Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Winning an appeal - even if it is just on eBay

Appeals are the area of law that I enjoy the most because they require cogent reasoning. The process is more enjoyable when the outcome supports the argument. It was sweet when a panel at Indiana University declared that my son would qualify as an in-state resident for tuition purposes based solely upon the strength of my brief. Although I did appear for oral argument I was told, after waiting an hour while the panel read the brief, that no additional evidence or argument was needed. Parents who appear at a contempt proceeding for failure to pay child support are entitled to appointed counsel if jail is an option and they are unable to afford private counsel. The Indiana Court of Appeals published that opinion earlier this year. That favourable ruling came upon my initial argument and it was not necessary to advance to the evidentiary argument.

Argument founded upon reasoning logically should be so strong as to not allow for any refutation or need of further evidence. This is necessary beyond the arena of law and policy. Life itself for us is dependent upon reasoning logically through the deductive process and is certainly enhanced by accurate inductive conclusions. Consuming poisons can sicken or kill us so we avoid them. Openly displaying luxurious goods or cash in some situations can also threaten our safety.

The humans who ate the berries became sick or died immediately after consuming them. I am a human. If I eat the berries I will become sick or die. That is deductive reasoning. The type that most applies to law -- which I use in the following anecdote about an eBay sale -- is inductive reasoning. That is reasoning with probability. Some people who wore expensive jewelry have been robbed in this parking lot at night. When I return to this parking lot it will be night. I wear expensive jewelry. I should take off my jewelry before walking across the parking lot tonight. There is no surety that I would have been robbed had I kept on the jewelry nor is there a guarantee that I won’t be robbed even if I don’t wear it as it may not be jewelry the thieves seek. But it is more probable that I would be robbed if I was adorned by the jewelry. That is inductive reasoning.

So here is what occurred on eBay. I sold a lot of 70 DVDs to a so-called buyer in Flowery Branch, Georgia -- Lee Linton. Instead of generating a shipping label using Paypal I handwrite my own and affix stamps to the parcel. This is because I buy large lots of unused stamps for around sixty per-cent of face value, pull out what I want for my collection then use the remainder as postage. Thus, the $15 to ship the parcel cost me less than $10.

When the parcel arrives to Linton’s post office box it supposedly only contains six of the seventy DVDs -- so claims Linton. This claim was made to me using the ebay contact form and was accompanied by a photo of the box which was not damaged but had only six DVDs laid out flat in it. I promptly contacted my post office to start an investigation for theft. Linton contacted Paypal to dispute the payment. The postmaster wanted the original package to assist in the investigation. Paypal stated that if Linton returned what did arrive that a refund would be issued. The six DVDs were returned but not the original box needed as evidence in the theft investigation. Paypal promptly made a refund to Linton who had already left negative feedback for me. Paypal gave me 15 days to appeal its decision.

I contacted Linton’s local police department for their assistance in retrieving the packaging and to also initiate a theft investigation in addition to that conducted by federal authorities. I then formulated my appeal to Paypal.

Here is what I argued:

~ Tracking information shows that Linton received the parcel at the post office.
~ Linton made no claim to postal employees that the package was damaged or missing any contents.
~ Linton contacted me and claimed that only six DVDs arrived.
~ I responded that I sent all seventy which must have been in the parcel because it was a 16 pound package when I sent it which I stated to Linton.
~ Linton responded. “It doesn’t say anywhere on the package what the weight was.” [as is done on the Paypal generated labels]
~ I replied that my postal receipt indicates that the parcel weight was 16lbs 5oz.
~ Linton did not return the original package that federal authorities requested for their investigation.
~ Linton has not cooperated in the investigation.

I concluded:

My logical conclusion of this evidence is that Linton received an undamaged package covered in postage stamps instead of a label indicating the weight and saw an opportunity to exploit eBay/Paypal’s Buyer Protection Policy. The parcel was not damaged, as indicated by the photo, thus Linton’s claim is that I simply did not send the full contents of the auction listing -- not six DVDs and a brick. I believe Linton saw an opportunity to claim missing contents because the weight was not indicated on the parcel. Linton failed to realize that I had a receipt indicating the weight as measured by the postal clerk. Linton has not participated in the law enforcement investigations because it is highly probable that Linton received all the DVDs as sent and is trying to commit a fraud by manipulating the Buyer Protection Policy.

Paypal apparently agreed and return the payment to me upon the day of my filing of the appeal.

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©2008, 2014 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.


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