Paypal Seller Protection?
January 13, 2009 7:32 PM   Subscribe

I am selling something via craigslist and the buyer has offered to pay me via paypal after which I will ship the product? Is it safe? or is it possible I might get swindled? I used an alias to post the ad and I am also concerned about my identity as my paypal a/c is my primary email account? What should I do?
posted by bbyboi to Work & Money (13 answers total)
Is it something you'll have trouble selling otherwise? I'd be worried about chargebacks.

It may be legit, but I'd never sell anything on Craigslist unless I was meeting face to face in a public place with cash. If you're going to sell it online, at least sell it through avenues that could protect you.
posted by santaliqueur at 7:39 PM on January 13, 2009

Read Craigslist's AVOIDING SCAMS & FRAUD page which is listed on every index page:
DEAL LOCALLY WITH FOLKS YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON - follow this one simple rule and you will avoid 99% of the scam attempts on craigslist.
posted by grouse at 7:40 PM on January 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

No it isn't safe, yes you might get swindled. Not to be alarmist, just... those are the answers to your questions. In person, cash only is the safest way.
posted by Meg_Murry at 7:56 PM on January 13, 2009

It's not hard to add a secondary email account to paypal. I don't know about the other issues, but you can deal with that one easily. Login, click 'profile' then 'add or edit email.' I have four email addresses connected to my account.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:56 PM on January 13, 2009

Best answer: Worst case scenarios? Even if you have delivery confirmation, your buyer can file a PayPal dispute, claiming you shipped an empty box or sent broken/defective merchandise. Or the buyer could claim an unauthorized individual used his PayPal account to transact with you, and demand a refund.

You could end up sans payment and item.

Best case scenario? Cash. In person. At your bank.
posted by terranova at 8:10 PM on January 13, 2009

I've done it a number of times, both as the buyer and the seller. It has always worked out fine for me. I generally try to practice the "local only" for selling and buying on craigslist, but sometimes something is exactly what I (or someone else) is looking for and I can't resist asking.

I'd say it is a risky practice, but here is how I protect myself (obviously none of these are guarantees against loss or fraud): I get the person's phone and we TALK (a step most people omit, but talking can really give you a good sense if they're for real. If they don't want to talk on the phone, I'm leery of doing business with them). I exchange scans of driver's licenses with them. Then I go ahead with the purchase/sale.
posted by arnicae at 8:29 PM on January 13, 2009

How should I get paid?
posted by mlis at 8:32 PM on January 13, 2009

You absolutely, positively, cannot trust PayPal's seller protection. In fact, it won't even apply to items sold on Craigslist. Not that it protects you anyway.
posted by procrastination at 8:55 PM on January 13, 2009

Response by poster: Great answers guys :) Thank you so much. I emailed the person asking to deal in cash.
posted by bbyboi at 9:31 PM on January 13, 2009

My 2 cents: Don't deal with Paypal. Their customer service is the opposite of what would be desired.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:31 PM on January 13, 2009

As others have said, sometimes you find just what you're looking for in another city. In this case I usually email asking if they'd be willing to ship it to me, offer a reasonable packing and handling fee, and let them know that I'd be willing to pay however they feel comfortable (Payal, check, cashier's check, etc.). Also, delivery confirmation and insurance are your friends in this case -- that way everyone knows when the package was shipped & delivered.

Sometimes they're willing, sometimes not, but if everything goes according to plan, a nice thank-you note is a nice touch.
posted by fracas at 4:53 AM on January 14, 2009

Cash is good, though if you can't sell it otherwise, I'd consider posting it on Ebay if they want to buy it remotely, for another layer of protection, and then pointing the CL buyer towards the ebay post. I'd do it buy-it-now for more security. Alternatively, you could get them to pay $20 or something up front as a showing of good faith.
posted by craven_morhead at 5:49 AM on January 14, 2009

You could always say that if they want to do paypal, you'd have to ask significantly more than originally posted. If they still accept, then it's probably not legitimate. (via GM Fraser)
posted by Chuckles McLaughy du Haha, the depressed clown at 6:35 AM on January 14, 2009

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