Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Paypal Orders Buyer of Violin To Destroy It For a Refund

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the we-had-to-destroy-the-village-in-order-to-save-it dept.

Idle 362

An anonymous reader writes "Erica was once the owner of an old violin that had survived through WWII, and decided to sell it on Ebay for $2500. The person who bought it decided it was a counterfeit and wanted his money back. Paypal decided to honor the request for a refund on the condition that the buyer destroy the violin and provided photographic evidence of the destruction. Couldn't he have just returned it?" Sounds like a hoax to me, but I guess it's possible.

cancel ×

362 comments

Sounds Like a Hoax Right Up Until You Read the ToS (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38585798)

Read Paypal's Buyer Protection [paypal.com] which contains this little gem under Dispute Resolution:

Comply with PayPal's shipping requests in a timely manner.

For SNAD Claims, PayPal may require you to ship the item back to the seller - or to PayPal - or to a third party at your expense, and to provide proof of delivery. Please take reasonable precautions in re-packing the item to reduce the risk of damage to the item during transit. PayPal may also require you to destroy the item and to provide evidence of its destruction.

For transactions that total less than USD $250 (or local currency equivalent), proof of delivery is confirmation that can be viewed online and includes: recipient's (seller's) address, showing at least city, postal code, state, or country (or equivalent), delivery date, and the URL to the shipping company's web site if you've selected "Other" in the shipping drop down menu. For transactions that total USD $250 or more, you must get signature confirmation of the delivery.

Emphasis mine. Note, I found this at the original article over at Regretsy [regretsy.com] along with a picture for those of you who are lazy [regretsy.com] .

Well, at least everyone involved has a crazy story to tell: "Gather 'round children and let me tell you about the time I had to destroy a hundred year old violin in a timely manner. FuhrerMarks had instructed me -- back then they were known as 'PayPal' -- to destroy the violin after a dispute about its label ..."

Re:Sounds Like a Hoax Right Up Until You Read the (5, Interesting)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38585884)

1. But $100 violin, then claim it's a fake
2. Buy $5 violin, smash it up, send photo to PayPal
3. Profit!

Re:Sounds Like a Hoax Right Up Until You Read the (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586092)

Teach a man to fish ...
  1. Buy $5 violin, smash it up.
  2. Sell pictures of smashed up violin in different arrangements for $25 each.
  3. Profit!

Re:Sounds Like a Hoax Right Up Until You Read the (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38586124)

Smashing idea! Simply smashing!

Re:Sounds Like a Hoax Right Up Until You Read the (4, Interesting)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586130)

According to some people, the violin should have been sent back instead.

1. Buy $2500 violin, then claim it's a fake.
2. Buy a $100 fake violin, return it instead of the real one.
3. Profit!

Only possible option would be for Paypal to let an independant expert verify the violin's authenticity, then let the losing party pay for the expert.

Re:Sounds Like a Hoax Right Up Until You Read the (5, Interesting)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586212)

The problem in any case is, if the buyer swaps the violin, how do you prove the buy swapped it, or didn't?

Re:Sounds Like a Hoax Right Up Until You Read the (5, Interesting)

John Napkintosh (140126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586340)

And to play devil's advocate, the seller could have just as easily authenticated the $2500 violin and then shipped the buyer a $100 fake.

Re:Sounds Like a Hoax Right Up Until You Read the (2)

Threni (635302) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586502)

Or you could knowingly buy a fake violin for $1, 000,000 if you want to launder some money. The possibilities for crime on eBay are almost limitless!

Re:Sounds Like a Hoax Right Up Until You Read the (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586540)

Given the "or didn't" at the end, that really isn't devil's advocate.

Re:Sounds Like a Hoax Right Up Until You Read the (2)

jythie (914043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586222)

Apparently years ago they used to do just that.. but now that they have a stranglehold on eBay they have dropped such complexity for a simpler system that screws merchants over pretty badly.

Re:Sounds Like a Hoax Right Up Until You Read the (5, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586386)

they have dropped such complexity for a simpler system that screws merchants over pretty badly.

The pendulum of balance has been swinging wildly back and forth between buyer and seller at ebay. It wasn't too long ago that sellers were routinely screwing over buyers and leaving scathing negative feedback if they tried to get any resolution. (a buyer with ~25 feedback gets hurt a lot more than a seller with 10,000 feedback when each leaves the other a negative, and they knew it) That's why sellers can't leave buyers negative feedback anymore - too much abuse. I personally got burnt by a seller on two occasions there before they started adjusting things. (one cost me $156 - wound up with no product and no cash, PLUS a negative feedback, with a comment that made me look like the bad guy)

In a local sale, the seller is usually at a disadvantage - in most cases returning items is very easy, so much so that for common issues sellers have to specifically exclude returns due to abuse - like water pumps and generators in times of flooding and ice storms. Lots of abuse of buy-use-return abuse on tools too. A properly working buyer/seller system doesn't appear "balanced and fair" from a casual glance, it appears to be tilted toward the buyer. But in reality, that's where fairness lives.

