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  1. #1
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    If You Accept Payments Through PayPal, Beware - You Could Lose Your Money!

    About a month ago I did a SEO audit for this business owner: [Business name and link removed by Linda due to legal concerns.]

    And yes, I'm purposely calling this crook out because my experience with him still sticks in my craw

    I spent close to 3 hours on this audit and put together about an hour's worth of videos for him and sent him a written report. Of course before I started all this work he paid me upfront via PayPal - which used to be my standard procedure. Within about 10 minutes of sending him the audit, he replied that the audit was "very very light" on specifics...lol. I about dropped my iPad when I read that. I sent the guy an hour of videos AND a written report of everything he needs to do and it's "very very light" on specifics. He then added the fact that he wasn't happy at all with what I provided.

    I immediately responded to him via email that I would be more than happy to provide whatever specifics he thinks I missed. I told him my goal is to satisfy so whatever I need to do, just let me know. I also told him to call me so we could discuss it. He never responded.

    The next morning I got a message from PayPal that this guy filed an "authorized payment" claim against me. I immediately called this guy and of course he wouldn't take my call. I called him a few times and every time it went to his voice mail. I told him in the voice mails I would be more than happy to refund his money but I would at least like to talk to him. He never called me back. I also tried reaching him via email a couple times and he ignored them. He clearly just scammed me.

    Long story short...PayPal held the money he sent me for about 10 days. I spent at least 3 hours on the phone with PayPal trying to get answers. In the end, PayPal refunded the money back to the buyer. It turns out, PayPal offers ZERO seller protection on digital goods or services. What this guy claimed was that he didn't get what he paid for. And because it was a digital good (i.e. something I didn't mail to him) and it was a service, PayPal automatically sides with the buyer. I sent PayPal the trail of emails I had with this guy as well as the SEO audit I sent him. PayPal didn't care. They ruled in the buyer's favor. PayPal told me that as long as I'm selling a digital good or providing a service, I will never win when these claims are filed.

    Needless to say, I no longer accept money via PayPal. I am looking at alternatives (Google Wallet and MerchantInc.com) and am only accepting payments now via check.

    I don't know who I was more upset with...the guy that stole 3 hours of my life...or PayPal that ruled against me despite the evidence I provided. Either way, I'm done dealing with PayPal so I'm just passing this along as a warning.

    Travis Van Slooten

    P.S. My former business partner sold a website on Flippa and made the mistake of accepting money via PayPal. The buyer sent him the money ($4,000) and he handed over the domain and the website. The next day the buyer filed the same claim against him. Guess what happened? My partner lost the $4,000 as PayPal returned every dime to the buyer because it was a digital good. Needless to say, he doesn't use PayPal either anymore. PayPal is truly the biggest scam going. You'll read all kinds of horror stories about PayPal. How they can get away with this stuff is beyond me.
    Last edited by Linda Buquet; 02-22-2013 at 02:07 PM. Reason: Name edited out - not allowed.
    TVS Internet Marketing: Helping Small Businesses Increase Their Visibility & Sales Online.

  2. #2
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    Re: If You Accept Payments Through PayPal, Beware - You Could Lose Your Money!

    Man, Travis, I'm really sorry to hear that. That sucks! I agree--PayPal needs a better refunding structure so that people like us don't get stiffed. Just doesn't seem right or fair, because any crooked person with half a brain could figure out a way to game the system and get all kinds of stuff free this way. Signed contracts would help I think. Even if someone files and gets a refund with PayPal, a contract could be the only asset you have to legally fight them with, since it would spell out what exactly you agreed to provide. But I don't blame you for not wanting to use PayPal again.

    And about that carpet cleaning business that stiffed you, I got two words--negative SEO! Who's with me?!? Ok, ok, maybe not. But it was a fun thought while it lasted. lol
    David @ Touch Point Digital | New Orleans Local SEO & Web Design
    Circle me on Google+ or follow us on Twitter

  3. #3
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    Re: If You Accept Payments Through PayPal, Beware - You Could Lose Your Money!

