PayPal funds hold for shady buyers?

Sep 23, 2007
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I sold 2 Coach items and while one came through just like a normal transaction, one came through with a message that the funds were on the 21 day hold. I've never had that happen before (I'm not new, my feedback is top-notch) so I called. The guy at PayPal said he could release the funds immediately, but they'd been placed on hold due to the buyer!

It seems the buyer (new ebay ID as of today, so no feedback) has a long history of filing a LOT of disputes so this was considered a high-risk transaction. This makes me wonder if they're one of those who game the returns system to get free things.

I cancelled the transaction and refunded because as much as I do want to sell these extra things, I have zero desire to deal with a potential headache that I've been alerted to. I'm surprised they held for a buyer issue! I'm glad I called instead of just grumbling and shipping anyway. It was weird from the start.

Anyone else had this happen? Are they starting to crack down on scammy buyers?
 

papertiger

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I sold 2 Coach items and while one came through just like a normal transaction, one came through with a message that the funds were on the 21 day hold. I've never had that happen before (I'm not new, my feedback is top-notch) so I called. The guy at PayPal said he could release the funds immediately, but they'd been placed on hold due to the buyer!

It seems the buyer (new ebay ID as of today, so no feedback) has a long history of filing a LOT of disputes so this was considered a high-risk transaction. This makes me wonder if they're one of those who game the returns system to get free things.

I cancelled the transaction and refunded because as much as I do want to sell these extra things, I have zero desire to deal with a potential headache that I've been alerted to. I'm surprised they held for a buyer issue! I'm glad I called instead of just grumbling and shipping anyway. It was weird from the start.

Anyone else had this happen? Are they starting to crack down on scammy buyers?

I don't know, but let's hope so

You certainly did the right thing IMO, I would have done the same thing with that info
 

BeenBurned

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I sold 2 Coach items and while one came through just like a normal transaction, one came through with a message that the funds were on the 21 day hold. I've never had that happen before (I'm not new, my feedback is top-notch) so I called. The guy at PayPal said he could release the funds immediately, but they'd been placed on hold due to the buyer!

It seems the buyer (new ebay ID as of today, so no feedback) has a long history of filing a LOT of disputes so this was considered a high-risk transaction. This makes me wonder if they're one of those who game the returns system to get free things.

I cancelled the transaction and refunded because as much as I do want to sell these extra things, I have zero desire to deal with a potential headache that I've been alerted to. I'm surprised they held for a buyer issue! I'm glad I called instead of just grumbling and shipping anyway. It was weird from the start.

Anyone else had this happen? Are they starting to crack down on scammy buyers?

This baffles me. Why would they hold your money while you send an item to a sketchy buyer? Did your EBay or Paypal notice say it was OK to ship?
I am confuzzled.
I don't think they're holding funds expecting the seller to ship without access to her money.

I think PP is waiting to verify that the buyer doesn't file an unauthorized use or other stop payment on the transaction.

I've never had 21 day holds but I've sold to newbies and Paypal's investigation usually clears in hours or at most, 2 days.

Until that happens, you (as seller) don't get the "okay to ship" clearance.
 
Sep 1, 2009
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I don't think they're holding funds expecting the seller to ship without access to her money.

I think PP is waiting to verify that the buyer doesn't file an unauthorized use or other stop payment on the transaction.

I've never had 21 day holds but I've sold to newbies and Paypal's investigation usually clears in hours or at most, 2 days.

Until that happens, you (as seller) don't get the "okay to ship" clearance.

Thank you. That makes sense. :smile:
 
Sep 23, 2007
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This baffles me. Why would they hold your money while you send an item to a sketchy buyer? Did your EBay or Paypal notice say it was OK to ship?
I am confuzzled.

Actually, the notice DID say it was OK to ship. The notice said I would receive my funds in 21 days or sooner if the buyer indicated they were satisfied with their purchase, so yes, they expected me to ship this (paying for it HOW with no funds? I don't keep $$ in PayPal.)

None of that was OK with me so I called PayPal. They rep said they'd release the funds immediately, but to be on the "safe" side I should not withdraw the money in case the buyer needed to be refunded. I said that sounded very odd and then the rep said the buyer had a history of filing disputes.

OH! Lightbulb moment. I said "so, this is being held because my BUYER is potentially a problem?" and the rep said "yes". I asked if I could refund the buyer immediately so as not to get involved with them and I was told yes. He suggested I contact the buyer first to see if we could "work it out" (ummm... no thanks) but I could also refund with no loss of fees. I chose that option.

