerate fraud or illegal activities. “Your complaint has been noted in the record of the PayPal member you reported.”  Oh yeah and I bet they are quaking in their brand new Western-financed boots. 

So, I made the call to Paypal- and after wandering around the avenue of options, I settled down to a chat with a very helpful operative.  Now you lot dont go hassling the ebay telephone operators- iuts a hard job- remember they are only trying to work with PayPal policy!!

Unfortunately, PayPal policy is what the problem is in the first place.  Even the gentleman in question could see that, but two bits of very information for you... remeber the email correspondence I had? Yep all that stuff right at the top?  Well forget it.  Paypal policy dictates that email correspondence is not evidence to base any claim on.  Why? because it can be forged!!  So what is good for the majority of police forces, is not good enough for PayPal!!  Second, PayPal does not use correspondence between buyer and seller when investigating- due to Privacy Legislation!!!  This apparently will be changed in future, so that PayPal can examine what is being said within its own arbitration service! So what exactly how DOES PayPal Arbitrate, anyone know?

Now I'll still use PayPal- for all its weknesses its still a good method for dealing internationally. But for nothing bigger than a chocolate bar..and certainly not to China- a shame because a few unscrupulous people there have blackened the name of all honest traders there.  But such operations are only carried out because people  know full well that ebay and Paypal, and probably the other courier companies, are largely unwilling or unable to do anything about it.  Yes I know now that with the benefit of hindsight,
I made a lot of mistakes- Im not afraid to admit it, but compare real to fake, especially in the way the lots are presented, and it would be difficult in many cases not to be fooled, so thank goodness for the buyers guide system- so ebayers use those guides.  In these cases all that glitters, IS NOT gold..or Silver….

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