Paypal Requires eBay Buyer to Destroy $2500 Antique Violin to get Refund
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Paypal’s Terms of Service (TOS) regarding disputes for “significantly not as described” (SNAD) section lead to a heartbreaking situation in which an eBay buyer who requested a refund when he decided that an antique violin for which he’d paid $2500 was a fake, was ordered by Paypal to first destroy the violin (why the buyer didn’t just arrange with the seller to return it for a refund is beyond us).

This is a fine example of why it’s such a bad idea to do business with a company that controls both halves of the transaction (Paypal and eBay are now two sides of the same company.)


The seller, Erica, wrote to the site Regretsy, explaining the devestating situation:

I love your site and was thrilled to hear of your “win” against PayPal. I recently had a heartbreaking experience of my own with them.

I sold an old French violin to a buyer in Canada, and the buyer disputed the label.

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{Ed. note: Erica clarified in a follow up that “the violin was examined and authenticated by a top luthier prior to its sale.}

This is not uncommon. In the violin market, labels often mean little and there is often disagreement over them. Some of the most expensive violins in the world have disputed labels, but they are works of art nonetheless.

the-violin-destroyed-by-paypal

 

Rather than have the violin returned to me, PayPal made the buyer DESTROY the violin in order to get his money back. They somehow deemed the violin as “counterfeit” even though there is no such thing in the violin world.

The buyer was proud of himself, so he sent me a photo of the destroyed violin.

I am now out a violin that made it through WWII as well as $2500. This is of course, upsetting. But my main goal in writing to you is to prevent PayPal from ordering the destruction of violins and other antiquities that they know nothing about. It is beyond me why PayPal simply didn’t have the violin returned to me.

I spoke on the phone to numerous reps from PayPal who 100% defended their action and gave me the party line.

Erica

Paypal’s terms of service for Significantly Not as Described (SNAD) disputes includes:

For SNAD Claims, PayPal may require you to ship the item back to the seller – or to PayPal – or to a third party at your expense, and to provide proof of delivery. Please take reasonable precautions in re-packing the item to reduce the risk of damage to the item during transit. PayPal may also require you to destroy the item and to provide evidence of its destruction.

Frankly, we smell a lawsuit here – with the luthier’s authenticating the violin, Erica has a legitimate claim against Paypal for the $2500.

No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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6 thoughts on “Paypal Requires eBay Buyer to Destroy $2500 Antique Violin to get Refund
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  1. Greg, you obviously have -0- Zero experience with paypal claims or you would not have made such a stupid statement.
    Paypal has had me destroy fake chineese goods several times in the last 2 years. Get it straight before spouting off dude.

  2. Hi Greg – Thanks for your comment. The story does seem almost unbelievable, but it was very widely reported (The Internet Patrol is far from the only source to write up the story), and PayPal issued a statement in response to all the coverage. Here is that statement: “While we cannot talk about this particular case due to PayPal’s privacy policy, we carefully review each case, and in general we may ask a buyer to destroy counterfeit goods if they supply signed evidence from a knowledgeable third party that the goods are indeed counterfeit. The reason why we reserve the option to ask the buyer to destroy the goods is that in many countries, including the US, it is a criminal offense to mail counterfeit goods back to a seller.” As far as we can tell, this is why the buyer couldn’t simply return the violin to seller, as you suggested – this is illegal, according to PayPal, provided that the violin was deemed counterfeit by a “knowledgeable third party,” which evidently it was. Obviously, we’re not saying that PayPal acted appropriately in this case – we were merely reporting on the information available to us. There are lots of other stories about this case online. Here is one: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2082060/PayPal-eBay-buyer-destroy-2-500-violin-deemed-counterfeit.html Hope that helps! -Evan

  3. One more thing to add. What would any of you do if you had this violin, wanted your money back, and were told by Paypal to destroy it? I know what I’d do – I’d go find some cheap piece of crap violin and smash it and send paypal the pieces or photos or whatever. After all, it’s supposed to be counterfeit crap anyway right? So what are they going to expect, a Stradivarius? Then After I got away with it, if I were an honest guy (not to paypal of course) I’d make a private deal with the seller, or, keep it, or sell it. There’s just no way for this to have happened as described. So why don’t you post the auction number and let us investigate? Let us contact the buyer and find out what happened. I dare you. Let me close by saying there are plenty of ways to outsmart them at their own game, but I will have to take the 5th amendment on that

  4. There’s something not right about this story. The seller could have insisted that the violin be returned for a refund. That is what paypal would require under the circumstances, cut and dried. Nobody loses. Unless there is credible documentation that Paypal actually did what is claimed, I find the story ridiculous. Absolutely not credible. It doesn’t matter if Paypal “deemed it counterfeit”. Even if it was, it gets returned for a refund. Paypal are not the police, they do not investigate counterfeiting, and they could care less. And if they did care, they would have police confiscate it. What a load of crap. Perhaps they should have deemed it the work of the devil and exorcised it. Then someone publishes a photo of a smashed violin as “proof”. Has anybody actually tried to verify this story? OK, here’s what you need to think about. Seller sells violin to buyer. Buyer doesn’t like it, files dispute. So buyer returns item for refund. Done deal. Happens all the time. Where did this other bullshit come from? Somebody didn’t get enough attention as a kid. Paypal and ebay suck, but you people who make up these unnecessary stories are idiots, and those who believe them without question are gullible fools. You are muddying up the issues by spreading bullshit along with the true stories of abuse. You give Paypal the opportunity to prove these stories wrong and then they get to discredit the true stories as well.

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