PayPal closed my account for no reason and other foolishness

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Ratfacedudeguy
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PayPal closed my account for no reason and other foolishness

Postby Ratfacedudeguy » Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:39 am

Hey guys. I've had a mildly infuriating situation lately with PayPal. I've consulted a good friend of mine who is an attorney, but after several unsuccessful attempts to develop a solid gameplan on how to handle this, I figured I'd turn to my good friends on the Credit Card Forum to seek advice and to vent.

TL/DR: I heavily overdrafted my Paypal account because of a somewhat bogus Buyer Protection Claim and PayPal closed my account permanently with no chance of future reinstatement despite my prompt balance resolution and repeated attempts to comply with their requests, and I need some advice on if/how I can get my foot back in the door with them. I do hope you read the rest though so you know my full situation.

So, in a feeble attempt to make a long story short, my fiance bought an Hermes Birkin handbag (google it if you're not familiar) from a reputable overseas retailer and decided to pass it off to me to sell on ebay after she had her fill of it. My buyer promptly emailed me upon receipt of the bag gushing about how much she loved it, so at that point I figured it was safe to clear out my PayPal balance to give to my fiance since her mom needed help paying for a new kitchen range.

A few days later, the buyer emails me back with some sort of bogus claim that the bag I sold her was a counterfeit. After citing my sources, such as said reputable dealer as well as several Hermes employees who unanimously declared the bag's authenticity without hesitation, she then pulled some complaint about some touch-up spots on the corners of the bag that admittedly I had missed in the ebay item description.

So at this point I'm cornered in an Item Not As Described claim with PayPal with no readily available funds to replenish my PayPal balance. Taking the proactive approach, I called PayPal seeking advice on how to handle my situation. The person I spoke with informed me that when a claim is resolved in the buyer's favor, once the item is confirmed to have been returned to the seller, the refund is automatically issued whether the funds are in your account or not. Needless to say I was a bit hesitant to overdraft my account by almost $5000.00, so I asked the representative how long I would have to resolve my balance before my account is put into collections or charged off. His reply was "as long as you bring your balance up to 0 within 80 days you'll have no problems." I then asked him if this would have any negative impact on my account with PayPal. He assured me that my account would receive no negative impact as long as that balance was resolved within the 80 days. Good enough for me.

Armed with that "knowledge," I agree to accept the item for a refund, my buyer leaves positive feedback, and my balance at this point is sitting at -$4800.00 until I can resell the bag once again. I sold it quickly, within a week, and for even more that I had originally sold it for with no complaints from my new buyer and 2 or 3 immediate repeat-business transactions shortly thereafter. So my PayPal account was back in the black and all was looking good so I thought.

Now that this had happened, I started to receive notices that my PayPal account was "limited" and that several actions were restricted until some supporting documentation could be submitted. That's fine, I thought. They're just a business trying to protect their assets -- I can respect that, especially from working in the banking industry. Until I could get to my work to use the scanner to scan in my driver's license and proof of address (I had only just recently updated my credit cards to the address that's on my PayPal account), I decided to submit the "Supplier contact information" they requested by uploading the combination invoice/certificate of authenticity that was sent to me.

The next day I start getting emails saying that my account was being closed. Confused and irritated that I was being cut off after only one piece of their requested documentation was submitted, I called up the account limitations department. It was pretty late, they were about to close, and the person I spoke with (who introduced themself as an account limitations supervisor) was obviously in a rush to get out the door -- extremely annoying. I asked why my account was being closed. His response was that the documentation I had submitted showed a different selling price than what I had claimed to have bought the bag for. It was purchased for $9700 USD. The invoice my supplier had sent me said 9700 EUR. The guy is French. It's an obvious typographical error. My next question was "am I going to be given a chance to make this right so I can continue to use my account?" He said "yes, absolutely. I'll go ahead and reopen the verification window for you and you can send us the rest of what you got."

The weekend comes and goes, I get he corrected invoice from my supplier, and the PayPal account shows no signs of the verification being reopened. Bastard obviously jetted without even fixing my account. Fast forward to Wednesday (my birthday nonetheless!) and I get an email entitled "PayPal appeal denied." I'm pretty irritated at this point. I called up the limitations department again and was told that my account is being closed and I am permanently banned from PayPal. When asking why, I was told that the reasoning to the decision cannot be released to me because it is "proprietary information," and that "decisions like this are not made lightly and are indeed permanent." So no PayPal for me at the age of 22. Forever. Despite repeated reassurance that my account "would not be affected by this Buyer Protection claim."

