back to article Trucking hell: Kid leaves dad in monster debt after buying oversized vehicle on eBay

We've heard it all before – tot addicted to crappy freemium game on Daddy's iPad runs up £3,000 bill from in-app purchases, Dad whinges to local newspaper. However, our cynical hearts go out to the father whose six-year-old son splashed £19,000 through his PayPal account – on an actual, real-life monster truck. Mohammad …

  1. Kev99

    I don't know about Blighty but on this side of the pond any purchase made by a minor is considered invalid without a parent or legal guardian's approval.

    1. BillG
      WTF?

      "Suscicious Activity"?

      A few years ago, I had a credit card I typically used for the usual household items and computer equipment. One day I used it at a household appliance store for a purchase much larger than I'd even used it for. The store got a notice back that the card wasn't declined, but I had to call a number to verify the purchase. The reason was the purchase was so many thousands of $$$ more than I'd normally used the card for it counted as "suspicious activity".

      I'm surprised PayPal doesn't have a similar system for fraud prevention.

      1. HildyJ Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: "Suscicious Activity"?

        Ditto my credit card, which also texts me for normal transactions made without the card present.

        While I hope he gets it sorted out, EBay and PayPal both require you to log in and unless you're making lots of transactions every hour you're an idiot if you don't logout, especially if your son is computer savvy.

        1. AdamWill

          Re: "Suscicious Activity"?

          The story reads like he had the password saved in his browser, so logging out wouldn't have helped.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Suscicious Activity"?

        Last year I bought a diamond engagement ring for ~£10k in a jewellers in Hatton Garden. I was expecting that to trigger some kind of call from my bank, fraud check etc, but that just sailed through - most I've ever spent on a thing that was not a house.

        Afterwards, I went into a Boots and tried to buy a bottle of water. Both cards rejected, had to spend 10 minutes on the phone to HSBC re-activating them.

        1. Benchops

          Re: "Suscicious Activity"?

          You didn't say how much a bottle of water costs at Boots near Hatton Garden though.

      3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: "Suscicious Activity"?

        I'm surprised PayPal doesn't have a similar system for fraud prevention

        That would get in the way of them squeezing every possible bit of cash out of their marks^w clients..

        I loathe them. In fact, loathing is probably a pale imitation of what I really feel for them...

    2. stungebag

      But it was purchased by the father according to the eBay and PayPal credentials used. And how do we know this isn't just buyer's remorse?

    3. LDS Silver badge

      You would need to prove it was actually made by a minor.

      Under EU rules - if they still apply in UK - any online purchase can be cancelled withing 14 days:

      https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/consumers/shopping/guarantees-returns/index_en.htm

      But it doesn't apply if you bought from a private individual - which may be this case. Probably the seller was happy to have offloaded to some stupid the stupid truck eventually, and doesn't want to wait for another one.

      That's one reason not to enable any auto-payment features - I prefer I'm always required to enter credentials for purchases. If there's some form of 2FA, the better. Even for small purchases.

    4. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Facepalm

      As far as eBay and PayPal are concerned

      the purchase was made by dad, as it was him that was logged in.

      Whether it was his son, his cat or his pet goldfish that actually worked the keyboard during the purchase is impossible for the remote parties to discern, nor whether said creatures are authorised to use that account or not.

      A sanity check for an out-of-character purchase, especially one of that magnitude, would not be amiss, though.

      1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

        Re: As far as eBay and PayPal are concerned

        the purchase was made by dad, as it was him that was logged in.

        No, the purchase was made by whoever made the purchase, not who was logged in.

        If there is a dispute over the facts, that is something that (if it ended up in court) the court would have to determine who was telling the truth and who wasn't.

        However, I would guess that the T's&C's make it clear that the account holder agrees to be held liable for any payment made while logged in.

        Of course, IANAL -- this is just my understanding from reading the various financial agreements I have signed over many years.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: As far as eBay and PayPal are concerned

          I would tend to agree with you on the whole. There's no way to prove the person logged in is the person making the transaction in the same way that someone can take and use someone elses credit/debit card and use it in a shop. If they have the card and PIN, there's no way for the shop assistant to know that the person is not the valid cardholder. In effect, the child "stole" his fathers identity.

          1. Brad16800
            Trollface

            Re: As far as eBay and PayPal are concerned

            Identity theft? Lock him up!

        2. ovation1357 Bronze badge

          Re: As far as eBay and PayPal are concerned

          "No, the purchase was made by whoever made the purchase, not who was logged in"

          You could very well have a point there although I suspect that the likes of PayPal would wait until you prove it in court....

          My little boy loves doing the 'beep' (contactless payment) in the shops. I normally let him but one day he was stopped by the cashier because I was buying alcohol. She was adamant that it would be illegal for him to tap my card in that scenario.

          I never checked whether there's any truth in that but I do recall having to comfort a sad little boy who didn't understand why he couldn't 'do beep' that time.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Trollface

            Re: As far as eBay and PayPal are concerned

            >>I never checked whether there's any truth in that but I do recall having to comfort a sad little boy who didn't understand why he couldn't 'do beep' that time.

            If it was me, I'd have refused to sell you the booze. Because at that point you are clearly purchasing it for a minor!

        3. hoola Bronze badge

          Re: As far as eBay and PayPal are concerned

          What is also odd is that there is the option to request a cancellation of of the transaction. My assumption is that this was made and the seller refused.

          Is that because the selling price was so OTT that he knows it is better to fight it and force the issue?

