Sharks fan gets scammed through eBay

September 8, 2011 7:58:57 PM PDT
One of the most popular ways to sell your unwanted items is eBay and its companion payment service PayPal, but there can be risks to sales between strangers.

This risk came as a huge surprise to a man who's been selling items on eBay for 10 years. Even though eBay is all about buying and selling online, it turns out it can be very risky place to deliver your valuables online. It cost this consumer hundreds of dollars.

Jerry Neves and his family are huge fans of the San Jose Sharks. His daughter's room is filled with Sharks memorabilia on the walls, the floor, the bed, even the clock.

"Together or with one of our kids we go to just about every game," said Neves.

Neves and his wife own two season tickets. However they also play in a local rock band and they had to miss a playoff game against the Canucks in May.

"For playoff games, sometimes you get double, triple your money back if you sell them through eBay," said Neves.

They did sell their tickets on eBay to a buyer in Texas who paid $499 for the pair through PayPal. Neves emailed him the tickets and everybody was happy -- until the shocker.

"Two days after the game, I receive a notice from PayPal saying we have a dispute claim," said Neves.

The buyer claimed he did not purchase those tickets and the charge was unauthorized. PayPal told Neves he had to give back the $500.

"So they took the money back out of my account," said Neves.

He was outraged and told PayPal he had proof the buyer received and used the tickets.

"I think it's obvious the purchaser is pulling a scam. 'I'll buy the tickets for $500, I'll go to the game, use them, and then after I'll say afterwards I never received them,'" said Neves.

Neves showed PayPal all the emails. In one email the buyer asks Neves to send the tickets. Neves emails them through the Sharks' TicketFast website and the buyer emails Neves saying, "I have received the tickets. Thank you!"

"I confirmed with through the Sharks. They even told me which turnstile he walked through," said Neves.

The Sharks provided a seat report showing someone used Jerry's tickets to enter the gate at 5:05 p.m. PayPal offered to refund half of Neves' money, but he said that's not enough. He contacted 7 On Your Side and we emailed the buyer asking for his side of the story. We did not receive any reply. Neves didn't either.

"As soon as he received them, he thanked me and that was it, I never heard from him again," said Neves.

We also contacted PayPal asking why it reversed the payment even though Neves had this proof. PayPal said it was a matter of policy. Because the tickets were sent electronically, there was no reliable proof they were delivered.

PayPal said its seller protection policy would have covered Neves if he'd sent the tickets by Federal Express or other service with tracking and a signature from the buyer.

The company said: "Since PayPal is simply the payment mechanism, we never actually have possession of the goods in question. Therefore, we have to rely on proof of delivery. Right now, there aren't any similarly reliable proof-of-delivery services for digital goods or emailed items."

However, PayPal reviewed Neves' case again and it did agree to refund the entire $500. They said they would do so, "...Given his history as a longtime customer, and that there was reasonable proof that he is not at fault."

"I'm very grateful too. It worked out well," said Neves.

PayPal does have policies in place to protect both buyers and sellers against potential fraud. If you use eBay, it pays to know when PayPal will cover you if a there's a dispute.


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