Like many others, Kelly MacDonald, 27, a Saugus stay-at-home motherof two boys has shopped on eBay for years. But shopping online for an evening gown has never been this complicated for her.

Though she wasn’t planning on buying a dress online, she saw one on eBay that she simply deemed “breathtaking.” She took note that the international seller had 100 percent positive feedback on this custom made, $175 dollar gowns that could be finished in 6 weeks. Under the assumption of PayPal buyer protection, Kelly placed an order and sent payment for the dress, which arrived two months later. Much to MacDonald’s surprise, the dress was not what she was expecting. The photograph of the dress Kelly would receive was opposite of the dress she did receive.

“It was just huge,” MacDonald said. “The waistline was too high — way above my belly button, so I looked like a dumpling in that dress. The color was different and so were the beads (colorful instead of silver ones). The craftsmanship was so poor; the beads were falling off before I even put it on."

After emailing the seller immediately, her negative comments were well received and the seller requested that she send the dress back, and he would make her a new one. He was only willing to comply if she did not give him negative feedback. After one week passed, the seller notified Kelly of the receipt of the dress and that his dressmaker would make her a new one.

But the buyer seems to have found a “feedback loophole.” The window of opportunity to write feedback is only two months after the purchase of your product. Coincidentally for the seller, Kelly had passed this two month mark. After the seller ignored three messages from Kelly, she finally filed a dispute with PayPal.

According to PayPal, disputes are an opportunity for "resolution of any transaction problems promptly and easily." While in retrospect, such simplicity would be nice, yet for most customers, and especially Kelly, the resolution process was the furthest from easy.

As stated by PayPal, when a customer opens a dispute with them, it is the customer’s chance to: "1. Communicate directly with the buyer to resolve the issue amicably, 2. provide prompt customer service that can gain you repeat business, and 3. avoid the possibility of a dispute escalating to a claim or chargeback."

None of these promises are fulfilled, she said. PayPal tracked the package online, and there was only a note about the package arriving to China. No notification of delivery. When PayPal contacted the seller on the issue, he stated that he never received the package in the first place. When MacDonald realized that the seller had been lying to PayPal, she called USPS and filled a claim with them as well. A long 7 weeks later, she received a letter confirming that the Chinese postal service delivered the package.

Feeling confident that she would finally get her money back, Kelly faxed the letter from USPS over to PayPal. PayPal replied stating that they are unable to track the package online and therefore they do not have clarification on whether or not the package was actually delivered. No proof, no refund. According to PayPal, their policy states that they can only accept online delivery statements, which means that if the statement does not show up on, then as far as PayPal is concerned, the package was not delivered.

According to the USPS International Inquiry Department, foreign countries are not required to scan registered mail packages at the delivery and most countries, including China, don’t do so.

Do ample research before sending your money over the wire, and especially be cautious when dealing with other countries and their shipping policies that are most likely to be different than those of the US.

About The Author

Danielle Visco is a Blast staff writer

3 Responses

  1. Alexandra

    O my gosh! I always had suspicions about scams like these. Thats why you always need to save and print your receipts when you buy from possibly sketchy things like Ebay. Personally, I never trusted ebay because the people who sell on it are independent and you can’t really hold them to deals. Named company’s are way more trustworthy, even if they do charge a little more. Great story!

    • jeff thomson

      Hundreds, thousand of paypal deals are done in this way. Paypal are the ones that rip you off. they know they could give peoples money back, evenmoreso when they KNOW you got ripped off, common sense tells them people are ripped off, yet they hold peoples money and as well will not give it back when they should. THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ARE RIPPED OFF FROM PAYPAL (EBAY OWNS PAYPAL) EVERY YEAR. GOOGLE PAYPAL SCAM AND YOU WILL SEE PAYPAL IS A LEGAL SCAM COMPANY. WHY WOULD ANYONE STEP IN TO STOP EBAY AND PAYPAL SCAMMING PEOPLE? THEY WILL NOT, BECAUSE IT IS EMPLOYING MILLIONS OF PEOPLE RIGHT NOW, IF THEY SHUT IT DOWN, AMERICA GOES UNDER. SAME THING AS THE BP OIL SPILL, BP TOLD THE GOVERNMENT, BACK OFF,….LOL…..AND THEY DID.

  2. Jackie

    Yes everything is fine shopping on ebay and paying with paypal UNTIL something goes wrong. I was shipped a wrong product, it wasn’t my fault I checked to make sure the item I was expecting was the item they were shipping from the UK to Australia and the seller confirmed. But alas what I was expecting didn;t arrive, only part of it arrived. Ebay can’t (won’t) do anything, they say they are dependant on paypal, who also will refund you if they agree with your claim but you have to bear the cost of sending the goods back to the seller via ONLINE TRACKING ONLY (only they don’t tell you than until they approve your claim). Then you don’t get your money until the seller confirms he has received the item in the same condition he shipped it. So YOU WILL ALWAYS LOSE money in a bad ebay transaction unless you have an honest seller.


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