          If the price was not OTT then he could just sell it again. I also thought that PayPal took the money immediately, and if there was insufficient funds it was declined.

          Was the PayPal transaction taken on a credit card? If so then it surely both PayPal & the credit card provider should have had due diligence.

          If it was a straight bank debit then (assuming you are in the fortunate position of having £19k available) it should have been held by the bank.

          As more transaction become instant and digital the controls appear to be getting worse and anything that goes wrong is the fault of the customer.

        4. Joe Montana

          Re: As far as eBay and PayPal are concerned

          If the purchase was made by someone other than the owner of the account, then it was either:

          A) authorised by the owner, in which case the account owner is liable for the purchase.

          B) not authorised by the owner, in which case the actual purchaser is guilty of unauthorised access to the account. In which case you can report their crime to the police and it may be covered by the bank/card issuer using fraud protection. The bank will want to pursue the criminal however in an attempt to recover the costs.

          1. EnviableOne Silver badge

            Re: As far as eBay and PayPal are concerned

            seeing as the purchasing party is a minor and below the age of criminal responsibility, path B may be an option to get the father out of this specific mess.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As far as eBay and PayPal are concerned

        "Show me where I signed for this, or show me some other way that proves I authorised this payment"

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: As far as eBay and PayPal are concerned

          so you want to abandon secure logins in favour of scribbled biro?

          " where I signed for this"

          Signatures prove absolutely fuck all . Its just a weird tradition that they are held as the be all and end all of authentication.

          Its about time people (i mean instituitions) got that 17th century bullshit out of their heads.

      3. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: As far as eBay and PayPal are concerned

        sanity check for an out-of-character purchase

        Absolutely. My bank advises me within seconds of any card purchase over a limit I set, and automatically advises me of every cardholder not present purchase, regardless of the amount.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: As far as eBay and PayPal are concerned

          Every contract needs a sanity clause

      4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: As far as eBay and PayPal are concerned

        Whether it was his son, his cat

        This is why purchases from my Mac require Touch-ID authentication. I learnt that after the first crate of cans of tuna and 75kg bags of catnip arrived..

        And I haven't registered their pawprints.

    5. This post has been deleted by its author

    6. RM Myers Silver badge

      "...any purchase made by a minor is considered invalid..."

      I assume you are talking about the US, and there are many exceptions where minors can enter into valid contracts (implied or written) without approval. Yes, buying a monster truck, or most(all?) large purchases would not meet these exceptions. There are many websites that can give you more details about voidable and non voidable contracts, but the concept of "necessity" is important, as would be reasonability. So if your 9 year old goes into a store, pays a dollar for a banana, and eats it, don't expect to go to small claims court and get your money back. If they charged him a thousand $, then you're probably going to get most or all of the money back.

    7. big_D Silver badge

      Same in Germany. It saved my wife a couple of times, when her daughter tried downloading MP3s from a site that then sent invoices for a monthly subscription afterwards. A lawyers letter stating the child was under age and not capable of entering into the contract cancelled the invoices and threatened legal action.

    8. Joe Montana

      Where's the proof that the purchase was actually made by the minor?

      What's to stop anyone with kids from claiming that their kid made any purchase they might want to cancel?

    9. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      ny purchase made by a minor is considered invalid without a parent or legal guardian's approval

      IANAL but I think it is this side of the pond too.

  2. TVC

    If you want to get in the shit, let your kids play on your computer. Otherwise, don't.

    Simples!

    1. julian.smith
      WTF?

      Something fishy here

      It happened in March and is reported in August!

      The "victim" claimed no notifications from EBay or PayPal - I'm calling BS, each of them send confirmations almost immediately.

      "I haven't got that kind of money in my bank account". PayPal was able to collect it - in near real time, from the default card

      Bull_shit

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Something fishy here

        i did wonder about how he paid 19k he hasnt got.

        I use a credit card with my paypal, and auto pay it off - it sure as hell wouldnt have bought that though.

        So what happens if you have a debit card? Paypal removes it from your account immediately?

        They check the balance first right?

        so he either had 19k in his current account or an extremely gold credit card?

        hmm , thinking about it i need to empty my current account into a savings before something like this happens ! ...

        1. EnviableOne Silver badge

          Re: Something fishy here

          you miss the third option:

          either PayPal or the card company, as they are wont to do, gave the father an exorbitant credit limit, that if used, he had no way of ever paying off, and as the limit was an available balance, payment went through anyway.

      2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: The "victim" claimed no notifications from EBay or PayPal

        Whoa, not so fast...

        If you received an email from "ebay" or "paypal" notifying you of a transaction of epic proportions, what would you do?

        Now be honest, what would you do?

        The chances are that the user would flag it as spam without thinking.

        Not sure of the current stance on whether proof of sending an email legally infers deemed to have been received and opened.

  3. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Doesn't sound too bright

    Doesn't sound too bright.

    A) EBay *and* paypal DO send notices saying a purchase was made. So the bit about having no notification is false.

    B) It's not their job to decide you didn't really want to buy something, or to ask "are you sure" a bunch of times. They DO have you go through several screens on the web site first, and they DO have anti-fraud systems -- but this purchase was not fraudulent, it was made from your computer on your account.

    C) Obviously there's some way to cancel a purchase, particularly when nothing has been delivered. Waiting until it goes to collections is not the way to do it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Doesn't sound too bright

      A) The purchase was allegedly fraudulent, the 6 year old was impersonating the logged in user, therefore identity theft.

