PayPal Destroys $2,500 Violin and Gives the Owner Nothing

paypalThis story from regretsy is both upsetting and mind boggling. Before we dive in, I should state that I'm a PayPal user, and have been for years. I receive money via PayPal and I buy things via PayPal, and I haven't had an issue yet. But then again, I've never sold anything that's been disputed by the purchaser....

Here's the email sent to regretsy.

Dear Helen Killer,

I love your site and was thrilled to hear of your “win” against PayPal. I recently had a heartbreaking experience of my own with them.

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.



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Comments (8 - click here to join in!)


I have never joined Paypal and never will. Why would I give my credit card info to someone I don't know over the web ? Ebay can be a good source for hard to find items but the risk is not worth it to me.

January 4, 2012 @ 11:15 AM


Something doesn't sound right with this. I've used Paypal many, many times without a single incident. However I've never "accepted" payment for anything.

I don't think Paypal should be advising on destruction of private property. Counterfeit or not. I'd certainly contact a lawyer over this.

January 4, 2012 @ 12:28 PM

Mississasuga Phil

My old man is a lawyer and I asked him about this one.

You should 100% get legal representation on this, as long as what you sold wasn't dangerous then it should have been returned to you. You had an agreement with paypal that they would facilitite the sale of your property, if no sale has happened then it is still you property and should be returned to you.

Paypal owes you an antique violin, or 2,500 plus any fees they leveyed against you.

January 4, 2012 @ 12:53 PM


I used Paypal many times and had no problems. I bought things on Ebay or other places accepting Paypal and I use Paypal to pay my personal trainer. I had no issues so will continue using them. It's convenient since I am blind and find it harder to actually go out to malls or whatever. Go Habs. Go Suns.

January 4, 2012 @ 4:30 PM

Mike from Lowville

I've used Pay Pal many, many times with no problems. Though that policy of destruction is off the wall. Yahoo!

January 4, 2012 @ 5:46 PM


Everyone check the link for the story, its been updated with some VERY interesting details.

January 5, 2012 @ 1:24 AM


We recently entered into an online commerce venture at work, and are unfortunately using PayPal. We find them to be extremely difficult, cumbersome, and frankly full of themselves. This story does not surprise me in the slightest.

January 5, 2012 @ 7:53 AM

Mike in Burlington

I've used them 10+ times to pay for stuff on Ebay, had no worries ever. I've paid folks in Australia, England and the US without hassle.

That being said, you should sue over this...

January 5, 2012 @ 2:55 PM

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