Photographer scammed after selling her camera due to a PayPal loophole

Nov 22, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Photographer scammed after selling her camera due to a PayPal loophole

Nov 22, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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When buying and selling gear online, you can run into all sorts of scams. UK-based photographer Joanna Rose Hufton recently fell victim to one that makes use of a Paypal loophole. She sold her £1,300 camera through eBay, but due to the scam, she was quickly left without both the camera and her money.

Joanna Rose sold her camera on eBay for £1,300 (around $1,670). She agreed with the buyer to do the transaction via PayPal, but the buyer asked her to change the delivery address. Allegedly, the camera was meant as a gift for the buyer’s daughter, but the buyer claimed that they’d forgotten to change the delivery address on their account.

The photographer agreed, admitting that she didn’t think too much of the request. She says that she’d done it before and never had any problems. The buyer sent her the new address in a message, and she sent the camera to that address. However, the problems began when the camera was delivered.

Joanna Rose received proof that the package was delivered and signed for. But, the buyer then opened a case on PayPal, claiming that they never received the item. PayPal’s terms and conditions state that the seller should “ship the item to the shipping address listed on the PayPal Transaction Details page.” Obviously, the photographer sent the camera to a different address, resulting in PayPal ruling in the buyer’s favor. In other words, the buyer was refunded in full, and they also got to keep the camera.

Naturally, Joanna Rose tried to appeal to PayPal’s decision. However, she says that they told her there was nothing that they could do. She claims two members of PayPal staff even told her that they were aware of this loophole, which I believe was especially frustrating.

Joanna says that she has also contacted ActionFraud police which is “investigating the matter.” A PayPal spokesperson said simply: “We have looked into Ms Hufton’s case and unfortunately it appears she has fallen victim to a scam.”

“The scammer tricked Ms Hufton into sending the camera to a different address, thereby invalidating her seller protection cover. Sellers need to be very wary if a seller asks them to change the delivery address. They must post the item to the shipping address on the ‘Transaction Details’ page. If a buyer asks you to send it to another address then you will not be eligible for re-imbursement under PayPal’s seller protection programme.”

“When I spoke to PayPal they just said they have to stick to the terms and conditions,” Joanna Rose told the Liverpool Echo. “It is upsetting. I just want to make it known that it’s a scam because it’s such a lot of money and I don’t think people know that this is PayPal’s policy.”

I can only imagine how frustrating this must have been. It’s a fact that PayPal is simply following its own policy, and there’s nothing wrong with it. On the other hand, the policy has this loophole people can use for scams, as they apparently do. And there’s nothing you can do about it as a seller.

Take this as a cautionary tale when selling stuff through eBay and using PayPal. Even though some requests may seem genuine, I guess you can never know. So, only ship the stuff you sell to the address listed in the “Transaction Details” page. Better safe than sorry.

Have you been in a situation like this? Have you ever agreed to change the shipping address, or do you always consider these requests to be non-genuine? I’ve been on the other end of it, so to say. I spend a lot of time at mom’s or boyfriend’s place, so I sometimes have the gear and other items delivered to their addresses. But of course, I’ve never scammed anyone and I never would. So I’m curious to hear your thoughts and experiences.

[via FStoppers]


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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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22 responses to “Photographer scammed after selling her camera due to a PayPal loophole”

  1. Mark Settle Avatar
    Mark Settle

    Been through EXACTLY the same thing with some DJ gear. All seems genuine and transparent. Paypal washed their hands of it because I didn’t send to the registered address. But after a number of us who were scammed got the the police involved, eBay did at least refund the fees.

  2. Michael Ciurleo Avatar
    Michael Ciurleo

    One of the first rules I was ever taught in business was ‘Never use PayPal’. Never. They were designed protect people who purchase. Don’t give a shit about the seller.

    1. Wilson W Wilson Avatar
      Wilson W Wilson

      thats true!

  3. Sergi Yavorski Avatar
    Sergi Yavorski

    It’s not a loophole if you send your merchandise to the address PayPal is not aware of. Be smart.