Re:Sounds Like a Hoax Right Up Until You Read the (4, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586504)

True, and eBay still has many scammer sellers on it (though often the scamming has moved up and is sellers scamming resellers)... but I think the big thing here is they do not even seem to have a resolution process... PayPal is infamous for 'we internally decided X, you have no recourse, we legally own your money, you are not getting it back'. Their whole model is crummy.

Re:Sounds Like a Hoax Right Up Until You Read the (4, Interesting)

HereIAmJH (1319621) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586614)

(a buyer with ~25 feedback gets hurt a lot more than a seller with 10,000 feedback when each leaves the other a negative, and they knew it)

eBay's whole feedback system is a circle jerk anyway. You give me good feedback and I'll give you good feedback. It's designed to bury negative feedback in positive feedback. Basically, most buyers don't care what good feedback a seller gets. Maybe neutral, but you want to see what kind of negatives a seller has. A much better system would be showing neutrals and negatives but only counting positives. Then a prospective buyer could see what neutral/negative feedback was received over how many successful/positive auctions. Currently you have to wade through thousands of A+++++++++++++++++++++ useless feedback to see how a seller handles an auction where both parties weren't happy. And if you were going to display ANY positive feedback, it would be from buyers who initially posted neutral/negative and choose to change it to positive after resolution.

Re:Sounds Like a Hoax Right Up Until You Read the (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38586480)

The instrument repair shop where my wife works does appraisals for free. I imagine there are plenty of luthiers who could look at the violin and let you know in about 5 minutes (or less) if it was a $2500 violin or not.

Re:Sounds Like a Hoax Right Up Until You Read the (4, Interesting)

SlippyToad (240532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586622)

In a double-blind test, even experienced violinists and violin makers cannot reliably identify the sound of a Stradivarius over a newly-made violin.

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2012/01/02/violinists-can%E2%80%99t-tell-the-difference-between-stradivarius-violins-and-new-ones/ [discovermagazine.com]

Re:Sounds Like a Hoax Right Up Until You Read the (4, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586202)

From listening to other merchants, turns out this is a known scam. Buyers take advantage of PayPal's policy of 'buyer is always right' and end up with both the money and the item, which they often turn around and resell. There have also been cases of people buying stuff, returning for a refund, and shipping back something else of much less value... with again PayPal supporting the buyer.

Re:Sounds Like a Hoax Right Up Until You Read the (4, Interesting)

Asmor (775910) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586244)

Here's an old 2-man scam for you.

The two of you are eating at a restaurant, separately. The first of you is dressed decently--not super well, but not shabby-- and has an old-looking violin. Personally, I make it a point of pride never to spend more than $10 on the violin. Anyways, after the meal, lament that you've forgotten your wallet, but here, hold onto my violin as collateral, and I'll be back in an hour.

After you leave, the second fellow pulls aside the waiter and asks to inspect the violin. He then declares that this is a genuine so-and-so, worth thousands, and you'd be ever-so-interested in buying it and when did the violinist say he'd return? Oh no! I can't wait that long, I've a plane to catch. Here, give the man my card and let him know that I'm very interested in his violin.

When the first person returns, the waiter in all likelihood will offer whatever he can scrounge up, perhaps a few hundred dollars, for the violin, keeping the other gentleman's offer to himself. The worst case scenario, the waiter simply passes the card along and you're out no more than the cost of lunch.

(Kudos if you know where this is from)

Re:Sounds Like a Hoax Right Up Until You Read the (4, Informative)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586350)

Zombieland, the girls did it with a ring in the gas station.

Re:Sounds Like a Hoax Right Up Until You Read the (3, Informative)

Abreu (173023) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586402)

No, it's from Neil Gaiman's American Gods

Re:Sounds Like a Hoax Right Up Until You Read the (2)

BitHive (578094) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586448)

I bet you think Neil Gaiman came up with the concept of Gods, too.

Re:Sounds Like a Hoax Right Up Until You Read the (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586630)

The entire post (aside from the parenthetical comment at the end) was a direct quote from American Gods.

Re:Sounds Like a Hoax Right Up Until You Read the (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38586358)

You have it backwards:

(1) Buy $5 violin.
(2) Fraudulently advertise that it survived WWII, and sell it for $2500.
(3) Piss and moan when accused of fraud and the violin is destroyed buy mark at request of PayPal.
(4) Out $5, but not in jail.
(5) Deal with it.

Re:Sounds Like a Hoax Right Up Until You Read the (3, Funny)

Existential Wombat (1701124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586558)

Sounds more like a fiddle to me.

