Hi. I could use some help in deciding what my next step should be against a clear (I think) case of fraud by a customer. Quick background is that I own a small business (online jewelry retailer) and recently lost a chargeback case against a customer. Here's what happened:
October 12th: I had a $260 sale to a customer (billing and shipping address were a p.o. box).
October 13th: I shipped the order via USPS Priority Mail and purchased both insurance and signature confirmation (we always do this for p.o. boxes).
November 1st: I received an email from PayPal (we use PayPal's Website Payment Pro / Merchant Solutions, NOT regular PayPal), notifying us that the customer filed a chargeback saying "this purchase was made without authorization to use the credit card." We checked the tracking information (and sent it to PayPal) which showed 'Notice left' on October 15th, but no updates since then. Please also note that if we do a Google search of the p.o. box and customer phone # it does pull up dozens of matching results with the customer's name, phone and po box (so it's not as if someone stole his card and tried to ship to another address, it really appears as if the actual person placed the order).
November 10th: PayPal "contacted the buyer's card issuer and opened a dispute on your behalf"
December 13th: While we were waiting to hear back from PayPal (and since we figured we'd lose the chargeback as the package was still not showing as being delivered/signed for), I contacted the USPS via their website to ask if the package could simply be sent back to us (as it was presumably sitting in the local post office waiting to be picked up). Please note that in the past, packages that have sat 'unclaimed' for a few weeks got sent back to us automatically, so we're not sure why this one wasn't automatically sent. We received a case # from the USPS website and were told it would be 2-3 days before we heard back.
December 20th: Still hadn't heard back from the USPS when we got an email from PayPal saying that the buyer won the chargeback case and PayPal sent the funds back to the buyer's MasterCard.
December 30th: After still not hearing back from the USPS we decided to just go online and file an insurance claim (since the package was never delivered nor sent back to us (i.e. 'missing'), we figured it wouldn't be a problem to get the insurance or, at the very least, prompt the USPS to look for the package and send it back to us). However, while going through the process of filing the claim, we checked the tracking information which now shows the item, after sitting unsigned for over 2 months, suddenly being delivered and signed for on December 21st, ONE DAY after the buyer won the chargeback case! I was able to receive a copy of the signature confirmation and the signature matches the name of the customer.
So, by not responding to us in a timely fashion (within 2 to 3 days of December 13th), and not sending the package back to us, the USPS allowed this person to eventually pick up the package after receiving their money back from the credit card company.
I spoke to someone at the USPS on 12/30 who said that my December 13th case was still being worked on (whatever that means) and she updated it to include the possibility of fraud by the customer. On 12/31 I got a call from my local post office asking if the package was every delivered. I said yes and they said "that's great news". Um, not exactly...
I sent all of this information to PayPal on 12/30 and they say they can't fight the chargeback as it is now final/closed.
I have not yet sent an email to the customer as I'm hesitant to let them know that I'm actively pursuing this issue.
Does anyone have any thoughts as to what I can do/whom I can contact? Can I contact MasterCard directly and let them know that one of their customers who recently filed a chargeback against my company signed for the package that 'was made w/o authorization' just one day after their credit card refunded their money (and that they therefore now have both their money back and the item that they supposedly didn't order)?
Should I contact the postmaster general and let them know about possible mail fraud?
Should I take the USPS to small claims court and sue them for not sending me back the package at my request?
It's only a couple hundred dollars so should I stop spending any more time on this and just drop it (lesson learned that if someonedoesn't sign for a package and then does a chargeback I should immediately jump on top of the post office and demand they send it back asap).
Thank you very much for any suggestions.