Bull****.

So over a week's time I went from being an "invaluable asset to the PayPal community" (after putting in more work than I should have to shut down a counterfeiter who was trying to pass off a knockoff of the same brand of bag that I legitimately had) to being kicked aside like vermin. It's absolutely disgusting and it makes me sick to think about it. I was a PayPal advocate. I utilized all their services -- mobile account access, PayPal debit card, Bill Me Later, all my credit cards linked; you name it, I had it. And then one strike (not even really a strike!) and you're out.

The reason why this is so important to me is because I do a lot of business buying and selling mid-low priced goods on online forums. PayPal is the only way to go. The guy who sits there saying on the buy/sell/trade forum "no PayPal, money orders only" is the guy who gets no business. And guess what. When I went onto a website whose checkout page was run through a PayPal payment gateway, I couldn't even check out as a guest even when using a card that was never associated with my PayPal account!

They're also holding nearly $400 of my money in the account for the time being. I can understand their minimum holding time of 45 days out from the last sale because that's the maximum time frame under which one can file a buyer protection claim. But these guys are saying that they may hold my money for up to 180 days. Yeah. 6 months. I don't think so. We'll see what comes up when I reach my 45 day mark mid-July.

Guys, is there anything that you think I can possibly do to convince them to reinstate my PayPal account? I mean, nothing would make me happier than to just tell these assholes to f--- off, but the bottom line is without my PayPal account my ability to conduct business online is extremely crippled. Man, where's JCarter when you need him?
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MemberSince99
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Postby MemberSince99 » Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:11 pm

No, I don't think there is anything you can do you haven't already tried. They don't HAVE to do business with anyone, and unfortunately there is simply no way to make them.

I would look into paypal alternatives.

Ratfacedudeguy
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Postby Ratfacedudeguy » Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:20 pm

Got any suggestions? The ones that are officially endorsed by ebay are all plagued with ridiculous monthly/annual/per transaction fees...
Amex Green - NPSL - 05/12
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JNK
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Postby JNK » Wed Jun 27, 2012 2:50 am

That, unfortunately, is one of the 'occupational hazards' of working with eBay - especially since they are associated with PayPal - and that is the exact reason I don't do business on eBay any longer if I can help it and avoid PayPal when if possible.

Having had my own wranglings with both eBay and PayPal when I was still doing more regular business there, I sympathize.

Is your eBay account still in good standing despite the closure of your PayPal account and the ban? Also, did you purchase directly from the handbag company itself or did you purchase from an overseas supplier? Since you said your account went back into the black (and therefore you don't have anything outstanding due) and given where your case was in terms of getting settled (or not) with PayPal going HMMM at the invoicing, I have to wonder if somehow the supplier themselves - or someone else along the way - got indicted for fraud which turned around and indicted you for fraud as well by association.

That said, reselling high end brand name merchandise can be a very touch and go situation unless you are absolutely positive about the trustworthiness of the original seller and can prove without a doubt the item's authenticity. On eBay especially where knockoffs and counterfeits flood the market and especially with their association with PayPal, accusations from a customer about the legitimacy about a seller's product are taken very very seriously.

Just because a customer complains about authenticity or some other issue isn't enough to trigger a problem and an investigation. If the customer is able to prove within reason that the product they received is a fake or could be a fake or if there is some other problem with the product, then it is entirely likely the end result will go to the buyer's favor regardless if the issue is completely the seller's fault or not.

That said, if eBay is an absolute must for you, then in a way, so is PayPal or some other eBay-endorsed payment gateway system. Yes, the fees are a pain in the arse, but you pay for the convenience of receiving immediate payments. If possible, I would try and see if there's any way to at least figure out what happened that made PayPal close out your account and then ban you.
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Ratfacedudeguy
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Postby Ratfacedudeguy » Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:07 pm

They won't tell me why they banned me -- only that I am "too high risk" for them. Evidently the reasoning behind my ban is "proprietary information" although it seems to me that it should be my right to know why my ability to carry on with business as usual is being irrevocably squashed, but whatever. As far as ebay is concerned this whole thing may as well have never happened. I get promo emails from them almost daily, in fact I either have 2 or 3 from this afternoon sitting in my inbox right now. My Bill Me Later account seems to have been unaffected as well which is odd since they are owned by PayPal.