    I agree PayPal sucks. All I can really say is that I'm sorry this guy screwed you. I wonder if one would sell the written audit or a certificate that was a deliverable, then it might not fall under a service.

    I'm with David, but might first opt for a detailed G+ review.

  4. #4
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    Re: If You Accept Payments Through PayPal, Beware - You Could Lose Your Money!

    Quote Originally Posted by keenan View Post
    I'm with David, but might first opt for a detailed G+ review.
    ...and Yelp and CitySearch and InsiderPages.

    Oh, and you should also find a dog, a brown paper bag, a match, and directions to his front porch...

  5. #5
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    Re: If You Accept Payments Through PayPal, Beware - You Could Lose Your Money!

    I can't believe what that guy did! - That's way out of line!

    I'm with David&co, but the quickest thing to do, would be to "Remove that link to him" as he doesn't deserve any SEO help (at all!)
    Nicholas Pratt | Director | Add me on Google+
    SEO Spark



  6. #6
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    Re: If You Accept Payments Through PayPal, Beware - You Could Lose Your Money!

    That is actually what one of the PayPal reps told me - that if I mailed the report to him then I would *potentially* be covered. I still don't trust PayPal, though. They have a very strong bias towards buyers. It's almost impossible to win a case as a seller. I lost a case a few years ago when I sold something on eBay. The guy claimed the item wasn't what he expected so he wanted a refund. He got the refund but luckily he also sent the item back to me so I could relist it.

    After all these years I'm surprised nobody has started a business to compete with PayPal.

    Travis Van Slooten

    P.S. I also discovered through my research that PayPal is not a bank and so it doesn't need to abide by any of the usual financial regulations. That is why they are able to freeze accounts and funds at will (which they do all the time).

    Quote Originally Posted by keenan View Post
    I agree PayPal sucks. All I can really say is that I'm sorry this guy screwed you. I wonder if one would sell the written audit or a certificate that was a deliverable, then it might not fall under a service.

    I'm with David, but might first opt for a detailed G+ review.
    TVS Internet Marketing: Helping Small Businesses Increase Their Visibility & Sales Online.

  7. #7
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    Re: If You Accept Payments Through PayPal, Beware - You Could Lose Your Money!

    Sorry to hear about that Travis!

    I just started using WePay. I was really impressed with their personal service. They courted me hard to get my business. I was a little surprised how personal they were.

    I haven't been with them that long to give a review, but so far, so good.
    Chris Ratchford
    Prodentite
    Dental SEO & Websites

  8. #8
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    Re: If You Accept Payments Through PayPal, Beware - You Could Lose Your Money!

    I have to say that my experience with PayPal has been consistently positive. I've been using them for years, maybe 15 years, possibly longer? Honestly can't recall when I first opened the account. I have had a few official disputes in that time but they were always resolved in a way that seemed fair to me.

  9. #9
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    Re: If You Accept Payments Through PayPal, Beware - You Could Lose Your Money!

    Ya Travis, so sorry to hear. I've heard of various problems. I even know people who had big amounts like 20K held up in some kind of red tape or dispute.

    But my experience has been like David's only better. In all the years I've used them exclusively, I've never had a single problem. Not a single little glitch even.

    In fact every time I use PayPal I think "I wish Google+ Local was this seemless and problem-free."
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  10. #10
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    Re: If You Accept Payments Through PayPal, Beware - You Could Lose Your Money!

    My only beef with PP is their problem with certain credit cards.

    I use PP's Virtual Terminal and Recurring Payments products. Every so often, a client'a credit card won't work. It's not declined, but PP won't accept it.

    Then I have to chase payments from clients, which is a PITA.

    ---
    I've heard from other people that have had similar issues as Travis.

    If you get a client who disputes payment, you may lose $$$.
    Chris Ratchford
    Prodentite
    Dental SEO & Websites

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