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PayPal / eBay Issues

Hey all

I recently bought some SD cards off ebay. Of the 20+ cards I have bought over the years, this is the first time I’ve been sent counterfeit cards. The cards are obvious fakes as the fonts on the packaging and cards themselves do not match the legit Samsung design. I then tested the cards and they operate at about 25% of the advertised speed, both read and write.

Anyway, I opened a case with Ebay. As soon as I submitted what I thought was a complaint to Ebay, I realised my message was being sent to the seller. So naturally, I deleted the case with the intention of starting the process again. Except this wasn’t possible! A call to Ebay confirmed that once I closed a case for any reason, I could no longer file a dispute for the item - something Ebay neglected to mention anywhere, ever! And I’ve been using Ebay to buy and sell for a decade now.

So I followed up with Paypal, who I currently have an open dispute with. Here’s the clincher - after a bit of back and forth, Paypal has repeatedly told me I must return the counterfeit goods to the seller at my own expense, before they will consider refunding me. They have said that after I send the fake cards back, Paypal will then request proof from the seller that the cards are not fakes. Is this a joke? Obviously the seller can simply provide photos of some other legitimate SD card, and destroy the evidence that will no longer be in my possession.

None of this makes sense. I’m starting to wonder what my options are, as Paypal seems complicit in the fraud being conducted by the seller of these fake goods. Do I have to go to the local police at this point? I never thought I’d have such a problem with Paypal trying to cover up criminal activity.

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As I understand it, it’s illegal to send counterfeit goods by mail, so by complying with PayPal’s demand you’d be breaking the law.

I’d advise (though IANAL) getting a professional to certify that the cards are counterfeit and sending that certification, along with a message stating that it would be illegal to return the cards, to Paypal and see what happens.

Good luck! Let us know how you get on.

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Thanks for the quick reply, Fred. That was my understanding as well (about the legality of posting counterfeit goods).

In my most recent reply to Paypal, I told them I would need the counterfeit items as evidence and the law prohibits me from sending them back to the seller anyway.

Since I would have to spend several hours going out of my way to have a professional certify the memory cards as fakes (and there’s no guarantee Paypal would even consider my evidence), I think my next step will be to file a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman Service against Paypal. I’ve found this to be effective with banks and other companies in the past, as they actually seem to treat these formal, externally moderated complaints as serious instead of trying their best to deflect, deflect, deflect.

I’ll try to remember to post back here as things become clearer.

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Also contact the Federal Police and Samsung about the intellectual property theft. Samsung I am sure would be most interested in the fact that their brand had been used on an inferior product.

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Hi @deevo101

I would suggest you contact ACCC, as they have looked at counterfeit goods been sold through ebay.

Secondly, depending on where it came from you may consider contacting the local police or the Australian Federal Police if it came from overseas.

Thirdly, get in touch with Samsung head office in Australia, as most of these manufacturers are zealous at pursuing counterfeiters and those selling counterfeits.

Finally, let ebay and paypal know that this is what you are doing. I think they may change their tune.

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I bought a fake ($120) and then a real Samsung A9 phone ($510) and just by looking at them they are identical, only the inner workings are different. They would have had to have been made in the same Chinese factory without a doubt.

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Hi @deevo101,

I feel the other Community members may have already covered it, buy I’m going to ask some of our legal experts to have a look at this issue. I’ll post a response as soon as we’ve had time to review.

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Thanks Brendan! Just an update. Here’s what Paypal responded with after I told them Aus Post classes counterfeit merch as prohibited goods:

"Dear ___

Thank you for contacting PayPal.

We understand that you are unable to return the counterfeit item due to the rules and regulations in your country.

To continue with our investigation, we need documentation from your shipping company confirming that they refuse to ship the item in question. The document should include the reason the shipping company refuses to ship the item and the extent of the original damage.

You can upload or fax your supporting documentation to us.

If the upload feature is available in your PayPal account, we encourage you to upload your documents, as it’s usually the quickest way for us to receive and review your information.

Here’s how to upload your information to us:

 1. Log in to your PayPal account. 
 2. Go to the Resolution Center. 
 3. Click Respond next to your claim, then follow the instructions. 

You can also fax this information to us at (402) 537-5760. Please note this is a United States phone number, if you are faxing from outside the United States, you will probably need to dial 00 1 before the number. If possible, the document should include a serial number and description of the item. The document must also be on letterhead and include the name, address, and phone number of your shipping company’s local office.

We need to receive your fax by . If we don’t receive your fax by , your claim will be canceled. Please note that we’re unable to grant extensions to this time period or reimburse you for any costs or fees related to the requested documents.

Note: Any documents you provide may also be supplied to the seller.

You can find additional information and tips about buying and selling safely on our Business Resource Center at https://www.paypal-businesscenter.com/manage-your-business.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation."

