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Return Violin To Get Your Money Back? No, Says PayPal, Smash It To Bits Instead!


Remember when PayPal tried to ruin Christmas? Well now they’ve gone and ruined the New Year, too. What you see above is the remnants of an antique World War II era violin. Why is it lying in ruins (and being cried over by Dawson)? PayPal told the purchaser of said violin to destroy it so he could get his money back. I would say “cue the violins” but well, as you can see, that isn’t possible. 

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Oddly enough, this newest PayPal idiot-fest was brought to light thanks to the victim of their last one. Helen Killer, aka April Winchell, from Regretsy received a letter from someone who had seen her plight (and eventual win) and thought she could help spread the word. Are you ready for this?

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.


I may not know thing one about violins but this is a travesty. How in the world is this a legitimate response to customer service? The post goes on to mention that the violin was examined and authenticated by a top luthier prior to its sale so for the buyer to say it was counterfeit was ridiculous to begin with but PayPal telling the individual to destroy it instead of, oh, I don’t know, MAILING IT BACK, is beyond me.

This is not a bizarre mishap though, destroying property is actually in PayPal’s terms:

Is this some twisted King Solomon scenario? Did PayPal hope one of the parties would object to the violin being destroyed and then grant them ownership because they’re the one who really cares about it?

I don’t even…

(via BoingBoing)

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Jill Pantozzi
Jill Pantozzi is a pop-culture journalist and host who writes about all things nerdy and beyond! She’s Editor in Chief of the geek girl culture site The Mary Sue (Abrams Media Network), and hosts her own blog “Has Boobs, Reads Comics” ( She co-hosts the Crazy Sexy Geeks podcast along with superhero historian Alan Kistler, contributed to a book of essays titled “Chicks Read Comics,” (Mad Norwegian Press) and had her first comic book story in the IDW anthology, “Womanthology.” In 2012, she was featured on National Geographic’s "Comic Store Heroes," a documentary on the lives of comic book fans and the following year she was one of many Batman fans profiled in the documentary, "Legends of the Knight."

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