On Wednesday we ran a story about PayPal’s latest PR problem. It seems a woman sold an antique violin worth $2500. When the buyer received it, however, there arose a dispute over the label (which is apparently not uncommon the in the violin world). When the buyer asked PayPal for a refund, they decided that the violin must be counterfeit, and ordered the buyer to destroy it in order to get his money back.
While preparing that story, I sent a request for comment to PayPal. They got back to me with the following statement:
Unfortunately, this isn’t really that much of an answer. They decline to discuss the specifics of the case, but state that signed evidence from a knowledgeable third party is required before they ask the buyer to destroy an item. According to the seller, however, the violin had already been examined before being sent, and its authenticity was confirmed. It remains unclear whether PayPal really did require the buyer to present proof from a third party before ordering the violin’s destruction. I asked PayPal’s representative in a follow-up email whether the buyer had provided the necessary evidence. I also asked what, if any, recourse the seller might have, since she has lost both the violin and the $2500 she was paid for it. As yet I have not received a response.