Talk about a wild goose chase…

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Hi @deevo101

There are apps on the GooglePlay (not sure about the apple store) that allow one to check the SD card manufacturer, manufacturing date and capacity as this is written in the chip (example is this one) and is one way to determine if the SD card is potentially a fake. Other include the volume size (does the available memory match that in the manufacturer’s specifications)…often fake SD cards have lower capacity.

Also, some manufacturers allow you to check the serial numbers written to the chip to also check authenticity. Google the manufacturer name and product model number with the words ‘check serial number’.

Also check the compatibility of the card with your device to ensure it is not a compatibility issue…google search this by using the ‘device manufacturer and model’ and ‘SD card manufacturer and model’ with the word incompatibility. Incompatibility can impact on read and write speeds. Also, the read and writes on the packaging are usually maximums and not usually achievable unless under optimum conditions.

If the app shows a different manufacturer, serial number doesn’t exist, capacity different to that in the manufacturer’s specifications and/or no incompatibility issues then then there is a high chance of a counterfeit card.

Such information can also be used in raising a complaint with Paypal/Ebay. You should also complain to Ebay as I recollect that Ebay does not selling of counterfeit goods and the seller can be barred preventing others falling fail of the same goods. Don’t worry if it goes to the seller as they need to know (along with other consumers) of the dubious products being sold.

You can file a report with Ebay even if you have in effect closed off the purchase transaction. Go to this website which allows one to report a Ebay member for copyright and trademark infringements. Only do this if you know that the SD card is a counterfeit.

I should also say that I only learn’t of the above as I bought a SD card from an Australian seller to find on its arrival that it was a Taiwanese product with the package in Mandarin. I became suspicious but after thorough checking found out is was genuine and the seller appeared to be buying products in Taiwan to be able to sell competitively online.

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Conterfeiters have a way of manipulating the reading of the size of storage devices. I bought a 1Tb flash drive which read 1Tb in the computer and thought this is great. However later on I was to learn that the physical size is like only 8Gb and if you’re putting more than 8Gb on the card it starts removing older files as new ones get added to it thus rendering what files you have on the flash drive corrupt.

Hiya @deevo101

You may be interested in this item on the web:

In regards to the law and so on you need to quote for your claim the relevant section of the AusPost Dangerous and Prohibited Goods pdf (https://auspost.com.au/content/dam/auspost_corp/media/documents/dangerous-and-prohibited-goods-guide-nov2015.pdf) is page 12 Section D3.0 and D3.1

"Dangerous and prohibited goods and packaging guide – November 2015 • Section 3 – Other goods prohibited or restricted in all services

Section 3 – Other goods prohibited or restricted in all services

D3.0 –
General principles
This section defines articles that, while not necessarily dangerous, Australia Post prohibits in all services, or carries only with specific restrictions or conditions.

D3.1 –
Possession or carriage prohibited by law
Australia Post prohibits any item, the possession or carriage of which is prohibited by a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory."

Also from AusPost’s Terms of Service (https://auspost.com.au/content/dam/auspost_corp/media/documents/AP-TCs-April-2016.pdf) page 44:

"PART D

PROHIBITED GOODS
PROHIBITED AND DANGEROUS GOODS
62
Prohibited goods
62.1
The following prohibited goods shall not be lodged for carriage by post and are prohibited from carriage by post:
62.1.1
any article whose possession or carriage by post is prohibited by a law of the Commonwealth, a State or Territory; "

See also in relation to the possession of an item (https://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/ip-infringement/more-about-ip-infringement/counterfeiting-and-piracy):
"Trade marks

Under the Trade Marks Act 1995 it is an offence to:

falsify a registered trade mark
falsely apply a registered trade mark
alter or remove a trade mark, knowing it is a registered trade mark
make a die, block, machine or instrument that can help in falsifying or removing a trade mark
sell, possess, distribute (my highlighting) or import a good, knowing that the trade mark has been falsified or removed."

I hope they help you with providing support for your claim. It may also be worth your while contacting the Australian Customs and Border Force regarding these items (they may seize them under the relevant Acts).

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I have used a piece of free software called H2testw to measure the actual size and speed of the memory cards I receive. It is slow and basic but works very well.

From the accompanying text file:
"H2testw was developed to test USB sticks for various kinds of errors. It can also be used for any other storage media like memory cards, internal and external hard drives and even network volumes.

The executable file H2testw.exe needs no installation and can be directly run. It was developed for Windows XP and Vista. It should also work under Windows 2000 but was only tested on XP and Vista.
Windows 9x/ME is not supported. You can use the older command line program H2test under these operating systems.

The function of H2testw is quite simple: It fills the chosen target directory with test data and then reads it back and verifies it."

I have used in with Window 7 & 10, and it operates just the same.

Just search for H2testw.exe in you browser to download. (I downloaded it from a German site
https://www.heise.de/download/product/h2testw-50539)

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As you can see in this clip the H2testw took nearly 85 hours to scan a “1Tb” flash drive that in the end had 8Gb of storage.

