Domain Spotlight:

Am I Wrong Here? If You Only Do Paypal Then I Just Won’t Buy

I was burned once and it won’t happen again.  On DnForum there are many people that will only take paypal and immediately I become cautious.  While I use paypal every single day and I have no problem using it for small purchases, I won’t use it for anything over $500.  I recently agreed to purchase some numerics on DnForum and this was our conversation:

Seller:  looks like your bid is the best so i will take your offer .. i only accept paypal

Me: I only do paypal if I get the domains transferred to my account first. I am fairly well known around here as DomainShane. Otherwise I only do Also I would need the names transferred to Godaddy. I don’t do pushes to any accounts other than Moniker, Enom, or Godaddy. If you can do this we have a deal. I don’t think any of this is unreasonable as there have been way to many issues here on the forums of late.

Seller: hey Shane , sorry i dont work like that ,, whenever i bought names i always had to pay for them first , and i have been in this game for 7 years , and its a fair tradition….. so no sale then …. if you dont want to pay first like its always done ...

Me: Sorry but paypal is not safe. I have been burned twice. I will do it through If you can’t do it through Escrow dot com then I guess we don’t have a deal. I apologize but security in the transaction is very important to me.

I didn’t really mean to play the “I’m more known than you” card but in reality most people know who I am and realize I’m not going to screw anyone and ruin my reputation.  Many may know the seller but I certainly don’t.  Almost everyone has either just done escrow or transferred the domain to me and then I paid them.  I don’t think I was being to cautious.  In my opinion, a real professional has no problem doing escrow.  People that want quick transactions want them for a reason and those reason are very often bad.  I’d love to hear others opinions.

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23 Replies to “Am I Wrong Here? If You Only Do Paypal Then I Just Won’t Buy”

  1. I can see his point of being paid first and yours as well. The not willing to use escrow instead tells me he/she isn’t serious or something isn’t right with the deal. I use PayPal when I am selling usually items under $1K. I always put in the terms and conditions “All Sales Final” “Domain Name Only” and sometimes even “As Is”. I also give them the option to do it simultaneously on the phone with me if they want. PayPal said they take the T and conditions language into consideration in the event someone disputes it within the 20 days they have.

  2. “PayPal said they take the T and conditions language into consideration in the event someone disputes it within the 20 days they have.”


    That is interesting.

    But are you 100% certain PayPal will consider such T & C even for digital items?

  3. @Trico
    That is what two reps told me over the phone.
    I didn’t read their entire terms and conditions or ask a manager to clarify it, but I believe that they would have to during their standard investigation since it is clearly spelled out on the receipt that one receives and may fall under contract law of some sort. The people I usually do PayPal with I feel are legitimate/serious about the transaction, but I put I still put it in there. Let me know if they tell you otherwise.

  4. There is no security whatsoever in paypal with domains transactions. They’re considered intangible property and explicitly not subject to any buyer protections.

    I recently had a nightmare scenario with a one word .com purchased ‘from the wild’ via the original circa-1990s registrant who had tired of operating the site. Since I’m usually the one contacting these people out of the blue, the onus is on me to accommodate them when payment time comes. He preferred paypal, XXXX payment was made and instructions were sent for push. Instead of initiating transfer, he starts acting VERY erratically and sending bizarre emails about how he won’t follow the instructions for the push, I need to “contact my ISP and have them initiate a URL exchange.” When I explain this isn’t how a domain transfer is done, he becomes belligerent and insists it is and that he won’t proceed with anything until “my ISP contacts his ISP… ”

    Oh, great…

    After a good bit of threatening, cajoling, pleading, emails, phone calls, I finally got this miserable retard-kook to transfer the domain and site, but not after making a few phone calls to paypal- and my supposed “advanced” customer service via a Paypal Advantage account- and learning that Paypal protection for domains was absolutely zero.

    I’ve made good-faith deals with zero security via unknown persons on the internet that would make most people say I’m insane and I’ve NEVER been burned, but coming that close to the fire this last time definitely changed the way I’ll handle transactions over a certain amount.

  5. Having heard enough horror stories, I don’t accept Paypal from anyone other than my mother 🙂 for transactions over $100. I have had some offers on Portuguese .TV domains in the low XXXX range but with payment via Paypal. When I insisted on Escrow there was no response.

  6. I only transferred the name first when I first started out domaining. I had to do it to build up my trader rating. I haven’t done it since and buyers haven’t asked me to push the name first.