Re:Sounds Like a Hoax Right Up Until You Read the (2)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586040)

Hell, I'm surprised that PayPal didn't just ask for it to be shipped to them, and then turn around and sell it for another $2500.

Re:Sounds Like a Hoax Right Up Until You Read the (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38586298)

PayPal isn't in the business of being a reseller. It's far more profitable to be just the middle man holding all the money.

Re:Sounds Like a Hoax Right Up Until You Read the (4, Insightful)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586316)

What idiot would pay $2500 for a violin online without hearing it. For that amount of money I'd have to have physically inspected it first.

Re:Sounds Like a Hoax Right Up Until You Read the (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38586444)

What idiot would pay $2500 for a violin online without hearing it. For that amount of money I'd have to have physically inspected it first.

The kind that is scamming the seller?

Re:Sounds Like a Hoax Right Up Until You Read the (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38586592)

PayPal may also require you to destroy the item and to provide evidence of its destruction.

This sounds like a job for Pete Townsend.

News? (-1, Troll)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38585800)

If it's a fake, there's no real value and hence not worth to return.
I had to destroy paintings and photographs damaged during shipping as well in the past to get replacement.
Wasting money to send waste around the country is nuts.

Why is this news? Is that the usual PayPal-Foes?
They have more clients than all the big US banks together, get used to it, they won't go away, no matter how many such boring anecdotes are posted.

Re:News? (5, Insightful)

tirerim (1108567) | more than 2 years ago | (#38585838)

The point is that it wasn't a fake, so PayPal royally screwed the seller.

But PayPal is entirely composed of evil douchebags, so I agree that it's not really surprising.

Re:News? (5, Insightful)

bodangly (2526754) | more than 2 years ago | (#38585872)

It isn't so much that the item wasn't a fake (though an expert did claim it was genuine), so much as that in the case of antique violins, being fake doesn't mean its worthless by any stretch of the imagination. So, PayPal had someone destroy an irreplaceable piece of history out of their own ignorant policies.

Re:News? (4, Interesting)

ottothecow (600101) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586160)

Even if it was a bad fake (some old fakes are actually very nice instruments made by competent makers), it is still a functional instrument that has real value.

There is probably an orchestra program at a local school who would have loved the donation of a knockoff violin but instead paypal (if the story is true) decided to be a douche--and they wonder why people don't like them?

Paypal really needs to fix the gaping holes in their dispute resolution process. I could order an expensive cashmere sweater from you, wait until it arrives and then say "hey, WTF is with this t-shirt you sent me instead of the sweater, I demand a refund". You will know that you put the sweater in the box, but paypal will ask me to return the item with shipping confirmation and then give me a refund. You'll get a box a few days later with a $2 t-shirt from a thrift store and I'll get to keep the sweater and the money.

This happens all of the time...I don't know what the best defense is (except transferring money out of paypal immediately upon receipt so the worst that can happen is you end up with a frozen paypal account with a negative balance)--I suppose your best bet would be to insure the package for the full value and then claim that someone must have stolen it in transit and replaced it with a t-shirt (either that or they are a scammer). That should get the postal inspectors to show up who are more likely to look at the evidence and decide that the scammer is a felon for attempting mail-fraud.

Re:News? (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586394)

With the prevalence of cameras, why does the seller not record said item being packed, and end with it having the shipping label affixed where you can see the label tracking numbers time stamp etc clearly. This is by no means a bulletproof system and would also be abused but would seem to me offer some sort of protection to a seller in the event of buyer fraud.

Re:News? (1)

ottothecow (600101) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586606)

I suppose they could still claim that you repackaged it (its not like you can't reprint shipping labels) and sent them a t-shirt.

I think you best bet would still be to try to claim insurance on your package and then use the video of it being packed as evidence. If you go through the USPS, you are accusing *someone* of being a felon (either the recipient or the postal worker who stole your sweater and inexplicably replaced it with a t-shirt) while if you go through the paypal dispute process, you are agreeing to paypal's arbitration of a he-said-she-said argument where they spoke first (and your only come back is, "No I'm not a scammer, he's a scammer!"). And paypal prefers to side with the buyer since a buyer who gets screwed will probably stop using them but a lot of sellers depend on them for income and will have to keep using paypal even after getting scammed.

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38586514)

I sweep the funds out of my Paypal account immediately, then transfer them to another bank. Paypal's got no recourse except to sue me, and I take pictures of everything I send.

Re:News? (1, Funny)

ifrag (984323) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586182)

destroy an irreplaceable piece of history

Well, it is quite replaceable, just buy a violin and wait. Voila, an old violin. Personally I don't really see why anything old has an excessive value beyond its use.