      B) Did the purchase match normal patterns? If not normal bank/card companies would block payment due to possible fraud, just because it is on the account doesn't mean it was them, the same way just because I used your card details doesn't mean it was you.

      C) How did Paypal transfer funds to pay for the purchase? Did the account have that much sat there in Paypal? I doubt it. Did they have a linked card / bank account? £19k would have been rejected by either or triggered a notification for confirmation. Hell of an overdraft facility Paypal are now providing.

      Looks like Paypal have fucked up, he should sue them for £19,000.01 + costs.

      1. d3vy Silver badge

        Re: Doesn't sound too bright

        Exactly, I've tried to buy little things, selected the wrong debit card (one with no money in it) and had them rejected when spending £5... So why did they let a 19k transaction go through?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Doesn't sound too bright

          I've been using paypal for a while, with it attached to my bank account, and whilst they used to do the charge to the bank in real time, these days they authorise transactions immediately (I've in the past had zero credit within paypal itself, yet bought things, and later had them refunded without the bank account being touched)

          Mind you, I'm talking £40 quid items, not £19,000 !

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Doesn't sound too bright

            This really is an issue with eBay, allowing the bid to be placed / purchase made. Definitely need 2FA / separate authentication for each transaction before the bid is placed / purchase made whenever the amount is above a preset limit or outside of normal purchasing patterns.

  4. ExampleOne

    Clearly someone, somewhere, in this chain operating a credit facility. I would start asking if the appropriate ombudsmen should be got involved.

    Alternatively something in this story doesnt quite pass the sniff test.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Unlikely story

      19000 GBP is way above the limit of any credit card I have ever laid hands on. And a payment will bounce if the card is a debit card with insufficient coverage.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Unlikely story

        Could be a linked bank account using DD but even so I doubt paypal would release £19,000 otherwise people would be scamming them like crazy.

      2. Andy the ex-Brit

        Re: Unlikely story

        One of my (US) credit cards has a limit significantly higher than that. They kept raising my limit, without my ever asking them to. Consumer protections are good enough over here that it's no risk to me to leave it like that, and hey, I may just want to buy a monster truck with it one day.

        I've never had it anywhere near the limit, and pay it off 100% every month so I pay no interest.

        1. Andy the ex-Brit

          Re: Unlikely story

          * no, I will never buy a monster truck. Nor a non-monster truck. I ride a bicycle almost everywhere, and drive a convertible MINI when I must drive. I also have a motorbike which will be running again one day.

          1. Cederic Silver badge

            Re: Unlikely story

            A proper mini or a cheap BMW?

            There's nothing wrong with a good truck in much of America. Plenty of things to haul, unpaved roads to explore and alligators to shoot and bring home to eat.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Unlikely story

              "There's nothing wrong with a good truck in much of America. Plenty of things to haul, unpaved roads to explore and alligators to shoot and bring home to eat."

              While true in some case, the vast majority of the population live in cities where a truck, big or otherwise is personal choice or a status symbol. We call them "Chelsea Tractors" over here. The clue being that no one would EVER need a tractor in Chelsea! (Well, maybe a tractor pulling a grass cutter in a local park, but I'm sure you get the point.

              1. Cederic Silver badge

                Re: Unlikely story

                As someone that owned a Chelsea Tractor and never had a journey in it that didn't involve going offroad you may be trying to educate the wrong person here.

              2. skeptical i
                Devil

                Re: Unlikely story

                You say 'Chelsea tractor', I say 'mall terrain vehicle.'

                1. This post has been deleted by its author

                2. Fred Dibnah Silver badge

                  Re: Unlikely story

                  That gag doesn't really work in the UK :-)

              3. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

                Re: Unlikely story

                We call them "Chelsea Tractors" over here

                No we dont, thats an SUV

                I'm still find it weird that most americans have "trucks" , like pickups. 2 seats , impractical in a lotta ways. (and cool!)

                And i'm sure they'll come up with myriad reasons - like alligators

                But you could use other vehicles for 90% of those reasons.

                Its just a cultural thing i guess, that pickups (real open back pickups with cargo beds) are as common as cars in the US

                1. EnviableOne Silver badge

                  Re: Unlikely story

                  more so. the single larghest selling vehicle in the us is the Ford F series, folowed by the Chevvy Silverado and the Ram x500

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Unlikely story

          I've had the same problem with my credit card. I keep telling them to reduce my credit line back to $25k on a regular basis. It's there, only for emergencies and I make sure it's paid off every month. My wife, on the other hand, doesn't understand the concept that paying more in interest than on actual purchases means she doesn't really need a credit card.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Unlikely story

          My Virgin credit card kept getting the limit bumped up even after I stopped using it.

          Eventually I cancelled it but the limit was something north of £40k at that point.

          I pay my cards in full by direct debit.

          I do check my statements often too.

      3. d3vy Silver badge

        Re: Unlikely story

        Barclaycard will quite happily keep bumping your limit up as long as you're using it and paying on time, mines got 15k available at the moment so I can imagine that 19k would be quite achievable on a card if you had a decent credit score.

        Of course, you'd be mental to spend this much on a credit card... But stranger things have happened.

        1. tfc

          Re: Unlikely story

          My credit card has a £15K limit, I used all of it to buy a car, it is a 'cash back' card, so got c. £100 back and paid the balance off at the end of the month.

          1. AndrueC Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Unlikely story

            Yup. My CCs are paid in full by direct debit every month. Still very useful because a)Section 75 of Credit act and b)It's not my money being taken when defrauded.

