PayPal and eBay have hung me out to dry

PayPal small print leaves eBay seller without

I sold a 46-inch Sony TV and Blu-ray player on eBay for £750. The items were paid for via PayPal, and the buyer asked if they could come and collect them. I checked to see if the money was in my PayPal account and it was, so I handed over the TV and player. About 10 minutes later I logged back in and found the payment had been cancelled. Later that evening PayPal sent me an email regarding potential fraud, but it was too late. Neither eBay or PayPal have since taken any interest in helping me or refunding me, despite confirming their systems were breached: the criminal hacked into an eBay account to do the deal (using someone with lots of positive feedback), and then hacked into someone else's PayPal account to pay for it. I am now £750 out of pocket. RK, Brussels

Both eBay and PayPal can be frustrating for consumers to deal with because they issue automated responses to questions, making it very difficult to speak to a real person. PayPal confirmed you experienced a "reversal" but said it was not responsible for your loss, despite promising that it "offers sellers protection against potential losses due to buyer claims, chargebacks or reversals". Instead, it found a clause in its rules that states local collections aren't covered by its seller protection programme, which requires "proof that goods have been exchanged in the form of online trackable proof of delivery and proof of signature from the recipient for items over £150" – difficult when selling a TV.

We reminded PayPal that, while its own systems were not hacked into, someone's PayPal account was neverthless used by the fraudster, and that you did not find out the payment had been flagged by PayPal until it was too late.

Unfortunately, PayPal again refused to accept any responsibility, so you should now take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at or write to Brignall & King, Money, The Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number


Mark King

The GuardianTramp

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