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Tue Feb 3 2015 10:37:24

When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
I run a clothing website. Most of my business comes from there but I also have about 1500 items listed across 3 marketplaces. I receive an average of 30 orders per day just from eBay alone.

I keep all my merchandise in a large storage facility and work from home. All aspects of my business are handled by me and me only. This includes buying and managing inventory, listing items, processing transactions, buyer communication (by far the most time consuming), refunds, and accounting.

This is my full time job. The hours are long but the money I make is very well worth it. 90% of transactions are flawless. Returns and refunds can be excessive at times but I’ve accepted that as a part of doing business.

An interesting thing happened to me last year and I wanted to share it with your readers in hopes it will give them a laugh.

I received a chargeback notification for an item that was sold on eBay for $450.00 and sent via USPS Priority Express (1-day mailing).

In addition to this amount being deducted from my PayPal account, another $20.00 (the standard price of a chargeback) was deducted as well. This created an open case with PayPal in which 2 things were required.

1) Proof of shipping that showed the tracking #, buyer name and confirmed shipping address

2) Proof of signature confirmation (actual copy of USPS form with buyer signature)

I purchased all shipping labels through eBay so I simply went to the label purchase history on my seller page and placed my mouse pointer on the transaction for this particular shipping label so the little bubble with the relevant information would pop out. I took a screenshot of this and PayPal accepted it.

Then I went to USPS' website and requested a copy of the signed form to be emailed to me. I received the email 5 minutes later which included a copy of the form with signature attached as a pdf file.

After sending everything to PayPal and feeling confident that everything would turn out ok, I was shocked and dismayed the next morning when I checked the status of the case and saw that it was decided in the buyers favor.

The next thing I did of course was call PayPal to confirm this was actually happening despite the fact that I completely fulfilled my contractual obligations to receive their seller "protection".

The person at PayPal was rational, and agreed with my suggestion that in these situations it should be PayPal who takes the loss, not the seller. After all, it is them who confirm shipping addresses, verify the buyer's identity and approve the transactions.

They don't perform these services for free, either, because 2.9% of each transaction goes directly to PayPal which makes that the price we pay for using these services. And what they do for us is extremely valuable, too, because they keep us protected from fraudulent buyers.

And since they process millions of transactions a day, it's only expected that they fail at a couple of them every now and then. But these failed transactions (chargebacks) are a cost of doing PayPal's business. It is absolutely absurd that they are managing to get away with making it an eBay seller's cost of doing business.   

The person at PayPal apologized and told me he would talk to his boss and see if they could look into my case. He promised to get back to me the next day and we hung up.  I knew he was more than likely just lying to get off the phone with me. Although I was angry, I knew I had no choice but to accept it.

The next morning I woke up and got ready for my long and busy commute across the hallway to my office. I signed-in to eBay to print my transactions and when I saw how many of them I had I concluded I was probably still sleeping and that it was only a dream.

After pinching myself a few times and realizing I was in fact awake (and in pain), I sat in shock from the nearly 200 orders I had in front of me, Did I mention it was only 10am?

By 3pm it was 300, and by 9pm it was almost 400.

The guy at PayPal never did call me back but I'm positive this was happening because of him.

He must have thought he was doing me a favor and I suppose he kinda was. But whatever he did, he did it again the day after, and the day after that too. I was at the beginning of all search results for 3 very long and sleepless days.

Unfortunately, many of these orders weren't shipped on time. Some were extremely large and I had to restock on many items. My vendors are all local so I list the quantities of all my items in the 100s.

I got a few negatives the following week but mostly positives. And like always, 80% of the transactions went without receiving feedback.

I lost TRS because of it, but was able to send my mom on a nice European vacation from it all.

Thanks PayPal! This would have been the perfect time to put a hold on my funds or limit my account, but you didn't and I appreciate that.
F.S.




Comments (25) | Permalink

Readers Comments

When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot   When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 3 12:41:36 2015

I hardly think that paypal did anything....

When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot   When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Tue Feb 3 12:41:57 2015

Wow! Congrats on your success. Keep it up!

When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot   When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot

by: ajeweler This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 3 13:09:24 2015

preypal will take the funds in a couple days watch it go do not trust in the fact they temporally gave you access to your funds, they do this for everyone however only to take it back days later

When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot   When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Feb 3 15:13:24 2015

Visibility is everything.