  4. unsuckEBAY Avatar

    While understanding that the eBay and PayPal relationship is undergoing significant changes with eBay’s Managed Payments implementation, if it can be verified the buyer requested the address change through eBay’s messaging system, it’s unfortunate that PayPal does not appear to take that into consideration.

    There is an informational notice that pops-up when changing the buyer shipping address through eBay’s system, but eBay could easily make this a clearer warning alert when changing the shipping address, especially given that this scam has been around for years and casual and consumer sellers are the most likely to be exploited (experienced business sellers know to cancel the transaction and request the buyer repurchase using the correct address, or they’re willing to take the risk).

  5. Ying Tong Avatar
    Ying Tong

    Scandalous, and sad for Joanna. The internet has created a jungle and you’re on your own in a land of predators. I’ve stopped buying or selling anything privately through Internet channels. I only buy from sources where I have rights under the Consumer Protection Act.

  6. Matt Owen Avatar
    Matt Owen

    Been through this without getting ripped off, I canceled the sale and re-listed so the buyer could change their address. I won’t ship to anything but the transaction address.

  7. James B Avatar
    James B

    You should know better than this, but some people don’t unfortunately…but what it also takes is WHEN, not IF….WHEN this happens to you, don’t sit there shamed cause you got played…TELL THE WORLD, so others will know, & beware….for it is no longer “buyer beware”, in this age of scammers, it is “seller beware”, because as seen in this story, the law resides on the side of the buyer. Had I been that lady, I would have dropped the sale right there…”Nope! Sorry! No longer for sale to you.”
    And always, always, ALWAYS make it a sale where the buyer has to sign.

  8. Marcus Taylor Avatar
    Marcus Taylor

    It’s not a loophole so much as a policy put in place deliberately to protect sellers from scammers.

  9. Duncan Dimanche Avatar
    Duncan Dimanche

    Yeah that’s super low.

    I would have shown the original name of the person and a photo of them to shame them… but i’m in France and not america. Still….

  10. Jeoncs Avatar

    Ebay will NOT protect sellers. I nearly lost a laptop because of them. I sold it no returns. It was a legitimate listing everything was accurate and well documented. The buyer lied and said it didn’t not charge and drained fast. This computer was my daily computer I know that to be wrong. They forced me to accept a return and gave the buyer the wrong return address. Thankfully the people returned it. However, Ebay called that good enough and issued a refunded without my permission. Now the buyer had both my laptop AND my money. Plus I had to eat the shipping fees. Thank god the person wasn’t a scammer because they did end up sending it back. I cancelled my ebay account of 15 years and 100% feedback and left them with all fees that were left. Ebay and Paypal are not your friend and if you’re not buying in person or from a legitimate site, it’s only a matter of time before one of them screws you.

    1. Dusan Avatar

      It’s because there are tons of sellers on ebay. They need buyers so they protect buyers.
      I’m not going to complain though, I’m a 100% buyer.

  11. Tom Connor Avatar
    Tom Connor

    It’s not a “scam”, it’s fraud. There’s proof that the seller posted the item to the address requested by the buyer. There’s proof that the item arrived. The buyer committed fraud and the police should be involved.

  12. RoseFlorida Avatar

    It seems to me that if this is one of a handful of cases in which this “loophole” has been exploited, then I understand that this is Paypal’s policy, but they could go out of their way to win a loyal seller forever if they forgot about the policy once. If it is a procedure that is frequently being used to defraud sellers who make the error of falling for a change in address story, then Paypal should do something to stop it. What, I don’t know, but doing nothing would not be an acceptable business practice in this case.

    As far as Paypal being “for the buyer, not the seller”, every supplier that I know of to a famous brand complains that generous return policies, which result in goods being sent back to supplier and cost deducted from invoices, mean that they have to accept a higher level of bogus returns. Yet the companies that are selling to the consumer know that a generous return policy is very much part of their brand reputation. Don’t expect Paypal to change its focus from the buyer experience, not if they want to stay in business.

  13. Wilson W Wilson Avatar
    Wilson W Wilson

    i’d be rocking up to that address!!! with bricks.

    1. Daryl Davis Avatar
      Daryl Davis

      Hint: It’s a mail drop.

