Not your usual Paypal bashing guide. It's my attempt an impartial guide weighing up the pro's and con's for new EBayer's based on my personal experiences.
On paper, it's fundamentally a great idea. Instant payment, easy access to withdraw your hard earned EBay cash, no messing around waiting for cheques to clear either and reasonably competitive fees.
However, if you're thinking about opening a Paypal account these points should be noted and evaluated.
1/ If an unscrupulous buyer pays you with what Paypal call "fraudulent funds" about ten days later Paypal will refund the buyer his/her payment directly from YOUR account. They'll email you and tell you not to send the item.
Barn door, horse anyone?
Ah, I hear you say, but I've already withdrawn the funds to my bank account (takes around five working days btw).
So? Paypal will just deduct whatever funds were involved, put your account into a negative balance, just like being overdrawn in the high street bank really. Then of course, they'll inform you that you need to address this issue urgently. Ahh, the joy of EBaying!
2/ You often see "disclaimers" from seller's in their listings similar to this: "I am not responsible for loss and damage in transit" Oh yes? Disclaimer's mean exactly nothing to Paypal.
If a buyer claims "item not received" and they've paid by Paypal, Paypal WILL refund the buyer unless the seller can provide an ONLINE TRACKING number to provide proof of postage. First and second class recorded and Special Delivery provide this.
Now this is critical for seller success (which is why it's in all caps) PAPER PROOF OF POSTING (1ST AND 2ND CLASS STANDARD) MEANS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO PAYPAL.
Paper proof that you've posted items, will appease a genuine, honest buyer. After all, they can see you've not tried to catch them. However, if your buyer initiates a dispute with Paypal, they'll get a refund if you can't provide ONLINE tracking info. END OF STORY.
3/ Security implications. Your Paypal account is somewhat akin to a chain. Its only as strong as the weakest link. That could be your password, but the weakest link is probably YOU. I could write a flipping book on emailed scams, but I won't.
My best advice to prospective new account holders, is to look upon ALL correspondence from "Paypal" as suspicious. Log onto your Paypal account from your web browser. DON'T click on emailed links and if there is anything important that needs your attention, you'll be notified in your account overview.
I guess this guide makes me look anti Paypal, but I'm not. This guide is purely based on my personal experiences as an EBay seller.
So, in summary, I liken Paypal to cheque payments. So ask yourself this simple question; would you (as a seller) accept and treat cheques as cash, trusting they'll not bounce, and posting off goods to strangers you've never met on the strength of a piece of paper?
If the answer's no, you'd be well advised to steer clear of Paypal. Until of course EBay make it a compulsary payment method for sellers to offer in all their listings. But that's another story...
Paypal. Close your eyes and pray.
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24 August 2006
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