Public Mediation

PayPal is requiring its customers to break international law in order to receive a refund.

E. D. vs. Paypal, Inc
2211 N First St, San Jose, California, 95131-2021, United States
Amount Involved: $18.68
Complaint(s): Bad business practices
    • Status: In Negotiation
      This claim has posted for public comment and negotiation. It will remain posted until resolved to the claimant's satisfaction. Suggest a resolution to help these parties reach a settlement.
      (seeking public comment)
    • Claimant Seeks: 2 non-monetary items.
    • Claim #: 5771480
    • Amount Involved: 18.68
    • Filed On: Jun 10, 2020
    • Posted On: Jun 21, 2020
    • Complaint(s):
      • Bad business practices
  • Review this case.
  • Propose your solution.
  • Win the reward (1,000)
Statement of Claim
Claimant says:
"PayPal is requiring its customers to break international law in order to receive a refund.

I bought what was advertised as “Real Monstera albino seeds, carefully picked and packaged” from, using PayPal to pay.  Eventually the seeds turned up from Greece, in packages labeled as “Monstera seeds Made in China.’ (See attached photo.)

While I do not know whether the shipper got a phytosanitary certificate to ship seeds into the US, as required by the US Customs and Border Control, I DO know that the seeds were long past viability. The actual seeds were very shriveled and completely black. (See attached photos.) Monstera seeds should be plump and green and must be planted very quickly for successful germination.

Getting seeds to germinate does not take a professional, but I happen to be one. I am a professional botanist working in trait pathology at an internationally renowned biotech company, with a degree in horticulture, a degree in plant biology, and 7 years of industry experience. I have never failed to germinate a whole batch of seeds.

I tried germinating the seeds in multiple ways - sowing them directly in soil, sowing in soil in a moisture chamber, wrapping in damp paper towels, and cold treating the seeds in the refrigerator.  Nothing worked.

The Etsy shopkeeper, one Konstantinos Papathanasiou, insisted that the seeds were from a 2019 production—which he does not appear to know is already past expected success—and refused to refund my money.

I filed a chargeback with PayPal. I won the case, but PayPal insisted that in order to receive a refund, I must ship the seeds back to:

Flashdealscreations/Konstantinos Papathanasiou
Konstantinos Papathanasiou
Sofokleous 6

I told PayPal’s representative that I did not feel comfortable shipping moldy seeds, which are a biohazard, to Greece. They insisted that PayPal’s automated process did not offer any alternative.

Anyone shipping seeds to Greece must provide an original Phytosanitary Certificate for shipments of living plants, parts of plants, seeds, and dried leaves. The importer must provide a special license from the Greek Agricultural Ministry. Customs requires phytosanitary inspection in Greece. Obviously these seeds will not be cleared as they are very far from sanitary.

If I complied with the Greek Agricultural Ministry’s laws, I would not be able to receive a phytosanitary certificate. But if I shipped the seeds without one, as required by PayPal, I would be breaking international law.

While I understand that one must normally return delivered, but unsatisfactory, goods in order to receive a refund, obviously PayPal needs to review its policies when following a policy results in PayPal’s customers breaking the law. Clearly, in this case and any other case of plant parts, photos of the moldy and un-germinated goods should suffice.

To me, this is not just a matter of the cost of the seeds, $18.68. It's an issue of consumers being ripped off by unscrupulous merchants, and of PayPal failing to protect its customers as promised--as well as failing to observe US and international law.

Simply saying "it's an automated system" is no defense for an absolute failure in customer service."
Reply Have a similar problem?
Exhibits View
What Claimant Wants Hide
What By When How Much
1. Apology: I'd like an apology for the time I have wasted on this and the assurance that no other customer will have to experience similar frustration and time-suck. Jun 25, 2020 N/A
2. Change of policy: PayPal needs to review its policies concerning international shipments of plant materials to reflect international law Jun 25, 2020 N/A
1. Refund: Purchase Price and Shipping Jun 25, 2020 $18.68
2. Monetary items with amounts to be determined: My time and money cost of dealing with this failure of customer service Jun 25, 2020 TBD*
Cash total : $18.68*
Non-cash: 2 items
*Amount shown is not final: total will increase when pending amount(s) are known and entered.
  • 1
Do you agree with the claimant’s demands?  (If you are a party to this claim, click here.)

Respondent's Counteroffer

There has been no response to this claim from Paypal, Inc. This claim will remain posted until resolved
  • Show:
  • Sort by:
  • 1
  • Contributed Solution: by George Maxwell On 06-30-2020
    Never, ever use PayPal for international shipments. Report PayPal to whichever body regulates Money Transmitters in your state and also to Border Control More...
If you are a party to this claim, click here.
Is this a fair resolution?
Get fast access to our Resolver community, for...
  • help with a PeopleClaim or any other complaint
  • assistance with a purchase or contract
  • expert advice
Other PeopleClaim resolvers
Get Free alerts when claims post in your area.
Get Alert

Need help resolving a dispute? Learn more.

Public Mediation

The shortest path from your problem to its resolution.
Peer to Peer

Engage the other party and use powerful tools to negotiate the best resolution.

If Unresolved
Community Resolution

Post your case online and get help from legal professionals, industry experts, consumers & advocates competing to find the best resolution to your claim.

$14.99 + optional reward for best resolution
Full refund if not resolved to your satisfaction
If Unresolved
Private Mediation

Lets you mediate your case privately with the help of our professional mediators and industry experts.

Free to claimant. Mediator fees negotiable.
If Unresolved
Engage a Professional

Find the best community-reviewed professionals near you to resolve your issue in private online mediation or traditional court/mediation.


A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart.

I am (not) alone, and I feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine...~ Goethe

Get a public verdict — create an online trial $50 public trial / $50 reward for successful resolution
Important: All information contained herein is the opinion of the posting parties, who are solely responsible for its content. PeopleClaim offers both free and paid services to help consumers, patients, employee, tenants, and others resolve disputes without lawyers or courts, through negotiated online settlement and public disclosure of wrongdoing or unfair treatment.
Claims against parties operating under bankruptcy protection, by law must be processed solely through the appropriate US bankruptcy court. Any claims against this party currently posted on PeopleClaim are available for purposes of public business review only and are not an attempt to collect money or recover assets subject to protections under the United States Bankruptcy Code.
*IMPORTANT: PeopleClaim is a public dispute resolution system, independent of the BBB, small claims court, or other dispute resolution services. PeopleClaim is not a law firm and does not provide legal services, opinions, or advice. PeopleClaim facilitates peer-to-peer negotiation and resolution and crowdsourced input on issues of fairness to help resolve complaints. Users should contact professional legal counsel on any matters of law or regulation regarding their claims. PeopleClaim does not review or evaluate the merits of claims submitted through its site, and users are solely responsible for all content filed in their claims.
© reserved by PeopleClaim