I then called eBay to see if I could cancel the transaction without a penalty (because the selling fee was not an amount I wanted to lose). I was told to choose the "buyer requested cancellation" reason (there are only two options, neither of which applied). The eBay rep said since there was a PayPal problem with the buyer, that option was the closest and I'd get my fee refunded within 24 hours (it refunded in about 2 hours).

I haven't heard a peep from the buyer, even though I included a note with their refund stating that I was refunding because their payment had been flagged.
 

BeenBurned

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Actually, the notice DID say it was OK to ship. The notice said I would receive my funds in 21 days or sooner if the buyer indicated they were satisfied with their purchase, so yes, they expected me to ship this (paying for it HOW with no funds? I don't keep $$ in PayPal.)

None of that was OK with me so I called PayPal. They rep said they'd release the funds immediately, but to be on the "safe" side I should not withdraw the money in case the buyer needed to be refunded. I said that sounded very odd and then the rep said the buyer had a history of filing disputes.

OH! Lightbulb moment. I said "so, this is being held because my BUYER is potentially a problem?" and the rep said "yes". I asked if I could refund the buyer immediately so as not to get involved with them and I was told yes. He suggested I contact the buyer first to see if we could "work it out" (ummm... no thanks) but I could also refund with no loss of fees. I chose that option.

I then called eBay to see if I could cancel the transaction without a penalty (because the selling fee was not an amount I wanted to lose). I was told to choose the "buyer requested cancellation" reason (there are only two options, neither of which applied). The eBay rep said since there was a PayPal problem with the buyer, that option was the closest and I'd get my fee refunded within 24 hours (it refunded in about 2 hours).

I haven't heard a peep from the buyer, even though I included a note with their refund stating that I was refunding because their payment had been flagged.
If that's the case, it's not the buyer they're waiting to prove herself. It's you.

How long has it been since you sold something? Is your selling history for the same type of item and in the same price range?

ETA: I have a hard time believing that the rep disclosed information about the buyer. They're really strict about maintaining privacy.

This hold is not about the buyer based on what you've described in the transaction.
 

BeenBurned

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It seems the buyer (new ebay ID as of today, so no feedback) has a long history of filing a LOT of disputes so this was considered a high-risk transaction. This makes me wonder if they're one of those who game the returns system to get free things.
I just reread your OP and this confuses me.

How can a buyer who just opened the account today have a long history of filing a LOT of disputes?

Also, you say you're "not new and your feedback is top-notch." Is your feedback as a seller? (All buyers have 100% top notch feedback!)

If you don't have a history of selling, that's why the funds are being held.

The "okay to ship" in the payment indicates that it's your part of the transaction that's responsible for the hold.
 

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I agree with BB that it sounds like the holdup is on your account end, especially since it says "ok to ship" to BB's point.

Re: new account but history of disputes, did you mean history of disputes with PP but new account with Ebay?

PP's transactional RM model operates on 24-hour holds to check for CC fraud on the buyer end, if there is ever a question about the buyer's side of a transaction. There is no 21-day hold on the buyer end, unless you are talking about some other form of uncleared payment like e-check (which is not what you are talking about). It wouldn't even work from a transactional standpoint because it would mean that funds are authorized but not charged while checking out the buyer for three whole weeks; the card issuing banks would not allow such an egregious amount of time before the authorization is captured. It's a hold due to seller. Such holds are placed on the seller's account when a seller has more than a 180-day lapse in selling at a price point or in a certain high-risk category, or is new to selling at said price point or high-risk category. It's put in place to ensure that they are not left holding the bag if there is some type of problem with the item delivered.

Members calling front-line Ebay or PP customer service is like a box of chocolates. You never know what answer you are going to get. And sometimes if you call 5 times you will get 5 different answers and five different REASONS why something is happening. And sometimes NONE of them are accurate. Which can be extremely frustrating for members. TBH, if OP said that the agent told her that the funds are held because the buyer made the request in writing, the sky is falling, or due to biodynamic moon phases, I would believe her.

And they are also not very forthright. For example re: the 24 hour hold for CC fraud checks, they will never proactively notify the buyer, just the seller. And sometimes when the buyer calls in to check they will say it's because of the seller. Which is absolutely 100% false, as it is 100% due to their RM fraud check model. So I'm not surprised if when you're calling in they tell you it's because of the buyer when it's a seller thing.

PayPal eats millions a year due to absorbing fraud outcomes for buyers and also upholding seller protection for sellers. So you can't really blame them for doing more CYA. It just sucks that when they are doing CYA, they give some other random excuse about the other party.

