Logging into PayPal this morning I was greeted with a splash screen offering advice on PayPal disputes. I’m not sure why this was presented to me as I’ve no open disputes either as a buyer nor as a seller, and the last thing I want is buyers getting the idea that they can open disputes at the drop of a hat instead of communicating with me first.
The link is to a document which is actually quite good, it kicks off with the statement “A dispute is simply an opportunity for the buyer and seller to communicate directly with each other. By opening a dispute, you’re asking the seller for help to resolve problems you’ve had with your transaction.” I also like the key points and in particular “Sellers are normal people like you. Although the situation may be frustrating, try to keep things amicable so you can work together to reach a solution.” Personally I prefer an amicable email or eBay my message and I’ll put things right for my customer, but if things are going to go bad I’d rather my buyer read the dispute document than not.
US PayPal policy change
There’s a change to PayPal’s user agreement in the US, which doesn’t appear to have been added to the UK agreement yet. Transactions will no longer be eligible for seller protection if:
“Items that are not shipped to the recipient’s shipping address on the Transaction Details Page. If you originally ship the item to the shipping address on the Transaction Details Page but the item is later redirected to a different address, you will not be eligible for seller protection. We therefore recommend not using a shipping service that is controlled by the buyer.
That means if a buyer redirects a parcel, uses a services such as Royal Mail redelivery or redirection then the seller is no longer covered for buyer protection, even if they shipped to the address on the PayPal transaction page.
I’m hoping that this one doesn’t come to the UK and it’s particularly unfair that buyers can redirect mail without the sellers knowledge. Not only is there no way to prevent mail redirection, but it’s a scammers paradise as once they’ve had your goods redirected PayPal won’t protect you.
I’d still rather have the buyer contact us direct than using Paypal as the first port of call for a problem.
With redirection, I can see us adding ‘ DO NOT RE-DIRECT ‘ to the addresses, if this goes ahead in the UK, although Paypal won’t know anything about the redelivery from the tracking page, as the redelivery must be the same postcode area & SD/Tracked cannot be redirected.
“The link is to a document which is actually quite good”
What you did there, Chris, which many buyers don’t, is actually read the page and understand it. Our friends at eBay are smart and intelligent like you and I think it’s easy to forget when designing these complex systems that not everyone is.
Where we are assessing our performance based on 0.5% of purchases, it’s important to design processes which don’t require literacy and high levels of understanding to operate. The current rate of UK adult illiteracy is around 4% (Basic Skill Agency – “very low literacy”) with an average of 24% who cannot read or write properly or do simple sums.
A note to me from a buyer yesterday who left me a neutral and I assume corresponding DSRs. She hadn’t contacted us at all with a problem and didn’t think it was an issue. I’d dropped her a note to find out what was the problem. She clearly is literate, but didn’t understand the impact she was having:-
“I really don’t understand ebay at all. I haven’t said anything negative about you I don’t think? The only reason I left neutral feedback was because I have purhased two sets of itms of you….I didnt mind much, just wished they had been described a little better. I am not one to complain….i just get on with things, but thought I would leave neatral feedback to make you aware. i dont think it impacts your ratings does it?…Apart form that you seem to sell lots of interesting bits, and I would buy from you again.”
Um, this has always been a rule with PayPal they just didn’t openly publish it. I first read about scams utilizing this trick at least 3 years ago. Unless your tracking says “delivered” or “attempted delivery” and includes their zipcode you aren’t covered, period. And you never were. I’m not aware of any service where a buyer couldn’t redirect their package via some method.
Plus USPS never says that the package arrived in the original zipcode so you never had proof that you shipped it correctly in the first place. All it says is that the package was redirected or could not be delivered as addressed. If this rule didn’t exist a seller could simply ship an item to any random place (perhaps a former address), redirect the package back to himself, and successfully claim the buyer is pulling tricks on him.
Fortunately I’ve never experienced a loss this way.
Thats outrageous, its bad enough with scammers, now there is another loop hole for them to abuse. 🙁
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