            I don't want scrotes being able to siphon funds out of my bank account but if they want to steal my CC issuer's money it's no skin off my nose. I'll just strike the bad transactions off my statement and pay what's left.

            But using a CC to borrow money? Hell no. I don't want or need it for that.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Unlikely story

          "19k would be quite achievable on a card if you had a decent credit score."

          He's described in the story as a "takeaway worker". That means he works in a fast-food place, pizzas, kebabs, currys, fish'n'chiops, whatever. Unless he owns the place, he's not likely to be running that high a credit score or have enough movement in his account that a £19K credit limit is likely. Especially after the payday loan kerfuffle in the last year or three resulting a tightening of the rules on giving easy credit to people who can't afford to pay it back. £19K is likely more than his annual salary,

        3. Joe Montana

          Re: Unlikely story

          What's wrong with spending that much on a card? If you're going to be spending anyway, why not do so on a card that gives you some kind of benefits like cashback or airmiles etc? Better than spending the same amount on a debit card or with cash where you'll get absolutely nothing back.

          Before covid i used to travel a lot for work, that would routinely involve multiple long-haul flights, several weeks in hotels, food, car rentals etc. This all adds up and can take a significant chunk out of a credit limit. So long as the company reimburses the expenses before the card payment is due you're never out of pocket. Plus with some cards you will get a small percentage back which is basically free since the company reimburses the actual expenses anyway.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Unlikely story

        Without asking for such limits, back in 2000, I had an MBNA(UK) and 2 Lloyds credit cards, each with over £20,000 limit.. That was 20 years ago!

      5. KBeee Bronze badge

        Re: Unlikely story

        I dunno. In the last 2 weeks I was transfering £20,000 per day via Debit Card (I was told it was limited to £20,000 per day - wrongly), and it all worked fine. At least my retirement savings have gone to a place better than 0.001% interest. Wonder when the Banks will charge 0.001% interest on borrowings...

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: Unlikely story

          ah , that weird national savings bank? IS&L or something?

          That one with stupid 9 digit account numbers that you cant transfer to from anyone else bank cos 9 digits?

          so your forced to transfer by debit card.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Unlikely story

        "19000 GBP is way above the limit of any credit card I have ever laid hands on."

        Really? I've got one that I've had for nigh on 30 years and it's up at ~£25K now. I never even use it these days. And also. AmExs are unlimited.

        1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: AmExs are unlimited.

          AmEx Charge Cards have no pre-defined limits. Payment has to be made in full by the due date. It is not a credit card.

          AmEx Credit Cards I believe do have a credit limit.

      7. Jim Willsher

        Re: Unlikely story

        >>>19000 is above credit limit.

        My personal Amex has a £32k limit, and I once (two years ago) had to purchase a server for work and claim back on expenses, all £30k of it.

        Amex didn’t bat an eyelid (although to be fair I had made several expensive flight purchases in the previous few weeks).

        My Avios balance did well out of it.

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: Unlikely story

          there is no way i would have trusted any employer i've worked for to pay that promptly enough, just down to tripping several near sighted corporate buerocrisy rules.

          - only biuld up so much flexi ir you lose it

          - no overtime we cant afford it - um, but you pass that directly to the custmoer with mark up and make profit wtf, no i have to explain why i cant stay and finish the job even when they say money is no object.

          - you want to claim 30k back on petty cash? no sorry , the limit is one pack of postits. um , yeah but i was helping the company out , saving the day , preventing us losing a huge customer becasue our finance dept still use ink blotters ....

          "well that was silly of you wasnt it"

          etc

      8. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Unlikely story

        My PayPal account is linked to my bank account and I've bought stuff with no money in the account and the payment went through. I transferred money into the account the next day and had no problems.

        The amount was around CDN$20

  5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    That Paypal window that comes up when you go to pay through Paypal to enter your password has a pre-ticked option to leave it permanently logged in.

    Don't take it. This guy must have done that and this is the consequence.

    Annoyingly the only other option is something to the effect of not now. The option to never show it again isn't presented. I wonder if having a default which leaves the account exposed gives him some slight leverage.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Yes... leave me logged in, ask me later. No option for fuck off and never ask me again.

      I use pron mode for all financial transactions to avoid auto login and recognition - though it wouldn't surprise me to learn that ebay have found a way to track me through that...

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Turn on 2FA in PayPal, it'll ask you for the code every time unless you tick remember this device. Also, don't verify your credit card, that means PayPal will enforce its own yearly spending limit on it. And, of course, never ever give them your bank account number.

        But PayPal is a necessary evil, otherwise you're reduced to entering your credit card details into far too many websites.

        1. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

          Turn on 2FA in PayPal

          Couldn't agree more.

          2FA is not a "hindrance" -- 2FA is to "back you up" for situations like this.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Anything that improves security is a "hindrance". That's why every week, no - every day, brings news of more security breaches, businesses taken down by malware and all the rest.

        2. Scoured Frisbee

          I have 2FA on for PayPal - except it doesn't work for eBay, where somehow it just magically pays with one click using only my active eBay session for authentication. I imagine I set this up when I sold some stuff years ago (back when you had to get a physical 2fa card for PayPal), but now I don't have any idea how to turn it off.

          Fortunately my default PayPal card messages me for purchases so at least I would know.

  6. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    Flashback

    Those with children born ca. 1990 may remember the computer game Monster Truck Madness. It did not involve eBay.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Flashback

      Must have been a spinoff of one of my favs, Midtown Madness.

