Please Help - ebay and paypal allowed a scammer to rob me !!

Discussion in 'Internet & Social Media Law' started by cjcameron, Apr 26, 2011.

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  1. cjcameron

    cjcameron Law Topic Starter New Member

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    On 3/5/11 I purchased a website business on ebay for 3,500.00 but didn't receive the business . The only thing I got from seller was a supplier list. The item was supposed to be covered under ebay buyer protection so I felt safe sending the seller (a total stranger ) 3,500.00. I went back and forth with ebay and paypal for about 3 weeks only to find that I was getting the run around. I couldn't file a claim with ebay because they said paypal would not allow it and then when I filed a claim with paypal they wouldn't even look at the evidence I submitted which clearly showed I was being scammed. The only thing they told me was that they don't dispute intangible items and they ruled in favor of the seller. They need to be accountable for this horrific loss ! In spite of clear cut evidence showing that this guy was stealing my money they allowed him to do it !! Can anybody help me?? I am a single out of work mom and don't know what to do at this point . I already filed a dispute with my bank but they wouldn't do anything because the payment was authorized to paypal.
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Those places are worse than a casino.

    Even 5 year olds know, only release the trade items at the precise same time and both parties bring witnesses.

    I suggest you speak with an attorney.

    It'll probably be too expensive to pursue this.

    I advise everyone to not deal on those sites.

    But, you spent $3500 with a stranger.

    I think you know without me telling you what your outcome will be.
     
  3. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You also need to know that both of those entities are owned by the same parent.

    To complain to one about the other is almost schizophrenic.


    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/EBay
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2011
  4. Michael M. Wechsler

    Michael M. Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    Very true AJ. Unfortunately most people don't know that eBay's "Buyer Protection" doesn't cover software, websites or anything digital. I was also surprised when I found out the first time, I guess its because when you are provided so much hype it doesn't dawn on you as to how many items it won't cover (or why) when the issue may not be affected at all by whether or not a good is intangible. But so it goes - and that's a heavy price to pay unfortunately.

    To the OP - you won't win this case against ebay. You can plead poverty to them, tell them it's not clear and pray that there is a kind soul but I doubt they will do anything except maybe ban the seller (at least make sure of that.) If the seller is real, your best hope is small claims court if they are in the state or nearby. But it may be a great deal of work in order to collect not a tremendous amount of money from someone who will likely turn out to be a deadbeat.
     
  5. cjcameron

    cjcameron Law Topic Starter New Member

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    The reason I went ahead with this purchase was because the ebay listing had the PAYPAL BUYER PROTECTION emblem in it ( ebay Item number: 320666522299 ) . I also called ebay twice before i purchased the business and asked them if the item would be covered under the ebay buyer protection. The first ebay rep looked up the listing and checked it out and said YES it would be covered. I called back again and spoke to another rep who looked up the listing and checked it out and told me the same thing the first rep told me - that YES it would be covered under ebay buyer protection. I would have never given 3500 to a stranger without protection or at least I though I had protection. But isn't this illegal for ebay to tell me they will protect me but don't ???? This is ureasonable and unfair !!
     
  6. Michael M. Wechsler

    Michael M. Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    What do you mean you "called" them? Was this one of those online chats? Perhaps you can explain more since you're stating that ebay itself made a representation that you could rely upon the Paypal program. That is different than what I believe I have seen done, which is some ambiguous house ad about the program which doesn't make clear whether or not an item is actually covered or just a reminder that it may be covered. There is also a difference between Paypal and eBay which, despite being owned by the same company are actually two different companies. Please explain in detail where the buyer protection appeared, the substance of communication, etc. I will say this much - it is very unlikely to have two employees make this error although anything is possible.

    I was also surprised to find out, at times, that even if the seller does not respond to complaints at Paypal (which is providing the protection), the company may not rule in your favor despite overwhelming evidence. What surprised me was that they didn't even reverse credit card charges when contested within a timely fashion without dispute form the seller.
     
  7. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    If it isn't memorialized in writing, what do you think they will say when you protest it?

    Why, they say the conversation never took place.
    Or, they'll say a conversation took place, but not about what you claim.

    Unfair, probably.
    Unreasonable, could be.
    Illegal, not according to the scammers that run that website.
     
  8. cjcameron

    cjcameron Law Topic Starter New Member

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    hello thelawprofessor and army judge - thanks so much for your responses !!

