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Paypal protects buyers against fraudulent sellers, however, there are rules in place to protect the seller as well, against fraudulent buyers or frivolous claims.  This guide is written in response to one of the #1 guides titled, For All Of Us Who Have Bought An Item On Ebay.  There is misleading information in this! I have also covered important information regarding shipping/delivery of your package and delays/items not received.

This person says that they received the wrong size - the shoes were 1/2" too large or small.  They fail to mention whether or not the seller sent the wrong size (other than what was advertised) or did they send the size that was advertised, but they just didn't fit the buyer?  If it was the buyers mistake, there are very, very few sellers who will give a refund, much less pay the return postage (Ebay is an auction site, not a department store)!   All sizes are not universal!  Some are made alittle larger, and some alittle smaller.  If the seller shipped the wrong size - a size other than what was advertised, then they should have been responsible for return postage.  If the size received is the size advertised, but they don't fit, then this is NOT the seller's fault (don't buy shoes that you can't try on, unless you KNOW the brand and you wear a standard shoe size).  Go to a shoe store if there's a possibility that they won't fit, so you can try them on and/or return them (same is true for clothing).    Paypal will not require the seller to pay for the return postage, even if the seller is at fault if a claim is filed (they require that the buyer pays for the return postage).

Next, the buyer should NOT return anything to the seller, UNLESS they have an email from the seller, stating they will give a full refund (it needs to say whether or not the initial postage and/or return postage will be included)!  IF the seller has MANY neg. feedbacks for not shipping, or not being trustworthy, you should NEVER RETURN AN ITEM WITHOUT FILING A PAYPAL CLAIM (most sellers/buyers can work this out, so only involve Paypal if the seller has a poor history or the value is very high, because unnecessary complaints have slowed Paypal's response time way down).  You can file the claim with Paypal WITHIN 45 DAYS FROM PAYMENT (not 30 days)!!  By filing the complaint,  Paypal has record of the complaint and the response from the seller and is usually all that's necessary.  If the seller IS AT FAULT (be sure that the seller is responsible for the error), and you are not able to resolve this, THEN escalate the dispute.  This will immediately involve Paypal.  AFTER YOU HAVE ESCALATED THE COMPLAINT, DO NOT SHIP ANYTHING BACK TO THE SELLER UNTIL PAYPAL HAS TOLD YOU TO BECAUSE YOU COULD END UP WITHOUT THE ITEM AND THE REFUND!!!  Once they do, they will give you detailed instructions on how to return the item to protect yourself.

DO NOT FILE A CLAIM 10 DAYS AFTER YOU HAVE PAID IF YOU HAVEN'T RECEIVED YOUR ITEM!!!!!!!  Even the USPS states that it can take 2-9 BUSINESS DAYS, to receive a first class package.  Parcel post takes a few days longer!!  Priority mail takes 2-3 days, HOWEVER, all of these can take longer depending on the season and at holidays (a statement Ebay includes on every auction).  In addition, many packages are being misdirected by the postal service while in transit, they can be misdelivered, making it take twice as long to receive your package, or most sellers do not ship every day, so you need to know when the package was shipped, to determine how long it has been enroute.    A few days extra can be expected during any holiday period, but it shouldn't be MUCH more of a delay from the normal shipping or delivery times (unless misdirected or misdelivered). **International packages:  While these normally (not during holdiay season), take 4-7 BUSINESS days to arrive, up to 2 weeks is NOT unusual at all.  Unfortunately, for the past year, it is also possible for an international package to take 2 months (especially Canada!!!!!).  This is due to customs.  Now, Australia is one of the slowest countries too (updated 9/08/10).  No one knows why they hold them for 4-8 weeks, but it can happen and there is nothing the seller or buyer can do about this.  The seller also isn't responsible for a lost international package so insure when at all possible because some sellers are having a problem with lost packages (rare though).  ***IF THE SELLER HAS INSURED THE PACKAGE, DO NOT, AND I REPEAT, DO NOT FILE A PAYPAL CLAIM FOR A LOST PACKAGE!!  Insurance was paid for a reason and if you file a claim with Paypal rather than cooperate with what is required to file an insurance claim, then the seller can not file the claim so they will lose the product and the payment.  They went to the trouble of offering insurance on the package, so please cooperate with the filing of a claim.  Again, lost packages are NOT the sellers fault and they should not be penalized for something the postal service did!  IF the package was not insured, the seller should not be held accountable for a lost package.  Almost all sellers will insure a package if ASKED, even if insurance is not offered on the invoice! **NEW INFORMATION REGARDING INTERNATIONAL PACKAGES: Some countries are now holding packages marked as cosmetics (especially Italy, Spain, and Greece but more will soon be having this problem). They are saying that it is illegal to ship cosmetics, however, it is not illegal to ship very small quantities such as 1 or 2 items, or non-liquid items, so I do not know why they are holding these packages. If customs does stop your package, it is taking them 4 weeks to send the buyer a notice, telling you that they have your package. In most cases, they are allowing the buyer to claim the package AFTER they pay the required surcharge or duty, for the true value of the package (they are assigning the items the retail value). Surcharges or duties are the responsibility of the buyer, NOT the seller (even if your family shipped to you, you could possibly have to pay a duty on it depending on the value). Ebay sellers can not mark packages as gifts! If they do, and customs opens the package and sees that it is an auction item, the seller can be prosecuted. Marking the package as a gift, when the label has been printed from Paypal or other online postage service, sends up a red flag and customs WILL open it. So if you are international and you have not received your package, please be patient. Again, it is not the sellers fault if you are required to pay a duty or surcharge, in order to accept your package and NEVER has been the sellers responsibility. The customs number can not track the packages but it can show if the package has been delivered OR held by customs. Many sellers have just now started marking their packages as something other than cosmetics, to avoid having customs hold the packages - but we just found out about this problem approx. 6/1/07 so could not have done anything to avoid this problem, prior to this date.

