LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — After using her vintage Louis Vuitton bag for a few years, Joanna Santiago decided it was time to try to make her money back.

“It’s money sitting in a closet. So, why not be an adult and sell it?” Santiago asked.

She listed it on several online sites and eventually found a buyer who asked for a discounted price of $800, and she agreed.

“I could tell that she wanted it, just the same way I wanted it a few years ago,” Santiago added.

Santiago shipped the bag. Two days later, she got a confirmation from the post office that it was delivered.

But the next business day, she was surprised to find an email from PayPal saying there was a dispute because the buyer claims she never got the bag.

Santiago said she emailed PayPal the tracking information. But the online payment company still sided with the buyer.

“I’m left now with a missing bag and PayPal withholding the money from me,” she said.

Santiago’s complaint is common among sellers. One wrote: “They will always side with the buyer.” Another posted: “Sellers beware! PayPal focuses on buyers.”

Anthony Ferrigno is a California lawyer who filed a class-action lawsuit claiming PayPal and its former parent company, Ebay, did not give sellers a fair shake in their dispute resolution.

That is in spite of the fact that PayPal’s website promises world-class security for sellers. “They have a policy, we think, the buyer’s almost always right, and the buyer almost always wins,” Ferrigno said.

“When Ebay and PayPal promise that they are going to do what they can to protect the sellers and keep their money safe, they have a duty to do that in our view under the law,” the attorney said.

Paypal disagrees. A company spokesperson told CBS2/KCAL9’s Jeff Vaughn: “We’ve carefully reviewed the complaint and do not believe there is any merit to this lawsuit. We plan to vigorously defend ourselves.”

Whatever the courts decide, Santiago said if she needs to sell something, she will find another way. “I’m done with PayPal,” she said.

There are other options to sell items online. Facebook and Apple have rolled out payment systems.

If you have a story you would like Jeff Vaughn to look into, email him at checkwithJeff@cbs.com or use the #CBSLA on Twitter.

Comments (7)
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  2. I’m in dispute with Ebay and I submitted a complaint to BBB and here is my response to theirs:

    Hello Ebay’s Office of the President (nice name by the way),
    The way you treat Sellers is not only frustrating but highly disappointing. No surprise then that you have 91% of unsatisfied customers according to BBB and over 6,000 complaints.
    You write that “eBay is not involved in the shipment of items”. Neither we are. We the Sellers can not be responsible if the properly addressed and shipped package is lost – that’s far beyond Sellers’ control. I do understand that a tracking information is a valid argument but it comes with the price.
    Take our case:
    The item costs $39. The shipping method our Buyer has chosen being properly informed and being fully aware of the risks didn’t have an insurance ( = does not come with a tracking code overseas). The cost of such shipment is $13.25. The cheapest insurance that provides a tracking code costs $48. So the item costs $39 and the shipment – $48. Total: $87 vs. $52,25 without insurance.
    For many prospective buyers like ours from Kazakhstan which is not a rich country the cost of such shipment is simply not affordable.
    I am not sure in what way you protect Sellers. I am sure that practically all transactions are 100% prepaid. But I understand that the higher the ticket the higher commissions for Ebay. A couple of bucks times millions and millions transactions makes a fortune. With no major effort. Just installing a policy that makes Sellers to sell more expensive. And this is not right and this is the core of my complaint that Ebay abuse its monopolistic position. And I’m 100% sure that’s the only reason behind your policy.
    There is nothing wrong in Sellers offering their Buyers an option to purchase the merchandise at lower costs. Insurance is ALWAYS and EVERYWHERE is a voluntary option. That’s the core of Insurance – you estimate your risks and make a decision.
    For Sellers it does not make difference selling with or without insurance – it is always included in the price that is paid by Buyers. So how do you protect Sellers? If the tracking code shows the shipment is delivered what else? Anyway that’s not the case we are having here.
    If Buyer chooses not to insure the shipment he takes some risks. It’s obvious, it’s Common Sense. Sellers should not tell Buyers to pay higher prices if there is an option to pay less. Neither Ebay must make Shipping Insurance mandatory and tell Sellers to ship the purchased merchandise insured.
    It is wrong. This way Ebay do not protect Sellers but make Buyers pay higher prices without asking their opinion or permission. So, neither Sellers nor Buyers benefit from your Protection Program in that aspect. It only benefits the one and only party – EBAY that collects higher commissions for each insured and respectively more expensive shipment. That’s the core of my complaint – Ebay abuse of their monopolistic position.

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