      1. fobobob

        Re: Flashback

        Monster Truck Madness predates Midtown Madness by several years (1996/1999, respectively). Really enjoyed dialing up the horsepower and other vehicle parameters in the game data files of Midtown, leading to such fun as accidentally driving up the sides of buildings and other glitches. :) ...

        Both great games, along with Motocross Madness. Each of them have at least one follow-on version that provide additional content, improved game engine, etc. Still good fun if you're not looking for photorealism, accurate physics, or realistic damage models.

        1. quxinot Silver badge

          Re: Flashback

          > Really enjoyed dialing up the horsepower and other vehicle parameters in the game data files of Midtown, leading to such fun as accidentally driving up the sides of buildings and other glitches. :) ...

          "Accidentally"?

          Oh come off it. :) If memory serves, similar tricks could be played on Motorcross Madness, to hilarious effect.

          The best 'adjustment' of game parameters that I ever was party to was a very old game called Deathtrack. If you had missiles or other expendable weaponry, it was quite easy to always have them completely 'restocked' for each track--they were quite expensive. But the better trick was to set them to negative quantities, as the game would subtract 1 from your total each time you fired.... and they never hit zero, so they never ran out. Good times, good times.

  7. chivo243 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    That will leave a mark

    Ouch, feel sorry for the guy to a degree. Sorry I have to leave you with the Forrest Gump "Stupid is as stupid does."

    I hope he has learned something...

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: That will leave a mark

      I'm not sure stupid is the word. Ill-informed, or ill-advised, perhaps? The whole online marketing thing is designed to make it absolutely painless to purchase online - Amazon, Ebay and no doubt others want you to just click and go.

      There's a psychological block, I think, about handing over five pound notes. Using plastic doesn't tend to trigger the same thoughtful response, and click to buy is an absolute menace.

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: That will leave a mark

        The whole online marketing thing is designed to make it absolutely painless to purchase online - Amazon, Ebay and no doubt others want you to just click and go.

        It's why I periodically check that Amazon hasn't set my account to use "1-Click". To me it's something whose only purpose is to trick you into accidental purchases, so I refuse to use it. It means of course that I can't but digital media through them; oh well, their loss.

        And on my Amazon account I have an expired CC as my "default" payment. So I have to go in and select a different payment method anytime I buy anything there. Some years back some banks had set up one-use credit card numbers, which would be perfect for your on-file CC for feeBay and the rest of their ilk. Also handy for those sample subscriptions that will never end. But I expect it's for those very reasons that the banks were "convinced" into dropping the program. Because we can't let personal security get in the way of screwing the customer.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: That will leave a mark

          My bank still offers the service for one time credit cards, and I can also generate one with a predefined duration in months and a max amount available. That's the card I use on Paypal. When it expires or the max amount is reached, I generate a new one. The max amount is usually a few hundred euros, I never used Paypal for larger sums.. I always wonder why such system isn't more widespread. When you know you can buy safely you buy with less fears. I made purchases I would have not done otherwise. If I felt conned, I would buy less and less.

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge

            Re: That will leave a mark

            Similarly I've been using PayPal with a linked bank account that usually has just a small balance, and zero overdraft. Larger purchases that I need to make via PayPal I either transfer the appropriate amount from my main account beforehand, or PP makes the payment, the bank rejects the DD and PP notifies me that I need to settle the debt I now have with them some other way.

  8. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    I remember when voice-activated assistants like Alexa first started rolling out...

    There was a newsstory about a little girl who talked her parents' Alexa device into buying 5 pounds of sugar cookies and a big Barbie dollhouse.

    I guess safeguards haven't progressed much since then.

    1. Dog11

      Re: I remember when voice-activated assistants like Alexa first started rolling out...

      ...and the story made the local TV news. Where the newsreader recited the "Alexa, buy this" line. Turns out in a lot of houses, Alexa lives within earshot of the TV.

  9. Rick594
    FAIL

    250 Man U mugs

    Many, Many years ago in the dark days before 'tinternet my eldest son who was 6 at the time managed to get onto the Sky store and ordered over 250 Man U mugs, fortunately I'd unplugged the telephone line to plug a modem in, so the purchase never went through.

  10. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    Flame

    Christ, what assholes

    By which I mean the seller, eBay, PayPal, and the bulk of commentards. The gentleman in question is a "takeaway worker," which I assume means either delivery driver, cook, or cashier. In any case, he's probably poor and not especially educated and not a computer expert. It seems like a genuine mistake was made, one which should have been caught by PayPal, but even if it wasn't, the seller could have shown some compassion and cancelled the sale.

    1. just_some_dude

      Re: Christ, what assholes

      Hopefully the general public is not as misanthropic as the commentards here. The guy is taking the issue to the court of public opinion, which is probably the right move at this point. Hopefully the other parties will feel the pressure and let the whole thing drop. Deals fall through all the time.

      1. Steven Raith

        Re: Christ, what assholes

        Oh, sweet summer child. You've never had a dispute with PayPal, have you?

        Friend of mine had £4k - literally his income to cover him for three months - arbitrarily frozen by PayPal, and it took three months for them to claim 'unusual account activity'.

        It took two years and a subsequent grand and a half of legal fees (after he had thrown himself into his business for 18 hours days for three months cover his rent) for him to get his money back. And yes, he got his legal fees back, eventually. Because he won.

        I was on the dole at the time, and even I loaned him a fiver here and a quid there to get food. Because he was self employed in the early days of Universal Credit so dole wasn't exactly being helpful for him.

