For many years, my advice to online buyers has been to purchase with a credit card. This way, if something goes wrong, you have someone on your side who has a legal imperative to refund your money, even if the original vendor disappears.
Now PayPal and Apple are marketing themselves as ubiquitous payment systems for purchases. You can buy anything from anyone, even from physical vendors, using such services – but they aren’t covered by the Consumer Credit Act. Although PayPal highlights its “Buyer Protection”, my experience is that, unless the details of the transaction and procedure you followed fall within its defined small print, you won’t be covered. With credit card transactions, the Consumer Credit Act provides consumer protection first and foremost, with no burden on the consumer to meet any arbitrary requirements.
Will Apple’s new payment-processing system be any more effective in protecting consumers? Until the legislators catch up, people need to be made aware of just what they’re giving away by clicking that seemingly inconsequential option of paying by PayPal!
Read the full letter here.