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Fraudsters & PayPal, Let the Buyer Beware…

You know how it is, it’s late at night, half asleep, browsing social media when an advert for a virtually indestructible drone is advertised on your feed.  You do a bit of due diligence, the price is about right and you think, why not?

Like many I clicked and thought I was purchasing PR-331-01 DroneX™ Pro, I added the extra protection, the warranty and spare parts should the Quadcopter need them, and as I’m about to complete my order (alarm bells should have started ringing then), it said purchase a spare drone for a fraction of the price, but the small print said this was a monthly subscription fee.  I decided not to complete the entire transaction.

What I should have received.

I woke up, to find my Paypal account had been debited the original amount for the drone and extras, even though I didn’t complete the purchase.  Meh I thought, it’ll be something to play with, I’ll wait.  That was early September.

In November a package from China arrived… Could this be the drone I’ve been waiting for? I tore open the package in excitement that is only matched by a small child on Christmas day to discover, yes… a drone!

I took the parcel to my office to assemble it and have a play… Something was wrong…

This didn’t feel like the quality of drone that was described on the (now long gone) social advert… Oh no, this was cheap, tacky and frankly sharp in places that I cut my finger.

I did what any normal person would do and set it up to test it out anyway…. I shouldn’t have bothered.  It didn’t work… well one of the four propellers worked, the rest was well… awful…

Then I realised, the drone supplied was not the PR-331-01 DroneX™ Pro I had purchase but a KY601S Quadcopter a significantly cheaper knockoff that could be bought from AliExpress for a fraction of the price.

No worries, I thought… I’ll contact the seller to see if they made a mistake.  Surprisingly no reply from the seller, though they did have a message saying it would be better to deal with them than PayPal or things would get ugly…. Unsurprisingly the website that originally advertised the drone was no longer available and up for sale, and no return address was available on the packaging.

Having not heard back within the timeframes allowed, I contacted PayPal via their resolution centre and raised a dispute.  After a period of time, PayPal helpfully suggested that I return the item to an address in China, but postage would be at my expense, but they would uphold the dispute.

The cost to post the item back to China, was around £60-£80 at the time I did a courier comparison search, and the merchant didn’t have to refund me this cost.  I wasn’t happy with this and PayPal confirmed they wouldn’t cover the cost, since I hadn’t posted the item back, they ruled in favour of the merchant.

When I appealed the ruling and said at least the extended warranty (which is useless) should be refunded, I was told there is no appeal and their decision is final, no correspondence will be entered hereinto…

What could I do? 

I contacted my bank where the transaction was linked to PayPal and explained the situation.  They were very helpful and advised, yes, they could raise a chargeback, however… having looked into the transaction the funds taken from my account were via Direct Debit and not by Credit/Debit card and as such there is not protection whatsoever for this transaction.  They were very apologetic. I was shocked, the perfect? fraud carried out without any buyer protection? Can this really be?

There we have it, I’m out of pocket a couple of hundred quid, the fraudster knows they can ship any old crap in a box and get away with it, PayPal don’t want to know as they’ve had their transaction fees and you don’t get the buyer protection that you’re promised at point of transaction.

How can this be? 

It’s to do with the benefits China receive in terms of postal services, they can post items to any European country for next to nothing in terms of costs.  Posting back to China, especially something that’s bulky, heavy etc is a very costly exercise.  The fraudsters take advantage of this fact and the associated risk, knowing you won’t get all your money back.

I put it to PayPal that I can’t be the only one who has been mis-sold from the same company advertising as (ZestAds Limited) and PayPal are complicit in enacting fraudulent transactions.  Surprisingly they didn’t want to know.

I need to take this to the ombudsman for review, but fear that I have lost this one.

Moral of the story?

  • Don’t purchase goods from social media ads from organisations that don’t have a mainstream good reputation.
  • Never use Direct Debit as a payment method for purchasing goods that you may need to dispute at a later date.

Admittedly, this is just a couple of poor experiences from the number of positive ones I’ve had purchasing through PayPal.

Oh, and at the same time, I purchased a battery powered second screen seen below at around the same time last year.  What did I receive in its place? A cheap knock off ChromeCast like device that was cracked and broken on arrival.

C’est la vie…

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