PayPal extends buyer protection off-eBay

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PayPal UK has announced today on its official blog that with immediate effect, transactions taking place off-eBay will have the same levels of buyer protection as those that take place on eBay. Specifically, “significantly not as described” claims will be allowed for off-eBay purchases just as they are on eBay. Here’s the link to the full detail of the changed user agreement.

Prior to this change, buyers had limited protection in off-eBay transactions which covered them for non-receipt but not for SNAD claims. PayPal UK’s MD, Carl Scheible, says “over half of all PayPal payments by value are now made on non-eBay websites, so we’re pleased to respond to calls from customers and consumer groups to strengthen buyer protection for non-eBay purchases.”

I’m delighted by this. I know that some sellers complain that PayPal “side with the buyer” too often – but as far as I’m concerned, anything that gives online shoppers more confidence that they’ll be satisfied by their transaction has to be a good thing for all ecommerce merchants. The old distinction where SNAD was allowed on-eBay but not offsite was just ridiculous, and buyers (mostly) have the right in law anyway to return goods they’re not happy with, so this is really just underlining that right and, perhaps, encouraging more sellers to honour it.

Buyers should note that PayPal buyer protection does not cover intangible goods, services, custom made items, airline flight tickets, eBay classified advertisements and items prohibited under eBay’s acceptable use policy. Only items paid for in full with a single PayPal payment are covered.

5 Responses

  1. One significant exclusion in their terms which eBay don’t point out in their blog post is that purchases from classifieds sites are excluded.

    This means that purchases from Gumtree and other classifieds sites are not covered.

  2. Thanks Sue for your article on this exciting change! And thanks Ian for your comment. I have adjusted the article to make it clearer that all classified ads are not covered. There are a few other exceptions not mentioned so it’s good to always look over the terms and conditions to make sure you are able to claim under Buyer Protection.

  3. I do not begrudge buyers the protection from less than honest sellers – but if there are no checks and balances against dishonest buyers, then merchants face the same risk of fraud as eBay sellers.

    Return of goods before refund would seem to be a given – but assuming the cost side of that is addressed, who is to say what was actually IN the package?

    Seller sends a rock instead of a handbag – then, sure, the buyer has cause for complaint. But if the seller sends a handbag and the buyer makes a complaint and returns a rock, then….?

    Oh, silly me. Paypal don’t need anything more than the buyer complaint to ‘investigate’ (what a laugh) and ‘conclude’ in the buyers favour.

    This story started out on eBay, but it will be just as valid an example under this new service, as it would be for a High Street mail order:

    Protect consumers by all means – but that should not include the freedom to defraud merchants.

  4. The part that worries me is the way it handles counterfeits. If the buyer claims “counterfeit” you are required to give a full refund and you don’t get it back. That seems reasonable if the item really is counterfeit but it isn’t spelled out if PayPal acquires the item and hires an expert to make this conclusion or if they just take the buyer’s word for it and wash their hands of the transaction. I seem to recall came up with this same policy last year but then backed down and claimed it was all a miscommunication.

    Years ago someone accused me of sending them a counterfeit item and it wasn’t until I convinced them to contact the manufacturer and report the serial number that they realized it was genuine. I’m not so sure the situation would have ended the same way if there was a button they could have pressed that gave them a full refund and required destroying (keeping) the product.


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