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Paypal Chargebacks

Quick question that I hope someone might know. My partner and I are looking at doing a chargeback on a fursuit maker who hasn't been communicating or updating with us for some time now. Unfortunately the payments were all sent around April-July last year. Obviously this is way out of the ordinary window for a chargeback. My partner has called both his bank and PayPal, which both said they couldn't do anything (bank because it wasn't fraudulent, PayPal because it was outside chargeback window.) I was wondering if anyone has been successful in disputing old transfers before or if we really are out of luck with this one and will have to chalk it up to a very expensive loss :/ I'm hoping someone here knows the right things to say to either bank or PayPal to get our $2k back.

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( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
kattotang
Jul. 29th, 2016 04:47 am (UTC)
You said the fursuit maker hasn't been communicating...so does that mean you haven't gotten any updates and they're ignoring your attempts at communication? If that's the case, I don't really understand why your bank wouldn't consider that to be fraudulent, as the maker has basically run off with your money...
arinaca
Jul. 29th, 2016 04:50 am (UTC)
That's correct, they've been ignoring notes from my partner, uploading regularly from their main account and replied to a note from me, then stopped once I asked about the suit :/

I'm wondering if its because its been so long, I forgot to say that those payments were from last year.
kattotang
Jul. 29th, 2016 04:56 am (UTC)
You didn't forget anything, you did mention in your post that payments were made about a year ago, so no worries on that. But, still, I don't understand your bank at all. Even if it were a year ago, I would think saying you ordered a custom-made item and never received it would allow you to put some sort of claim through... I've never gone through something like this though. Hopefully someone else might be able to give you some advice. :<

I do hope that either way you're planning on submitting a beware on this maker though. D:
arinaca
Jul. 29th, 2016 05:04 am (UTC)
I think my partner is going to give it another go once we get a bit more advice from here - maybe trying the fraud route more.

Absolutely, my partner is collecting up emails and stuff as I type. Even if the maker does suddenly start replying back to everything, this has been pretty unacceptable.
poto_heart
Sep. 2nd, 2016 05:09 am (UTC)
I know I am late to this post, but as someone who works at a bank (*in the US, some or all of this might not apply in other countries) -

The bank definition of fraud does not cover scams, bad purchases, etc. We are required by our insurance coverage and by regulation to define fraud pretty much exclusively as: someone stole your debit card (or account number, identity, etc.) and made unauthorized charges/withdrawals on your account. And even then, you must never have allowed anybody else to use your card (so if you tell us you let your cousin borrow your card once, you can't make a fraud claim).

This is why I always advise people to use credit cards and not debit cards when making online or risky purchases. It is much safer and chargebacks are much easier with credit card companies. Unfortunately this advice is too late for OP, and it's probably too late to lie to the bank if they've already told the bank what actually happened. But maybe it will help others in the future.
dergish
Jul. 29th, 2016 04:53 am (UTC)
I had the same issue with my bank refusing because I authorized the charge and PayPal agreeing.

Call and tweet your bank and PayPal at different times of the day. Sometimes you just need to get in contact with the right person. PayPal ended up giving me my money back and just warning me to be careful next time after I tweeted them.

Before calling again write down all of the dates you sent money, how much you sent, and the artist's e-mail. When you call again let them know the artist didn't deliver what you paid for and lay out all of the different transactions. They're usually a little more likely to act if this seems like a pattern.

Best of luck!
arinaca
Jul. 29th, 2016 05:07 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for the advice! From what I could hear on the phone that was pretty much what his bank said too, because it was authorised there wasn't anything they could do. On that note though we might be able to follow up the fraud route seeing they've been ignoring us so long it doesn't seem like they have any intention of finishing it.
spartanwerewolf
Jul. 29th, 2016 06:09 am (UTC)
I never understand this- yes, you authorize the charges, but it's with the understanding that you will receive the product you authorized the charges for. If you don't get the product, then you should be allowed to rescind that authorization.

But that's applying logic to banks.
arinaca
Jul. 29th, 2016 06:52 am (UTC)
:P pretty much this haha logic to banks just... doesn't seem to happen :C
greenreaper
Aug. 7th, 2016 08:59 am (UTC)
I can understand their position. It's not within their business or capability to evaluate the conduct of a remote party - that's up to the account-holder. They don't have the same access a court would have to compel testimony or demand documentation.

