When this situation arose last year I was initially resigned to losing my money and the product I had sold but by turning detective I was able to turn the table in my favour.... here's my story....
Sometime last year I sold a chandelier on ebay and my buyer paid with Paypal. On receipt of funds I dispatched the chandelier only to receive an email a couple of days later from Paypal stating that the buyer had opened a case with them stating that the item was 'not as described'.
Puzzled by this I contacted the buyer direct and was informed that the chandelier had been broken in transit. I advised the buyer to return the item and that I would reimburse her fully, including her return postage costs.
A couple of days later the chandelier was returned with Parcelforce and I signed for the package. I was just about to go out and so set the box aside. On my return I opened the box only to discover that the buyer had returned an empty box!
I was panic stricken! Many thoughts raced through my mind, had someone at Parcelforce 'stolen' the chandelier, was it an oversight on behalf of the buyer! had she simply forgotten to put the chandelier in the box! But the more I thought about it the more I realised I had just been a victim of a scam.
Worst still in the 'eyes' of Paypal I had 'received' the goods back from the buyer as I had signed for the package. I knew that any remonstrations with Paypal would fall on deaf ears and I was destined to lose my chandelier and money.
Then it occurred to me that she had posted the chandelier back to me with Parcelforce and that she had gone to a post office to do this, surely Parcelforce would have an accurate record of the weight of the box when it was posted. Parcelforce were able to track the parcel information back to the post office and gave me the weight of the box when it was posted.
I then weighed the box I had just received back and sure enough it was the same weight as when it was posted thus proving that Parcelforce were blameless and that the buyer had not put the chandelier back in the box.
I was now in a position to prove that the chandelier had not been posted back to me, only the box in which it had been packed, as I had a record of the weight when it was initially posted out and when it was returned and the 2 naturally didn't tally.
I reported the incident to my local police force and they promptly sent out an officer to my home. He made a out a report and concluded that if Paypal did not reimburse my money then in his 'eyes' fraud had been committed.
Thankfully Paypal were in agreement and all my money was promptly deposited back into my Paypal account.
But if you don't want to turn detective, do as I do now! On the rare occasion when a customer returns one of my items I open the package/box in front of the courier or postman. Many couriers will still insist that you have to sign to say that you have received the package but at least you will have a witness should you need to take matters further. Simply take the drivers/postman's details.
Just as there are unscrupulous buyers out there I dare say there are unscrupulous sellers! so if you buy anything with Paypal and you have to sign for your purchase on delivery open the package in front of your courier or postman and again that way you will have a witness should you need to take matters further.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story and I hope my experience and advice will at least keep you safe from this particularly nasty scam.
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PAYPAL SCAM and how you can lose your money and product
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3 November 2011
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