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Paypal Seller Questions

Hi guys, I'm looking for advice, and well, this is the only place I can think of to really ask.

I've been sort of poking around the idea of selling some custom plushies and digital art commissions, and I was looking at getting a paypal to use for payment. However I have heard a LOT of scary things about paypal.

The primary concern: People filing chargeback using excuses such as "I did not get the item" or "Item did not match description" When it is completely untrue.

I've also read some nasty stories where paypal essentially backs out and says "Too bad" and you loose both the item AND the money involved.

So I wanted to know, is this a common occurrence? Because if it is, and I eventually get around to selling big-ticket items, I don't want to get cheated out of a couple hundred or something because someone decided to file a charge back because "The fur is a shade lighter then dark mocha chocolate brown discontinued fur that I wanted but we agreed that I couldn't get even though we discussed and found an alternative." You know? Am I worrying about nothing? If I'm not, are there any good alternatives?

Thank you!

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( 66 comments — Leave a comment )
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Apr. 16th, 2011 05:18 am (UTC)
I've been using paypal for years (at least a couple of transactions per week...money coming in, I'm a home business.) I've never had a problem.
Apr. 16th, 2011 05:23 am (UTC)
I've never had a chargeback using Paypal, which I've used for years.
Apr. 16th, 2011 05:34 am (UTC)
I have never had that kind of an issue with paypal, but I don't sell items greater than $80 usually.
Apr. 16th, 2011 05:47 am (UTC)
Merchant Systems are only as reliable as the people who use it. I use Paypal for high end sales as well as low end, and Paypal has never given me grief.

However clients and buyer have been flaky, which you can't avoid no matter what payment method you use.
I like Paypal because it is easy to use, handles Credit, debit and bank accounts in major currencies. it's easy to track and convert payments and I think a lot of 'rumours' about it are exaggerated. Been using it for seven or so years and would recommend it over any other online payment system.

Apr. 16th, 2011 05:50 am (UTC)
Your best method against picky customers is to have a clear and concise TOS you can use as reference. And make sure customers send payment as Goods/Services. Not gift or other. It makes dealing with problems so much easier on your end..
(no subject) - trimblecat - Apr. 16th, 2011 06:07 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - techno4tomcats - Apr. 16th, 2011 06:13 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thaily - Apr. 16th, 2011 09:43 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spiffystuff - Apr. 16th, 2011 07:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thaily - Apr. 16th, 2011 08:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spiffystuff - Apr. 16th, 2011 08:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snobahr - Apr. 17th, 2011 12:01 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - trimblecat - Apr. 16th, 2011 06:05 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cissa - Apr. 19th, 2011 09:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 16th, 2011 06:08 am (UTC)
For some reason that never entered my head. Thanks for mentioning that!
(no subject) - animecat - Apr. 16th, 2011 09:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - trimblecat - Apr. 17th, 2011 07:02 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 16th, 2011 05:54 am (UTC)
It's not a huge issue. I've been a PayPal member for like 10 years, and have had an issue. The most important thing is to keep receipts (edit: with tracking information, as mentioned above) of when you sent something in the post, as well as pictures, preferably learning how to have a date imprinted on the photo. Digital cameras can do this. It's basically proof that the item was made and shipped, so there's not much someone can do. If it's an actualy product that will be shipped to them, have them pay with "Goods," otherwise, have them use "Service" (since a digital commission is a service, not an actual, physical good. Exception would be if you were to ship a print).

The only issue I've -ever- had was an eBay issue, where the seller never shipped the item, and I was out about $75. This was before the PayPal/eBay merger, so there were issues of eBay basically requiring you to wait longer than PayPal's dispute period.

Also, factor in the fees into your prices, and set PayPal up as a business account. You can not only accept payments from credit cards, so the customer doesn't have the have a PayPal account, but you can get a debit card as a business member, so you don't have to wait for the money to transfer into your bank account. My PayPal debit card is so handy.

Edited at 2011-04-16 05:56 am (UTC)
Apr. 16th, 2011 06:10 am (UTC)
That sounds really nice. I'm beginning to think I've read the worst of the worst, and the most unlikely of unfortunate things that could happen. =)

Also, just out of curiousity, how long would you hold onto the reciepts for before doing a little spring cleaning?
(no subject) - silverfalln - Apr. 16th, 2011 06:14 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spiffystuff - Apr. 16th, 2011 07:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - petercat - Apr. 19th, 2011 05:23 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 16th, 2011 06:01 am (UTC)
I've been using paypal for 8 years now (3 as an artist) and haven't had to do nor received a chargeback. I agree with the advice here, to have a clear TOS, make sure things are always listed as goods or service, and factor tracking into the cost of your shipping (it's not too much, all things considered!)
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:47 am (UTC)
Have been using Paypal for ages and I've had no problems with charge-backs.
But then all but one of my customers so far have been very nice and reasonable people, no swindlers or scammers, which is what you should really be iffy about. Don't ignore red flags when you get them, don't be afraid to ask for advice when you do.