Haven’t looked at the clip @ozcatfish_agogo, but my experience is that it is not that slow. From memory, the last scan I did was a 128GB card and it took something like 30-45 minutes to complete write & read.

Thanks for the input everyone. There is zero doubt that the cards are fakes. Wrong fonts, and multiple speed tests show 1-4mb/s sequential write speed (the cards are supposedly Samsung Evo, rated at 20mb/s sequential write speed). I have tested legitimate Samsung cards in the same session, which perform at approx 25mb/s sequential write.

Further to this, the ebay seller who sold me this junk “ozsmartcard” has had nothing for sale since I reported the cards and left neg feedback.

I feel like Paypal is asking me to go to unreasonable lengths to deal with this. Why is it my job to get a statement on Australia Post letterhead stating they won’t carry counterfeit goods? This is a bizarre and unnecessary request.

Should I just file a complaint against Paypal with the FOS if Australia Post declines to produce said statement? This whole thing is ridiculous. Its because of Paypal’s inaction and reluctance to act that these criminals turn a decent profit - most people wouldn’t bother jumping through all these stupid hoops!

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The clip will explain why it took so long…what to look out for and if you read the comments on this clip on youtube they explain further the glaring mistakes with the packaging. Could be lessons for everyone planning on buying such stuff.

FOS is not a regulatory office. Notice the website is a .org.au not a .gov.au for starters. See their about page “The Financial Ombudsman Service provides accessible, fair and independent dispute resolution for consumers and financial services providers.”

Government continues to take the position that almost anything that is transparent is good enough, and the hoops are transparent and supposedly done in fairness to businesses that are unfairly “attacked” for refunds by unscrupulous customers. Dodgy businesses will never care, and since business customers generate their (eg paypal) revenue doing anything to put business offside is not going to be done lightly.

As many have posted, the ACL and other wonders of our so-called consumer protection have a feature that at the end of the day, the related offices that “we” expect can help can do no more than provide information and hope the business will respond favourably and according to their obligations; they do not have the powers to prosecute on our behalf.

1 Like

I’d like to backup the OP on this. I bought a $100 “genuine” replacement phone screen digitizer from an Aussie Seller with a very high Ebay rating. The part didn’t work from the beginning and after a lot more research I was able to ascertain that it was not a genuine part but a counterfeit.

I contacted the seller via Ebay who immediately denied it was faulty or fake claiming all items are tested before sending.
I raised a case with Ebay who were frankly terrible. Paypal offered no avenue of recourse at all.

The Ebay process is very prescriptive and requires you to give up your rights and have full faith in their largely hidden process. It’s next to impossible to actually speak to a human even via email.

Their process insisted I send the part back but I declined as I would now have no money, no part and no evidence.

I sent the seller a video showing that it didn’t work but he insisted that the part was sent back before doing anything.

Now I had to trust he would refund me after he sent me a faulty part purchased based on a dishonest listing!?

I complained to Ebay and told them the seller was selling fake items but they didn’t care.

I was left with no choice but to initiate a chargeback with my bank. I sent them all the information and they agreed to take it on. I don’t know how far the chargeback process got but a week or so later a refund appeared in my Paypal account with no explanation.

Whilst I was happy that I got my money back it was a stressful and frustrating experience that took nearly 2 months to resolve. Ebay and Paypal did absolutely nothing to help at all.

Both Ebay and Paypal push their supposed Buyer Protection blah blah and we all take it as gospel that it will protect us but it is not a fair, simple or open process at all. Be warned! You do not have the rights you think you do or even the same rights you have when dealing direct with a big chain store.

I would like to strongly suggest that Choice look into these two aspects:

  1. The large number of blatantly obvious counterfeit items being sold on Ebay.
  2. The unregulated and unfair consumer case management system that Ebay force you to use which I believe may be in breach of our consumer rights.

Ebay and Paypal make a fortune from our Internet shopping but have a very poor regard for our rights when we need them to step in.

Everything is great until it isn’t. I try to buy direct from genuine local Aussie internet sellers whenever possible now and avoid Ebay.

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I agree the ACCC needs to investigate this. If any Aussie retailer tried this, they’d be strung up quick smart.

Paypal and Ebay, like Uber, blur the line of responsibility when things go wrong.

However, the responsibility should rest squarely with them as soon as they start trumpeting “money back guarantees” and “buyer protection” to incentivise the usage of their services.

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in fairness - a few years ago i bought an expensive (new) camera from an aussie seller. long story short i paid, he prevaricated, i opened a claim with ebay / paypal. after a month received a full refund.

meanwhile regarding cards, yes, there are some amazing prices offered from overseas sellers, but as the saying goes, if it’s too good to believe…

i now only buy cards from aus sellers with good track records. so far had no problems (i get through a lot of cards).

of course there’s no guarantee that THEY won’t be conned, but at least it’ll be their problem, not mine.