A bizarre PayPal problem, that is not of my making, has led to me being threatened with debt collectors. In May, Golden Age Empire sent my PayPal account $125 (£118) with the note “Wrought iron four-piece table set”.
I had no idea what this was about, as I do not sell this, or any other items. I immediately returned the money and assumed it would be the end of it. However, it has been anything but.
In August, the person behind the Golden Age account opened a complaint with PayPal, stating that I had not sent the item. I emailed her to explain that I do not sell items and have already returned her money. She did not respond, leading me to wonder if this was a scam, rather than an innocent error.
PayPal’s reaction was to debit my account by the amount in question. It then began calling and emailing every few days to ask me to return my balance to zero. Staff blamed the problem on me for not refunding the payment, rather than sending the money back. The cardholder has launched a chargeback that will take weeks to resolve. The final straw is that I have now been approached by a firm of PayPal-appointed debt collectors asking for the money. It’s ridiculous, but I can’t sort it out.
DS, by email
Having been through this highly unusual case, it is still unclear whether this is genuine mistake, or something more sinister.
What’s clear is that PayPal should have resolved this without us getting involved. It also raises the question of how the other party could make a chargeback claim without providing proof it had ordered some items.
Following out intervention, PayPal has stepped in and will make sure this is resolved irrespective of the chargeback outcome. It has returned your balance to zero, called off the debt collectors, and will pay you £150 to say sorry.
The take-away of this case is this: if someone sends your PayPal account an unsolicited sum, you should click the refund button rather than sending them the money back as a new payment.
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