How do I dispute a claim for a handmade item when the PayPal dispute time has expired? The seller strung me along with claims that it was going to be sent until I ran out of time to dispute it.
I ordered a $100 ring off of Etsy in mid-July, and the seller (shadejewelry) claimed that it would arrive within a few weeks. A month later, I returned to message him about when to expect the ring, only to find that his shop had been closed. Some googling found his Facebook page, so I sent him a message, a posting on his fan page, and an e-mail asking for an update. He said that he would send my ring the following Monday.
Two weeks later, I asked what was taking so long, and he responded, "Scott your ring was shipped, I'll give you the tracking number tomorrow." I haven't heard from him since. I also found a page about his banning from Etsy due to several other people reporting similar behavior. In retrospect, his e-mails were probably intended to string me along until after the 45-day window to chargeback the transaction on PayPal closed (which was within a day or two of the last e-mail). Still, it was quite a surprise - his Etsy feedback had been high
, and I ordered a ring from the seller roughly a year ago without any problems. He was also a featured seller (the page has since been deleted), etc.
As word got around, he changed his store name from Shade Jewelry to Brink Jewelry (NOT Brink's in Minnesota), but still appears to be in operation. (There is even a picture of the ring I ordered on the front page.) Incidentally, the original ShadeJewelry website still redirects to the closed Etsy store page.
This was supposed to be my wedding ring (I'm getting married in two weeks), but at this point I think the odds of getting the ring in time or being reimbursed are slim. What can I do to prevent this from happening to anyone else? I used PayPal linked to a checking account, so (AFAIK) I cannot do a chargeback the way I could with a credit card, and the PayPal chargeback period is over. I reported non-delivery to Etsy and sent a report to the IC3
. I also posted on the etsycallout blog, and have been followed by several similar complaints.
This scam seems to exploit a vulnerability in the way Etsy+PayPal operates: The buyer pays ahead of time for a custom item that can take weeks to make, but at that point the 45-day PayPal chargeback window is already closing. Etsy has already banned the seller, but since they don't handle the money directly, they seem to consider the matter closed. Still, they haven't done anything to remedy this major loophole in the way they operate, so it will almost certainly continue.
Does anybody have any ideas what to do to keep this from happening again? (Besides not paying in advance for custom items?) Anything I could do to get closure on this would be appreciated as well.