Re:News? (3, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586346)

destroy an irreplaceable piece of history

Well, it is quite replaceable, just buy a violin and wait. Voila, an old violin. Personally I don't really see why anything old has an excessive value beyond its use.

Until someone invents a time machine, yes the law of supply and demand is pretty strict about the idea that old things can't simply appear in sufficient quantity to offset a high price due to scarcity. I suppose you would also like to insist that Jack Daniels tastes just fine as day old corn mash and that letting it sit in a barrel in an old building in the middle of nowhere for 11 years adds nothing to the value; a good number of people would disagree with that, too.

Re:News? (4, Informative)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586412)

I don't really see why anything old has an excessive value beyond its use.

Oddly, the type of people who appreciate and create music and art are also the type of people who might value form over function.

For violins in particular, as wood ages its tonal qualities change. Therefore, older violins are more valuable than new violins because they sound better. Well... not necessarily better but they have a more desirable sound and warm.

More importantly, a violin made in a factory in china is going to sound like crap compared to a hand made violin by a skilled luthier, even if it is brand new. An old violin was most likely made with great skill and care, and taken care of through the ages. To play something that is centuries old with a rich history is an amazing experience. This is why, while the Stradivari violins might not necessarily sound better [npr.org] than a modern violin from a master luthier, it's worth millions of dollars more.

Re:News? (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586414)

The wood tends to resonate better with age. The same is generally true with well made acoustic guitars, the older they get the better the sound.

Re:News? (2)

equex (747231) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586446)

Anyone who buys or sells antique violins per EBay and PayPal didn't deserve to have it in the first place. I thought those kind instruments were passed on personally to the most talented players by previous owners or music societies. Maybe that's just the Paganini violins, which are truly priceless except for when they are for sale and then they go for millions. I almost choked on my morning coffee when I read this earlier, thinking it was one of Paganini's!

And holy shit, reading from other comments here, here's a protip: Do Not Use Paypal,Ebay And Fedex For Important Stuff That Actually Matters In Real Life I thought everyone knew this by now.

Re:News? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586178)

Maybe it was a fake maybe not. If it was indeed genuine, then the original owner can probably claim damages as soon as she gets a trustworthy expert to examine... hmm. Perhaps that is why they ordered it destroyed?

Re:News? (1)

armanox (826486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38585860)

Having read the article from other sites, the item wasn't fake, and the buyer couldn't be trouble to find out either.

Re:News? (3, Insightful)

taiwanjohn (103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38585864)

Yes and no... if it is a fake, then presumably there'd be no great loss in destroying it. However, it could also be that the buyer is mistaken, and the article is authentic. In that case, it makes more sense to nullify the deal (ie: return the merchandise and refund the money) rather than "nullifying" the merchandise.

Re:News? (2)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586012)

Yes and no... if it is a fake, then presumably there'd be no great loss in destroying it. However, it could also be that the buyer is mistaken, and the article is authentic. In that case, it makes more sense to nullify the deal (ie: return the merchandise and refund the money) rather than "nullifying" the merchandise.

There are quite a few very valuable fakes. For example, in the 18th century quite a lot of fake 16th century china was created. So you have stuff that is worth maybe £4,000 because it is an 18th century fake, but would be worth £20,000 if it was the genuine 16th century fake.

Re:News? (2)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586280)

Setting aside the matter that the violin was supposedly authenticated by an expert before the seller offered the item...

if it is a fake, then presumably there'd be no great loss in destroying it.

Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on what sort of "fake" it is. A seller might claim that it is a violin by great violin-maker X, but it might instead be a centuries-old violin made by pretty good violin-maker Y. In that case, destroying the "fake" could still very well be destroying a significant piece of history.

Just because an item isn't exactly what someone said it was doesn't mean that it's completely worthless. Merchandise may not live up to expectations, but unless there is a provable case for fraud (which there seems to be no evidence of here), it should not even be a candidate for destruction... and if there were serious evidence of fraud, it should have been turned over to the police anyway.

Re:News? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38585876)

And if it's not a fake...?

Buyer changes his mind, decides he wants a refund, and claims it's a fake. PayPal should have required an independent expert to verify the claim before they told him to destroy it.

She needs to get lawyered up and sue the pants off both the buyer and PayPal.

Re:News? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586188)

I am sure that somewhere in the PayPal contract is a clause forbidding customers from sueing, in as much as is allowed by state law. It is a fairly common thing for companies to do.

Re:News? (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586416)

Yes. Hell yes. Defamation among many other charges should be filed against the buyer. The buyer is, as far as I can tell, were the real tragedy started. The buyer and the seller needed to work it out. Now if the seller decided not to deal with the buyer for the return of the item it's a problem but it would be understandable.

