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My wife fell victim to a scam that she will not let go of. She was looking for a bicycle online and came across what appeared to be a legit web site. My wife assumed that it was safe to use Paypal because recipients would not get her credit card number and in the past, PayPal has refunded charges when she was scammed.
The listed price was suspiciously low and I assumed that it was a Prime Day deal and I didn't question it. I later found out that the purchase wasn't from Amazon or any other notable bike seller that I have heard of.
After two weeks we received a package from China that contained a pack of face masks in Chinese writing. The sender's address matched the name of the "Skin care shop".
I have heard about other mask scams where people use sock puppets (an online identity used for purposes of deception) for such scams. I immediately checked out the site saw immediately that it was a clumsily assembled WordPress site. The TLS cert was legit and the only pay option was Paypal which was a red flag.
We submitted a dispute. A few days later we received an automated email stating that they have contacted the seller and that we have to work with them for a refund (yes, go work with the fox to get your hens back... Great idea Paypal!). For weeks we heard nothing after emailing them almost daily. We finally got an email entirely in Chinese which I think says that we need to ship the masks to another address in China, but we honestly don't know how to address it. I guess we could print out what I think is the address, cut and paste it to the envelope, and take it to the post office and ask them for help?
Further attempts reaching out to Paypal have led to nothing. What is the best course of action is for us at this point?
PayPal has a couple of articles that discuss the dispute process. One is addressed to the buyer, and the other is addressed to the seller. The seller’s article is perhaps more informative: it discusses the process and the differences between a dispute, claim, chargeback, and bank reversal.
From your question, it seems that you issued a dispute. After you issue a dispute, you are supposed to try to work it out with the seller. If you can’t come to a quick agreement, you can elevate it to a claim within 20 days of filing the dispute, and PayPal will look into it.
If 20 days has already passed without you escalating, your dispute has probably been closed by PayPal. If it has, you may need to file another dispute, then quickly escalate it to a claim.
If you feel that PayPal is not being responsive, and if you funded your PayPal purchase with a credit card, then another option is to initiate a chargeback with your credit card company. But, if I were you, I would give PayPal another chance to do this right first, making sure I filed the claim correctly (not merely a dispute).
If you funded your PayPal purchase with a checking account, then unfortunately, a chargeback is not an option, and neither is a bank reversal. Banks only reverse charges if it was an unauthorized transaction, and this charge was indeed authorized by your wife.
PayPal’s ultimate deadline seems to be 180 days from the payment date, so get this resolved before then.
Also, I would not bother trying to send back the masks given the information you have received. You really don't know what the Chinese e-mail you received is actually saying, and I think it would be a mistake to attempt to send the masks back to China with that information, especially since it is most likely all a scam anyway. In my opinion, if you send a business a customer service request in English (or any language), and don't receive a reply in the same language, it is really the same as no response at all.
Which dispute did you open?
Did you escalate it to a claim?
If so did paypal find in your favour and tell you to return the item OR
did the seller offer a refund on return of item during the dispute stage?