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An Unpleasant Surprise in New PayPal User Agreement

Online sellers who accept PayPal payments on or off eBay were in for a surprise this week when they noticed changes to the company’s user agreement. Catching the most attention was an extension to the Dispute Filing Window. Buyers will now be able to file Item Not Received and Significantly Not as Described claims against sellers for up to 6 months after purchase.

“We’re increasing the time for buyers to file a merchandise dispute (Item Not Received and Significantly Not as Described) from 45 days to 180 days,” according to the update page on PayPal.

The policy change seems as unpopular with U.S. sellers as it was with UK sellers when PayPal UK rolled it out there in June.

Sellers who accept PayPal payments from international buyers must also acquaint themselves with PayPal policies in other countries, as should sellers of custom-made goods.

For international payments: “If you as a seller, sell an item to a buyer from another country, you will be subject to the Buyer and Seller Protection policies applicable to your buyer’s country and required to reimburse PayPal for any payment or refund to your buyer made pursuant to that other country’s policy,” the payment service explained.

And for custom-made products: “We’re extending buyer protection for all buyers to include Item Not Received claims for custom made products.” But PayPal will continue its policy of not covering SNAD claims (Significantly Not As Described) for custom-made products.

The full Policy Update can be found on the PayPal website here and includes a number of tweaks. It goes into effect on November 18, 2014.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.