Ebay seller in Texas buyer in Europe how can both be protected
April 1, 2008 7:32 AM   Subscribe

How can an ebay seller in Texas sell something to me in Europe with both of us being protected?

I'm currently in France, and a Texan ebayer has interesting prices. In the US, he sells only to certified Paypal buyers. Ebay doesn't protect him if he sells to me in continental Europe.

The seller has 99.7% positive feedback and hundreds of positive ratings. He has suggested sending a money order, but ebay's buyer protection wouldn't cover me, and why wouldn't my $420 (shipping anywhere included) vanish?

Western Union costs $30 and isn't much safer. Escrow.com costs $50. I have a brother with a certified Paypal account in Berkeley, CA, but he doesn't fly over until August. Is there something else we could use?
posted by stereo to Shopping (8 answers total)
Why not have your brother buy it and then ship it to you?
posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:37 AM on April 1, 2008

Response by poster: Having my brother ship it would add about $30 + his time to the final cost, which would be cool to avoid.
posted by stereo at 7:40 AM on April 1, 2008

Best answer: I'm in the US, and I make a lot of Ebay sales to Europeans (on average, 5 per week). They nearly always pay with Paypal. Neither of us are "protected" (it may, or may not, give you comfort to know how flimsy Paypal's "protection" really is), but things have always worked out. Most sellers on Ebay are either honest or obvious scammers; if this guy has hundreds of ratings and his negatives look OK, I think he is very unlikely to steal your money. A money order or Paypal should be fine. Don't bother with Western Union, because it's actually less secure than a money order in the mail.

If possible, you should pay for large Paypal transfers using a credit card as the payment source, rather than your Paypal balance or a bank account. This way, you can always do a chargeback with the credit card company, in the event that something goes awry. Your credit card offers you real buyer protection, whereas Paypal is just interested in their money.

Good luck on Ebay!
posted by vorfeed at 8:28 AM on April 1, 2008

Can you use a credit card (through paypal) or am I totally missing something here? If so, you'll be protected by your credit card's chargeback policy.
posted by goo at 8:28 AM on April 1, 2008

Best answer: Make sure he buys insurance on the item from the carrier he's using. This basically insures HIM (i.e.e HE gets the money if it goes lost), but as noted above, unless he's a total scammer (which is unlikely) he will then refund you if it gets lost. You'll be expected to pay for the insurance.
posted by Penelope at 8:54 AM on April 1, 2008

PayPal's "protection", as pointed out above, is as reliable as broken condom. The real protection is being lucky enough to find a decent person on the other side of the transaction.
posted by matteo at 11:11 AM on April 1, 2008

Anybody ever successfully made an insurance claim against the post office or a courier? References for how to make a successful claim would be great too. I get the feeling that carrier insurance isn't much better than paypal's protection policies..

On the other hand, loss and damage in the mail is extremely rare.
posted by Chuckles at 11:20 AM on April 2, 2008

Anybody ever successfully made an insurance claim against the post office or a courier?

I have tried once or twice (both with UPS), and I got the "improperly packed" excuse, even when the outside of the package was heavily damaged, and the item had been packed according to the verbal instructions of the company I was sending it to. If the package completely disappears into the system, you may have a chance at getting reimbursed, but if they delivered it (even if they delivered it to somebody else!) you're probably SOL.

IMHO you will always have much better luck with throwing yourself upon the mercy of whoever you bought the missing/damaged item from. Many sales businesses (including mine) would rather send a replacement item than deal with the hassle and potential cost of chargebacks and/or bad blood from the customer, though obviously businesses with high costs and low profit margins may not agree! Failing this sort of cooperation, credit card chargebacks are painful to the seller, but they work, and any sales-by-mail seller worth his or her salt has already factored them in to the cost of business... when it comes to risky purchases, money talks but only Visa walks.
posted by vorfeed at 12:21 PM on April 2, 2008

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