Instead, they focus on what is within their competence and responsibility: whether the account-holder authorized the payment while the funds were in their hands. After it's gone, you basically need the other bank to be willing to give the funds back, anyway - or for them to be forced to by a court order.
koulagirl666
Jul. 29th, 2016 06:20 am (UTC)
There's also the option of a minor claim through the Magistrates' Court, which you can lodge yourself and the court will serve on your behalf. It's a bit on the slow side, so pursue your bank for a chargeback at the same time (magic word, chargeback), but getting a costs order against them makes life a little harder for them until they pay you back. I

If it was paid through a credit card, you may have the option of going directly to the vendor rather than going through the bank, as they do their own investigations rather than the bank.
arinaca
Jul. 29th, 2016 06:55 am (UTC)
Court would be very fiddly - we are in Australia and the maker is in the US, so I don't actually know how feasible that road would be.
My partner hasn't called Visa yet (he paid via PayPal which is attached to his visa card) because they also have a chargeback time of 100 or so days, so far just attempted PayPal and his bank. Would also be worth calling and asking about though.
koulagirl666
Jul. 29th, 2016 12:12 pm (UTC)
If you have _any_ kind of address for the maker, that either you or the court can get documents to them (they even accept email), you can make a claim. It's up to them to make arrangements to turn up etc., so it's not as fiddly as it sounds (I promise!). Once you get an order against them, you can apply to have it recognised where they are, and action taken against them there. I brought it up mainly because legal documents tend to scare people, and the time limit is six years for commercial transactions (in South Australia, anyway.) If nothing else, it's worth a shot sending the initial letter.

I do hope you can work something out, whichever way/s you end up taking.
sableantelope
Jul. 30th, 2016 10:00 am (UTC)
Op be very careful and weigh cost versus chance success in this. Especially since usually whatever courts handle minor civil claims wont do so for cases involving an international defendant.

The US has no treaty binding them to comity. That means they do not have to honour international judgments. I know Hilton V Guyot et al (1894/95) set the tone for them to do so, and they usually do, but it's up to judicial discretion.


There's 11 points the UFMRA (Uniform Foreign Money-Judgments Recognition Act) party states/ULA(1986) considers when enforcing foreign civil judgments. One of them involves service that leaves reasonable time for the defendant to answer but also ensuring that the court where the judgement was heard was not "seriously inconvenient forum" for the claim to be heard in.
That means you can't just serve them with the claim and say too bad, so sad I'm half way around the world.

Luckily US and Straya are both parties of the Hague Service Convention(1975 sorry 1965 my bad). That means there is an authority in place specifically to handle international service in each country. To serve them properly in the US you'd want to get the forms(I think it's three you fill out) from the Central Authority, which is US Dept of Justice, civil division, int'l service dept in D.C.

Also neither the US or Australia are parties to the Hague Convention on Foreign Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters which means both countries generally will determine lawfullness of a judgement based on their own national law/acts on judgments- there's two terms that apply here: lex fori and lex causae. Both have to do with which law is used to reach a decision in a case in international claims and are part of what's refered to as conflicts of law.

Note that if you decide to sure them in their jurisdiction you wont be able to do so through US small claims.


Basically to take all the acts and stuff out of it and sum up:

• Usually US will honour foreign judgement- they have no international obligiation to do so but they usually do
• Aussie law is pretty close to US civil law so shouldn't be too much of a 'conflicts of law' issue here; and
• Be sure to do a proper service through the Central Authority because of the large distance involved

(this is not legal advice)



Edited at 2016-07-30 10:00 am (UTC)
koulagirl666
Jul. 30th, 2016 05:00 pm (UTC)
The Magistrates' Court Minor Claims division in South Australia is slow enough that the maker would have had time to prepare a defence, and it's also set up to have people appear by Skype (it's not like super fantastically fast or anything, but they do have to have it as an option because Australia is so bloody big), so I didn't see much of an issue relating to that.

The first step in the process though is just a formal letter of demand, outlining a due date and including an intent to make a claim, and that is often enough to make someone jumpy about the whole process. Generally, in my experience, that's enough to get someone moving if they're going to; it's not an ideal option by far, but it is one.
sableantelope
Jul. 30th, 2016 07:01 pm (UTC)
The issue is the service has to be done through CA to be sure the judgement has a chance to be enforced. That's why the CA exists post HSA, so everyday people can do a proper int'l service.

OP can just file and win a default judgement without following HSA but it'd be thrown out based on criteria in UFMRA. That's why it's important to do it properly.

Minor Claims gives 21 days for the defendant to answer the complaint, I don't know if that would be enough time on it's own to qualify as reasonable under UFMRA, need a consult with a US lawyer to find that out so using the US DoJ Central Authority, since that's exactly what it's there for, is the best way to proceed.

Since USA has no comity agreements you'd want to maximise chances of actually being able to enforce it based on judicial discretion. It's pointless to win a judgement in Australia if there's no hope of actually collecting.

It's really less about the practical side of it and more about dancing the dance.

Even the Australian Government pages has this blurb on enforcing Australian judgements overseas:
"Enforcing an Australian judgment overseas can be a complex process and we recommend seeking legal advice from a lawyer practicing in the jurisdiction where enforcement of the judgment is being sought."


