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Old May 4th, 2008, 09:26 PM   #1
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A brief note on E-Bay Buying

I have been using E-Bay for ages...and with good success. I have nearly 500 transactions with only a couple hiccups. The secret is doing your homework, knowing what you think you want to pay, and bidding wisely.... (a trade secret for me for now).

But what E-bay and PayPal don't tell you is the importance of HOW you pay.

Once a seller has SOME credibility PayPal will back their sale with a $200 guarantee....

Once a seller has a LOT of experience, PalPal will offer a $2000 "guarantee".

My advice? FORGET any PayPal guarantee. You have something better at hand.

Better? Yes... a credit card.

IF you are foolish enough to pay with a debit from your bank, and things go wrong, PayPal is NOT your friend, and if it is over their limit for reimbursement... oh well. too bad.

It offends me that their website is set up to discourage you from using a credit card on PayPal. YOU SHOULD. Let me tell you WHY .... using a personal example.

I have a Sony Z-1, and am learning with it and enjoying it. I didn't need another one.... yet suddenly last January on E-Bay... appeared a low mileage Z-1 WITH a Croziel Matte Box and Follow Focus! I figured it would go for around $5K, and as the action ended it was still under 3K.... bing bing... possible purchase, strip the Croziel and follow focus and resell the Z-1 for nearly as much as I paid! Maybe... So, anyway, I followed it. At the closing bell I bought it for $3600. Payment? Paypal of course. WITH A CREDIT CARD.

The seller was an LA Indie production house with a nice website etc... seemed legit. WRONG.

In short they stiffed me, lied to me repeatedly on the phone and in E-mails, and in the end never came through. I heard from 2 other poor folks who "bought" expensive cameras as well. So they "stole" over $10K.

PayPal allowed them to withdraw money even after i complained (!) and in the end "refunded" me $200!! Read and re-read what I just wrote.

CREDIT CARD to the rescue. My credit card backcharged PayPal and other than losing what "might" have been a "benefit of the bargain" in the Croziel system, I was out nothing....except for my stomach lining and angst. The other two buyers? One may make out as I did, the other used his bank account.

WORD TO THE WISE. ALWAYS use your credit card when making a PayPal purchase... always. They make it more difficult to do so, but not to is foolish, unless the purchase is a small one.

By the way... if you want to know the name of this LA "production house", send me a message or email... I'll be happy to share their name as well as the names of their principals. In my book they're scum and deserve to be "outed".

Lots more to this story but the salient and important stuff is summarized as "USE YOUR CREDIT CARD ON PAYPAL !"

Hope this saves someone some money.

ps. The website is down and their "phone" is now answered by a robot.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 09:32 PM   #2
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It offends me that their website is set up to discourage you from using a credit card on PayPal. You should. Let me tell you why using a personal example.
They do this because of exactly what you did (and there's nothing wrong with that). Online payments are very vulnerable to fraud, and when there's fraud they would rather the buyer take on some of that risk/pay for it instead of having to eat the cost.

Paying with credit card does make a lot of sense for the buyer.

2- It's possible that the production company had their eBay account hijacked, or a fraudster is simply impersonating that production company and copying their ebay auction text + graphics. I wouldn't be so quick to blame people...
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Old May 4th, 2008, 09:34 PM   #3
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Old May 4th, 2008, 09:38 PM   #4
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Glenn... I spoke with the company folks directly, at the number on the website...and they gave me enough info I knew it was the same folks in the website, and also re-traced the number through corporate records....and this was not a hijacked account or some imposter. This was an out and out fraud....

I am an attorney in real life, and ran this down to the ground before "blaming" anyone... I know the who's wheres and whys, and trust me this was a failing company running into the ground looking for a few bucks to buy time to get away..

(I can even tell you where the principals live and their wives names - Ca is a community property state after all... OH, by the way attempts to reach the priinciapls in every way possible have been fruitless... further proof.)

