Is PayPal safe?

The safety of PayPal payments is a concern for online shoppers, especially as it isn't covered under the Consumer Credit Act

Providing you ignore those "phishing" emails which pretend to come from PayPal (they try to get your personal banking details), the firm has a good security record.

The difficulty is where something goes wrong, possibly with the goods you buy. PayPal is not a credit card so you have no protection under the Consumer Credit Act.

Its 45-day complaint period, after which it generally refuses to deal with consumers, has no basis in law other than PayPal's own terms and conditions. This can be very short, especially if dealing with an overseas seller. However, it is signed up to the Financial Ombudsman Service so if you make a complaint that is not resolved to your satisfaction you can take it to the ombudsman.

• This article was amended on 17 September 2012. It previously said PayPal users could not complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service. This has been corrected.


Tony Levene

The GuardianTramp

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