And found a great article by a Law prof at Monash University,

"However, in a practical sense, even if Australian courts have jurisdiction, actually asserting jurisdiction in any real and practical sense is likely to be difficult, complex and expensive unless the seller is prepared to submit itself to Australian jurisdiction – which in most cases is unlikely (11)"

In fact that essay actually mentions a particular conflict in US versus Aus consumer law in regards to deals done online and the two nations differing judicial views on 'supply' (supply in the particular legal sense). That conflict is enough that with no comity and therefore Conflicts of Law there could be an issue.

[That source number 11 BTW is Productivity Commission, 'Economic Structure and Performance of the Australian Retail Industry', (Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2011) at 117.]


Here's the "How to do a HSA service for Aussies" pdf. https://www.ag.gov.au/Internationalrelations/PrivateInternationalLaw/Documents/How-to-prepare-a-request-for-service-abroad-using-the-Hague-Convention.pdf just for OP's edification.

Not all that hard if they decide to go this route.


But yes, always do demand letter before bringing a claim if you want to follow reasonable steps of escalation. Usually time frame to make things right is 30 days. OP- basically state you are requesting to cancel the deal. No by cancelling the deal that opens you up to paying the maker any deposit agreed upon by the contract(and remember in US law deposits are automatically non-refundable in cases where the buyer cancels so no need for that to be specified if the term 'deposit' was used). Your remedy to that is you can argue the seller is the one who breached by: a.) not completing in a reasonable time (note that this will require some case law digging/industry contracts assembling to show what a reasonable time for completion of a custom mascot costume is); or b.) by breaching a term in the contract such as breaking a delivery deadline. Otherwise you'll just have to accept you're the one cancelling.

So your demand letter in this case is basically a demand to dissolve the contract and to be refunded(less any applicable deposit, which they can't tack on now, the deposit had to have been part of the original deal).


You can write this absolutely write this yourself but it's better to have a lawyer do it. Be sure to keep it short, unemotional/business like, stick only to the facts of what you're demanding(for example request to dissolve, desire to be refunded via Paypal)- and don't make threats you wont back up. Ie: don't say you're going to sue if you don't get refunded in thirty days if you aren't actually going to sue!


(again this is advice, not legal advice)

(ugh sorry for edit, overwrote some of my comment with bad HTML.)

Edited at 2016-07-30 07:04 pm (UTC)
whoop_zi
Jul. 29th, 2016 06:47 am (UTC)
if it were within the window i'd tell you to send them one last email about filing a chargeback if they don't respond, but at this point it's been so long that i don't blame you for wanting to wash your hands of this. have they sent you any WIPs at all? i'm going to second what dergish said about trying paypal again because in many cases it really is a matter of pestering them until you get a hold of the right people.

good luck! i hope you get this resolved quickly and smoothly!
arinaca
Jul. 29th, 2016 06:59 am (UTC)
I send them a note on FA... Two days ago? Asking about a commission enquiry, which they responded to overnight. I sent a second note saying pretty much that it was obvious they were receiving notes so why hadn't they replied to my partners about the suit and to either respond, refund or we'd be looking into chargebacks. Honestly a chargeback at this point seems like the safest option :P

The last update on their trello was November last year, I believe that's about when we got the last email from them? After that they didn't reply to any emails asking for updates and all notes went unread except for the ones I sent because my partner was the one organising the commission even though its for both of us.
mercurrix
Feb. 26th, 2017 07:25 pm (UTC)
Any update on this? Were you able to get your money back somehow?
arinaca
Feb. 27th, 2017 02:20 am (UTC)
This is the current situation, with a link to the first beware of the maker :C
http://artists-beware.livejournal.com/944232.html
As of yet, nothing, they haven't contacted us at all, not even the note I sent them a week ago saying we'd be taking some kind of action today/tomorrow US time :/
mercurrix
Feb. 27th, 2017 06:54 am (UTC)
Ugh, I'm so sorry to hear that. I can't imagine a maker having a clear conscience on something like this.
i'm really worried about my own fursuit maker situation rn (no contact and no updates) and found your post while google searching about paypal claims and chargebacks...
Do you know what kind of action you plan to take, if you're comfortable sharing? (If not that's ok.) Either way I wish you the absolute best.
arinaca
Feb. 28th, 2017 11:49 am (UTC)
Yeah, it super sucks :/
Oh man :C I hope yours works out better than ours has! if it's within the chargeback window then you'll be alright! I've heard of people having some success calling paypal as well even outside of that deadline though, which is what I'm aiming to do. Best I can do is explain that it was fraudulent and the maker obviously had no intention of doing the work and hope that gets me a refund :/
mercurrix
Feb. 28th, 2017 10:31 pm (UTC)
Mine is still within the window, but it's good to know that people have had success even calling outside of the timeframe. I've heard that calling paypal is often better anyway... Crossing my fingers for ya!! :/
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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