Will I pursue it, no. Will I give their names in private, absolutely. Defamation? Nope. Truth is a defense.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 09:45 PM   #5
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Glenn, one other point... I agree with you that there is nothing wrong with PayPal trying to share risk. (Open sharing might be better). But for PayPal who makes money, an occasional loss might be a cost of making their millions and built into their business model (I am sure it is). For the occasional user for whom it is a big deal, that's NOT a cost of doing business, it is a personal HUGE loss ...on occasion. Nothing to "build it into" for them.

So...What I object to is PayPal making it "difficult" for a buyer to select using a credit card instead of a bank account, and deceptively suggesting that your using a bank account is "safer". I also strenuously object to PayPalallowing someone to withdraw money from their account once they are notified a problem is afoot! That's all. (smile)

I wrote this to show that it is very foolish to use your bank account for a payment of any significant size..
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Old May 4th, 2008, 10:02 PM   #6
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Chris-

Last year I had an equally frustrating experience with Ebay, where I received certifiable looking PAYPAL HTML type emails telling me that the seller of the Arri SR I was bidding on could not accept PAYPAL payments for this sellers LOCKED account. I would have to Wire It to ENGLAND.

Yeah right! So I thought "I'm gonna nail the &%(^&! and set him up!" - So I put the $3000.00 into the Moneygram Process and made sure I never gave anyone the release code, and contacted PAYPAL and Ebay to have them set something up with the authorities in England to Nab the rat bastard - It was set up perfectly ( at least I thought so ) and I was willing to assist them in any way to make it happen too!

THese guys checked it out and I was right, it was a bogus third party thief posing as PAYPAL and it was everything that everyone is victimized by. You know what they did? NOTHING.

I got my money back (minus the processing fees $90).

PAYPAL wont do anything about these guys when you lead them to 'em in a beartrap. Your warning is a word to the wise!

R. L. Appling
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Old May 4th, 2008, 10:11 PM   #7
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Thanks for the reply.

I have tried to help E-Bay twice since my scam on other similar issues and they didn't care.... like your situation they did nothing which might have protected other of their users.

Their lack of concern, when you serve them up a "fish on a silver platter" makes me very unsympathetic for them when they get a chargeback. COST OF BUSINESS FOR THEM ...is my attitude.

NOW all that said, legitimate sellers also face issues with unscrupulous buyers with chargebacks..... I wish I knew how to fix that side. I know it exists, and sellers have my sympathies, just not E-Bay or PayPal.

SAD truth, where there is commerce, there are thieves.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 10:26 PM   #8
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Chris... I agree with you.

Perhaps some of the problems could be solved if countries were to enact tougher laws against fraud and identity theft.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 10:31 PM   #9
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In Australia Ebay are 'running a test' the effect of which means you can ONLY use paypal

"where there is commerce, there are thieves" - too true and I think we can count Ebay & Paypay (same company) among them
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Old May 4th, 2008, 11:19 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Chris Swanberg View Post
So...What I object to is PayPal making it "difficult" for a buyer to select using a credit card instead of a bank account, and deceptively suggesting that your using a bank account is "safer"...
You and me both. Not only that, but forcing you to use the money in your Paypal account first to pay for purchases.
I don't pay for anything over $50 with Paypal. Credit card only!
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Old May 4th, 2008, 11:39 PM   #11
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Chris... I agree with you.

Perhaps some of the problems could be solved if countries were to enact tougher laws against fraud and identity theft.
AND ENFORCE THEM. Stealing $10,000 from a business will get an investigation.... and a likely prosecution....stealing it on E-Bay gets nothing.....DO THE MATH. Criminal minds already have.

Dylan... while I undertand what you say, on that score, while I do not like it, I do understand it. That is a fair sharing to me.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 11:49 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Paul Mailath View Post
In Australia Ebay are 'running a test' the effect of which means you can ONLY use paypal
They do that in the USA and I will stop using E-Bay, unless they let me use a credit card.

Oh did folks know E-Bay bought Craigslist?
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Old May 5th, 2008, 02:00 AM   #13
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I believe that eBay just (or is about to) change the policies for sellers so that as long as you follow reasonable safe trading practices you won't get stuck with a fraudulent chargeback. You still have to be careful, but that is a positive change.