Would have paid off my mortgage a few years ago had John Donahoe not taken the reins at eBay.

When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot   When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Tue Feb 3 16:30:08 2015

Good for OP!


I've thought all along if eBay were REALLY interested in shutting up the ''noise'' all they would need to do is open up the portals full throttle and keep the sellers so busy with sales that they would not have any spare time to be ''noisy''.

THAT is all they have ever needed to do. Would have been good all around.

When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot   When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Tue Feb 3 18:38:21 2015

Yeah, but the question remains, why did “PreyPal” find in favour of the buyer and have taken your funds when you had all the necessary proofs required? I suspect that the problem is, the banks have had so much trouble with charge-backs on PayPal’s account, that “PreyPal”, like eBay, apparently won’t now challenge credit card charge-backs for fear of having their merchant account with their acquiring bank restricted …

As I jokingly wrote some years ago …

“It is with great sadness that eBay’s chief headless turkey, Johnny Ho, announces the anticipated incapacitation of eBay’s most ugly adopted daughter, PayPal. Undoubtedly, ‘PreyPal’ is about to be adversely affected by the new, particularly virulent, strains of professional digital wallet: MasterCard’s ‘MasterPass’ and Visa’s ‘Visa Checkout’; that, in addition to the financial institutions’ displeasure due to ‘PreyPal’ transactions resulting in far too many credit card charge-backs, and also much ‘PreyPal’ merchant/payee dissatisfaction regarding PayPal’s unprofessional transaction dispute mediation process (or total lack thereof) and arbitrary and unlawful holds (in contravention of their licence as only a money transmitter) on payees’ funds …

“‘PreyPal’ may therefore be expected to soon begin to deteriorate in health and, if ultimately not completely incapacitated, will most likely be eventually confined to its effectively mandated servicing of what little there will be left, by then, of the Johnny Ho-devastated eBay marketplace, and to being the merchant account provider of last resort for those small online sellers that do not have the confidence of their own retail banker.

“There is no cure this condition, and Johnny Ho is particularly saddened by the inevitability that, in the not too far distant future, ‘PreyPal’ will be unable to continue to underpin the eBay marketplace’s atrophying sales and stagnating revenues (albeit counterbalanced by ever increasing, percentage wise, fees).” …

When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot   When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Feb 3 23:15:26 2015

Does PayPal have the ability to alter search results on eBay? Or the the CSR place a call to JD and have him throw a switch on Can't-See-Me for a few days?

When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot   When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 3 23:39:05 2015

While paypal does have access to eBays systems and backend computer systems, they do not have access to listing control.

Paypal can also read eBay emails directly but refuses to acknowledge it and won't count any info contained in them in cases.  

When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot   When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Feb 4 03:03:34 2015

One had nothing to do with the other.  A PP CSR has no control over anyone's exposure in Ebay.

But still it is wonderful for you to have such good sales and what a treat for your mom.  I sincerely hope 2015 is good for you too.

When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot   When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot

by: rhawk This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 4 08:37:03 2015

To those who say paypal has no way to affect a sellers sale.....you have your head in the sand.  They are the same company....one phone call to whoever throws the switch...and viola.   Even if paypal was not involved.....clearly another proof of throttling.

When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot   When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot

by: ignatz This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 4 09:07:38 2015

Get a friend to buy something and file a chargeback on it.  If it happens a second time, you know it's PayPal and not a breakdown in the Law of Averages.

When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot   When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot

by: mjr55 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 4 10:44:10 2015

So.....buyer filed a chargeback that you claim was wrongful. You then theorize that Paypal turned on your listings and you magically sold 200 items overnight....and as a result you couldn't ship a ton of orders, received several negs, and lost TRS.

Wow...what a seller.

When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot   When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Feb 4 12:18:36 2015

@rhawk

No they are NOT the same company.  Ebay currently owns PP, but they are two separate companies.  Certainly Ebay has influence over PP because they own it, but the reverse is not necessarily true.  I never bury my head in the sand, I know others might because they have one way at looking at things.  I do not.

And a CSR at PP would not have the authority to go and play with a seller on Ebay's account to such an extent as described by the OP.