As far as the authenticity of the item goes, I have nothing but absolute confidence in it's authenticity because I've handled the fakes before and I know what sets them apart. Plus the company that I bought it from has a well known zero tolerance policy against fakes of any kind. Not that it matters to PayPal our anything but I take a very proactive stance against counterfeiting. One of my main hobbies is playing and collecting yoyos. My favorite yoyo company operates out of Japan and consistently releases high end products costing in the area of $200 apiece, and believe it or not there has been a sizable string of counterfeits coming out of China. To protect consumers such as myself from getting burned with buying fakes aftermarket, I wrote up an anti-counterfeiting guide that's posted on the 2 largest american yoyo forums. Doesn't sounds much like the actions of a handbag counterfeiter to me.

Really I think all that this whole situation boils down to is that my original buyer had a bad case of buyer's remorse, or the husband looked at the credit card statements and flipped, so she decided to throw around some harsh words until she got her way. And Paypal took her side.
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MemberSince99
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Postby MemberSince99 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:33 pm

Paypal always sides with the buyer of items on eBay as long as they bought "tangible" goods. UNLESS you get an honest buyer, who didn't get the item but the post office says they delivered it (this happened to me, true story). I filed a claim, Paypal denied it because the post office says it was delivered. My box is at a UPS store, they say they never got it, the post office says they did. Each one blames the other and in the end I got the shaft and paid for something I'll never get. So, that's about the only exception I've seen - in general Paypal sides with the buyer all the time as long as it's tangible goods. If it's intangible, they side with the seller, saying it can't be proven whether you got anything or not. I bought some toons and items for an online RPG using Paypal, and the company failed to deliver. I filed a claim, long story short, the company got me banned from the game for life claiming they didn't get paid due to my claim, Paypal found in their favor and gave them the money, and I got nothing for all of it (it was 800 bucks worth of stuff). And the game company would not reopen my account even though the crooks got paid and I could have proven it, if allowed to (they wouldn't let me). So I learned from that NEVER EVER buy intangible goods using Paypal - it is literally a license for crooks to rip you off.

You know remembering this stuff, I now remember why I dumped Paypal AND Fleabay and haven't looked back. I don't enjoy getting shafted and you get plenty of that from those outfits.

Ratfacedudeguy
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Postby Ratfacedudeguy » Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:00 pm

I hear you man. On the flipside though, my only other Paypal claim I had aside from this one was a few years ago, and it was the same scenario. Buyer got a bag from me, claimed it was fake a few weeks later. Only in that case I had actually purchased it new direct from the manufacturer so I was able to swiftly substantiate the purchase and came out comfortably on top. The main thing that upsets me about this whole case is that one can go from an "invaluable asset" to the scum of the earth in a moment's notice without even allowing them to exercise their due diligence to prove their worth all the while nullifying all of the "advice" that was given throughout the course of the whole ideal. Certainly not a way I'd treat my customers if I was in business.
Amex Green - NPSL - 05/12
Amex Zync - NPSL - 06/12
Discover it - $7750 - 11/12
Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa Signature - $5000 - 11/12
SECU Platinum Visa - $5000 - 08/08
Bank of America Cash Rewards Platinum Plus Visa - $3000 - 06/08
Citi Diamond Preferred Mastercard - $3000 - 05/12
GECRB Old Navy Visa - $2500 - 11/12
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Postby FastSRT8 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:15 am

I HATE ebay. Too many scammers. After seeing what my concierge can do for me, I just ask them to procure my stuff and charge to the card. No hassles, No BS, no worries.
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Ratfacedudeguy
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Postby Ratfacedudeguy » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:47 am

For me, it's way less about ebay and much more about being able to buy and sell in online forums in a hassle-free way. I mean, my fiance has a PayPal account, but I always feel like I have to look over my shoulder when I use it to make sales because I don't want them to do something stupid like permanently ban her just because of her association with me.
Amex Green - NPSL - 05/12
Amex Zync - NPSL - 06/12
Discover it - $7750 - 11/12
Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa Signature - $5000 - 11/12
SECU Platinum Visa - $5000 - 08/08
Bank of America Cash Rewards Platinum Plus Visa - $3000 - 06/08
Citi Diamond Preferred Mastercard - $3000 - 05/12
GECRB Old Navy Visa - $2500 - 11/12
Chase Amazon Visa - $2000 - 11/12
Chase Freedom Visa - $2000 - 07/12
Citi Thank You Visa - $1000 - 06/12
Amex Blue Cash Everyday - $1000 - 01/13

DavidNY
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Postby DavidNY » Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:39 pm

Couldn't you just open up a new account with a different bank account attached?



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