Several consumers have been scammed by fake online shops that offer payment via PayPal but configure the option to “send money to a friend”. This undermines buyer protection, the money is gone and cannot be reclaimed. Of course, no goods reach those affected. The Hamburg consumer advice center is currently warning of this.
Warning from the consumer advice center: check the payment method carefully
In the cases of fraud, payment was offered via a Paypal link, explains the Hamburg Consumer Center in its warning. The forwarding to the payment service provider is usually configured in such a way that both the purchase amount and the “Send money to a friend” option are preset. If you don’t check everything carefully during the payment process and transfer money with these options, you’ll never see it again.
In principle, payment with Paypal is considered safe by most consumers. After all, the seller is applying for buyer protection, the consumer advocates explain: “If you buy something from a seller, you may be able to get the payment back under PayPal buyer protection. … Buyer protection can intervene if … you do not receive your item or the item clearly does not correspond to the description.”
However, PayPal buyer protection only applies to the “Goods and services” option, for which PayPal charges the seller fees. The possibility of sending money to friends does not cost any fees, but a refund via Paypal is excluded.
The Hamburg consumer advice center explains that many people are now more careful when shopping online. If only payments in advance or credit card were offered, they would refrain from placing an order. In order to actually benefit from the buyer protection with PayPal payment processing, buyers should be careful not to make “payments to friends and family”, but select the “Pay for items or services” option. The selected option will show Paypal, for payments to friends and family the company will show a gift icon.
In mid-March, the consumer advice center in Saxony warned of fraudsters who offered “Amazon pallets” with technical devices such as smartphones or game consoles on various sales platforms. However, buyers who fell for it got nothing.