paypal chargeback without hurting seller?
May 21, 2011 2:41 PM   Subscribe

How can I do a chargeback to paypal from my amex for an ebay auction without screwing the seller?

eBay made an error when computing eBay bucks back for me on a recent purchase.

An eBay's customer service rep agreed that I'm owed money (hundreds of dollars) but apologized that she can't do anything to help.

I payed with my American Express through Paypal. In any other situation, this would be the perfect situation to have Amex step in. However, paypal are notoriously slimy. I'd like to do a chargeback to recover what I'm owed, but don't want the chargeback to be passed on to the seller, which would screw him. I'm guessing, though, that that's exactly what paypal would do.

Is there any way to do this and have it come out of ebay/Paypal's ass and not the seller's?

posted by rbs to Work & Money (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
eBay owns Paypal. I'm not sure if it's an independent subsidiary of eBay or not, but either way, you should pursue the matter with them. Do you have any record of who you spoke to or specifically when you called? If someone has outright admitted on the phone that they've made an error, you're on pretty solid ground when asking them to rectify it (not that you weren't anyway, but still). Just don't take no for an answer; if anyone tries to stonewall you, then politely ask to speak to a manager/supervisor and rinse and repeat until someone agrees to intervene. In any consumer-dispute situation, in my experience, if I'm definitely in the right and I stay reasonable throughout (as in, not belligerent or entitled), then eventually the company will take care of it.
posted by jaffacakerhubarb at 2:58 PM on May 21, 2011

@jaffacakerhubarb: Yep, I'm aware that eBay owns Paypal. That's why I want to pursue the chargeback. If they were an independent third party it wouldn't make sense to go after them through Amex, but this is a case where taking money out of Peter's pocket gets it back from Paul.

I'm just getting stonewalled from the higher ups. I'm now at the top of the customer service chain (eBay Office of the President) which apologizes but also is also ignoring the terms and conditions on their site and isn't doing squat.

That's why I think it's time for the big guns (Amex).
posted by rbs at 3:08 PM on May 21, 2011

Have you threatened to initiate a chargeback? When I start to despair of my chances in a situation like this, I spell it out clearly: "I've been making a sustained, good-faith effort to work out this problem with you. If you refuse to help me, I see no other choice but to initiate a chargeback with American Express for the full amount of the transaction."

It's worked every time I've trotted it out. I don't know if there are circumstances in your case that would make you less likely to prevail with AmEx, but it's worth a shot once you're in the Office of the President.
posted by Joey Bagels at 3:24 PM on May 21, 2011

Yep. I've made the threat.

I'm looking for an answer to the specific question: How can I do a chargeback that does not get passed along to the seller?
posted by rbs at 3:54 PM on May 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Can't you just chargeback the entire amount, and then initiate a new transfer of funds for the correct amount to the seller? Or is this a thing that Paypal is, for some reason, going to continuously screw up?
posted by sbutler at 4:13 PM on May 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Let the seller know what's about to happen and why, assure him/her that you'll cover them, and call AmEx.
posted by TruncatedTiller at 4:56 PM on May 21, 2011

I don't think this will work. Any charge back you make will get passed along to the seller because Amex will go after him and they will go after the seller.

If you start a charge back the money will get taken out of the sellers account by PayPal or his account will be placed on hold and put in the negative and he will not be able to use it until it gets out of the negative either from other buyers paying him or him putting money in from another source.

The only way you could do a charge back that wouldn't be eventually passed onto the seller would be if he did not plan to ever do business under that account again and it was for a small enough amount for PayPal not to go after him for it in collections.

Have you considered asking the seller really really nicely to take a return and asking ebay if they could refund his fees for the listing?

Its not clear to me whether you were applying ebay bucks to the purchase or getting them from it .
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 5:55 PM on May 21, 2011

You're thinking way too much about this. You have no idea what PayPal will do. Issue the chargeback and email the seller telling them you'll make it right if PayPal comes after them. Explain the issue and everyone will understand.
posted by pwb503 at 7:06 PM on May 21, 2011

Could you return the item for a refund from the seller and make the same transaction again?

I don't think you have experience with PayPal and chargebacks. There is no way that everyone will understand, and the only way that rbs could "make it right" would be from his own pocket. PayPal will always win because they can pass the buck to either the buyer or the seller at their convenience. It's really a problem when they don't get it right.
posted by reeddavid at 10:31 PM on May 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Nthing this: "Could you return the item for a refund from the seller and make the same transaction again?"

Email the seller and ask them to set up a new auction for the same thing at a fixed price (or whatever) and do a BIN. You might want to offer to cover their additional eBay fees or part of them.
posted by getawaysticks at 6:50 AM on May 23, 2011

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