In the end, as far as I'm concerned, when dealing with transactions of over anything I can't afford to lose, I would take steps to ensure and insure the transaction. Among these would be, if it were an antique, to have it professionally identified and certified as such. Shipping such an item becomes a tricky thing... what's to prevent a seller from shipping a fake thing after having a thing identified as genuine? And then, what is to prevent the recipient from getting the genuine article and claiming it's fake, presenting a fake as their evidence? But by having a professional certify it before shipping and sealing the box himself perhaps that would offer a measure of security to the transaction.

This is all a very tricky situation where trust and convenience are at odds with one another. To achieve balance, "someone" has to assume risk over the transaction and hopefully they will be aware of who bears the risk. This way, the risk taker can then do his due diligence to ensure and insure the transaction.

It sounds as if in this and all cases, the seller is the risk bearer. And this is a good lesson for ALL of us whether we are buyers or sellers. Knowing in advance where the risk lies, one can decide for one's self how to mitigate and reduce risk or to decide if something is simply too risky to proceed in the first place.

This situation is tragic as it does not take into account the possible forms of loss which PayPal has created through its policies. They need to be fixed. But in the mean time, people need to be fully aware of the risks and who owns them. (For example, *NEVER* use ACH as the means of money transfers.)

Re:News? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38585882)

the point is that a "counterfeit" violin can still be an antique item worth $2500 and such things are common with violins.

Re:News? (1)

Kalewa (561267) | more than 2 years ago | (#38585892)

I'm not sure if I should tell you to RTFM, or if you're just trolling.

Re:News? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38585898)

If it's a fake, there's no real value and hence not worth to return.

But if it was real, then they should be broken to bits too.

Re:News? (5, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38585910)

It's (ostensibly) a prewar antique. This isn't a fungible item. Paypal orders someone to destroy a counterfeit handbag, you might get reimbursed the cost of the bag if your take them to court, but that violin isn't coming back.

Re:News? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38585914)

I had to destroy paintings and photographs damaged during shipping as well in the past to get replacement.

Said painting and photographs wouldn't happen to have been prints, right? Artists often request proof of destruction to be sure you aren't trying to get a free print from them.

But this was a WWII era violin. The buyer isn't going to be getting a replacement from the seller.

And plus, it wasn't fake. The labels are often incorrect and there are often disputes over them, but this is the first time I've seen one destroyed. Even if it was fake, the seller might not have known and would love to have it back either way. It's not a waste of money for the seller.

You just don't destroy old instruments. It boggles the mind. You can't create new old instruments.

Re:News? (2)

twotacocombo (1529393) | more than 2 years ago | (#38585916)

If it's a fake, there's no real value and hence not worth to return.

And what if it's not a fake? Then this person just lost $2500 because somebody 'decided' it was. Who is this somebody? The world's leader on counterfeit violin detection? What was the benefit of destroying it? Even a 'fake' violin will continue to play music, and somebody would have been happy to have it. If I were the seller, and eBay took the $2500 back from me after ordering the destruction of the property, I'd be in court so fast you would swear you heard flight of the bumblebee floating on the wind...

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38586146)

That's probably the best course of actions, small claims court against PayPal (and perhaps against the buyer). Especially if the seller has authentication from 3rd party that it was authentic.

Re:News? (1)

jythie (914043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586302)

Pity the buyer was in Canada, otherwise the seller could take them to small claims court. Taking PayPal probably will not work since they have their ToS written in such a way that they own both the item and the money till they say otherwise, so they are free to do whatever they want with them. Challenging THAT in court is no small deal and will take millions to fight.

Re:News? (5, Insightful)

residieu (577863) | more than 2 years ago | (#38585918)

If the seller doesn't want to pay for the return, fine they can agree to proof of destruction instead. But if the seller would rather have the item back, they should have the option to pay the shipping charges to have it returned.

Paypal doesn't have the ability to determine if the violin is really a fake, they shouldn't be the ones insisting on destruction of counterfeits.

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38586588)

Even then there's nothing to stop the buyer picking up a cheap violin from a charity store and sending that back while he keeps the money AND the violin. How do you prove that the item you sent is the item they returned short of having it witnessed by a lawyer or something?

Re:News? (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 2 years ago | (#38585920)

If it's a fake, there's no real value and hence not worth to return.

Not true. This was a violin, not merely art. Even a basic violin is worth several hundred bucks, provided it's functional.

Re:News? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38585962)

Problem is, with a violin, there is no such thing as a "fake". Even if it was not a WWII era violin, it's still a working instrument that is quite valuable. A few articles mention that the seller had multiple experts verify that the violin was being sold was WWII era and labeled (branded) properly.

Re:News? (5, Insightful)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38585978)

Idiot.

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38586044)

But old reproduction violins DO have real value. Whether the seller misrepresented it is another matter. Would you be happy if Paypal told your buyer to destroy your Galaxy Tab because you mistakenly advertised it as an iPad?