    I have been cautious with paypal since a buyer tried to scam me on eBay. Sold me a product and sent in a different product. I eventually got my money back but it took months.

  7. I don’t see anything wrong with what the seller was asking you to do. I would’ve asked him if he would use eCop escrow for sale instead.

  8. I agree 100% and have done the same in many situations. At we see Pay Pal scams as one of the top ways domains are stolen, or in this case, money is stolen.

    Pay Pal never wants to get involved and they don’t understand domains at all which allows scammers to make more money.

    Of course if the seller will take or eCop then you’re in good shape but be very suspicious of anyone accepting Pay Pal only.

    Great post Shane and such an important point!

  9. For the readers, I have sold a name to Shane and I pushed the name to him without being paid. He promptly paid me after months and months of phone calls and lawyers threatening him. I would do it this way again anytime.

    For those who don’t know I’m kidding, Shane pays promptly and I don’t have a problem at all transferring to him and getting payment later. He has too much on the line and his name means much more to him than scamming someone out of a couple thousand dollars.

  10. is my first choice. Their service is great and you can always split the fees, if necessary. I use Paypal for things like Ebay and deposits from wedding clients, but seldom for domains. I’ve only ever paid for a domain over $5k using Paypal once – but that was a case where the seller knew me.

    I have no idea why the seller in this case is insisting on Paypal, unless it’s the only service available in their part of the world. They should also try using capital letters. And better punctuation.

  11. Shane,

    Nothing wrong with what you did, but at the same time just because you get the domains in your account does not mean you should use paypal.

    When you find out the domains are stolen you will still lose the paypal amount and the domains. Avoid using paypal altogether especially if the buyer insists.

  12. If the person is known and has a solid reputation, I have no problem dealing in good faith from start to finish and either pushing first, or paying first.

    Dealing with shadowy randoms is another story.

  13. What about using direct wire transfer? I had a buyer ( stranger) pay me $xxxx by direct fund transfer to my bank account. The money transfered from US to Australia, no problems at all. The only thing is the buyer has to trust me.

    The buyer transfer fund to my bank account first, upon confirmation of fund received, I then push the domain to the buyer.

  14. It should be an advantage to the sale in situations like this where one of the parties IS a known entity, an easy target to find.

    If the price is agreed upon and we’re only talking about “pay me 1st” – “no you transfer 1st”..

    then logic should suggest a known public entity with a reputation at stake isnt about to commit outright fraud by tricking someone into transferring property, and then refusing to pay as if it never happened.. as if THAT’S their scam.

    Two unknowns.. ya.

    But the buyer has a bullseye on his head and the nominal domain purchase probably isnt where he’s going to start scamminmg people.

    I say.

  15. The general rule of thumb is he who contacts moves first. If you aren’t comfortable with that, then use escrow, but the idea that I’m going to send out money or transfer property to anyone who emails me asking for it is absurd.

    It’s equally absurd for me to contact others and demand the same thing.

    If it’s two sentence fragments in Pigeon English offering to sell a for $4500, from a user who registered yesterday, that’s entirely different than dealing with a known entity. Context clues can eliminate a ton of the BS when dealing online.

  16. So what’s the situation when a buyer uses PayPal AND (i.e. loads funds onto using PayPal) …. I know that’s an option. What happens then if a buyer initiates a chargeback, either before or after Escrow releases the money ? Any ideas, because I feel like that can defeat the purpose of Escrow?

  17. In my less cautious days before I had ever been scammed, I was scammed out of an as someone paid via PayPal and disputed almost immediately (typical “compromised account”). The worst part about it was that my transfer to them was a push at Enom, where after push they can’t even push let alone transfer out for 7 days. I contacted Enom immediately, showed them what was going on on PayPal and they did NOTHING – wouldn’t even prolong the freeze. PayPal naturally did NOTHING and from what I hear, almost never do anything against the domain buyer in such cases. Domain lost.

    In my opinion, it’s more of a risk to sellers to accept PayPal than it is for buyers to pay through it, but either way, it’s always highly suspect if someone doesn’t consider escrow an option.

  18. “Tony says:

    Who is less protected with PayPal and domains, the buyer or the seller?”

    Both are equally at risk.

    Seller can lose the domain, Buyer can lose money.

  19. I know you, I trust you but what a pity that i have not yet had any chance to trade with you Shane …because as most of beginners ,our names are not valuable

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