  14. Salim Waguila Avatar
    Salim Waguila

    It happened to me and I learned my lesson

  15. Jason Page Avatar
    Jason Page

    They have terms and conditions for a reason

  16. Reed Radcliffe Avatar
    Reed Radcliffe

    I sold stuff on eBay for more than a decade. One day they sent me a message that said in 30 days, buyers will be able to return items for a full refund no matter what, even if you say no refunds. I kept selling, over 50 items a week on average, in my spare time. The week that change went into effect I had around 50 items close successfully. I packed them up and sent them to the buyers who had all paid with PayPal, as was pretty normal. Four days later I started getting SNAD (Significantly Not As Described) complaints and return requests. The whole amount (including shipping) was refunded to the buyers BEFORE they sent the item back. I did not get 14 items back, they were basically stolen from me. I could not even leave negative feedback on the buyer accounts, as that had been taken away the year or two before.

    eBay was a great side hustle, right up until that day. I had a basement full of stuff that I was working through selling, and I was constantly on the prowl for more. I stopped selling immediately and have bought maybe two or three things since 2011. If people ask me about eBay, I tell them to be very very careful, buying or selling. It is a haven for scammers and pirates.

    eBay considers those scams and acts of piracy “the cost of doing business”. So, F those guys.

  17. Daryl Davis Avatar
    Daryl Davis

    I put a camera up a few months back. Got bombarded by scam attempts, similar to the one described, the entire week. I reported every one of them to eBay. The “winning” bid also was a scam attempt: the scammer asked for my PayPal address, “so I can confirm it’s you.” If you fall for this one (I didn’t) the scammer will send you a forged PayPal acknowledgment of payment. If memory serves, they also wanted it sent to their “nephew who just graduated from college.” I was so disgusted with the entire experience, I canceled the sale, informed eBay, and received a refund of my listing and final valuation fees.

  18. Bipin Gupta Avatar
    Bipin Gupta

    OH My Gad! This scam method has been used before and is a common knowledge on Evil Bay & Pay Pal.
    I remember receiving warnings from both sources for this SCAM donkey years ago.
    Sorry Joanna, you got scammed because you trusted the “CROOK” Buyer.
    Try asking a friend or the Police in that City to go to the Address since you have a Delivery Receipt.
    Also File a First Information Report (FIR) at the Local Police Station as per the Address and that City through Registered Postal Mail.
    We have certain Rights here in India for a FRAUD and can File a Police Complaint. I believe we follow the British Jurisprudence System.
    Don’t let this CROOK go scot free.

  19. Doober Avatar

    They tried to scam me twice on the Facebook Marketplace. I was selling my 5D Mark IV. I busted both the scammers. Freakin’ amateurs. They also used other persons FB profiles for the intro. One of them tried the switch addresses scheme on me but I immediately shut that down. It just did not feel right to me. They wanted the address changed to New York. Somebody less suspicious than I am might have gone for it, but I did not let this go. I tracked these idiots all the way down to Miami, including where they were having the stuff shipped to, and it was a strip business complex. They tried to use PayPal, and then about week later some new idiots try to get it with a MoneyGram voucher. I won’t go through the things I did to stuff their attempts up their asses, but this stuff took time, and back and forth crap. The MoneyGram one was so hilarious and weak I was laughing and boiling at the same time. Suffice it to say they were Nigerians working the FB Marketplace. I was getting more scammers than real people wanting to buy my camera. A camera than cost over $3 grand at the time. I mean I was going through this crap for 5 weeks. I am attaching just a copy of the fake MoneyGram they sent me in one of the scams. They couldn’t even write English correctly, and a MoneyGram would have not have this ridiculous grammar, and syntax on them, let alone holding back 3 numbers in lieu of a tracking number. Asshats. Anyway, the entire experience was frustrating, but I ended up selling the camera, and did not ship it out until all monies were had, and the camera signed for by the buyer, but these guys I sold it to were legit, and owned a video production place. One tip I can give is NEVER fall for last minute changes on anything. It is better to lose the sale, than fall for what this lady went through. I used the money to buy a Canon EOS R BTW.