When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot   When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot

by: gutspiller This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 4 13:15:28 2015

All I can say is I once sent a simular story to Ina but it was never published.

I had exactly the same experience a couple of years ago. After a complaint with Ebay how it was possible my sales weren't going up (even the contrary) while strongly increaded the number of items and lowered my prices to compete with my main competitor.

The sales of my competitor florished as never before while I had all the effort in the world to keep my sales at the same level.

Called Ebay but they said they couldn't help. After this Phone call for 3 months in a row my sales increased, increased and increased. Within 3 months my sales had doubled. My main competitor no longer seemed to exist. Never understood how Ebay did it. My position in the search results was as before but I was certainly getting all the trafic.

It lasted 3 months and then from one day to another the traffic and sales were back gone. All sales I was loosing went to my competitor. From then on I knew the Ebay game is completely rigged.

I've been fighting this for 2 years. Result was that my Ebay account was completely sabotaged. In just 1 month I lost 70% of my business (long before you start reading the stories of so many sellers in the same position.

It was clear I was no longer wanted on Ebay. This competitor has been on top of best match in every category he lists for the last 2 years. New sellers don't stand a chance. Sells 4-5 times as much as his biggest competitor who has twice the number of items for sale and often undercuts him big times.

In the meantime prices have gone down so much I no longer undderstand he can make a profit. Only possible if we take all Ebay/PayPal costs out of the equation.

And that's the only plausible explanation I can come up with. This guy just works for Ebay and earns a monthly wage.

I no longer sell on Ebay. And very happy I no longer do.

When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot   When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Feb 4 13:51:06 2015

@gutspiller

That isn't even remotely like the story the OP shared.  Do you not see the difference?

I've experienced what you talk about.  Where I've called Ebay regarding something to do with traffic / lack of sales / or something in those areas.  They claim all is well and see nothing wrong.  Then a day or so later suddenly the sales start coming in.  Well for awhile, then it is right back where it has been in the last year and a half.

But that is Ebay, NOT PP as the Op suggests.  

When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot   When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot

This user has validated their user name. by: thehosst

Thu Feb 5 01:15:56 2015

I doubt it was paypal but a glitch on the famous eBay redirects and selling caps, good for her!

I, in the other hand, know for sure that there are a few eBay sellers who have very good relations inside, there is a guy in UK that gets thousands of sales a week from only a few dozen products, not cheaper, no better, but dozens and dozens of duplicated items, same item, 40 different titles with typos and all. This is against eBay policy so we reported him 27 times for the last 3 years, nothing happened. We did try to do the same, we got our products delisted for being dups.
I also know of another guy who got 8,000 orders in the 3rd month of starting the store, no selling caps, no little by little like the rest of new sellers, thousands from the start. In case you ever wonder where your sales go to, that is it, there is a few dozens of those and they kill the sales for the rest of the sellers. So easy for ebay to check the sales numbers, but as I mentioned, they do have someone inside.  

When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot   When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot

by: midcenturygallery This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 5 01:25:31 2015

So did you ever get your 470.00 back? This almost feels like a feel good paypal propaganda ploy. If anything it was just a strange coincidence you had sales as paypal just like ebay SUCKS =)

When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot   When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Feb 5 01:45:49 2015

I also have a hard time believing that a flood of sales would have anything to do with a phone call to a PP CSR. Theoretically it is possible for any one of us to sell out our entire inventory in 24 hours. For those of us with more than 20 items in inventory that can both be a scary and an awesome thought. I have no clue why the OP had 400 orders in one day with the flood continuing after that, but it is not even logical to think that some CSR could turn on the taps that way.

Happy for you and I trust when this happened you were stashing most of the profit in a savings vehicle for when the well dried up. If it lasted only three days, for sure I wouldn't have sent mom on a vacation with the profits until I saw that the sales like this continued for a very long time.

When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot   When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot

by: spooky This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 5 08:16:16 2015

sounds like complete nonsense, I do not believe a word of it

When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot   When PayPal Turns on the eBay Sales Spigot

by: Zinnie This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 5 16:45:48 2015

Seems like Paypal always sides with the buyer. I doubt Paypal had anything to do with those new sales but congrats to your increase in sales.  

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