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Dave Weinstein

PayPal Requires Instrument Destruction

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I'm not a lawyer, but I cannot understand how PayPal can authorise someone to destroy an item which neither PayPal nor that person has legal title to.

 

Most definitions of counterfeiting I've seen involve fraudulent intent. A genuine error of identification or misdescription would not be counterfeiting. Counterfeiting is a criminal offence in most jurisdictions. If the item is believed to be counterfeit then surely it should be handed to the police to investigate. Surely only a court can order its destruction?

 

I think the seller should take legal advice. I'd be thinking in terms of a civil lawsuit, and perhaps making a complaint to the police about criminal damage by the recipient, and conspiracy to commit criminal damage on the part of Paypal who encouraged it. But I'm not a lawyer.

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I'm not a lawyer, but I cannot understand how PayPal can authorise someone to destroy an item which neither PayPal nor that person has legal title to.

 

Sorry to be cynical... but I don't believe the story, at all. I have raised a couple of disputes with PayPal - one was for an expensive bicycle that my son wilfully purchased. The PayPal dispute was handled entirely by email and through the website. The faulty item had to be sent back to the seller. After we did this, it transpired that the seller had removed all his funds so no refund was possible immediately. PayPal pursued the case through the courts, with no further input from us, and nearly a year later we received a refund in full.

 

Destroying an item incorrectly sold is not PayPal's style... at all.

 

Nevertheless, I wouldn't buy an expensive musical instrument through PayPal because the level of insurance is lower than that of a good credit card company.

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I've just noticed a further update at the foot of the report which says that "Paypal are now looking into the matter". It's a bit late.

 

My guess is they'll apologise and blame it on human error, and some hapless call centre drone will be sent away for forcible re-education - sorry, "retraining". I'm afraid that wouldn't give me any reassurance unless this provision about destroying the item is removed from their T&Cs - it's likely to be only a matter of time before it happens again "because the computer says so".

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True or not, this story has now gone viral. The report of it on the Guardian website also linked to this story:

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2010/mar/19/paypal-return-fake-goods?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

 

In this case the item was fake, and the issue was over Paypal insisting it was returned to the seller before it would issue a refund, even though to do so would be illegal. Paypal blamed it on an error in the original claim and explained, "Ordinarily, buyers of counterfeit goods would be asked to keep or dispose of them after getting a qualified third party to confirm their dodgy origin."

 

As the report goes on to say, "The difficulty, clearly, lies in automated complaint systems which generate generic replies". And in Paypal's apparent assumption of the right to decide whether or not an item is counterfeit rather than leave it to the proper legal authorities.

 

 

 

 

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