The victim appears to have just three days to spot the email request from Paypal before the payment is removed from his or her account.
The scam appears to work like this. The recipient waits for a few days after the unwitting seller (in this case on Ebay) has sent the goods. Then he or she claims the goods have never been received plus claims that his or her Paypal account must have been hacked in order for the payment to have been made.
Paypal responds to these allegations by sending out a string of emails – all of which look like phishing attempts – demanding the vendor log into his or her account and provide more details.
After a short period – possibly as little as three days (including the weekend) – Paypal makes a full refund to the supposedly aggrieved purchaser. Leaving the seller high and dry.
The whole incident only came to light when our aggrieved reader checked his Paypal account to investigate why there were insufficient funds to pay an Ebay bill.
Then the nightmare unfolded. Firstly, it's necessary to find the reversal transaction details. That's not easy – despite Paypal's motto that its service is faster, simpler and smarter.
Then trying to complain about the transaction through Paypal's 'Resolution centre' is a nightmare. Eventually, resorting to phoning the Paypal call centre, our reader was informed he must supply details of proof of delivery.
Apparently, the only evidence accepted is proof of sending and signing from the mail or courier company. The fact that the purchaser corresponded with the seller for days after the item purchase asking for technical advice, didn't count.
This INQ reader may not be alone because a quick trawl of the Net revealed several sites including Aboutpaypal.org which moan about heavy handed treatment from Paypal.
It's not even a new scam since there are plenty of similar horror stories on Ebay dating back to 2006 such as here.
Paypal must be well aware of the problem yet there are no 'options' in the standard online and call centre menu systems for reversal victims to follow.
A spokesperson for Paypal said the company is investigating our reader's complaint.
INQ encounters Paypal 'reversal' scam
By Tony Dennis on Nov 24, 2008 6:51AM