Re:News? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38586132)

Wow, you're a self-righteous fucking grade A idiot.

Re:News? (1)

jythie (914043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586250)

Perhaps, but they can fall. They are huge because for a long time they were really the only option and they had lock-in with eBay. Now though other options are starting to gain traction, and sooner or later the DoJ is going to stop overlooking PayPay (who exist mostly through a legal loophole combined with doing favors for the DoJ that would be illegal to require) and start regulating (or even arresting) them. There have been too many cases of 'we will just keep your money with no resolution' over the years. Instances like this where they give someone's money to someone else without resolution also stand a chance of getting them in legal trouble eventually, even if their ToS says they can do it.

"Photographic Evidence"? (1, Insightful)

kthreadd (1558445) | more than 2 years ago | (#38585834)

Hey PayPal, ever heard of Photoshop?

Re:"Photographic Evidence"? (4, Funny)

batquux (323697) | more than 2 years ago | (#38585870)

They'd be able to tell from the pixels.

Re:"Photographic Evidence"? (1)

DC2088 (2343764) | more than 2 years ago | (#38585888)

AND seeing quite a few shops in their time. nyuk nyuk

Assuming its a genuine incident. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38585896)

Whats to stop the person making the claim from popping out to a thrift shop, buying an old educational violin for peanuts (or lashing out a slightly larger sum on a cheap Chinese violin), and "destroying" that? For a $2500 refund, I'm surprised thay don't require the whole, unbroken violin to be returned to PayPal.

Re:Assuming its a genuine incident. (1)

jythie (914043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586320)

They used to, but that required more work on their part.. this was requires much less effort for their customer service people. Just receive a photo and hit a few buttons transferring the money.

Easy money (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38585926)

Sure, ya, i destroyed the original.. Ya.. see here in this picture..

In even more stunning news (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38585936)

There is a site called "regretsy.com"... And here I was thinking I would get some work done this afternoon. Oh shit, they have a sister site called "uhpinions", too?

Very similar thing happened to me (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38586004)

I sold a 24-port Fax board on eBay via PayPal when I decommissioned our internal fax server and went to an outsourced model about 3 years ago. The purchaser filed a claim with PayPal and said they could not get it to work. I asked for the item to be returned and I would refund. Instead PayPal reversed the money without them returning the product. I am not sure if they required them to destroy it but I lost the money and the fax board and it was a working device when it shipped. I have not sold on eBay or used PayPal as a seller since.

Insane. Vigilantism at its worst. (4, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586066)

This policy probably stems from modern counterfeit goods such as Rolex/Coach or whatever else knockoffs of expensive products are floating around. And it's bad enough there, let alone antiques, since companies of modern goods have a good incentive to suppress any secondhand market of their own products and some will flag listings as counterfeit just for the sake of it.

But I have relatives in the antique business and in certain areas, you can really ask 10 experts and get 10 different opinions. Really. Or appraisers tell you different opinions based on what you pay and want to hear or their own agendas (if you didn't buy it from them, it becomes more suspect in some cases, petty politics like that, etc.)

But that is besides the point. Here, Paypal broke the piece, they should buy it, at full price. It's not their place to determine what's fake or not. Even if it was, they are not law enforcement, they are acting as self-appointed vigilantes. Return shipping in the condition it was sent should be a requirement. And moreso, if they determine the seller is out their to sell counterfeit goods or defraud someone, they should shut down the account and forward evidence to the proper authorities.

I hope the lady sues them and gets extra damages.

So, what is she going to sue paypal for the 2500? (2)

WarlockD (623872) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586102)

She is screwed. I am sure the case would win agents PayPal as you could say they didn't have the technical expertise to verify it was fake. IANAL, but I cannot believe a judge in small clams court would deny that Paypal was stupid in this case.

I am curious, any lawyers out there familiar with small clams? Would you sue the buyer, who lives out of country, because he is stupid and doesn't know a real from a fake or Paypal who ordered the destruction of the violin? If you do sue Paypal, do you just go to your local court for it, it doesn't seem like they would bother to send anyone there as it just be cheaper to pay her off.

It all could be bogus though. Someone paying 2500 for a violin, even an amateur, might understand something "Made in Japan" doesn't make it 100 years old.

The buyer said it was a Counterfeit? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38586110)

This sounds like the Law astroturfing all-over the public domain. You don't have a COUNTERFEIT musical instrument: if it plays a note to any precision, then it is a true viable instrument. Such OPERATION is the motivation of one's work ethic in assembling and designing tools as well. Everyone knows was a violin could look like, but there is more than one maker and each maker has plenty of models to derive their master design from.

