Having read with great interest the article regarding how PayPal is weighted to the advantage of the Buyer in a transaction, it re-lifted the drain-lid on an experience I had, in a slightly different direction.
About 10 months ago, I shelled out $255.00 to purchase a large HO Gauge Model Railway Locomotive on eBay. I paid promptly by PayPal and duly waited for the item to arrive from the States. Cordial exchanges had taken place with my Seller during the entire bidding and payment stages.
Upon arrival of the Locomotive, I was absolutely horrified. The Locomotive had been wrapped in one layer of cheap bubble-wrap and pushed into Jiffy type Envelope. For those not aware, there are many projections from a model of this type and some are extremely delicate. These projections, together with weight of the Locomotive itself, had completely flattened and punctured the inner layer of bubble-wrap leaving just the Jiffy Envelope outer as its sole protective skin. Naturally, being a plastic molding, the Locomotive had a quite a few items broken off the main body.
I sent in a complaint to PayPal, detailing the incident with a request to freeze payment to the Seller on the grounds he had not taken sufficient care on choosing sensible packing materials. My complaint was acknowledged after considerable pressure and a further 6 weeks elapsed before a case specialist picked up on the incident. I was given just over two weeks to present evidence or proof of the damage and failure to do so would result in PayPal finding for the Seller. Their idea of proof was to pay out for a local Model Shop to inspect the Locomotive and write out a full report signed by a suitable technician. No one in my area would entertain this request, in case they became involed in a legal case and, thus, the time given by PayPal, simply expired whilst I went round in ever decreasing circles trying to entice someone to act as honest broker over the state of my Locomotive. After the deadline passed, PayPal curtly advised that they would not entertain any further dispute over my claim of negligence and the matter had been closed.
The moral to this story, in my case, PayPal backed the Seller and I, the Buyer, who has had many years experience of Model Railways having run my own Model Railway Import Business, had to suffer the indignity of losing the day because I could not provide the type of idependant proof they required. There was absolutely nothing more I could do. I was actually able to provide witnesses like a J.P. who would declare my story to be true. But that did not fit in with their carefully crafted Rules & Regulations enabling any "oik" to make a decision. Their protection scheme seems to me to be no more use than a chocolate teapot - it melts into a brown goo when anything too hot is poured into it.
The main point of responsibility is not always clear cut. My Seller was undoubtably irresponsible and negligent with regard to protecting my goods. The Carrier was NOT responsible save for the fact they might have refused to carry the item in the first place, had someone been bright enough to spot an accident in waiting when they accepted the contract to carry. PayPal acted so slowly it was unbelievable. They made it impossible to deal with them and, effectively, treated me as though I was a naughty schoolboy.
So, watch your Seller, he does have a duty of care to ensure your goods leave his possession in the condition he has advertised to arrive in your possession in a like condition. Watch PayPal, as well, they will not give one inch to help the injured party. You have been warned.