I've always thought that P. T. Barnum's "A sucker is born every minute" applied to everyone else. I see myself as pretty savvy to most of the scams on the internet. I've never fallen for the whole "Guy in Ethiopia will send me his $50M inheritance if I give him my bank account information."
Back in April, I found six tickets for Jimmy Buffett on Craig's List and bought them. I e-mailed back and forth with the guy and he seemed credible. He was going to deliver the tickets to me electronicly that he'd received from ticketmaster once he received the funds. I went on PayPal and validted the guy's status and he was a certified PayPaluser for years and there was no notice of any fraud claims against him. I searched PayPal's site and it was plastered all their site and FAQs that they cover you in the event that your transaction goes sour.
Based on that, and my long history of using PayPal, I figured I was covered, so I wasn't overly worried about getting scammed. I sent him $420 via PayPaland he sent me the tickets and all was well. After buying tickets from a scalper at kid rock, I started thinking through the "What if" this guy wasn't honest and in fact sold these tickets to 10 people at the same time (I know: too little, too late). After doing some digging, I found out that these were in fact a scam that this guy had, selling these tickets to multiple people overseas. He went by the name Stephen Hill (PayPal ID firstname.lastname@example.org and sold tickets via email@example.com) from overseas.
I called PayPal and they explained to me that in the fine print, they only cover the sale for the first 45 days. The customer service rep explained that I should read the fine print in their end user agreement where they're covered for just about everything and don't actually have to pay for much in terms of fraud. They admitted to me that they're coverage advertisement doesn't point to the fine print of buying tickets prior to the 45 day window. They shared that even though Stephen Hill is selling these tickets to multiple people, they cannot be the court and that they actually allow this kind of fraud to take place in their system. If a significant number of compalints come up, they may do something about it, but otherwise they do nothing. I was on the phone for an hour as they explained that I had no recourse whatsoever and admitted that they do a poor job of explaining the loopholes that crooks use with PayPal.
Hopefully people learn from my pain. Don't buy electronic tickets for concerts from a 3rd party and don't use PayPal for those purchases. Apparently I'm not alone in my angst. I found a blog devoted to stories of PayPal screwing PayPalSucks.com