I don't think it's intentional; they are always trying to do better and give better training to front-line support. It's just lack of training.
 
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Feb 28, 2010
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I'm not sure. This happened to me once. I called and I got no explanation. I emailed the buyer and she said she just paid like normally she did. I think it's just Paypal trying to hold your money. The longer the money stays in their account, the more interest they get. But of course this is just my opinion.
 
Sep 23, 2007
1,550
93
If that's the case, it's not the buyer they're waiting to prove herself. It's you.

How long has it been since you sold something? Is your selling history for the same type of item and in the same price range?

ETA: I have a hard time believing that the rep disclosed information about the buyer. They're really strict about maintaining privacy.

This hold is not about the buyer based on what you've described in the transaction.

Sorry, I've got to LOL at the "privacy" part. If you get a chatty rep they talk a LOT. If you get a script-bot person they never vary from the party line but it's always random who you get. I was also surprised that they divulged but not *that* surprised. I called demanding to know why there was a hold, because for everything I know about holds - seller issues, newbie, etc. - *none* of those applied to me.

Sell recently? Yes, and enough to get that "power seller" badge. What's really odd is I sold the identical item, identical price (different color) about 30 minutes apart. The first buyer was the one that was flagged. The second buyer had a long-term ID and 100% buyer/seller feedback. If I was the risky variable in this scenario, surely both payments would be held. It was another thing not making sense, causing me to call PayPal.

I just reread your OP and this confuses me.

How can a buyer who just opened the account today have a long history of filing a LOT of disputes?

Also, you say you're "not new and your feedback is top-notch." Is your feedback as a seller? (All buyers have 100% top notch feedback!)

If you don't have a history of selling, that's why the funds are being held.

The "okay to ship" in the payment indicates that it's your part of the transaction that's responsible for the hold.

A buyer can open a new eBay ID at any time, but can also be using a PayPal account they've had for much longer. Since PayPal has to be tied to some credit card or bank account to send money it's easy for them to get a history of someone's buying habits by following their financial trail. The buyer may also be filing PayPal disputes for purchases outside of eBay.

Yes, my feedback is as a seller. I've been on eBay since 1997. I'm familiar with the irrational feedback system.

I agree with BB that it sounds like the holdup is on your account end, especially since it says "ok to ship" to BB's point.

Re: new account but history of disputes, did you mean history of disputes with PP but new account with Ebay?

PP's transactional RM model operates on 24-hour holds to check for CC fraud on the buyer end, if there is ever a question about the buyer's side of a transaction. There is no 21-day hold on the buyer end, unless you are talking about some other form of uncleared payment like e-check (which is not what you are talking about). It wouldn't even work from a transactional standpoint because it would mean that funds are authorized but not charged while checking out the buyer for three whole weeks; the card issuing banks would not allow such an egregious amount of time before the authorization is captured. It's a hold due to seller. Such holds are placed on the seller's account when a seller has more than a 180-day lapse in selling at a price point or in a certain high-risk category, or is new to selling at said price point or high-risk category. It's put in place to ensure that they are not left holding the bag if there is some type of problem with the item delivered.

Members calling front-line Ebay or PP customer service is like a box of chocolates. You never know what answer you are going to get. And sometimes if you call 5 times you will get 5 different answers and five different REASONS why something is happening. And sometimes NONE of them are accurate. Which can be extremely frustrating for members. TBH, if OP said that the agent told her that the funds are held because the buyer made the request in writing, the sky is falling, or due to biodynamic moon phases, I would believe her.

And they are also not very forthright. For example re: the 24 hour hold for CC fraud checks, they will never proactively notify the buyer, just the seller. And sometimes when the buyer calls in to check they will say it's because of the seller. Which is absolutely 100% false, as it is 100% due to their RM fraud check model. So I'm not surprised if when you're calling in they tell you it's because of the buyer when it's a seller thing.

PayPal eats millions a year due to absorbing fraud outcomes for buyers and also upholding seller protection for sellers. So you can't really blame them for doing more CYA. It just sucks that when they are doing CYA, they give some other random excuse about the other party.

I don't think it's intentional; they are always trying to do better and give better training to front-line support. It's just lack of training.

Yes, new eBay ID (as of that very day), but apparently not new to PayPal.