        Paypal do not care about you. Paypal only care about their bottom line. Anything they can do to get out of releasing funds of lettings debts drop, they will do, absolutely without exception.

        Unless you have the money to take them to court, obviously.

        Do not, ever, put any serious funds in Paypal. Period. They are the most mercenary shitheads out there.

        Steven R

        1. just_some_dude

          Re: Christ, what assholes

          Yes, they only get paid when money changes hands so they'll be hardasses. Hence my take that the dude is probably right to take it to the press and make it a public issue. Maybe it will help compel PayPal or the seller to relent.

        2. David Austin

          Re: Christ, what assholes

          Said it before and I will say it again: PayPal has all the power of a Bank or Credit card provider, but none of the regulations or legal protections in place - It should have a lot more regulation than it does to protect everyone.

        3. DryBones

          Re: Christ, what assholes

          Closed and burned my PayPal account to the ground years ago.

          Haven't looked back, and this sort of thing just validates my motivations.

          Ditch PayPal. You can feed your credit card info through them on individual purchases, and if they try to get cute they get to try and explain themselves to a primary payment provider that is Not Amused and perfectly capable of revoking their ability to process payments.

          For everything else, use actual reputable companies.

          1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

            Re: Christ, what assholes

            no thanks, id rather not have to put card details into every site , both for security and laziness reasons

          2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

            Re: Christ, what assholes

            I am in the process of saying goodbye to PayPal. I have a credit card that I use only for online purchases, with a bank (Co-op) that is very good at halting any suspicious payment and querying me. It can be a pain, but it has actually saved me twice from huge scams on the card. I don't find it a burden to have a few extra seconds of inputting -- it allows me time to reconsider and stop impulse buying, or to double-check my order.

        4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Christ, what assholes

          "Oh, sweet summer child. You've never had a dispute with PayPal, have you?"

          This is why taking it to the court of public opinion is the better choice. It's likely to be seen by an actual human being who realises it's not good PR and something needs to be done.

    2. Scroticus Canis

      Re: Christ, what assholes - A second-hand car or truck dealer show compassion‽

      What planet are you living on? Is there room for one more please?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Christ, what assholes - A second-hand car or truck dealer show compassion‽

        I bought a car off FleaBay, and paid for it through PayPal. It was described as being "a good little car", and still had some MOT left on it. I bought a train ticket to collect it, and drove it home. When I took it to the MOT station next morning, it failed comprehensively. I contacted the seller, who said that it was fine when I collected it, and it should have passed the MOT alright, so he wasn't prepared to refund the money (it was fairly cheap, anyway). I raised a complaint with FleaBay, they said that vehicles were not covered by their money back guarantee. I escalated it to PayPal, who said the same thing. I escalated it again with my CC provider, who said thay Section 75 does not apply if the funds are funnelled through a second system, such as payPal. I raised the issue with the Financial Ombudsman's Office, and they said that they were not able to intervene as I'd already exhausted all the necessary steps, and was out of the 3 month time limit. Eventually, I spent yet more money on getting the MOT problems solved, and the car is, indeed, a good little car now, but has cost me considerably more than the advertised price, plus a lot of aggro.

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: Christ, what assholes - A second-hand car or truck dealer show compassion‽

          a private sale isnt going to take a credit card payment directly , and thus let yuou make use of article 75.

          All you can do is look at the car first , or when you turn up to collect it and not pay if not up to scratch.

          You cant always tell , but thems the risks.

        2. Sykowasp

          Re: Christ, what assholes - A second-hand car or truck dealer show compassion‽

          Lesson learned I guess. Next time you'll buy a car with 10+ months MOT remaining - although there are still dodgy dealers with mates in MOT test centres that get dodgy cars passed.

          Seems to me that if you buy a second hand car that's more than 8 years old, you should factor in a few hundred quid for the next MOT to get it back up to scratch.

  11. just_some_dude

    Yes, dude should have taken precautions to keep his kids from buying things. However, if I understand correctly, the issue a lot of people commenting here seem to be missing is that the buyer didn't actually have the money to pay for the truck. It's not clear based on the article if PayPal gave the seller any money. One would think that PayPal would see the buyer does not have the money then simply cancel the transaction. If the situation was flipped and the seller didn't actually have the truck, would PayPal send collections after the seller demanding a monster truck?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "However, if I understand correctly, the issue a lot of people commenting here seem to be missing is that the buyer didn't actually have the money to pay for the truck."

      I'm sure people here do realise that. The people who don't are PayPal and eBay and it's they who are getting slagged off.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Im still extremely confused how it got paid for if he didnt have money or credit.

        1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

          Banks are happy to give you an overdraft

          It might be that his bank automatically created an overdraft for this, and then merrily charged him every month for having an unauthorised large overdraft.

  12. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    IANAL...

    Isn't the contract of supply & purchase between the eBay seller & purchaser? eBay is just a way for a seller & buyer to find each other and Paypal is just a means to transfer money, just like a bank, credit card, etc. Paypal don't care if the buyer doesn't have the funds. They'll just decline the transaction. The seller could try their luck in court claiming breach of contract by the buyer.

    The buyer needs the seller to agree to cancel the supply contract.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: IANAL...

      "Isn't the contract of supply & purchase between the eBay seller & purchaser?"