For anyone to claim a violin as being counterfeit is nothing more than a monopolising champertain. This wasn't a WWII violin and it wasn't Beethoven's violin: it was a simply fucking violin made somehwere around 60 or more years ago. It was most-likely made by hand and expected to look undistinguished from other violins insofar as being a capable instrument. Full workmanship is not a counterfeit, but this is Soviet Earth Plantation of ChiMexica so what do I know.

I build my own Violin from broken (disassembled junk) parts that consisted of string winds on a fret board across a neck to a hollow bowl and it was derived from string drums that I removed from a Fender guitar: keep in mind that because I used broken-down parts from name-brand instruments, it doesn't make my assembly into a Fender violin. Without title to the prior assembly, my next assembly is titled proper in common law from it's inherinet Documentation to my BIll of Exchange for how I convey the idea with those parts. Likewise, if I have a pipe and a 10-gauge brace bore and a wooden butt then I don't call it a Shotgun when it's BROKEN and I explicitely don't call it a Remington's Shotgun if there are CORRECTIONS (ahhem, not modifications mmkay) that deviate to discharge it's tenancy to the original title. Likewise, I don't call it a Sawed-off shotgun when it's a known fact that the pipe was extruded to the full length of 5 inches to be tailored for my use as a LARGE trumpet-barreled shot pistol.

All these governments are securing their existance at a time when efficiency deems them obsolete amidst such as the people reclaiming their lives and property without the limited liability clauses of the monopolist executive administrative bodies in municipal government regulative positions of trust. SO-far to this day, Government has only used tax-money for it's pay-roll and nowhere in mediating disputes where lacks a Corpus Delecti.

The same is said about so-called Counterfeiters whose product exceedd the quality of the neighboring companies who they've been accused of counterfeiting despite quality proving otherwise. Counterfeits are not distinguishable, because they are the same. The public domain is being infringed by Regulators that have no office but by implied consent.

You know what this is? (5, Funny)

RicardoGCE (1173519) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586112)

It's the world's smallest violin, playing just for... DAMMIT, PAYPAL!

Why does PayPal still exist? (5, Insightful)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586136)

FTA: "It is beyond me why PayPal simply didn't have the violin returned to me."

It is beyond me why anyone uses PayPal. I feel genuinely sorry for the seller, but then again, caveat emptor. It's not as though there aren't thousands of well-publicized horror stories about these fuckwit douchebags - if you need a citation, just Google "paypal sucks" and check out a few of the 189,000 results. If PayPal were the last financial institution on earth I'd be keeping my money in my mattress.

It's said that we get the government we deserve - I guess that applies to companies as well. If people would just stop using PayPal then they'd change their ways or go out of business. But I guess expecting the majority of people to get their heads out of their asses, do a little research, and take a principled stand on something is asking too much.

Re:Why does PayPal still exist? (4, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586242)

Because there are few online payment services, the others are little better. Also because only one is supported by the world's largest auction site, and don't forget the network effect - a payment service is no good if the other party doesn't use it too.

Re:Why does PayPal still exist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38586330)

It is beyond me why anyone expects me to stop using PayPal. Purchasing something using PayPal is easy, and they don't charge me anything.

Principles are nice, but do you seriously expect them to trump free-as-in-beer?

Re:Why does PayPal still exist? (2)

jythie (914043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586364)

Sadly, getting away from PayPal is not easy.

As a seller, not accepting PayPal significantly decreases the amount of business you will get, and as a buyer one's options for sources is dramatically reduced if you do not want your money going through PayPal. They have the chicken and the egg, and figuring out how to get rid of either is non trivial.

Re:Why does PayPal still exist? (1)

slim (1652) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586382)

It is beyond me why anyone uses PayPal.

Sellers use PayPal because eBay buyers find it convenient. Sellers use eBay because eBay has no close competitors.

I actually don't know of a sufficiently convenient way to transfer money to a foreign recipient who doesn't have a credit card merchant account, other than PayPal.

Horror stories or not, there isn't an alternative (or if there is, it's doing a bad enough job of publicity that it's not reached me)

Re:Why does PayPal still exist? (2)

hierophanta (1345511) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586434)

there are actually 11,300,000 results for 'paypal sucks'

Re:Why does PayPal still exist? (3, Insightful)

SGDarkKnight (253157) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586572)

Google "paypal sucks"

Now, I'm not trying to defend PayPal by anymeans, but If you google that you get 11.4 million results, however if you google "paypal is the best" you get 1.22 billion results, thats a 93% happy ratio, so using that logic isn't good argument to make in this case.

This is how it went down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38586156)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NAkIUToW5Q

that's what you get (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38586168)

That's what you get for dealing with Paypal.

Maybe one day people will learn.

