If you do business online and receive payments via Paypal, you probably already know that Paypal does not protect sellers of digital downloads from unscrupulous buyers. A buyer can, and many do, purchase an item and then immediately file a Paypal dispute. Many sellers will just issue a refund to keep their Paypal accounts in good standing, even if they know that the dispute has been filed fraudulently for the sole purpose of receiving the product for free.
I have heard over and over in forums that there is little you can do to fight back against this type of Paypal fraud, but that isn’t exactly true. You can’t recover the money they sent if you refund, of course, but you can prevent them from using the product they bought on a website.
Make sure when you are making sales online, that you keep all correspondence and have good records of the sales you make and downloads. I personally use DLGuard for my sales and downloads, as I feel it’s the best and most secure way to deliver downloads available. In DLGuard, you have a record of sales, downloads, customers, customer’s emails, etc. You can also ban by ip or email someone who has previously requested a refund or that you don’t want to do business with again. You need documentation of the sales and downloads if you are going to fight someone who rips you off via Paypal dispute.
I sell turnkey niche blogs at Niche Blogging Treasure and on a couple of occasions, a customer, without contacting me for a refund, has filed a Paypal dispute, saying item was not as described. Of course, that is sheer nonsense in this instance, since the websites are an exact copy of the demo. If you’ve seen the demo, you know what you are getting.
I’ll give you an example of what I did to fight one ripoff artist. The customer purchased the Yoga website from my site. He then filed a “not significantly as described” Paypal dispute. I refunded his purchase and sent him an email confirming his refund with a statement that his license to use the site or the Woo theme or the content was no longer valid. He sent a response back saying something like … bite me.
Needless to say, that pissed me off. Pissed me off enough to do something about it. Here’s the rationale I was working under. If you sell a product and refund a product, the customer is no longer the owner of that product. If the product is a website, and he installs the website after being told that he no longer has the right to use your copyrighted material, he is in violation of copyright law.
Mosts hosts take copyright violations pretty seriously. All you need to do is gather all the documentation together of the sale, the refund, proof of your ownership of the product, etc. and file a DMCA notice or what is commonly referred to as a take down notice. Sounds like a lot of hassle, but it really wasn’t as much hassle as I expected. I Googled for a sample DMCA notice and then revised it for my purposes.
You will need to find out who hosts the website and that is easily found out using this website: http://who-hosts.com/. The host is who you will send the take down notice to, as they are the ones who are hosting copyrighted material.
This method should work not only if you have sold a website, but if you sold an ebook and the ripoff artist is selling that ebook on a website or even through Ebay or they have uploaded it to another site.
I had very good results doing this. The host immediately contacted me and told me that they had sent the notice to their customer and gave them the weekend to resolve the issue. He waited until Sunday night to resolve, but he did in fact, remove the theme and the original content from the site and was left with one very ugly website using the default WordPress theme.
Copyright infringements are also an Adsense TOS violation. So I went to the site and clicked on the “Ads by Google” underneath the Adsense. Next click on the “Send Google your thoughts on the site or the ads you just saw” link. That’s where you can report a violation. I sent a report using this method and got an email back with the fax number to send a take down notice. I faxed a copy of the takedown to the number they gave me. I never received a response, but the site in question is no longer displaying Adsense ads.
So now you have a method that has worked for me in combating Paypal dispute fraud. Hope it works for you too if you need it.
Here is a copy for your swipefile of the DMCA I sent, with all the personal information removed
To: HOSTING COMPANY
cc: Google, Inc.
My name is YOUR NAME and I am the owner of COMPANY OR WEBSITE. A website that your company hosts (according to WHOIS information) is infringing on at least eleven copyrighted articles owned by my company. He purchased the site from me and after launching it, requested a refund from Paypal, which was granted. After refunding, I informed him that he no longer had license to use the Woo theme under my developers license or the content that came with the site. He refused to remove the theme and content. You can see the Paypal transaction plus refund at PAYPAL PROOF SCREENSHOT. You can also see the site he purchased from my site here: http://nichebloggingtreasure.com/category/gallery/dietfitness/yoga/. This is my business, and my intellectual property and can only be used for personal use if purchased from me.
Therefore, the articles are copied onto your servers without permission and he is even hotlinking to my images that I purchased from iStockphoto without an iStockphoto license to use them. He is also using a custom made Woo theme designed for me without my permission from me or without a valid license from Woo to use the Woo theme.
These articles are being used without permission or attribution. The original articles and photos, to which we own the exclusive copyrights, and the infringing copies can be found at:
URLS OF YOUR MATERIAL AND URLS OF INFRINGING MATERIAL
This letter is official notification under Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (”DMCA”), and I seek the removal of the aforementioned infringing material from your servers. I request that you immediately notify the infringer of this notice and inform them of their duty to remove the infringing material immediately, and notify them to cease any further posting of infringing material to your server in the future.
Please also be advised that law requires you, as a service provider, to remove or disable access to the infringing materials upon receiving this notice. Under US law a service provider, such as yourself, enjoys immunity from a copyright lawsuit provided that you act with deliberate speed to investigate and rectify ongoing copyright infringement. If service providers do not investigate and remove or disable the infringing material this immunity is lost. Therefore, in order for you to remain immune from a copyright infringement action you will need to investigate and ultimately remove or otherwise disable the infringing material from your servers with all due speed should the direct infringer, your client, not comply immediately.
I am providing this notice in good faith and with the reasonable belief that rights my company owns are being infringed. Under penalty of perjury I certify that the information contained in the notification is both true and accurate, and I have the authority to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright(s) involved.
Should you wish to discuss this with me please contact me directly.