Can a buyer change an "item not received" paypal dispute into a "not as described" dispute after receiving item?

This isn’t really a Bonanza-related question but rather a PayPal question. I thought you guys here would be the best people to ask, though. Also the answer could be relevant to sellers here, so I’m just gonna go ahead. ;)

I have a situation where someone made a purchase from me, several items, not via Bonz, but just through a classified ad where they’d asked if I would ship to them. I agreed and they paid with PayPal.

A week later they started stalker calling my phone at 3 in the morning, and by the time I’d even gotten up that day they’d already filed an “item not received” dispute (I didn’t even know such disputes could be filed within such a short time, but whatever). I posted the tracking number to PayPal. They accused me of providing a “fake” tracking number because it was a USPS tracking number and apparently they thought I was going to use UPS (I have no idea where they got that idea). Anyway, the package was delivered that same day.

Within a couple of hours after the box was delivered, I started getting crazy messages about how I’ve scammed them and they “would not have” purchased these items. For instance, a little creamer pitcher about which they said there “must have” been a sugar bowl with it because they “would never buy just a creamer alone” (I never had any sugar bowl). Also, a kitschy little vintage basket of plastic roses, about which they said they “would never” have bought anything plastic. I don’t know what they thought this little thing was made of; I described it as plastic and looking at the photos I don’t know what else on earth someone could think it was made of.

Anyway… The long and short of it is that this person’s box has been delivered. I’m now wondering if, once PayPal sees it’s been delivered and puts an end to this “not received” nonsense, can this person just turn around and file a new dispute saying the items aren’t as described?

I’m really just giving y’all the short version of events here, but this person has come across to me as possibly mentally disturbed in some way. That’s not me being snarky, that’s really the impression I have. I could tell you all the strange things said and the concerning behaviors, but you’d have to be up all night with coffee to read it. Ha ha.

I just want to know, basically, what tools this person has left with PayPal to make my life miserable. I want this whole ordeal to just end, so at one point I considered just refunding the entire payment and letting them keep everything, but that just seems wrong and may encourage bad future behavior from this person toward sellers (in other words, if this rewards them with free stuff, they may make a habit of it).

asked about 1 month ago

4 Answers

After many years in this business and dealing with people like this, here’s my two cents:

1. They may claim that they made a mistake filing an item not received (INR) claim.
2. So, they might “correct” their claim it to a Significantly Not as Described (SNAD) claim.
3. Delivered or not, if PayPal buys their SNAD claim, then your option is to pay for return shipping or let them keep the item. Either way, PayPal probably refunds them. Why? Because PayPal says that if the item is really SNAD, then it is not any fault of the buyer. They should suffer no financial harm and if you want to get your item back, then you have to pay for the return shipping. And, that would happen NO MATTER what your return policy states.

Now, depending on the timing of events, PayPal may side with you if the buyer’s communications with you and the filing date of the INR (and subsequently the SNAD) claims shows that claims and emails were sent before they even got the delivered item. If so, then you might get PayPal to side with you. After all, how can you file a SNAD case until you have received and evaluated the item. So, the dates/timing are very important. Document everything – especially any email messages where the buyer tips his/her hand when they try to get their way. Extortion won’t play well with PayPal.

However, it also sounds like the buyer might be trying to claim that it wasn’t even something that they ordered (referencing their “would never” statements). If so, then they may be going for a fraud case, as in the charges were unauthorized (someone hacked their payment account). But, what fraudster hacks somebody’s account and has the item shipped to the account holder’s house? So, that could be in your favor.

Some of your battle with PayPal may be influenced by your PayPal track record (number of transactions, refunds, previously filed claims). And, it’s possible that the buyer has a bad track record with PayPal.

I agree with your concerns about rewarding the seller in their attempt to defraud you. But, if you lose the case, you have to decide whether you want to get your item back (possibly broken through revenge or poor packing) and having paid for shipping the item BOTH ways. By the way, did I mention that if the buyer wins the case, they get ALL of their purchase price (including shipping) back?

So, if the item is inexpensive, if won’t make you feel good to let them keep it, but financially, it might make sense. If the item is expensive, you might want to get it back. To protect against poor return packing or possible buyer revenge (especially if they are unhinged), you might consider having insurance on the return shipping.

Good luck.

answered about 1 month ago

Reputation: 6365
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Do you think it would be beneficial to nip this one in the bud by calling Paypal and proactively telling them what’s going on? Sometimes, getting your two bits worth in first, helps.

answered about 1 month ago


RummageRampage says: April 18, 2019

That’s what I think I’m going to do this morning. ;)

RummageRampage says: April 18, 2019

How do you get a person on the phone at PayPal? I tried, but all I can get is a loop of recordings telling me to go to the dispute.


