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After posting that last message I wrote to the buyer:
It has been suggested to me that you look at your own PayPal account and find the dispute listed in the Resolution Centre. You can then close your claim, telling PayPal that you had received the record and the transaction was legitimate. I was also told that only you can initiate a dispute, not your credit card company or anyone else.
According to my Pay Pal account the case is under review and a final decision will not be made for 30 days or so. When the case is closed and, as I anticipate, the ruling is against me, I will appeal and provide copies of our recent email conversations to support my case that you ordered the record and received it (as you have stated in your various emails).
I am confident that this whole matter is a result of a misunderstanding and that I will be refunded both the $15 charge back fee and the purchase/postage price of the record.
I'll see if that elicits a response (I think I was pretty diplomatic)
Okay, well that does lead me to a theory.
With this information, it sounds like what happened is that the buyer had this credit card attached to his PayPal account, and used that card as the funding source for the purchase to you.
Later, he saw that he had some fraudulent transactions on that same card, and he called his credit card company directly to dispute these transactions.
When you do this, the CC company will go through a list of recent transactions and ask you if they were yours or not. There's a chance he mistakenly claimed that this PayPal transaction was included in the bad transactions that he was disputing.
With this, the CC company included that transaction in their disputed transaction list, and they immediately awarded the card holder a "temporary credit pending investigation."
When the CC companies gives the money back to the card holder, they take it from PayPal, and they have to take it from you....the seller of the disputed transaction.
So that would explain why the buyer is saying he never filed a dispute with PayPal even though you're seeing that dispute on your side. It would also explain why the credit was given during the review instead of after...because the CC company themselves did it....upon cardholder request.
If the dispute was with PayPal directly, the experience would have been different. When the dispute comes in the form of a chargeback from the card company, it's very difficult for PayPal to fight that. Especially without proper documentation of the entire transaction and shipment details.
So now it's starting to sound less like fraud, and more like a big mess of mistakes and confusion on the buyer's side, which is now affecting you directly.
I hate to say it, but this is a classic example of why it's so important to ship merchandise with tracking.
These automated systems want tracking information. If you had it, you could plug it into the field where they ask for it, the automated system would see that it shows delivered, and that would be a big help to you in this dispute process.
As it stands, the CC company filed this chargeback and took the cash, and without proof of delivery PayPal really can't do anything about it.
Again, just a theory, but it sounds to me like that's what's going on here.
Hopefully your buyer can communicate all of this to the card company, and they can then go back to PayPal and correct the fact that the legitimate transaction was mistakenly included in the list of disputed transactions.
Your theory sounds more than a little plausible to me. I can understand PayPal's actions and it also explains the buyer's responses. I hope that he goes through with his plan to contact his credit union. The amount involved was small (I always refund payment without question when a buyer claims non-delivery). What I was concerned with was that my integrity appeared to be in question.
I usually only pay extra for tracking or insurance if the amount I have sold something for makes it worthwhile. As most of the stuff I sell goes for $15-$20 I am willing to take the risk that something won't be delivered as the extra cost would have to be added the shipping cost, making the item less attractive or else be absorbed by me, thus reducing my profit margin and making the sale not worthwhile.
Thank you for your thoughts and advice. I will let you know if it all works out.