All: I have been successful eBay seller for over five years, but recently attempted to buy my first item. The seller was a total fraud. As soon as I received the receipt from PayPal, I raised red flags to both companies as the receipt was in Chinese characters. Soon thereafter, they uploaded fake shipping info... just imagine every negative twist and turn for 7-10 days - this seller tried it - and I stayed in contact with both eBay and PayPal at every turn. The other day, a very bad fake originating in Hong Kong arrived in a DHL sleeve at my home. Reeking of chemicals, this travesty of trademark infringement now became my problem, and being an honest person, I contacted both companies looking for guidance. Though I did not consent to buying an item from abroad... though I stayed in touch with both companies while being jerked around by this fraud, PayPal sent me an address -- in Chinese characters -- and started a clock in which I had to return the item. Not only was I not returning the item inside the US where I thought I bought it from, nor to Hong Kong from whence it shipped, now I was expected to send this thing to mainland China. I explained that to do so would be illegal, in violation of multiple US statutes. I tried to escalate my concerns, wanting to speak to Trust & Safety/Fraud & Abuse, Legal. Not only is this a violation under Title 47, but it's a 1001 violation in that you have to lie on the customs declaration and state that you swear you are not trafficking illegal goods. Well, I know I am. I know full well I am returning counterfeit to the counterfeiters so that they can prey on another consumer, AND that PayPal is asking me to pay out of pocket to do so! I absolutely will not undertake this kind of personal exposure. If the company is so interested in inuring to the benefit of criminals, why don't THEY print the labels and the customs declaration, send to me, and I'll put in the mail? Why don't they have a sound process for handling these kinds of incidents? A US-based address to send? They are literally requiring that US citizens violate multiple US laws to conform to their policies. (Which ergo means, their policies don't hold water.) My feeling on this is it's basic fraud. From a first principle standpoint, if the seller was not located in the US as stated, welp, then the item can't be returned outside the US. Assuming the listing wasn't fraud, next layer of protection, the shipping address has to operate as the return address. And ultimately, PayPal cannot force users to violate US law. Period. They cannot ask that individuals assume the legal liability of knowingly trafficking in illegal goods, using US customs and postal services to do it. Finally, I don't know anything about where this thing was made. I don't know whether it was packaged alongside tablets of meth or whatever else criminals in China make money from these days, but I sure know that I'm not signing my name on a customs form asserting legal responsibility for an item I never signed up to buy to begin with. If it's fraud at the start, the user cannot be held responsible to make the seller whole at the end, it's outrageous. And blatantly illegal, and should be investigated. Be careful - don't get caught in this Catch-22.
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