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PayPal Orders Buyer to Smash $2,500 Antique Violin to Get Refund in Online Dispute

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By HVnews on January 4, 2012

In the Tanakh, two women approached King Solomon of Israel, each claiming to be the mother of a child. Both woman had infant sons. One claimed the other accidentally smothered her son and exchanged the dead child for the living one. The other denied the claim. Both women said the living son was theirs.

King Solomon, in his infinite wisdom, declared that a sword be brought unto him, so he could divide the baby with one clean slice. Here, you each have a half. One woman said “Cool, yo,” while the other cried out that she’d rather the liar have the full baby than divide the son in two. Solomon, seeing the true mother’s maternal instincts, knew the rightful mother then and there and awarded this woman the son.

It’s an analogy fraught with problems, but clearly PayPal is no Solomon.

A Regretsy reader shared her story about the smashed, $2,500 antique French violin pictured above.

A man disputed the authenticity of this antique violin he bought via PayPal from this seller. In order to properly get a refund, PayPal told him to destroy it altogether. So he did.

The seller, who says “the violin was examined and authenticated by a top luthier prior to its sale,” shared her story on Regretsy for all the world to see PayPal’s evil-doings.

I sold an old French violin to a buyer in Canada, and the buyer disputed the label.

This is not uncommon. In the violin market, labels often mean little and there is often disagreement over them. Some of the most expensive violins in the world have disputed labels, but they are works of art nonetheless.

Rather than have the violin returned to me, PayPal made the buyer DESTROY the violin in order to get his money back. They somehow deemed the violin as “counterfeit” even though there is no such thing in the violin world.

The buyer was proud of himself, so he sent me a photo of the destroyed violin.

I am now out a violin that made it through WWII as well as $2500. This is of course, upsetting. But my main goal in writing to you is to prevent PayPal from ordering the destruction of violins and other antiquities that they know nothing about. It is beyond me why PayPal simply didn’t have the violin returned to me.

I spoke on the phone to numerous reps from PayPal who 100% defended their action and gave me the party line.


As an important post-script, a Regretsy reader name Mr. Pete found this paragraph in PayPal’s Terms of Service, which sheds some light on the ridiculous scenario painted above:

Pretty unbelievable. King Solomon, if he’s real and all, would be rolling over in his grave.

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