So it all started when the family and I went Kayaking at our local park. Everyone fell in love with Kayaking and since then we have been on the hunt for Kayak's that won't break the bank and are not cheap. My wife stumbled upon a website that seemed a little off but it has listed 2 kayak's for $99. When she brought it to my attention I was skeptical at best but we agreed to give it a try because if we paid with PayPal we knew that they had Buyer protection in place for scams.
We placed order #1 and I got an e-mail with a receipt and it basically said to wait for a tracking number in the coming days. Then a few hours later my wife purchased another set of 2 kayaks for another $99. It wasn't until after we purchased the 1 order that we realized it was also free shipping. That raised a lot of red flags for me because kayaks are not small or light. So to give free shipping and also what seemed like a massive discount seemed very suspicious. However we were already $99 into this event so why not just get 2 orders and either make bank or get screwed and work with PayPal to fix it.
The very next day I went back to check the website to view other items they had for sale. And wouldn't you know it was 404'd. I knew right then and there we were screwed haha. And because I was intrigued I went back through the 2 e-mails I received and noticed that each seller was different for the orders which was another red flag. I immediately told my wife what the situation was and we agreed to work with PayPal to get our money back.
This was the first time I ever needed to get a refund via PayPal so it was new to me. I get logged into PayPal and after some searching was able to find a way to dispute a payment. The form was not at all clear but what happens is that you select the payment in question and write out why you want a refund and it sends that information to the seller. The seller then responds to you.
What happened was the seller updated both claims and provided 2 tracking numbers for each items and both tracking numbers did in fact show that packages were delivered to someplace in my town that day. I was so confused at this point. Luckily for me I had ammo ready to go to get to the bottom of this.
1) I knew there was no way a seller was able to ship 2 packages each with 2 kayaks in them and get them delivered in 2 days. Just not possible.
2) I get an e-mail from the United States Postal Service (USPS) every morning with a list and pictures of all the mail I will get delivered that day and any packages that are coming as well (because sometimes the packages come after the normal mailman).
3) I have a video doorbell that records any movement by my front door so I get a recording of the mailman walking up to my door everyday.
4) The 2 tracking numbers said they were delivered at 1:46pm and 2:20pm. Which I knew was highly unlikely because the mailman who walks door to door gets to my house around 11am and the truck that drops off big packages will normally come around 4pm.
Knowing all that I took this as my personal vendetta to screw these scammers over and get my money back. It was game on. I was going to win this and prove to PayPal that these people were scammers.
I got all that information gathered together. I downloaded the video of the mailman when he approached my door with no kayaks under his arm. I had a screenshot of my front doorbell of every person that it caught and at what times proving the tracking numbers and times were not for my house. I printer out the e-mail from USPS as a PDF showing I had no packages that day. I was ready to go to war.
I finally got into a chat session with PayPal automated BOT and went through the automated process until it finally said it would forward my case to a real person. I then wrote out everything and told them about all the proof I had and everything. They reached back out to me and told me that I needed to contact the Post Office themselves and get a document called "Intra Net" or "Intra Form" that proves those 2 tracking numbers provided did not get delivered to my home address. And when I get that document then PayPal will work with me to get me my money back.
This is the first time ever hearing about a form like that but it makes sense. I checked and it's something you have to physically go to the Post Office for to get which also makes sense. But this was not going to stop me from getting my $200 back from these scammers.
Fast forward to the next day and I was at the Post Office asking for this document. I had to talk to 3 people but eventually I found someone that would help me. I explained the situation to them and told them what I needed. They seemed a little skeptical because they thought I wanted to know where these 2 packages were delivered to. I told them at least 4 times that I couldn't care less where these 2 packages went, I just needed to prove they didn't go to my house.
I have learned that the normal procedure is to have the company (Paypal in this case) call the Post Office and they would tell them the exact coordinates where the packages went and will prove to them that they did not get delivered to my house. I knew a company as big as PayPal would never go for this so I pressed them for the documents in question. Reluctantly the lady came back 10 minutes later with 2 documents. It was exactly what I needed. It showed the tracking numbers and that they were delivered to a street in my town that was not where my house was. They used white-out over the street number and also the receiver's name. If I really wanted to I could track down the house but I honestly didn't care. I just wanted the proof I needed.
I immediately went home and scan the documents. I then sent them over to PayPal again stating the entire process of what happened. It was not even 4 hours later that PayPal sent me a message stating that this was exactly what they needed and that they would refund me the money ($200). The very next day the $200 was back in my bank account. Now granted that will not be the case for everyone and I was lucky I got it that quickly. Either way I got my money back.
1) It was crazy to me how much work I had to put in to prove they were scammers. If I had a person truly look into the information I provided at the beginning I feel like they would have seen that and refunded me the money. However I also understand why they have these checks in place because you do need to protect the seller from scamming buyers as well.
2) To my knowledge there was no further action taken to the other buyers from this seller. I proved they scammed me but what about everyone else they scammed? Did they just accept the loss and move on? I wish PayPal contacted the other buyers and basically state something like "someone who purchased something from the website you did on this date filed a scam claim. If you feel as if you were scammed please open a case with PayPal." Something along those lines but I am sure PayPal rather people NOT report it so they are not taking that loss.
3) People go to great lengths to scam people. This is a given in today's day and age but still it was slightly impressive at how much work they put in to scam people. And for what? A few grand you risk getting caught and going to jail? Crazy.
I hope you learn from my mistake and take a extra minute to verify things before you spend your money or your crypto. My new phrase I am trademarking is "Read twice, pay once!"