Could be a hoax, but... (5, Informative)

Jaegs (645749) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586176)

Were this just an isolated incident, I would be screaming hoax with the best of you; however, given PayPal's handling of a recent charity case, where a group had their account suspended after trying to raise money to buy presents for poor children, I'm not so sure. Quote PayPal's support: "You can use the donate button to raise money for a sick cat, but not poor people."

http://www.regretsy.com/2011/12/05/cats-1-kids-0/ [regretsy.com]

Paypal is for idiots. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38586210)

Paypal is not regulated like banks are, in the US.

Paypal makes it way too easy for a buyer to rip off a seller.

Why would you use PayPal after knowing the two facts
above ? The answer is that you'd use it because you
are willing to ignore good reasons to avoid it, in which case
you deserve whatever you get.

Seen it happen with iPods (1)

gubers33 (1302099) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586238)

My Parents bought some ipods off of Ebay, I knew by looking at them they were fake and they also didn't work. My dad went through PayPal so they reimbursed him, but they did have him destroy the fake iPods and in the process. With something like this, I think it is viable to to know counterfeit and real, but with something like an antique, I would have said just return it or at least have it sent to an expert.

everyone knows (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38586276)

that PayPal sucks

Moving away from Paypal (1)

SimplyGeek (1969734) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586278)

As someone who sells thousands of dollars worth of merchandise a month, with processing going through Paypal, I can't emphasis enough how much I want to move away from those bastards. Already talking to other processors to get the hell away from Paypal. Can't wait...

Yet another partial story (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586360)

If it is true it is possible that the conversation went something like this;
Buyer: the seller sent me bogus merchandise and I want a refund.
PP: Send it back and provide proof of reciept and we will refund the money.
Buyer: No, I do not want to aid in the duping of the next unsuspecting buyer by sending the item back.
PP; We can not allow you to keep both the item and the refund so the only option would be for you to destroy the item, provide proof and we will refund.

I am not saying this is right but is within the TOS.

It's a matter of contract law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38586366)

The seller needs a Canadian court to acknowledge the contract that was made when the item was sold on ebay. Then the seller can claim his payment, which is due.

Re:It's a matter of contract law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38586518)

The seller needs a Canadian court to acknowledge the contract that was made when the item was sold on ebay. Then the seller can claim his payment, which is due.

Speaking as someone who has worked with Canadian authorities on a similar situation (chargeback, buyer kept the product), this is fairly straightforward. Canada isn't Nigeria, for fucks sakes.

The consumer protections in Canada are somewhat different than the United States, by the way. They aren't uniformly better or uniformly worse. On average it is probably the same.

Yes, the shape of a violin is reminiscient of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38586374)

... and there are those "f-holes" ...

but photographic evidence?

Oh.. sorry.

this Stradivarius is fake! (5, Funny)

mekkab (133181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586380)

the bass bar shape has changed, the neck has been lengthened, the fingerboard has been lengthened, the neck has been mortised, the tailpiece, bridge, pegs, have had their shape changed. It doesn't even have original catgut strings! Antonio Stradivari wouldn't recognize this. Burn it, so that others may not have it, either.

Sue them in small claims (4, Insightful)

FeatherBoa (469218) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586396)

I think it would be a good idea to sue Ebay Canada/PayPal Canada in small claims court.

The courts have already decided http://www.canlii.org/en/ca/fct/doc/2007/2007fc930/2007fc930.html [canlii.org] that EBay Canada is a distinct legal entity. It would be interesting to have them show up in court to explain themselves. They would likely lose, and would definitely be out of pocket more that $2.5K just to put in an appearance.

Just because their dispute resolution policy says that they "MAY ask for destruction" does not defend them that they have applied this policy reasonably. The seller could reasonably obtain a judgment that the application of that policy was improper, in this instance, and that EBay has to cough up the $2.5K.

Paypal: Getting As Bad As Insurance Companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38586418)

It's Paypal's job to move money. That's it. It's neither their job nor their right to tell people to destroy goods or to refuse to honor a payment to wikileaks or anything else of that nature. They are going down the same path that health insurance companies were somehow allowed to go down, and they need a serious dose of financial damage in the form of boycotts or disruptive alternative payment systems to put them in their place.

Sould have called Pawn Stars (1)

Reasonable Facsimile (2478544) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586432)

Cuz that one guy has a buddy who's an expert in violins...

And this is why I mark my items (1)

Rastl (955935) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586594)

Whenever humanly possible I mark my items with a blacklight pen. I don't say that in the listing.

Then if someone wants to return it and get a refund, no problem. Once I receive it in the same condition I sent it AND I verify it with that mark I'll gladly refund.

Funny how people suddenly don't want their refund when they find out I've put some kind of identifier on it that they can't duplicate.

Counterfeit Violin (1)

man_ls (248470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586602)

Hey, this isn't a violin! It's a banjo with some molding tacked on! FAKE!

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...