    When I spoke to the ebay reps I called ebay customer support at 866 877-3229 and entered a pin # . Heres the ebay listing Item number: 320666522299 ( i tried to post the ebay link but cant )

    And yes army judge you are right i'm sure ebay will deny that they told me that the item was covered under ebay buyer protection !!! ( I believe the reps tell you anything ) ... but what about if i set up an an identical listing and and call them again (with a recorder) and pretend that i'm interested in bidding on it. i'll ask them the same thing i did before - if the item is covered under ebay buyer protection and record them telling me that item is covered !!!
     
  9. Michael M. Wechsler

    Michael M. Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    I have a soft sympathetic spot for single, out of work mom's who get scammed out of much needed cash. I am just hoping that you truly do not know the seller and are completely innocent here -- please see my comments at the end of this response. The eBay legal department is contacting me regarding a discussion concerning points you raised to me about the eBay and PayPal Buyer Protection plans and programs that also concern me and have greatly piqued my curiosity.

    1. I understand why you were confused. To me, the eBay buyer protection insert looks more like a confirmation that the item qualifies for buyer protection rather than a teaser that eBay's general protection plan is in effect and may be covered IF the item qualifies. The latter is what a lower level eBay support person seems to have confirmed with me. It's certainly not ideal but let's say people might click "learn more" before relying on it.

    2. The "learn more" link leads to a mini-version of the eBay buyer protection plan and isn't even the full details. You have to click to a third link which I looked over.

    3. I couldn't find anything listed which would state that this item wouldn't qualify under the eBay Buyer Protection Plan. However, I did notice that it said that if you file a claim under the PayPal Buyer Protection Program, you couldn't file a claim under the eBay Buyer Protection Plan. My first thought was - so what? Shouldn't they be essentially identical? After reviewing the eBay Buyer Protection Plan, I couldn't find any area which states that intangible items, such as websites and software, were not covered under the eBay Buyer Protection Plan. This is very peculiar.

    I've noticed in your post you state that PayPal told you that you couldn't file a claim under the eBay Buyer Protection Plan because you had already contact PayPal. That's correct but I'm discussing (a) whether there is a discrepancy and, if so, why there is a discrepancy between the PayPal Buyer Protection Program and the eBay Buyer Protection Plan, and (b) whether you can withdraw your PayPal claim and file under eBay if you qualify to get your money back.

    -----------

    That said, the eBay auction listed for a website reads like a scam to me although it may have fooled. A few things - I don't know why you'd buy a website from a seller in Canada unless you live in Canada. The US website seems to cover US citizens and I would think that if you're in Canada you'd use that site. What happens often is that people will conspire to get the insurance money - person A puts up a fraudulent ad, person B buys the item, sends money to their friend A, and then B files a claim for fraud later after the money is gone (not really since the two know each other.) They know all about these and, by default, deny claims.

    1. The seller has one rated transaction. This is always a warning sign when doing business on eBay. I will rarely buy anything from anyone with a very low rating, especially not international and certainly not a high priced item. Most people will sell small items to build up credibility.

    2. It appears you may live in Canada and you too have only 2 ratings, one of which is from this transaction. To eBay, you're certainly a questionable person.

    3. If you live in Canada, I don't know how you're even covered by the eBay US site.

    4. I've looked at the site - it's not that great. Why would you believe someone you don't even know who would tell you that they are making so much money from a store without proof provided first?

    I'll say this much - with all of the above, I don't doubt you'd be flagged as a big question mark for a claim. I am not accusing you of anything, just letting you know what many people at eBay might take as probable.

    Here is the eBay ad sans the sensitive information.

    View attachment 331
     
  10. cjcameron

    cjcameron Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Dear Lawprofessor,

    I can assure you that I am an honest person with no connection to the seller - I know that there is nothing good to come from bad !! I believe you may have looked up the wrong ebay user-id. My ebay user-id is 'sellamillion1' and I have been an ebay member since July 13 2008. I have 25 feedbacks with a 100% positive feedback rating ( please re-check ). I live in Wilson NC (USA) and know that websites can be run from anywhere in the world so I didn't think buying a website from someone in Canada would matter.

    Before I purchased this website I asked the seller to provide proof of income. He sent me screenshots of paypal sales for the website for the month of January 2011 which matched the sales that he had stated on the listing. I now believe these screenshots were falsified as the the domain name for the website ( according to godaddy and whois ) was not registed until February 2011 !! The seller has pretty much lied throughout this entire transaction and even stated in his last ebay message to me that he could just tell me to take a hike because paypal had closed the case and not send me anything else . As I told you earlier the only thing I recieved from this guy was a supplier list . The domain name is STILL registered in his name !!!

