Sunday, January 8, 2012

Violin Labels and PayPal

You may have read the story about an “antique violin” and PayPal recently.  It appears that a lady named Erica sold a violin (advertised on Ebay) worth approximately $2,500 to a buyer in Canada.  The buyer used PayPal to pay Erica for it.  However, Erica never got the money because, before PayPal paid her, the buyer claimed the violin was a fake, even though it was accompanied by a certificate of authenticity by a well-known Australian expert.  PayPal agreed to return the money to the buyer but insisted that he destroy the “fake” violin (above shown) before it did so.  The buyer then obediently destroyed the violin and subsequently got his $2,500 returned to him.  Erica, of course, will never see her violin in one piece again.  To be fair, PayPal said it was merely applying its policies in this matter, even if they did immediately side with the buyer and not the seller who had actual proof that the violin was genuine.  Erica was quoted as saying that "In the violin market, labels often mean little and there is often disagreement over them.  Some of the most expensive violins in the world have disputed labels, but they are works of art nonetheless."  Even if Erica’s violin was a very, very cheap violin by professional standards, she was lucky the disputed label was not attached to a Strad – not that anyone would sell one through Ebay or transact the payment through Paypal, of course.  Cheap as it was, I hope Erica’s violin was insured. 

4 comments:

  1. The story came out on January 4 and 5, 2012. It is available from many different news sources which provide many more details than I did here. This is just a summary.

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  2. I didn't know that paypal is powerfull enough to claim to destroy anything. I bought some objects including violins through e bay and payed through paypal, and everything was ok. Everyone satisfied. In this case I thing the buyer had not the right to destroy the violin. I've got at home Strads, Klotz, Amati.....of course they are not, but some of them are important violins that someone somewhere tried to become a masterpiece, they are not, but none of them deserve to be destroyed

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