And to agree with your original post, you'd have to be out of your mind to buy/pay ANY other way than with a credit card where your card issuer will protect you... Pay"Pal" will not help you one little bit.

This applies to ALL online transactions really, even ones that "seem" trustworthy.

For eBay/PayPal, the fraudulent transactions are a "cost of business", and you must simply take actions to protect yourself. I've had a couple small losses ($20 type stuff) when I got "sloppy", thus I won't do THAT... I've also had PayPal recover/return funds for me too, to be fair, but had to use the CC method as well, when PP was a dead end...

Online commerce is just like offline - buyer beware, protect your personal information, trust but verify, and always CYA. Con artists have been suckering people forever, and e-commerce isn't exempt.

With the economy as it is going, there will probably be MORE of this sort of thing, and even lower law enforcement budgets to combat it... and YES, even if you can practically lead them to the perp, they won't likely do a thing... I too have tracked and set one up, with ZERO interest from the appropriate agencies!

The system isn't perfect, but as long as one is careful, there's nothing BETTER...
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Old May 5th, 2008, 06:58 AM   #14
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I set up a PayPal account years ago to use for online stuff. When I put my CC in for the funds source I got a bunch or warnings about transaction limits and then after I reached the very low purchase limit I got an email telling me that my account had been locked and to use it again I would have to provide a bank account to anchor the PayPal account. This wasn't just a request for more information about me for PayPal. I was being told I had to use a bank account and could not use a CC for transactions. I closed everything and I've not been back. Since I've read horror stories from many people on several of the sites I frequent.

The basic problem is they aren't a monetary institution and aren't governed by the same laws banks and other similar businesses are held to. Until that happens my personal advice is to not use PP at all (even with a CC).
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Old May 5th, 2008, 03:49 PM   #15
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AFAIK, PayPal REQUIRES a linked bank account from the get go, and you can't set up a PayPal account without one... it establishes you as at least somewhat legitimate... the presumption being if you're stable enough to have a bank account, they have a bit less risk.

Adding a CC is optional, although they strongly encourage it with account limits if you don't have one - again the presumption is that if you're responsible enough to have a CC, you're a safer bet...

Of course they encourage you to use your bank account for payments, again LESS RISK for them...

See the pattern? And yes they aren't regulated, so as with ANY business, they will choose to limit their risks of doing business as any one who wants to remain in business will do... and it may or may not be "customer friendly".


BUT, many of the "horror stories" stem from rather silly people who GIVE AWAY their access information in response to a PHISHING e-mail (most saying their account is "locked"), allowing all sorts of mischief to happen because of their own lack of caution and care, then they blame PayPal or eBay for the results...

Just because the e-mail says it's from PayPal or eBay (or anyone else for that matter!!) DOES NOT MAKE IT SO!!!! Those both represent big $$$ "targets" for scammers, as do banks (and I get phishing emails all the time saying it's from a bank I never even heard of, or sometimes one I actually do business with...)

I guarantee if there were $ changing hands here instead of just great information, there would be bad guys sending out phishing e-mails for your DVinfo login...

I typically got several phishing e-mails a DAY with my old hosting account, my new one filters most of them out automatically, but they are the rare ISP. SOME of those e-mails were VERY well done, I even ran across one recently that was quite clever and very well masked trying to steal eBay passwords... caused me to immediately change my access codes JUST IN CASE!

What I'm saying is the system works, but like anything else where money is involved (can you say Enron or MCI?), there are LOTS of "bad guys" out there trying to game the system, ya gotta be a notch smarter!

Unfortunately, because many people AREN'T, there are many "horror stories", but they aren't all "true". Just like offline identity theft, it's a complex and serious problem, and if it happens to you, you may not understand the half of what's really going on... thus "stories" that are not quite accurate if you knew the rest of the facts!

Philosophically speaking I may not like everything a company does, but if their product "works" for me at a price/cost I'm satisfied with, I'll use them until something "better" comes along... now you'll have to excuse me while I go audit my cell bill for the umpteenth time... they screwed up AGAIN! <wink>
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