A disgruntled Reg reader got in touch with us because he'd unwittingly bought some counterfeit X-box games.
Being an honest fella he rang PayPal to ask for payment to be stopped because the goods were no good. But to qualify, PayPal insisted he get a letter on headed notepaper from a qualified third party stating the games were fakes. And he had to get the documents within ten days for his claim to be considered.
PayPal could not give him a list of recomended third parties but told him to try a High Street games shop.
The Reg reader told us by email: "I tried my local game shop but not surprisingly, considering Christmas is only a couple of weeks away, they were not able to dedicate any time to writing a letter of validation because they were too busy serving the tens of people queueing up to buy games and new consoles!"
Michala Alexander, head of anti-piracy at Microsoft, told us: "Well first of all hats off to your reader - we welcome anyone taking action against illegal software. 50 per cent of software sales on eBay are fraudulent. We have a product identification service which people can use to check products are genuine. If they're high quality fakes, and people have some proof of purchase, we will replace their software."
But Alexander added: "Ten days is pretty tight turnaround time. We'd appreciate it if PayPal were a little more lenient once a dispute is ongoing."
We spoke to Visa and Mastercard to find out how they settle such disputes. But because banks have to visit merchants before they get credit card accreditation the problem arises less often.
A spokeswoman for PayPal said: "In order to be fair to both parties we have to limit the time we stop the money for to ten days - that seems fair to us. However in this case we are prepared to extend the deadline." ®