One point, don't sell porn/sex-related items with Paypal, they have a rule against that.
Apr. 16th, 2011 03:05 pm (UTC)
Not that that stops a lot of people who then make a journal about how the big evil doodoo heads at Paypal froze their account and took their money when they got caught selling inflationist porn or something... this is why everyone should read the rules of the services they use.

I don't think Alertpay has the same rule against adult stuff. So one could just use that for their porn.
(no subject) - thaily - Apr. 16th, 2011 05:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - trimblecat - Apr. 16th, 2011 07:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:49 am (UTC)
In my experience, no, it is not a common ocurrence. I'm not in the furry circles, though, so maybe it's just the age groups within the clientele doing douchey things like chargebacks? In my normal (meaning non-furry, not that furry art isn't normal :P) illustration commission business everything has run smoothly *knock on wood*. I've been using paypal for about 12 years now.

I would recommend frequently transferring your balance over to a checking account, though (which is free to transfer), because Paypal can just lose your money with no real reason and you're just stuck.

It's still good to have a Paypal account, though, since that's the service most everyone is the most familiar with because it's the most established, so buyers are more comfortable using it in my experience.

Edited at 2011-04-16 09:50 am (UTC)
Apr. 19th, 2011 09:56 pm (UTC)
Good advice about moving money to your bank account! I try to keep my Paypal balance fairly low, because i trust my bank more than PP.
Apr. 16th, 2011 11:02 am (UTC)
Never had a chargeback, personally. You know what they say: people with bad experiences are more vocal than those with good experiences.
Apr. 16th, 2011 07:46 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I figured that was the case. =) I'm glad I asked here.
Apr. 16th, 2011 11:09 am (UTC)
I've had a chargeback from a buyer once, claiming the item never arrived. However I had proof of postage and a tracking number which showed the item had been delivered. It wasn't furry related, it was through etsy, and it was a low cost item. They were complaining that it didn't arrive from UK to USA quick enough for their friend's birthday.

Paypal took my side and they didn't refund her.

From my experience paypal is an excellent service that protects both buyers and sellers. :) But make sure you follow their terms to get seller protection, by sending items with proof of postage and tracking, or they can't help you.

I'm not sure how it works for 'item not as described' claims, but I seem to recall reading somewhere that buyers can't make claims against custom-made items.
Apr. 16th, 2011 12:08 pm (UTC)
I work for PayPal
We have Seller Protection for all items. Always ship items with delivery confirmation/tracking. This way, you have a record that the item was shipped and that the buyer received it. Buyer disputes do not happen often at all, but if they file one for "Item not received" or "item not as discribed" you will be asked to provide two things:
1) tracking showing delivery of item
2) you will always be given the chance to tell your side of the story.
With tracking, you will be covered... even if for some reason the buyer does file a chargeback or a financial comes up as fraudulent or stolen. with Seller Protection, PayPal will then take money out of their pocket to reimburse you.

Do not worry. As long as you ship the items as you described them,with tracking and in a timely basis, you will never have to worry about Buyers trying to take your money back. Its all about being a good seller and having a solid business model.

Apr. 18th, 2011 01:29 pm (UTC)
I have to add to this, even if for some reason they decide against your side of the story in the resolution center, you can still call them up and discuss the issue with a PayPal rep. I had to do this when a delay in computer information caused my tracking number to reflect a day later than I shipped an item, since I use a shipping store that doesn't update their shipment info until the next morning. This guy had filed a dispute the same day I actually shipped it out (according to the rep I initially spoke to, it was because it was "a stolen credit card" even though all info had been verified..?) but was able to resolve the whole thing when I spoke to a manager and they understood. I don't know what the actual issue with the dispute was (I don't think they could technically legally tell me if it was a stolen credit card issue, but I don't know for sure) but since the amount was relatively small ($22) and I typically move thousands of dollars through my PayPal account each year, they went ahead and ate that cost and credited my account back.

So even when things go "wrong," some calm discussion with representatives can help figure things out.

Also, for what it's worth, I've only ever heard of two people that have filed disputes for 'item not received' on artists, it really doesn't happen that often. PayPal's been around for so long, they really are pretty good at what they do, and they've got provisions in place to take care of those of us that bring them revenue. After all, what would they do without sellers?
(no subject) - snapcat - Apr. 18th, 2011 02:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 16th, 2011 12:08 pm (UTC)
You know,since making the suits takes a while, why not mail a scrap of the fur to the buyer, after the first payment is made?
(I ask for 1/2 up front, and 1/2 once completed, but before shipping so that the buyer feels secure that they will get their items, as rare is the scammer who will take off with only 1/2 of the fees.) ;)

I also have a disclaimer on my etsy items that
*Colours may not be exactly as shown, since all monitors vary.*
to avoid that very thing. :)
Apr. 16th, 2011 07:49 pm (UTC)
That's a good plan. I never really hear about builders and plushie makers sending samples to their clients so it never crossed my mind. That is something I will do.

Thank you for the advice. =)
(no subject) - crssafox - Apr. 18th, 2011 01:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 16th, 2011 01:53 pm (UTC)
Sellers have a lot better protection than buyers, to be honest.
Apr. 16th, 2011 02:01 pm (UTC)
I adore Paypal. and while I have heard the stories also, I've never had any problem at all with the service.
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