|Sat Oct 12 2013 15:44:50|
Watchdog Exposes eBay's Seller Protection Loophole
By: Ina Steiner
The New York Times' Haggler is at it again, and this time it has uncovered a disturbing loophole in eBay's seller protection policy. The Haggler column has previously written about eBay and PayPal policies on behalf of readers, including its practice of payment holds on seller accounts.
Today, The Haggler responded to a reader about his experience selling a laptop computer. The seller said someone purchased his laptop on eBay using a stolen identity and when the true owner of that identity disputed the charge (a "chargeback"), PayPal took the funds from the seller's account.
"PayPal vowed to "dispute the reversal" and "work with the buyer's credit card company" to get my money back," the seller wrote, but he discovered PayPal had extended to the perpetrator a credit line under Bill Me Later. "In other words," the laptop seller wrote, "the "credit card company" to which PayPal referred was PayPal. Its promise of advocacy, then, would mean taking my money while disputing - with itself - the taking of my money."
The Haggler called the situation unfair and wrote, "in ways that the Haggler can't quite put a finger on, the sense of unfairness is compounded by the reality that PayPal, Bill Me Later and eBay operate under one corporate umbrella. In most credit disputes it's the buyer against the merchant, with the card company mediating between the two. Here the credit issuer is Bill Me Later, which is disputing a charge with its parent, PayPal. When the Haggler asked the eBay spokesman John Pluhowski for the name of the PayPal spokesman and the Bill Me Later spokesman, he offered one name: John Pluhowski."
Read the column on the New York Times website and let us know what you think of eBay's seller protection policy - has it ever failed you?