From the Mailbag
As you know, I have had my share of issues with Paypal recently, and while I appreciate the effort they made to do the right thing in our case, I still have a lot of misgivings about them as a company.
This e-mail didn’t help.
Dear Helen Killer,
I love your site and was thrilled to hear of your “win” against PayPal. I recently had a heartbreaking experience of my own with them.
I sold an old French violin to a buyer in Canada, and the buyer disputed the label.
This is not uncommon. In the violin market, labels often mean little and there is often disagreement over them. Some of the most expensive violins in the world have disputed labels, but they are works of art nonetheless.
Rather than have the violin returned to me, PayPal made the buyer DESTROY the violin in order to get his money back. They somehow deemed the violin as “counterfeit” even though there is no such thing in the violin world.
The buyer was proud of himself, so he sent me a photo of the destroyed violin.
I am now out a violin that made it through WWII as well as $2500. This is of course, upsetting. But my main goal in writing to you is to prevent PayPal from ordering the destruction of violins and other antiquities that they know nothing about. It is beyond me why PayPal simply didn’t have the violin returned to me.
I spoke on the phone to numerous reps from PayPal who 100% defended their action and gave me the party line.
I forwarded this e-mail to my contact at Paypal several days ago. They have not replied.
UPDATE: I neglected to mention in the original post that the violin was examined and authenticated by a top luthier prior to its sale.
UPDATE 2: Thanks to sharp-eyed reader Mr. Pete, who found this paragraph in Paypal’s Terms of Service:
UPDATE 3: Paypal has advised that they are now looking into the matter.