Buyer Opened a 'Significantly Not as Described' PayPal Dispute from a Purchase over Three Months Ago

Hey everyone,

Yesterday, a buyer had opened a PayPal dispute claiming that an item he purchased from me in early December was 'Significantly not as described'. The item was brand new, in the box and has stopped working as of recently. I had contacted him saying that the item was still under warranty and that he could make a claim, offering to give him the tax invoice as proof of purchase, but he seems to be just ignoring it.

Also, this part of PayPal's notification email is quite concerning:

The buyer stated that the item was defective or not as described. Please be aware that due to consumer protection laws, PayPal cannot guarantee the return of your merchandise if the case is found in favor of the buyer.

Which is just ridiculous. What part of consumer law states the seller can't have the item back if defective?

I was wondering if anyone has had this happen to them and if they knew what I should do. Any advise would be greatly appreciated as it looks like I could lose both the item and its value ($400).

Outcome (29/03/2019): The item looked to be damaged and tampered by the buyer. I sent pictures to PayPal showing the damage and tampering but they ignored it. Had $400 taken from my account. PayPal seller protection is just an empty promise.

01/04/19: PayPal wants a document from an 'independent professional' evaluating the damage within a time-frame of three days. Absolutely ridiculous request.

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Comments

  • +1 vote

    eBay and Paypal will always side with the buyer. Don't argue with them as you'll lose. Initiate a return, send them a label and offer refund to get it back and try to resell.

    •  

      This was my initial though, I heard that PayPal does often side with the buyer (unless its a major retailer). Not sure if I can since the case is already opened. Its been over 90 days so the transaction isn't on eBay anymore.

      • +3 votes

        Give them a call and see what options you have: https://www.paypal.com/au/smarthelp/contact-us

        •  

          Good idea, I'll call them in the morning.

          •  

            @FireRunner: They do side with buyers but I recently had a somewhat bad experience turn good by eBay.

            I sold perfectly working noise cancelling headphones but buyer claimed they were faulty and returned them back but decided not to return the usb cables and spare earbuds so I put a case in return and was able to retain $40 of the refund

        •  

          Update: I've responded asking for item to be returned before refund.

        •  

          Update 2 (for anyone still interested): I've received the item back and it looks like theirs damage to the charging port. It also looks like the buyer has tampered with it, a couple of the screws are half-unscrewed. Looks like the return was just waste anyway, doubt I can claim this under warranty. I've contacted PayPal but I doubt they'll even listen. :(

          •  

            @FireRunner: That really sucks and sorry to hear that. I would definitely keep pestering Paypal and tell them exactly what happened, even send them pictures as proof and see what happens. Good luck.

            •  

              @Hybroid: Update 3: I've appealed the case but, now I have three days to provide a "damaged doc"

              We received your report that you have received your merchandise back from the buyer. Your report states that the item was returned in a state other than how it was originally sent out (damaged or altered). If possible, the document should include a serial number and description of the item. If possible, the document should be on letterhead and include the name, address, and phone number of the individual, business, or organization so that we may contact them if necessary.

              In order to proceed with our investigation of your appeal, we must receive a report (such as an invoice or an evaluation) from a professional, independent source that details the damage, alteration, or missing parts regarding your returned merchandise.

              Not sure how I can get report in such a short time frame. The item is a Nintendo Switch for the record.
              I don't know any professional business that can evaluate the damage other than Nintendo and there's no way they'll be able to process it in the time frame given. Such an unreasonable request, anyone have ideas?

          •  

            @FireRunner: You haven't refunded the product yet have you? You should be able to reject the refund on the basis that the user caused the defect as there is damage to the charging port (and show evidence of tampering with the device). Pop in to the store you bought it and have them provide evidence of tampering etc…

  • +1 vote

    It's BS that Op sold a BNIB item, and now if they repair it, he will get less money of he decides to resell it.

    •  

      Yeah, its stupidly ridiculous. I'm also concerned that the item broke due to neglect and that's why he doesn't want to make the claim himself.

  • -1 vote

    To be fair, OP is the "retailer" in this instance. If the product has genuinely had a problem with it, the buyer will (rightly) pursue the path of least resistance to gain satisfaction. They don't want to make warranty claims based on tax invoice OP will send them, etc.