Most sellers now ship with delivery confirmation (in the U.S.).  This will show when the label was printed and postage paid for by the seller (if they print it online) and they must use this label on the day it was printed, otherwise the p.o. will have to put a new date sticker on the package.  Many sellers who print their postage online, then hand the post office their large bins of packages so these are NOT scanned in by the postal service (they are notified electronically when the label is printed and postage is paid for online). So the del. confirmation information will NOT show anything until it is delivered.  They will be scanned in again, when delivered and occasionally when the pacakge has been misdirected or misdelivered (it will say the package has been forwarded to the correct address).  Some post offices just redirect the package without scanning it or entering this information in.  The del. confirmation information will show the date/time it was accepted at the seller's post office, if it was weighed & postage paid at the counter.   The del. confirmation information will ALWAYS be scanned when the package is delivered, so the date, time and post office delivered to, will be shown.  If the seller ships with delivery confirmation, and the package is lost, this is NOT the sellers fault and Paypal will not award a claim against the seller in this case (this is also NOT a reason to leave the seller neutral or neg. feedback).  If shipped without delivery confirmation, and the package is lost, the buyer will win.

Also, regarding what the guide I read said, if ANY Ebay member has incorrect contact information and Ebay is notified of this, they will be suspended until the correct information is provided.  Sometimes people forget to change their phones numbers with Ebay when they get new ones, but sometimes people are just dishonest.  Sometimes buyers are afraid to give Ebay their correct number, but this is wrong because there ARE times when the seller may need to contact the buyer and if the buyer's computers' security level is set on high, they may not be able to receive any of the sellers' emails (or their replies to a buyers questions).  So please make sure your phone number is correct and lower your security level so you can receive emails (I put mine on low and I get very few junk emails - just ignore and delete them, and they will go away).

So in summary, you can file a Paypal claim, up to 45 days from the date of payment (NOT 30) and Paypal ALWAYS protects the buyer if the item is misrepresented in the description (not the picture, so always read the descriptions), if the wrong item was sent (wrong meaning other than what was in the auctions description), or if the package wasn't received and the seller doesn't have proof of shipping (insurance will cover a lost or damaged package), or if the item is rancid/old or otherwise not as described.  Paypal will NOT cover a buyer's claim if the seller shipped with proof of shipping and the package was lost, if the item was damaged in transit (unless the seller used nothing to protect the item being shipping and it's somewhat fragile), or if the item just doesn't fit, isn't the right color (unless a color other than what the description stated was shipped in error), or if the item isn't what was pictured (you must read the listing because some sellers use one item's picture, but is selling different colors of this and the listing will state the color you are buying - so you need to know if this is the color you want).  Also, all monitors are different so the colors may be alittle different than the actual color. 

I can not stress enough, the importance of actually reading the auctions description (don't just look at the picture) and all other information the seller provides (because not all sellers have the same policies and some have good tips to protect the buyer or to help ensure a smooth transaction with all sellers).  If any information is missing, always ask prior to bidding!!  After you have placed your bid, it is too late to ask questions or change your bid (unless you do it illegally or if the seller changes the auction so that the item you are bidding on, is no longer the same).  If the sellers changes the auction after any bid has been placed, the date of the change WILL be displayed.  They can not change any of the shipping charges or other terms after a bid has been placed because the system will not allow it.  You can be suspended for misusing the bid retraction option! 

**There are many reasons for delayed delivery, so please check the postmark on the package to see when the seller actually shipped it - then you will know if it was the sellers fault or the postal services.  Too many newer Ebayers, leave bad FB when their package doesn't arrive fast enough and this is wrong.  You need to check the postmark, check the auction to see how often the seller ships, you also need to know HOW the package was shipped (first class and parcel post take longer than priority mail and few sellers ship everything by priority mail).

**COMMUNICATE with the seller!  If you are not getting a response, it is possible that the emails are not getting through (either due to high security levels on the buyer OR the sellers computer, or due to email problems - for instance, Hotmail and AOL have a big email problem because AOL will rarely deliver emails from Hotmail users).  Rather than assume that the person is ignoring you, just request their contact info from Ebay and call them.  It's very simple and really helps to avoid miscommunications.

If you have any questions regarding Paypal's protection policies, you can go to Paypal and read all about them.

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