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I ordered something online (~150€) from a shop that had ~30k mostly. positive reviews online. (After the fact I realized that all reviews from the last few weeks were horribly negative, though.)

I used paypal for payment and waited for delivery. The ordered item never arrived and when I contacted the seller about that, they claimed that it must have gotten lost during shipping, but were unable to produce a tracking ID.

After some back and forth, I made use of my "Widerrufsrecht", in effect voiding the sale. They claim, that they do not have to honor this, because I used a company address when placing the order. This is true, but it is my understanding, that the judgement from BGH 30.09.2009, Az.: VIII ZR 7/09 establishes that the address alone is not enough and the item I ordered is intended for private use, so I hold that my "Widerruf" should be legit.

However, I have now started a conflict resolution process with PayPal and also issued a warning ("Mahnung") to the seller, that the delivery is late ("Lieferverzug"), which should enable me to void the sale ("Rücktritt") if they don't deliver by coming Friday.

I firmly believe that they will not give me my money back and now wonder what my best course of action is:

1) I could just make use of PayPal's buyer protection to get my money back that way, but apparently this leaves me open to them claiming the item was lost in transit the risk for which lies with me and suing me or more likely having an "Inkasso" company shake me down. Even if I'm in the right, that's something I might not want to go through.

2) I could wait for them to not deliver by Friday and then hand the case over to an "Inkasso" that shakes them down for me. (There are some that will do it for as little as 15€ and if they succeed it's free.)

It seems to me that, if I'm indeed legally in the right, as I think I am, both should result in me getting my money back, but option 2 has less potential headache.

My question is: Am I missing something or is option 2 the way to go?

  • Perhaps you might find more experienced people to answer your question on the Law site. – Zesty Jun 18 at 18:29
  • Missed options 1b) where a tracked parcel magically appears after initiating PayPal's countdown to refund, which is more firmly on your side than the Law. – anx Jun 18 at 23:59
  • @anx You must be clearvoyant, as that's exactly what happened yesterday. Although as I stated in option 1), PayPal's refunds do not prevent the seller from claiming that they are legally entitled to the money, which while untrue in this case, could have been a major headache I was trying to avoid. – user Jun 21 at 7:28
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You have quite a few things playing in your favor for option 1):

  1. PayPal buyers protection process for "Item not received" is a countdown, internally. You start it, the vendor is under pressure to provide proof of sending the package. It is free for you, has little binding legal effect on you, and immediately puts pressure on the vendor. The only place PayPal mentions this publicly is sections 3.2 in the PayPal Buyer Protection Policy - but not only do unresponsive buyers become ineligible - sellers have time limits, too.

You must respond within the required time to PayPal’s requests for documentation (such as proof of shipment) and other information that is reasonably required by PayPal to investigate the matter; [..] - PayPal Seller Protection Policy

  1. PayPal defaults to refunding the customer if the vendor fails to respond/comply.
  2. The vendor likely depends on his relationship with PayPal - though there definitely are cases in which vendors would seek reversal of a PayPal decision (consider it non-binding conflict resolution) in court, they are definitely going to think twice before annoying PayPal.
  3. As PayPal might end business relationships with vendors who repeatedly fail to find amicable solutions, the vendor may even feel pressured to send the product again, even in cases where he is not legally obliged to (when transit risk was none of his concern).
  4. PayPal has rules on when they will stop offering certain services to repeat offenders. This is likely not the case, as they would have to exceed something like 1% reversals by transaction volume.

Number 4 is often your best bet. Explain the problem for PayPal using their provided buyers protection forms in their website, be polite and detailed (PayPal needs all relevant dates; you likely do not have to settle the eligibility for reversing the transaction yet).


The other option 2), handing the case to someone to collect the money for you.. the vendor almost always has more experience dealing with these companies and giving (or omitting) exactly the information they need to consider the case pointless to stop spending any more work on it.

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