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eBay and Paypal won’t let me give them back their money

As I do tire of pointing out, belief in the free market no more obliges you to approve of every single transaction than belief in free speech obliges you to approve of every word spoken.

The eBay account of our very small business was hacked into recently and a bunch of non-existent stuff sold in our name. The direct results of this have been sorted out and the victims of the scam repaid. However at some point eBay and/or Paypal (Paypal is a subsidiary of eBay) wrongly compensated us for some of these “purchases”. Our Paypal account currently has coming up to a thousand pounds more in it than it should have. Do Paypal want to know? No they do not. There is something wrong with a company so complacent that it cannot even rouse itself to take back its own. To be fair, the young Irish people I talk to when I ring up Paypal try to help. If my customer service experience stopped there it would still be ghastly because all possible customer service experiences in all possible worlds are ghastly but it would be ghastly in a comparatively good way. Unfortunately they do not have the authority to relieve me of the burden (it is a burden) of nearly a thousand quid, so they pass the buck to eBay central, over in one of the lesser circles of Hell staffed by resentful demons who failed to qualify as incubi and succubi. Their task is to choose whichever of six formulaic replies bears least resemblance to the actual situation and email it to me overnight.

eBay and Paypal could do with some competition.

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17 comments to eBay and Paypal won’t let me give them back their money

  • BrendaK

    …over in one of the lesser circles of Hell staffed by resentful demons who failed to qualify as incubi and succubi…

    Best ever description of Customer Service.

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    It is incumbent on you to pass on this good fortune, to the first needy person you meet! Say, I could use a thousand or so! If I don’t win the Mpemba Prize, from the Royal Chemical Society, can i have your dough, please? It will go to a worthy charity (I believe that charity begins at home!).

  • Anon

    Funnily enough, quite a number of other troubles with eBay / Paypal being discussed currently at the Register:


    Nobody there complaining about Paypal not taking the money though – this one seems to be a first!

  • Be careful what you wish for: you might get double quantity.

    Best regards

  • You might wish to record your next conversation, directly go to a supervisor, and simply ask him to disclaim any interest on behalf of his company of this money. Make a transcript, send that and the recording as a file to their legal department and call it a day. Eventually they will realize their mistake and come after you for fraud. That they were notified prior, refused receipt of their money, and that refusal sent to the legal department might save you a lawsuit, or at least shorten the process of getting it settled.

  • I’m having great difficulty closing an account that was setup (I didn’t ask for it) as part of a one-off purchase.

    There was no way to decline the account set-up without declining the purchase.

    I foolishly assumed that once the purchase was completed I could immediately close the account, but it’s just bloody impossible.

    It seems like Paypal, once it has it’s grips into you doesn’t want to let go.

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    Maybe Paypal is a branch of the government! Careless with money, rampant bureaucracy- I smell a good conspiracy here!

  • PaulM

    I always thought it was run by the Vatican, a Papal
    operation usually is.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Have your attorney send them a registered letter stating that failure to claim the money (less your attorney fees) by [date] is a quitclaim on their part.

  • Nuke and PaulM,

    The “demons” hypothesis, the “government” hypothesis and the “papal” hypothesis (took me a moment to get that ;-)) are all true, yet mask a stranger truth.

    The real truth is

  • Could it be that improving customer service would cost more than they would get back in occasional corrected errors? This could be a rational trade-off.

  • Sam Duncan

    PfP, as I understand it (a relative was in a similar situation a few years ago), under English law there’s a statutory time limit on these things, so no notice has to be given. I seem to recall it being three years, but that could be my memory playing tricks. It wouldn’t hurt to get a lawyer to check up on it.

  • TMLutas has sensible advice. These sometimes do turn nasty when they finally notice that you have their money and try aggressive legal tactics. Calling them and recording the conversation is excellent advice, and entirely legal under UK law. (You may record a conversation to which you are a party, and you are not required to notify the other party that you are doing so. There are some restrictions on how you may use the recording later, but these are not relevant here). Just having the recording as a potentially useful piece of evidence later could be helpful. Obviously, leave the money in your account and don’t spend it, also, to state the obvious.

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    You are quite right, Natalie! I always suspected that was the case. How do the Masons manage to misrule the world?

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    Darn! Since my thread was not deleted, it can’t be true!
    I’ll have another go.
    How does the Trilateral Commission manage to misrule the world?

  • Laird

    I once had a similar experience as Natalie, but involving a bank. I had just graduated from college and was moving to another city to go to graduate school, so I was closing out my (tiny) bank account. They gave me $100 too much. (Trust me: $100 was a lot of money to me back then, and if I had really had another $100 in that account I’d have known it!) I dutifully advised the teller of the error, and my reward was having to spend an hour waiting to see an officer and explaining to him that an error had been made. He didn’t believe me, either; their records had to be correct, didn’t they? So I kept the money and skipped town. I don’t regret it one bit.

  • Chuckles

    Natalie, having also had extended dealings with these script driven echo-chambers, may I suggest writing to them thanking them for their efforts in resolving the fraudulent sales, and ask whether they are happy to accept the status-quo in your account ‘in full and final settlement’ of any disputes, as you are more than happy to do so.