I am a new seller on eBay and I signed up with PayPal, and everything was fine. It was very hard work getting going, but I did everything eBay said and it started to work.
In my first 2 months I had around 18 sales, all used clothing from my house, in nice condition. My highest sale was $24. I've gotten 100% feedback and the highest rating from eBay I am eligible for at this time, with zero returns or problems.
Then the other day I tried to buy an item for myself on eBay and I paid for it. It said "paid" as normal, then a few minutes later, it said "payment pending," then a few minutes later it said, "Pay Now."
I contacted PayPal and they said everything was fine with my account and to try again. I did, and the same thing happened. I contacted eBay and they said everything was fine on their end, and they wanted to get PayPal on the phone at the same time. They could not get the call to go through.
I then tried making the payment using PayPal with a different credit card, with my bank account, and with my PayPal balance. I also tried paying directly with a credit card. None of these would work. I tried different browsers and phones and clearing my cache and all that stuff.
eBay finally told me it was a problem on the seller's side, but I was now getting in trouble for not paying for my purchase, even though eBay knew what had happened.
I told this to the seller, and he said he checked on his end and there were no problems, but he would let me out of the sale and give me positive feedback (eBay would not allow me to cancel the purchase). Everything worked out fine that way, but I was afraid to buy anything from anyone else because another seller might not be as understanding or helpful.
The next day I logged into PayPal and they said I had engaged in "suspicious" activity, had "significantly" changed the way I was doing business and the items I was selling were "especially risky," and they put a "limitation" on my account. They demanded several pieces of very invasive information, including detailed information about what I had sold and receipts from these items (they're many years old and there are no receipts).
I submitted everything I had, and asked them what the suspicious activity was and what had changed "significantly" (nothing on my end, all inexpensive used clothes).
They would not respond, so they've accused me of something very serious, very early on in my experience with eBay and PayPal, and won't tell me what I'm accused of. This is outright wrong.
From my reading, I've found out it doesn't stop here. Once you comply with their demands, they keep asking for more and more and more information, such as utility bills, bank statements, passports (which I don't have), tax returns, all sorts of things, with ZERO privacy guarantees. They said they don't provide you with tax forms until you've made $20,000. I've made less than $200 and have a CPA who takes care of everything for me, so handling eBay earnings big or small won't be a problem for me.
My questions for you are,
1) Is this common, a story you've heard before?
2) What should I do about it?
This is no way to run a business or treat your customers, and for the time being, they've put me out of business. What if I was making $30,000 a month instead of $200, and then suddenly they decide to accuse me of something I didn't do?
3) Is there any way I can continue on eBay without PayPal? And I should ask, is eBay itself as bad as PayPal when it comes to this kind of thing?
4) Is there anyone I should talk to about this? A lawyer or an eBay "fixer" or whatever?
5) Is it even a good idea to be on eBay anymore? Or use PayPal? This is not a proper way to conduct business, on any level.
I appreciate any information you might be able to provide. Please feel free to share this on your message boards or wherever.