Dodgy client, paypal question

Hello everyone,

I’ve recently develop a website for a client and he has paid me through paypal (I’ve created invoice and request the payment)

Long story short, we have some disagreement and I feel the guy is very dishonest by providing me with nulled template as well as asking me to cut corners that is not ethical.

We’re in very bad terms now but we did come into an agreement on the settlement fee he’s willing to pay me and I’ll send the work that has been completed so far. Somehow I have a gut feeling that he’s gonna try something funny.

My primary concern is of course the payment, after he has paid me through paypal - will he be able to reverse the payment? I don’t think he has a paypal which is why he asked me to create an invoice (in paypal) and request the payment. Will he be able to reverse the payment?

My paypal Account type: Premier , Status: Verified

Hope you guys can help me out!


A paypal invoice is supposed to be for payment via Paypal, so I assume he will be paying you that way. And yes, he can request a reversal. For non-tangible goods like services, there’s no seller protection so it’s likely Paypal would just refund (should he claim non receipt or similar). Paypal don’t really ‘investigate’ anything in these cases - you are asked to fill in an online form and if you answer ‘no’ to the question ‘is this a tangible good that you have signed proof of delivery for’, they instantly and automatically refund the buyer (quite literally, the next page in the process is a message saying a refund has been made).

To be fair it’s very rare that buyers do this. But if you are concerned that this may happen, ask for payment via cash (western union etc) or cheque and wait for it to clear.

Thanks for your reply shadowbox

I wonder how paypal could do this, blatantly protecting the buyer and no protection to the seller especially on non-tangible services such as web design.

If this is the case, anyone could easily rip off a service provider by acquiring their service and requesting refund when it’s done.

For now paypal is the only option so I would like to discuss it further rather than other payment alternatives.

What if after the payment, I’ll withdraw the money out to my bank and then disconnect my credit card with the paypal account, or maybe to the extend of cancelling my credit card that is linked to the paypal?

I want to make sure once the guy has paid me via paypal, there’s no way I’ll get duped

I doubt Paypal want to get involved in legal disputes between parties, so they have the blanket policy of siding with buyers in all cases, except where the seller can prove delivery.

What if after the payment, I’ll withdraw the money out to my bank and then disconnect my credit card with the paypal account, or maybe to the extend of cancelling my credit card that is linked to the paypal?

I don’t know, but when you read that back, doesn’t it sound a bit extreme? You say you don’t want to discuss other payment options, but I’d say it’s a lot less hassle taking a cheque or Western Union, than cancelling credit cards, cleaning out your bank account, and hoping Paypal don’t pursue you for the money regardless.

How much money are we talking about here? Is it even worth worrying so much about it? What about escrow?


I also do freelancing work and do get some funny clients.

I’m not sure if you have, but if you a Payoneer card, then the client just needs your email address to put money in to your account that money is then in a MasterCard.

Its just an option like Pay-pal or bank transfer etc

The cost involve is $5k and it’s very significant for me.

After getting into some heated argument and settling on the terms, he was willing to pay me almost the full amount (90%) even though I’ve decided to stop work due to his unethical ways of doing things. (fishy)

The reason why I doesn’t want to consider other alternative is because the buyer has insisted on paypal being the only payment option which makes me wonder why does he want it when he (I think) doesn’t even have a paypal (asked for me to request money/send invoice). All these led me to believe there’s something fishy going on, I know i’m being paranoid but dealing with this client has been tricky so I’m trying to cover all possible outcome of my ass getting burn.

So to sum it up, paypal is the only option and I’m willing to do anything to cover my ass once he has sent me the money.

He can dispute the payment with PayPal later and possibly have it revoked from your account…but…I have had this happen a couple of times with shady clients, but have always had PayPal rule in my favor. As long as you are in the right, and you have documentation to support your side…such as saved emails with your client that shows agreements you have made and that you have, indeed, followed through on your part, PayPal should uphold your charges and not revoke payment.

No that’s a standard way to request money through paypal - i.e. ask for a paypal invoice to be sent to your email address. I’m sure he most likely does have a paypal account. And it looks like warehouselarry has been successful in upholding a reversal for a service, so make sure you document everything. I guess ‘proof of delivery’ could include a link to the web site and a contract? Or maybe send the site on disk to his mailing address via recorded delivery.

Sounds like you are worrying about problems that haven’t happened yet. If he’s offering to pay you, just take the money and if there are issues then deal with them at the time. Life is short and these types of sloppy client engagements should be resolved as quickly as possible - just take the money and hope it’s done. If not, you are back where you started.

Thanks for all your advices, I guess I’m not the gamble type of guy. I do have all emails we’ve exchanged and if something does happen and paypal reviews these email exchanges I’m sure they will rule in favor of me but these are nothing certain just like whether this shady client will duped me after I’ve sent him the files.

It’s tough for me to fully explain to you why I’m so cautious with this client unless I provide you with our email exchanges, it’s just the way this guy deal things leads me to believe I should protect myself from all possible outcome.

Closing down a paypal acc or credit card is not a problem for me as it’s fairly easy especially for the sum involving. So if I receive the money and then proceed to cancel my credit card and withdraw all funds to my bank account, will I be safe then? What other steps should I take to ensure once I’ve receive the money, it’ll stay where it is and not get refunded

There’s no easy answer to this, because you have to remember that the buyer can use a credit card to pay through paypal, so not only would you be dealing with Paypal, you’d be dealing (indirectly) with the card issuer (who’ll be demanding the money back from Paypal). You’d have to look through Paypal’s terms, but I suspect that they’d reserve the right to pursue you personally over any debts you’ve managed to accrue after cancelling your account. If they didn’t do this, it would be a very nice loophole for all sorts of fraud.

Just a thought — could you turn this into a tangible product by putting the files onto a DVD and sending it to him express, registered post. You’ll then have a proof of delivery.

IMHO That is a very good idea!

Ahem :slight_smile:

For a 5k amount I’d definitely send it by disk rather than over the internet.

My understanding of how Paypal work with regard to intangible goods is that they always side with the seller provided that they have actually received the money themselves - that generally only applies where the buyer had the money in their Paypal account in the first place though. Where a buyer tells their bank or credit card company that the payment wasn’t authorised then the bank or cc company reverse the payment thenselves which means that the money is taken back from Paypal’s bank account and so Paypal would then need for you to provide them with sufficient proof that the payment was authorised in order for them to get the money back in order to give it to you. Credit card companies will always reverse any payment where there is a dispute and will only reinstate it if the seller can provide proof that the buyer authorised the transfer - which usually means you need their actual signature on some form of documentation relating to the sale.

I did read most of this thread, but missed your statement. In my defense it was buried in a paragraph :wink: