Tell me about Paypal.

I am about to liquidate a 2000+ piece NASCAR diecast and collectible collection. I am having a garage sale this weekend and hope to sell a bunch of the stuff but sales have been extremely disappointing. So now I am looking at eBay to sell the collection but I am having some reservations about using Paypal as a method of payment. A legal site I frequent is visited regularly by eBay sellers that have been screwed by Paypal, usually in the form of chargebacks by customers after items have been shipped. I have also heard accusations of Paypal tacking on fees and freezing accounts without warning. So is Paypal something to fear or should I sign up and hope for the best?

Ya, I’ve heard the same stories. Paypal has info on one of my credit cards. I’d never give them my bank info.

There are certainly many people have had major problems with PayPal. Check out
PayPalSucksfor some real horror stories.

The key to using PayPal seems to be to keep the dollar amounts small and don’t link your account to a bank account (use credit cards to pay). This may allow you to take advantage of the consumer protections of credit cards. However, PayPal has been known to do whatever possible to get money that has been charged back.

You can require any payment method you like for an eBay auction. However, requiring Western Union, etc. does make people concerned, especially if you have little feedback.

There are hundreds of outraged ex-PayPal users. However, there are tens of millions of satisfied users who have never had a problem. I have had my account linked to several bank accounts for over 5 years and thousands of dollars of transactions, with no problems. I don’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone who needs a safe, secure way to make or receive online payments. YMMV.

I’ve used PayPal for years and never had any problems. However…for many transactions, you will be required to provide them with a bank account in order to become a “verified” customer. It’s actually pretty cool, people view you with respect and in the process of verification, they actually deposit something like 20 cents into your account. Not much, but it’ll help at the gumball machine. :slight_smile:

HOWEVER…I’ve heard the horror stories about people with frozen accounts, and since Paypal isn’t governed by any U.S. regulations, that could be a problem. So…whenever someone sends you money through Paypal, do NOT let it sit in their account. Transfer the money to your bank account IMMEDIATELY (takes a few days, but there’s no transfer fee at least.) That way, if PayPal gets in a snit and freezes your account, you haven’t lost anything. Don’t even bother with their debit cards and money market accounts and all that. Remember, they are based in Germany, and not accountable to U.S. laws.

I have/had Paypal. Recently for some recent I started getting email messages to the effect of: has been added to your account. I don’t who is trying to gain access and for what reason, but when my money is involved I get worried. So I sent a message to Paypal telling them to close my account.

Just as a head’s up you might want to be moderate in your expectations re the NASCAR collectibles. I know nothing about your cars and they could be quite valuable, but in the past I’ve acquired a few NASCAR collectibles as part(s) of larger collections, and they usually have absolutely awful eBay resale values as “collectibles” relative to the original purchase prices of the item.

Probably a phishing expedition. Those types of emails are fraudulent and not sent by Paypal.

I’ve not had a problem in all the time I’ve used it, and have purchased and sold items not only from ebay, but also from internet businesses. As KGS noted, I never leave money sitting in the Paypal account.

Hey, not all evil things come from Germany. Paypal Europe is located and licensed in the UK and IIRC the international headquarter is in the US.
Actually they only started offering their services to German customers very recently (and the actual transactions are handled in the UK.)

Definitely a fraudulent phishing email. I’ve had the same one. The idea is that you say “What! That isn’t my email!” and use the link helpfully supplied on the email to rush to paypal to sort things out. But of course, the link doesn’t take you to paypal, just someplace that looks like it and will accept your login id and password.

When you said you sent a message to Paypal, please tell me you didn’t just reply to the phishing spam.

Remember with phishing emails; they don’t know your name (they just say “Dear Customer”) and they aren’t ‘targeting’ you. It’s just another spam email.

PayPal has been a subsidiary of Ebay since 2002, based in San Jose, California, so it is most certainly subject to US laws.

I’ve never had any trouble with my PayPal account, but I’m a very low-volume user - I might average one transaction a month. I did intentionally link that to my personal checking account, rather than the household joint account; my personal account never has more than a few hundred bucks in it, which limits my exposure in case anyone ever tries anything illicit.

One thing to be aware of when selling on eBay with Paypal though - credit cards.

If you select Paypal as the payment option when you set up the auction, it automatically lists the auction as one that accepts credit cards. I don’t know if there’s a way to prevent that. If a buyer attempts to pay using a credit card, you can’t accept the payment unless you upgrade your PayPal account to one that accepts credit cards. Which is all very well and good, EXCEPT that it means they take a portion of the payment (a couple of percent) for all credit card payments… and all cash payments also. So if your friend sends you the 10 bucks he owes you, via Paypal, you only get 9.50 (or whatever, I don’t recall what the fees are). For a big-time seller, this is just a cost of doing business; however for someone who only occasionally sells stuff on eBay or has low transaction amounts, it may not be something worth doing.

I found this out the hard way - I sold some kids’ clothing and one buyer paid via credit card. She was willing to redo the payment as cash-only (for which I was very grateful), otherwise I’d have had to bite the bullet and ‘upgrade’. I don’t think you can downgrade afterwards, either.

Anyway - eBay-savvy friends have said you can put in BIG BOLD LETTERS in the auction, that you take cash-based Paypal payments only, but I don’t know how effective that is.

Actually this is normal and expected for ANY credit card handling in any business. Remember when restricting the ways your customer may do business with you they often choose not to. IF you want to use paypal payments just consider it part of your “shipping and handling” and tack an extra $0.50 for credit card “handling”.

Add me to the list of satisfied PayPal customers. I’ve run hundreds of transactions and never had a problem. It’s been tied to my bank account for a few years, and money only flows one direction: from PayPal to my account. Never had anything pulled out.

A lot of the complaints I’ve heard about PayPal are from confused people like SteveG1 that get phishing emails (I get about ten a week) and think they actually come from PayPal. If the message doesn’t address you by your full name, it’s not from them. All emails addressed to “Dear PayPal Customer” are fakes, and they’re just trying to get you to click on one of their links that looks like it goes to but doesn’t.

As far as the percentage on credit card charges, that’s just the way business works. Credit card processing costs money. I’ve never heard of anyplace that’ll do it for free.

I have used PayPal a total of one time and still have an open account. No problems for me personally but I have read over and over about the bad things that happen there. Someone else linked the definitive site on disgruntled paypal users:

Another satisfied PayPal user here. Been using them for over 5 years with no troubles. In fact, as a buyer on eBay, if an auction does not accept PayPal, I consider that a negative. I know that you (racer72) are looking at PayPal from the seller’s perspective, so you are mainly interested in collecting your money and hanging onto to it. From the buyer’s perspective, my interest is in getting what I’ve paid for. I stay away from “cash only” PayPal payments because there is not a lot of leverage when a seller stiffs me. By paying with a credit card through PayPal, there are recourses for me when a seller does not hold up his end of the deal. I’d say that if you describe your items in careful detail on eBay, carry through any transaction as required, and have some proof that your goods have been shipped and received by the buyer, you should be in good standing with PayPal should a dispute arise.

I got the newest variation this morning: “We’re sorry you’ve decided to close your PayPal account, we hope you will re-open it in the future.”

With, of course, a link to a fake site where you can log-in and restore your account…

I’ve used PayPal mostly for eBay transactions for quite some time and have had no complaints.

That’s it.

I have been using Paypal for almost five years and thousands of dollars in transactions, and have never had any problems on my end. Neither have I had any complaints from customers or had problems brought to my attention.

A lot of the anti-Paypal sites also happen to be owned, affiliated with, or advertising PP’s competitors, so make sure you note where your information is coming from. Not all of them of course, but some have vested interest in making PP look bad.

One of my bank accounts is connected to PP, as is a couple of credit cards; I haven’t had any issues there either. They are authorized to deposit, but not withdraw money. I have heard that once you authorize a company to make withdrawls from a bank account, it can be a nightmare getting them to stop if they start making withdrawls you didn’t approve or authorize. This was mostly in reference to signing on with automatic billing (like AOL, frex) and then cancelling a service, but it’s not something I wanted to risk.

The fees for a lower-volume business member amount to about $5 per $100 to accept credit card payments. IMO it is worth it to just consider that part of the cost of doing business, as not accepting credit cards will seriously limit your pool of potential buyers.


As with all merchant accounts, you are not immune to disputes. Paypal is no different, so you have to keep accurate records, and never mail out anything without delivery verification and you should be safe. Disputes have to be proven, so make sure you can prove delivery. Paypal is not a bad system, you just need to keep your records of delivery, and don’t throw them away. Ebay is a medium for disposing of your collection, but you have to accept Paypal or credit cards to be successful in my experience as no one will send money orders to a new eBay account holder. Far too many scams on eBay these days, so the trust level is dropping like a rock.

Good luck, Mike