I agree with what you're saying about the holds. I've only had one e-check, so am familiar with how that hold works (waiting for the OK message). Everything I've read about 21 day holds says "seller issue" which is why I called. When I spoke with the rep he took a minute to look over something (I was put on hold) and when he came back he said he could release funds immediately based on my history with them but requested that I not withdraw the funds in case the buyer "had a problem". I told him that wasn't making sense to me (because, really...) and then he said that the buyer filed a lot of disputes. So, maybe he got flustered with my persistent questioning and spilled the beans? Did some newb at PayPal mean to do the 24 hour hold but accidentally did a 21 day hold? Or maybe it was those biodynamic moon phases :lol: In any case, if they felt it risky enough to want ME to hold the funds, I sure wasn't interested in selling to that person. I don't want to take that chance.

I agree soooo much with what I bolded in your quotes. It's true for almost any place you call. I also wondered about the fraud thing. Between the seller protection and the buyer protection, there's a lot of room for both eBay and PayPal to get screwed and I've often wondered about those "courtesy refunds" that allow scammers to shop for free. That's got to eat into their profits. That's why I was wondering if the info I got indicated that they were cracking down on those kinds of shenannigans. In any case, it allowed me to avoid a potential problem.


I'm not sure. This happened to me once. I called and I got no explanation. I emailed the buyer and she said she just paid like normally she did. I think it's just Paypal trying to hold your money. The longer the money stays in their account, the more interest they get. But of course this is just my opinion.

They're out of luck with me if they want a 21 day "loan". I'll just refund. Otherwise, it's like sending an item out on speculation and hoping your buyer is legit. When I buy things, I fully expect to pay for my item first. If I think there is something potentially shady about the seller enough to want a funds hold, then I'm not buying from them in the first place; I don't need a corporate "parent" to make that choice for me. :cool:
 
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BeenBurned

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I'm still very confused by your posts and getting more confused by the minute.

In your OP, you said you canceled the transaction.
I cancelled the transaction and refunded because as much as I do want to sell these extra things, I have zero desire to deal with a potential headache that I've been alerted to. I'm surprised they held for a buyer issue! I'm glad I called instead of just grumbling and shipping anyway. It was weird from the start.

Later on, you said it wasn't okay to wait 21 days so you called paypal and ebay, they released the hold and told you to ship but you decide that you would cancel, not saying that you HAD canceled and refunded already:
Actually, the notice DID say it was OK to ship. The notice said I would receive my funds in 21 days or sooner if the buyer indicated they were satisfied with their purchase, so yes, they expected me to ship this (paying for it HOW with no funds? I don't keep $$ in PayPal.)

None of that was OK with me so I called PayPal. They rep said they'd release the funds immediately, but to be on the "safe" side I should not withdraw the money in case the buyer needed to be refunded. I said that sounded very odd and then the rep said the buyer had a history of filing disputes.

OH! Lightbulb moment. I said "so, this is being held because my BUYER is potentially a problem?" and the rep said "yes". I asked if I could refund the buyer immediately so as not to get involved with them and I was told yes. He suggested I contact the buyer first to see if we could "work it out" (ummm... no thanks) but I could also refund with no loss of fees. I chose that option.

I then called eBay to see if I could cancel the transaction without a penalty (because the selling fee was not an amount I wanted to lose). I was told to choose the "buyer requested cancellation" reason (there are only two options, neither of which applied). The eBay rep said since there was a PayPal problem with the buyer, that option was the closest and I'd get my fee refunded within 24 hours (it refunded in about 2 hours).

Then, even later on, you said you WILL refund. You said you already refunded in post #1.
They're out of luck with me if they want a 21 day "loan". I'll just refund. Otherwise, it's like sending an item out on speculation and hoping your buyer is legit. When I buy things, I fully expect to pay for my item first. If I think there is something potentially shady about the seller enough to want a funds hold, then I'm not buying from them in the first place; I don't need a corporate "parent" to make that choice for me. :cool:


Cancellation, refund, inconsistencies, confusion aside, if you shipped to the "okay to ship" shipping address in the details of the Paypal transaction, once tracking showed delivery, you would have your full seller protection.
 
Sep 11, 2006
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When I buy things, I fully expect to pay for my item first. If I think there is something potentially shady about the seller enough to want a funds hold, then I'm not buying from them in the first place; I don't need a corporate "parent" to make that choice for me. :cool:

But when you buy from a seller and your funds are put on hold, you will have absolutely no idea about it. It was introduced a few years back as a way to "test" new sellers, sellers with a change in selling history and probably infrequent sellers. So you might find the "perfect" item from the "perfect" seller and have no idea PP have held your funds (unless, of course, the seller contacted you about it).
 
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