    Also I would like to clarify that I tried to file a dispute with ebay FIRST before filing with paypal (I had called paypal also before I purchased business and they told me they didn't offer protection for websites). When I went through the ebay file a claim process the SYSTEM came back with a message stating paypal would not allow a claim to be filed. I called ebay and talked to several reps and supervisors who tried to overide the system so I could file the dispute but they said they couldn't do it and that there was nothing else they could do - they told me to file the claim with paypal. I then called paypal to explain my problem and the rep confirmed with me again that they didn't cover intangibles but told me not to worry and to just open a paypal claim so my problem could be resolved! What a joke - paypal denied my claim 3 times but I kept appealing my claim in hopes that someone would actually review the evidence that I had submitted. The evidence I submitted to paypal clearly showed and proved that this guy did not send me the complete business and that he was a liar and decietful.

    I do have a college degree so its not like I just blindly sent this guy 3,500.00 - If a major company (ebay) tells you they will protect your puchase in black and white and over the phone then surely they should be accountable and liable for any loss !!!

    Once again thanks for taking the time to help me out - I still believe justice will prevail ...
     
  11. cjcameron

    cjcameron Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Dear Lawprofessor,

    I forgot to mention in my last post that as far as the ebay buyer protection insert, I too had clicked on the 'learn more' link and then on the third link and did not see where the website would NOT be covered . This is why I then callled ebay twice and spoke to two different reps who each looked over the listing and told me that YES the item would be covered. Please note that the buyer protection insert is not on the listings for real estate and ebay motors ... as these items are excluded in the buyer protection plan
     
  12. Michael M. Wechsler

    Michael M. Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    eBay has not returned my call and, if they have, they have not left me a message. I'll follow up with a written request shortly.

    For the most part, my experience with eBay and Paypal has been a good one and mostly user error is to blame. However, I've had seen one experience with Paypal that surprised me. Even after there was a dispute opened regarding a transaction where the seller did not deliver nor respond to the eBay dispute resolution inquiry, Paypal refused to take action due to the transaction not being covered for buyer protection. It was as if an individual who committed obvious fraud was no concern if the company might not be on the hook for insuring the deal. Ultimately a demand letter I sent to the other party jogged them into returning the modest sum of money to the commissioning party. Still, that experience left me thinking that the company would be better served in taking action against obvious wrongdoers to whatever extent possible which, at the very least, should include shutdown of the account.

    Let me know if you hear from eBay.
     
  13. cjcameron

    cjcameron Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I haven't heard anything from ebay ... did they tell you they would contact me ? I too had had good experiences with ebay and paypal up until this transaction. There was no error on my part as ebay told me the item would be covered by their buyer protection policy. If the item wasn't covered under their policy then ebay made the error... either way it is unfair and unjust for me be robbed of $3,500. And yes you are right in that ebay and paypal had no concern that I was being scammed out a lot of money because they refused to honor their buyer protection . Meanwhile while you are waiting to hear back from ebay , would you be able to send the crook who took my money a demand letter like the one you sent in a prior experience ?

    Thanks !
     
  14. cjcameron

    cjcameron Law Topic Starter New Member

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    hello lawprofessor

    just checking to see if you've heard anything from ebay ???

    thanks
     
  15. Michael M. Wechsler

    Michael M. Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    I'll try them again. I've looked on their site and find it virtually impossible to send someone an email from anywhere other than your seller/buyer account. I'm not surprised that this was not prioritized. The person I spoke to sounded like they were around the globe. Tomorrow we have some things coming out so it will have to wait until Thursday.... Hopefully we'll hear from them.
     
  16. cjcameron

    cjcameron Law Topic Starter New Member

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    hello lawprofessor,

    i'm assuming you haven't heard anything from ebay ??

    i just received the following email from the seller - please let me know what you think ???

    " Cindy,
    I have your domain and website. If you dont claim it within 3 days I will be terminating the website and suspending the account. Your website is costing me money everyday. Do you want it or not?
    You need to get a hold of the website you paid for. "


    this is the first time i've heard from him since he told me he could tell me to take a hike and not give me the anything else ( he told me this after he told paypal that he had given me the complete business ). i'm just wondering if he got spooked ?? i filed complaints with the attorney general here in NC and with the BBB in CA


    thanks !
     
  17. cjcameron

    cjcameron Law Topic Starter New Member

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    dear law professor,

    did you ever hear anything from ebay about my case ? it been a few weeks now ....

    thanks
     
  18. Michael M. Wechsler

    Michael M. Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    Sorry - I was out of the country for the past two weeks. I haven't heard a thing from them. It's not surprising. If I have the time to try again I will, but at least you have the gist of what you need in order to contact them, preferably in writing (not an email) in order to generate a response.
     
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