So, this week started off as just a regular week for me, woke up a bit too late, manically got the kids ready for school, tried not to slip and fall over in the ice/snow on the way to school and back, sat down at my desk and then saw an email that made my heart sink. Paypal had sent me a message to say that someone had filed a claim against me accusing me of Unauthorised Access to their account. What?! Oh no.
I read through all the details and realised that the person accusing me had recently ordered an original painting from me through my Etsy shop and whom I had just posted said painting to a few days later.
Payal was giving me 7 days to try and resolve it and my options were something along the lines of:
1. Prove that I'd posted it and upload/attach that proof
2. State that I haven't posted it and will be refunding the buyer
3. State/prove that I've already refunded the buyer
So I made scanned copies of my Post Office receipt, Etsy Order Confirmation email, Paypal Notification of Payment Received email and uploaded them into the Dispute Resolution Centre in my Paypal Account and then hoped and prayed that those would be enough to prove that I wasn't being fraudulent. I was worried because I only had a post office receipt without the customer's address on it and in some cases, I've read, this is not good enough as a Proof of Postage.
I'm glad that I included the other documentation as well to show that the customer did place an order with me through Etsy and paid me in full. My additional documentation also proved that I had sent confirmation to the customer stating that I had posted the painting on a particular day, what postal service I used (UK First Class) and when they should expect it to arrive etc.
I'm happy to say the outcome was that I won the case, it is now closed and I can keep the money that was paid to me for my product.
But I learned a very important lesson about making sure that from now on I have proper Proof of Postage from the post office. It may mean that I may have to raise my postage costs to match with Recorded Delivery prices but I will speak to my local post office and try to find a way to avoid this if possible.
I hope that this blog post will encourage all of you business owners, sole traders and anyone selling anything online to make sure that you can prove that you posted something to a customer, because as much as I liked to think that it wouldn't happen to me, there are some dishonest people out there and we have to protect ourselves as much as possible.
The whole process of resolving my particular case was quite simple and Paypal's information was very helpful. Have a look at this link for more info about Paypal's Seller Protection policy: https://www.paypal.com/uk/webapps/mpp/seller-protection