      No contract without consideration. You can only claim for out-of-pocket expenses that occurred due to breaking of a promise. This is usually called promissory estoppel. You cannot enforce the contract, but if the guy drives his truck half-way round the country to be sold and then you say no, he can claim expenses, lost time, etc. As it stands, there is no detriment, the buyer stated quickly that it was a mistake, so no estoppel.

      Paypal can appoint debt collectors all they want. They can do this whether or not the debt doesn't actually exist. And you certainly cannot chase for debt before the goods have been exchanged. "It's outside my house, come and get it" doesn't cut it.

      IANAL though, as you.

    2. just_some_dude

      Re: IANAL...

      If the account in the article is correct, the buyer did not have the funds yet Paypal did not decline the transaction and are now pursuing him. It reads like PayPal is hounding the buyer on behalf of the seller. Perhaps there's something missing from the story though. For example, it's unclear if the seller got his money.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: IANAL...

        "If the account in the article is correct, the buyer did not have the funds yet Paypal did not decline the transaction and are now pursuing him. It reads like PayPal is hounding the buyer on behalf of the seller."

        Indeed, and since PayPal is an intermediary, and not a party to the contract (their own opinion) what business do they have appointing debt collectors in the first place?

        1. d3vy Silver badge

          Re: IANAL...

          I read it as PayPal have paid the seller making the buyer in debt to paypal.

          So the seller is quids in they have their money and truck, the buyer is facing bankruptcy and PayPal are unlikely to ever recover that money.

          1. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: IANAL...

            "I read it as PayPal have paid the seller making the buyer in debt to paypal."

            I would like to see any contract like that. You win a bid on eBay, form a promise with the seller (explicitly not a contract) and then what? PayPal just hands over money to someone, and then tries to get it off someone else? Still no contract has been formed, as no consideration has been made. PayPal will try to come up with promissory estoppel here, if they did pay the seller assuming that the buyer would come forward. But I personally think that PayPal handing £19k to someone would not be considered 'reasonable' by any magistrate, and that's an important part of estoppel, whether the actions causing consequential loss are reasonable.

            1. d3vy Silver badge

              Re: IANAL...

              I agree, its shit and I don't see how its legal but I can believe that its how they operate because its also how PayPal do their dispute resolution.

              I keep zero money in my PayPal account.

              If I sell something on eBay get the money and ship the item and withdraw the funds from PayPal THEN the buyer disputes the transaction, PayPal will debit my balance making it a negative value, give the money back to the buyer and emails to me threatening me with debt collection if I don't pay them the money back.

              I know this because it happened a few months ago when I sold one of the kids old phones and it "went missing" in the post.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whilst in general eBay has a "Once bought, it's yours" policy, I'm pretty sure they have an exception for motor vehicles and property...so both the seller and buyer have the freedom to walk away if they change their mind upon seeing the item in person.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This is true. Ebay's rules are that once winning a car auction, the buyer can walk away up until the vehicle is collected. It looks to me like the buyer rather than follow the process which would have got him out of the proverbial creek straight away, has instead put his head in the sand. The process is contact the seller and tell them you no longer want the vehicle. It's that simple. I sell cars on ebay all the time, it's frustrating when buyers decline, but it's within the rules. I suspect the buyers silence is what has escalated this. Contract law top tip, if you don't challenge within a reasonable time you are deemed in law to have accepted a contract by default. Never stay silent hoping something will go away.

  14. Jamesit

    I hope he uses 2FA on PayPal now. I hope everything works out for him.

  15. martinusher Silver badge

    It happens

    I have a colleague who a month or two back was working on his tablet when one of his young children became curious about the fingerprint reader. He (the adult, of course) enrolls the child as an additional user to demonstrate fingerprint reading.

    You can probably guess what's coming next.

    Kid's playing one of those games that has 'in app' purchases. Parent isn't paying attention (or doing something sensible like un-enrolling kid after fingerprint demo). Its easy to get what you want, you just stab the screen. The bill was only for $700. Apple and game company were not sympathetic.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: It happens

      Does iPadOS allow multiple user accounts yet?

      When Microsoft introduced a Children's Mode (limiting which apps and websites could be used) on their mobile OS, it seemed like a clearly useful feature - even if a phone doesn't have payment details stored in it, the fear of Little Johnny deleting phone contacts instead of playing Snake goes back twenty years.

      EDIT: it appears iPads only offer Guided Access mode, restricting Johnny to a single app if he doesn't know your access code. More recent versions Android, Windows and Chrome OS have support for multiple user accounts.

      1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: It happens

        The Apple solution is to purchase another iPad for each child.

      2. Sykowasp

        Re: It happens

        It is simple - don't buy iPads for children to use. Buy Fire Tablets (or other cheap Android tablets) - proper user accounts and proper child management. Sure, they are less powerful, but they are also dirt cheap when they get broken (and there's a 2 year replacement policy on the kids editions).

  16. d3vy Silver badge
    Joke

    The simple solution should be when the debt collectors arrive tell them where to find the monster truck.

    Problem.solved?

  17. Giles C Bronze badge

    PayPal now can use 2fa which I just turned on, so that sorted part of the problem out.

    There should have a confirmation email sent to the account when the order went through though...

  18. iGNgnorr

    eBay, PayPal and Amazon customer support

    If I had to rate customer support for these threee, I'd rate them:

    Amazon 9.9/10

    eBay 2/10

    PayPal -1/10

    PayPal are the least helpful company on this planet in my experience. They simply will not help. Unfortunately a number of small businesses use PayPal to process online payments, so either you stick with Amazon or take a risk and use the small business and PayPal.

