Advice needed for paypal transaction

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tuningfork
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Advice needed for paypal transaction

Post by tuningfork »

Background: I am a member of a photography forum that has an active buy/sell board. I have a bunch of photography gear for sale there right now and have sold several items in the last month. The forum strongly recommends all transactions to use Paypal due to availability of protections for both buyers and sellers, and has had many thousands of successful transactions over it's 10 years or so of existence. I've used Paypal many times and never had any problems.

I just sold another item today, but the back-and-forth was a little unusual. I'd like some advice before I continue with the sale.

The item in question is a lens listed for $195. I received an inquiry today asking about the condition of the lens, and he also said "I don't have paypal, but I guess they sell prepaid cards or something?"

I replied with details about the item, and told him I would only accept Paypal. I told him in general terms how to setup and fund a paypal account, and gave him my paypal info so he could send payment when he was ready.

About 90 minutes later, he asked how much is shipping. I told him shipping fees were included. Almost immediately Paypal sent me notice that I had received payment for $212 (minus a buyer protection fee that the seller [me] pays). Note that the item selling price was listed as $195. At first I wasn't sure if this was the same buyer, since I didn't recognize the $212 amount. But he sent me another message: "Sent $212 (just random guess re mitigating fees, etc. - I *@#^&$%&@#$ hate paypal for that reason). You were asking 200, right?"

So here's what bothers me:

1. I'm a little nervous about this transaction because he overpaid. I've heard of the various scams where you give someone your bank account info, who then over-deposits, apologizes, and asks them to send you the difference (whereupon the original deposit turns out to be fraudulent, so you end up being scammed for the difference). But this is with Paypal, not a bank account, and the amount he overpaid is $17, pretty small. That doesn't seem like much of a scam. Maybe he's just not sure how Paypal works and thought he would be paying fees above the payment.

2. His initial hesitance about Paypal and mentioning a pre-paid card put me immediately on alert, since I've heard of pre-paid card scams.

3. He didn't negotiate the price at all. Probably not a big deal, but everyone else has always made a lower offer and we eventually settle on a price (or not). I expect that, so I always set prices a bit higher than I'm willing to take. But then, he never checked the price in my original post and just guessed when he sent payment to me (Maybe he bought a paypal card at a local store and couldn't remember, and didn't have a way to go online to check?)

I think the transaction is probably legitimate. I have already initiated a transfer of $195 to my bank account. Once I confirm I have the money at my bank I'll refund him the difference to his paypal, and ship the lens to him (probably tomorrow or the next day). But I want to make sure this isn't a common scam resulting in me losing the lens and my $195. I have not replied to him since receiving the payment. Any advice is welcome.
Silk McCue
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Re: Advice needed for paypal transaction

Post by Silk McCue »

This doesn’t sound kosher to me. Randomly choosing $212 as paymemt and saying “you were asking $200 right” when it is clearly listed for $195. I personally wouldn’t sell to this flaky buyer. I think you will regret it.
LSLover
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Re: Advice needed for paypal transaction

Post by LSLover »

I had very similar experience a few years ago. While some real money was deposited to my PayPal account, the buyer was questionable. The amount was also in excess of what was due.

The buyer likely used fraudulent credit card with the English sounding name and asked after the payment was made that the item he bought be sent to his friend in Nigeria because he is currently traveling on business...

I informed PayPal and they confirmed that it was fraud.
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F150HD
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Re: Advice needed for paypal transaction

Post by F150HD »

Definitely pass. Have had weird experiences w/ Paypal like this....they're always uncomfortable. Mainly on Ebay.
Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light.
forgeblast
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Re: Advice needed for paypal transaction

Post by forgeblast »

I would pass, it seems a bit weird.
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runner9
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Re: Advice needed for paypal transaction

Post by runner9 »

I would try to call Paypal and ask their advice. Can't hurt to see what they say.
2comma
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Re: Advice needed for paypal transaction

Post by 2comma »

I'd suspect stupidity over malice on this one. I sold a VW book at auction on ebay and the kid must have gotten wrapped up in the bidding process paying about double what the easily available book was worth new. At first I thought maybe he's in a remote area of Colorado so it's worth it to him. Looked at the zip and he lived in Denver! So I just stuck a ten dollar bill in the box and sent it to him. I felt pretty good about it.

Of course in this case the buyer never asked for some of the money back so I knew there was no scam.
If I am stupid I will pay.
pangea33
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Re: Advice needed for paypal transaction

Post by pangea33 »

Whenever I sell anything on forums the expectation is that buyer pays via Paypal plus fees and shipping costs. If they want to send the money via "friends and family," they save the 3% fee but they waive the buyer protection service Paypal offers. My transactions are usually on motorcycle forums where we're familiar with each other, so I've bought many things while waiving the protection.

