If you intentionally violate the terms of a user agreement and suffer a loss, our advocates can’t and won’t help you recover. Ann Wax and her minor son found this out the hard way.
Wax’s son — we’ll call him “Joe” — had an Instagram account with 167,000 followers. He knew there was a rapidly emerging and very active market for buying and selling Instagram accounts. “Joe” decided to list his account for sale on eBay. Not surprisingly, that’s when his troubles began.
eBay doesn’t allow the sale of social networking items, including but not limited to social networking profiles or accounts [and] social networking “likes,” “followers,” “subscribers,” or similar items
“Joe” attempted to circumvent that policy by including a pencil (yes, a pencil) in the sale along with his Instagram account. So the pencil was the item being sold for $800. The Instagram account was included at no cost.
He found a buyer willing to pay $800, and the transaction was seemingly completed. The buyer used PayPal to complete the transaction.
However, the buyer filed a dispute with PayPal and requested a refund. His dispute stated that the merchandise is not as described. “Joe” submitted screen shots showing that the buyer acknowledged the receipt of the pencil and the login credentials for the Instagram account.
PayPal sided with “Joe” initially and ruled in his favor.
The buyer then filed a chargeback with his credit card company. The bank agreed with the buyer, ruling that he was entitled to a refund once he returned the merchandise to “Joe.” At the bank’s direction, PayPal refunded the money to the buyer and sent Wax’s son the following notification.
We are writing to let you know that one of your buyers opened a chargeback with their card issuer. The buyer stated the merchandise they received has one of the following problems: It was damaged or defective or it was not as described. The disputed amount has now been debited from your PayPal account. In addition, a chargeback fee of $20 has been debited from your PayPal account.
That’s when Wax’s mother contacted our advocates.
“After the dispute was opened against us, and was resolved in our favor with PayPal, we were told (by PayPal) not to worry as he couldn’t re-dispute it, so we never, in our wildest dreams, thought this would or could occur.”
Search “sell my Instagram account.” You’ll be presented with numerous resellers with pages of accounts for sale. So, while this may appear on the surface as a lucrative way to make money, there’s a problem.
You are responsible for any activity that occurs through your account and you agree you will not sell, transfer, license or assign your account, followers, username, or any account rights. With the exception of people or businesses that are expressly authorized to create accounts on behalf of their employers or clients, Instagram prohibits the creation of and you agree that you will not create an account for anyone other than yourself.
So, in short, you need to be authorized by Instagram in order to create, sell or transfer any account — including your own.
“Joe” chose to ignore this, as obviously hundreds, if not thousands, of other users have, and decided to sell his account on eBay for $800. But the buyer’s PayPal dispute and chargeback negated the sale.
Wax’s mother pleaded, “While I know PayPal cannot decide for the bank, I am begging you to help advocate and fight to appeal this decision. To have someone call and actually speak to the bank/credit card and explain the situation and provide the indisputable proof in our favor and reverse this chargeback.”
Despite the pleading, our advocate declined to help Wax with this case. Her reasoning for doing so was quite simple.
“I can’t help with that because what you are asking me to advocate for is the sale of something that your son did not have the legal right to sell on eBay. The pencil has no value. The Instagram account is what your son was selling for $800,” she noted.
“Joe” attempted to sell something he didn’t have a right to sell. When the buyer, PayPal and the buyer’s credit card issuer all ruled the sale invalid, Wax came to us. We declined as well.
Wax asked us to advocate an illegal transaction. We answered as we always have. With all due respect — that’s ridiculous!