Thanks for the response. It’s actually multiple items, and he isn’t exactly claiming he didn’t order them, he’s just claiming… Well, I’m not even sure what, to be honest. His messages are somewhat incoherent and nonsensical at times, a bit hard to read (I am seriously wondering if he is maybe drunk when he sends them). And he says things like “these egg cups aren’t even crystal” (cheap little set of cute egg cups, the word “crystal” appeared nowhere in the the ad, and I don’t even know what “crystal” has to do with anything).

None of these things were expensive individually, although I after I had to purchase packing peanuts and bubble wrap, the total came out to a number that’s kind of a lot for a poor person like me.

So, your comments lead me to a new question: If he does file a “SNAD” dispute, how does PayPal verify anything is as described when they don’t have access to the classified ads in question? I mean, the ads still exist, but I don’t know how they could verify that those ads are the ones for the items the guy purchased. If you know what I mean.

answered about 1 month ago


tomwayne1 says: April 17, 2019

Unless you can provide evidence from his messages that imply he’s trying to scam you or has buyer remorse, PayPal will simply take him at his word on the SNAD. Buyers get the benefit of doubt in online sales. Yea, it $UC#s

RummageRampage says: April 18, 2019

Well, if he tries the SNAD thing, I wonder if his own wording in the INR case might do him in. He stated (rambling) that he’d purchased “a lot of mostly high-end crystal” items. None of these were high-end, and the word “crystal” appears in exactly zero of the ads or titles. Hopefully…

RummageRampage says: April 18, 2019

…they’ll see that he is kind of a loon. What he says he bought (in his rant) doesn’t even match the itemized list in the PayPal invoice he paid from.

tomwayne1 says: April 18, 2019

Is there any chance that the buyer is confusing you with a different seller?

abigdogmom says: April 18, 2019

It sounds to me as if he is trying to scam several people and is getting his purchases and sellers mixed up. I realize this doesn’t help, just my 2 cents worth and had to put it out there.

ccmom says: April 18, 2019

I would forward all the emails (make sure date and times are clearly visible) to PayPal…and a link to or copy of original listing(s)…and a statement of harassment before the items were ever received..

RummageRampage says: April 18, 2019

He doesn’t have me confused with a different seller. In his ramblings, he keeps referencing the correct items, but keeps calling them “crystal”. Also references other items he asked about but never bought. Seems confused about what he bought, but they’re all my items, not someone else’s.

tomwayne1 says: April 18, 2019

If I was the seller, I’d try to get him to admit something in the emails that shows that he either ordered the wrong item or simply changed his mind. This guy sounds like he could be tricked into writing something a lawyer wouldn’t want him to say.


I’ve only had 1 paypal case opened against me on an ebay sale. It was for a food dehydrator that the buyer claimed should have included a drip tray~~drip trays were never made for these Ronco dehydrators. I just answered the claim and the case was ruled in my favor.

Do you have a copy of the ad the buyer purchased from? If so, attach it to your answer to the claim. If these aren’t things you would pay return shipping for, take your chances and let the case close~~you may be lucky & have the case closed in your favor. You won’t have the repercussion of getting a defect for an “unresolved case” as you would if it had been purchased through ebay.

BTW~~if it was an ebay sale & the claim was made through paypal, the buyer is ALWAYS responsible for paying the return shipping to be able to get a refund. It’s ONLY if a case is opened through ebay that a seller is responsible for paying return shipping. The buyer paying return shipping may also pertain to your case. If they are trying to force you into refunding them & letting them keep the items they may never return them if they have to pay the return shipping. They have to prove the return to you by supplying the tracking number to paypal proving you received it to be able to get a refund.

I would just let the case run its course and take the chance that I may win or that the buyer won’t return the items if they have to be out of pocket in returning them.

answered about 1 month ago


RummageRampage says: April 18, 2019

The ads disappear after I mark them “sold” in the app I was using. I was able to restore them, but now they just look like newly posted ads.

RummageRampage says: April 18, 2019

At this point I am actually less concerned about the money than I am about ending all contact with this unstable person. I could accomplish that by just refunding and letting him keep everything, but that seems SO unethical in that I basically would be rewarding and encouraging very bad behavior.

kattinsanity says: April 19, 2019

On ebay I have to remain “civil” so I do just refund when I don’t want to pay return shipping~~THEN add them to my BBL so they can’t do it to me again. I’ve only had 4 return requests in the last 12 months.

RummageRampage says: April 19, 2019

I always remain civil, as that’s the personal standard to which I hold myself (the high road and all that). But the requirement that I pander to badly behaved buyers is the primary reason I will not have anything to do with eBay.

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