    Fortunately, in the UK the credit (not debit) card rules force the card companies to properly process chargebacks when things go wrong with a PayPal processed payment. I always think at least twice before using PayPal to process a card payment, and often just don't take the risk.

    I've not had to force a chargeback very often (3 or maybe 4 times in my entire life,) but 2 of those have involved PayPal card payments.

    1. julian.smith
      Happy

      Re: eBay, PayPal and Amazon customer support

      My experience is different

      I buy a bit of stuff on EBay and pay with PayPal

      Occasionally I get duff stuff:

      I follow the EBay process - contact the seller and describe the problem. If no satisfaction, initiate an EBay dispute - EBay sets a deadline of about a week. Mostly the refund is forthcoming. If not, EBay decides in my favour - the money comes.

      Examples

      - 400ml glasses that are 310ml (seller refunded almost immediately)

      - UPS sold as new which was obviously not (seller tried to play hardball, sent a pre-paid mailer then claimed a 30% "restocking" fee. A complaint to EBay produced a full refund within 2 hours

      - International smartwatch which was Chinese only. Seller tried to get me to accept a discount, then claimed they needed the money to feed their family [they had 300,000 Ebay sales]. Before the EBay dispute settlement deadline the money arrived

      1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

        Re: eBay, PayPal and Amazon customer support

        Although I have learned to be careful on eBay. If I go through'official' channels to query a late arrival, they often simply refund my money. And then the item arrives, and then I have a lot of trouble actually getting the money tot he vendor. I don't want free stuff just because Royal Mail was a little late in delivery. It hurts small vendors. So I say my query is 'other' and have a nice chat with them and it has always been resolved amicably, with me getting my stuff and them getting their money.

    2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: eBay, PayPal and Amazon customer support

      Fortunately, in the UK the credit (not debit) card rules force the card companies to properly process chargebacks when things go wrong with a PayPal processed payment. I always think at least twice before using PayPal to process a card payment, and often just don't take the risk.

      do they? I've just read somewhere above that a credit card company wriggled out of refunding claiming the money had been "moved through a secondary" or some shit , ie paypal.

    3. just_some_dude

      Re: eBay, PayPal and Amazon customer support

      If PayPal broke the 1 to 10 scale you should check out Square's subsidiary Cash App. You literally can't get in touch with a real person for customer service. Their published phone number just plays a recording telling you to use the in app help function. The in app help function contains inaccurate information and does not provide any means to contact a real person at Cash App.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PayPal moved their office out of the UK several years back so they don't have to be regulated by the FCA. They claim to be registered so people think they're safe to do business with but their FCA registration is not as a bank or credit provider but as an e-money supplier, which offers no practical protection.

    1. Phones Sheridan

      https://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/faqs/all/can-complain-paypal

  20. david1024

    Am I the only one?

    I want a link a pic of the truck!

  21. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Some day...

    Someone will challenge the way that browsers display order forms on the screen (I'd be surprised if there haven't been any cases).

    How can a company like ebay *prove* that an order form, together with its associated T's&C's looked the way it was intended to do, when presented to a user. There are all sorts of reasons why things might not appear as they should do: Cookie's set, DNS server used, Browser used, client browser settings, such as text and background colours, cacheing, anti-malware utilitiy, pop-up blockers, Javascript settings, which CDN or Cloud node was involved in delivering this content stream, etc. Ebay can infer some things by looking at the raw logs, but in a way adequate to be used as evidence? I doubt it. As the plaintiff they have to go the extra mile in their argument of proof.

  22. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
    Pint

    Yeah, sure.

    Sorry, as an Aussie (if it makes any difference) and as a regular buyer of tat on fleabay, banggood, aliexpress etc etc I can't see how this happens at all.

    Any time I go over my daily PayPal limit (I think mine's $200 or $500) I get email notifications straight away from PayPal to confirm it's me and then they send me an SMS when I say it is me.

    I've seen stories like this before - "Five! year! old! buys! a house with dad's credit card" etc etc.

    Maybe it's different where this took place. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Would buy a lot of beer ----->

    1. DryBones
      Boffin

      Re: Yeah, sure.

      Things are going great, and they're only getting better?

      1. cheb

        Re: Yeah, sure.

        Are you wearing shades?

    2. julian.smith
      Mushroom

      Re: Yeah, sure.

      Got a crazy teacher ... he wears dark glasses

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ok, I don’t know if the price paid is close to the value of the item but re-listing on e-bay would offer a fair chance of recouping some money if not some profit. Many use e-bay as a commodity market re-listing stuff hours after buying. You don’t have to have the thing to hand to sell it on.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      wackily modified trucks are never worth anything near what the owners think they are , and way way less than the money thats gone into them.

      When they are forced to sell and take what they can get (becasue of the wife) you can pick up a chassis full of good bits, take the wheels , winches etc and scrap the rest

  24. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Does anyone

    Read all the emails from PayPal about recent transactions?

    I know I should but I use PayPal so rarely that I sometimes assume that the email in the next couple of days relates to my known recent transaction.

  25. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Specifics apart...

    Oh the joys of unregulated operators in regulated domains!

    Huge advantages accrue to businesses that can sidestep hard won controls that protect the customer, and they're progressively rising to dominate the market. However the free for all will eventually lead to free fall.

  26. Maximum Delfango Bronze badge
    Pint

    For the sake of his son, he needs to buy that truck...

    ...and when he sees it parked all the way down the road, it'll remind him that PayPal is not a bank, not a credit card, and not on your side.

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