    I obviously don't know the full story here, but there are a few angles to these sorts of situations.

    • +6 votes

      I see your point but it's been over three months and the buyer has used it. It's certainly no longer in the condition I sent it.

      •  

        Yeah, mate, I'm not actually taking a side here in this specific case as all the facts aren't clear.

        Just pointing out in more general terms that eBay sellers need to be aware that they will effectively be subject to "warranty claims" (and rightly so where it is genuine). If the item just "stopped working" the buyer has every right to pursue a remedy for such a claim directly with the seller and using buyer protection processes as appropriate.

        Many of the arguments across the forum threads don't seem to be able to reconcile "ACL warranty returns" (where some people seem to want to be able to return things long after they bought them), with "buyer disputes" that always seem be caused by a purchaser ripping off the seller.

  •  

    Isnt 3 months + outside of the returns window ?

  • +4 votes

    I don't sell anything on Ebay anymore after i had a similar experience.

    • +1 vote

      If I lose, I'll do the same. It seems that if the buyer plays the 'significantly not as described' card, its an instant win for them.

  • +1 vote

    Not legal advice. Keep in mind there may be extra facts etc…

    1. Consumer laws
      Unless you sold the product in trade or commerce (in a business context) majority of the ACL will not apply to your sale. Specifically acceptable quality, fitness for purpose, goods by description guarantees all require the supply to be in trade or commerce.

    2. Ebay/Paypal terms
      You would have to look at the ebay terms and conditions for sales. If there is extra terms you agreed to.

    3. How you could look at it
      You could argue that if it was defective or not as described (being brand new in box) that it's not reasonable to take 3 months to notify you. You're a consumer not a business. Alternatively (given that you have provided to give the receipt) offer to send it off to the supplier to repair it then send it back. If the above doesn't work you should look at getting the item back, refunding the money to the buyer and sending the item back for repairs yourself.

    4. Risks
      Before you accept a refund of the goods make sure that the buyer (I would even say to ebay something to the effect that you will only accept a refund if the Buyer states that they didn't do any of the below):
      (a) didn't cause it to become defective (ie he hasn't done something to make it that way)
      (b) the buyer didn't abnormally use the phone
      Find out the extent of the damage/defect and the cause of the defect.

    If you accept a refund you will need to send it back for repairs. The buyer seems reluctant to do this - if they return it and the above is true you may not be able to get the repair or refund.

    •  

      Thanks for the advice. I think PayPal is so biased to the buyer, it will be unlikely they accept any argument. Coupled with the fact that they won’t make the buyer return the item if I lose the case, I’ve decided to just to accept the return. Currently waiting on the buyer’s response.

  •  

    Any possibility that if paypal forces the refund through, you could do an 'unauthorised transaction' form through your bank?

  •  

    Poor you. I'm sorry to hear that but it's really extremely frustrating.
    My question is: Why do you let Paypal take your money? Do you have credit in Paypal?
    I always transfer all money in Paypal to my account as soon as it's cleared.
    Another question is: Do they have the ability to JUST WITHDRAW money from our bank account?

    •  

      PayPal went into negative balance as soon as the buyer won the case.
      From what I've read they'll eventually either charge the bank account or send out a debt collection agent

      •  

        WTH that's crazy.

      •  

        Did you take photos or video before sending the phone.

        •  

          It’s actually a Nintendo Switch. I have a picture of the box as I was selling it brand new in box.
          Right now they’re asking for a document from a “professional, independent source”to confirm the item is damaged. An impossible task considering I am given only three days to do so.

          •  

            @FireRunner: brandnew in box sealed or not sealed? WTF how can they return a product after using 3 months wtf

            •  

              @Sonca: I never opened it. I know it’s absolutely ridiculous and the requirements for the appeal are equally crazy.

              •  

                @FireRunner: They have no right to take your money as the item is sold brand new sealed, any damage is to see with the manufacturer. I will just give paypal a sh*t. It's just a bit annoying to have someone after, but you should not worry about that as long as you have proof that it's brand new sealed. Just close your paypal account or leave it there. You may have to open a new one with other card. But really lesson learnt for me. Take a very good photos and video of the item before sending and tick the box "no return accepted"

  •  

    if you have the tax invoice for it, check the serial number if they match or not. I had a buyer who tried to replace his old phone with my brand new phone with this method.

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