$212 is a pretty common amount for a $200 item. $6 for the 3% fee, and (until recently) $6 for a small flat rate box. Medium flat rate boxes are about $13, so it's still right in line. In the motorcycle world people are often selling used parts for $0.20 on the dollar and money talks. I send money fast because I'd hate to miss out on a desired item because we were dickering over $1.75 in exact shipping costs.

If they made the purchase via standard "pay for for goods and services" you're protected against them doing something shady financially, and they're protected against you not delivering the merchandise. You also have a "refund" option that lets your return a fractional amount of the payment. It's real common to overpay slightly, let the seller determine the precise shipping cost when they send the item, then refund or keep the two bucks depending on what you feel like.

Obviously you should trust your gut, but nothing about this transaction seems the slightest bit out of the ordinary in my experience. I've bought and sold this way for about ten years now.
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tuningfork
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Re: Advice needed for paypal transaction

Post by tuningfork »

Thanks everyone for the advice. After sleeping on it, reading the responses here, reading up on Paypal's Buyer Protection, and doing a little sleuthing, I'm leaning toward completing the transaction. The Paypal receipt indicates I am eligible for Buyer Protection as long as I follow certain rules such as shipping to the address in the buyer's Paypal account, using package tracking, etc. The buyer also sent me his phone number, which I had not noticed at first. A little googling shows the name, address and phone number he gave me all match, so I'm pretty confident that it's legitimate. I'll take a few extra photos of the shipping box and capture the conversation with him just in case.
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Optmst
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Re: Advice needed for paypal transaction

Post by Optmst »

One of the scams I have heard about is when the buyer claims he received a box with a rock inside it. Paypal appears to favor the buyer in a dispute. If you have not yet sealed the box, it may be worthwhile to capture a video of you putting the item into the box and then sealing it. I doubt that this buyer is trying to scam you, but these days it is reasonable to be cautious.
I'm not as concerned about the return on my money as I am the return of my money. (Often attributed to Will Rogers)
neilpilot
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Re: Advice needed for paypal transaction

Post by neilpilot »

Optmst wrote: Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:07 pm One of the scams I have heard about is when the buyer claims he received a box with a rock inside it. Paypal appears to favor the buyer in a dispute. If you have not yet sealed the box, it may be worthwhile to capture a video of you putting the item into the box and then sealing it. I doubt that this buyer is trying to scam you, but these days it is reasonable to be cautious.
A video sounds good, but is somewhat worthless. As in, I can take a video of the $100 bill being placed in the mailing envelop; didn't you get it?

Reminds me of a ploy I saw used when I was working, although not by me :). If the deadline for a regulatory report was coming due, but it just couldn't be completed by the deadline, just mail a return-receipt registered letter to the regulatory agency. That envelope was empty, and was NOT marked with a return address except on the USPS return receipt card.

Then complete the report as soon as possible but do NOT mail it to the agency. When the agency calls to ask for the report, you tell them you have a return receipt proving on-time delivery. They must have misplaced the report, but we could certainly mail another copy.
Last edited by neilpilot on Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Delta1
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Re: Advice needed for paypal transaction

Post by Delta1 »

The empty box scam is real mate, be wary

I'd do some digging on the supposed buyer, before mailing anything valuable,

Additionally if y'all are on a forum together, you should be able to find info there as well...
crazcarl
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Re: Advice needed for paypal transaction

Post by crazcarl »

Did you receive an email stating you received the money? Or did you go into your app or log into your account?

One of the scams, is that they will send you an email with a link to what looks like Paypal and asks for your log in info that looks like it came from paypal saying you have a transaction waiting. You type in your info, and then the website is a scam and now has your log in info. Never click a link from paypal email. Always use the app or go to the website from scratch.

Hope this saves a few people.
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tuningfork
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Re: Advice needed for paypal transaction

Post by tuningfork »

It's always a good idea to avoid clicking links in email. I logged in directly to Paypal, used Lastpass to fill in the credentials (Lastpass won't work on a spoofed URL) and have 2FA enabled for my Paypal login. The money was definitely in my account for real.

Part of my sleuthing to decide that this buyer was legit was to check up on his forum activity. He joined 3 years ago, not very active since but the messages he did post back then were certainly on topic and knowledgeable for the forum.

I notified him that I would be shipping the lens to him, and that he had overpaid and I'd be refunding the difference once I figured out how to do it. He replied that he didn't want a refund. He said he overpaid on purpose to cover my shipping and Paypal fees, even though my For Sale post indicated I would be paying all fees (to make it attractive to more buyers). So at this point he's guilty of poor communication and paying more than market value for the item. Hopefully nothing else. :-)
Charlesmetz83
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Re: Advice needed for paypal transaction

Post by Charlesmetz83 »

Make aure that you ship only to the paypal verified shipping address, if you do noy you are not covered under their protection. Since he overpaid for the item I would make sure to ship it with signature confirmation as an additional layer of protection for you. This will prevent him from opening an item not received claim with PayPal.
Good luck!
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