Upload & Sell: On
I dunno, I don't think we can assume he actually and intentionally lied. Geniousc, you have 109 positive feedbacks with zero bad or neutral ones. He has 9, 0, and 0 - Although all his are in the distant past that's the ONLY difference I see between the two there. I figure there's about a one in five-thousand chance of running into trouble and it doesn't matter if it's the person's 10th sale or his 110th. The odds remain the same. In fact I think it's kinda slimy of a person with 109 good marks to suggest otherwise!
Describing the lens as only being used twice: He actually said in his ad: "I am the original owner of this sparingly used lens."
The malling on the mount could very well be due to a bur on his mount or a few grains of some gritty (like sand or something) substance. And two or three days of use like that would mar it up pretty bad.
On the issue of it working, then dying, then coming back to life again for him, Well I've had that happen too. Twice. Once over an exchange like yours and once with a lens I won't ever sell. The first was with a Nikkor 105/2.8 AFD which worked great for me and I knew was fairly new (still well under Nikon's warrantee - which is international!). I sold it to someone and 3 days after they got it they reported back to me that it had died. I had used on a Nikon film camera so I figured the contacts were just dirty or something. So I told the buyer to clean the contacts with a clean pink pencil eraser and/or rubbing alcohol and retry. I guess it's been working for her ever since because she never reported that it ever stopped working again afterwards. Had she I would of course accepted the return no questions. If it's new/new-ish then Nikon will do the fix so no sweat there. The other is with a Pentax 18-55 kit lens. And it "dies" sometimes for weeks at a time then suddenly resurrects itself with no apparent causes. It has me stumped. But it's a $15 to $20 lens so I'll just use it as a paperweight when it's dead or on my µ4/3 in MF mode.
All of these same things could happen with a purchase from just about any shop. Most of them have strict no-return policies and few to zero useful pictures of the items.
IMO, I think he probably was not telling the truth but there's like a 25% chance that he was too. Also IMO I think the seller should have accepted the return (as he initially agreed prior to it's death) even after the break-down. In my very strong opinion PayPal was completely and totally in the wrong and should be sued for the "decisions" they made here. Besides the obvious discrepancies the fact remains that the lens worked for both the seller and the buyer. And then it broke while in the buyer's possession during his use of the item. Great! So now just any old monkey can order a $4,000 lens from me not covered by any warrantee , use it for his three-day adventure and then trash the sucker, electrocute it destroying all the electronics and call it in to paypal for a full refund.
No one else sees the low-down dirty scumbag detestable behavior in that but me? They're really nothing more than a bank. They know nothing of camera equipment and judging by their policies (as I've seen over the years) even less about criminal behavior. So IMHO they should keep their noses out of it all together pending actual fraudulent behavior can be proven or at least very clearly shown. In this case I guess the right thing happened but there's a chance it didn't either.
The seller was wrong to be a dick about things and not being more careful to describe his wares more accurately than he did - but not technically in the wrong - pending some other proof than what has been said here so far.
The buyer was wrong for getting PayPal to actually perpetrate a potential fraudulent action on his behalf.
And PayPal was very very wrong for going along with it!
Am I wrong?
I dunno, but the one thing I've learned from reading this is to not trust Paypal AT ALL! My advice to everyone is to hook up your PayPal with savings ONLY accounts and at the first sign of trouble zero that account out before PayPal screws you over!
Man, that's rank!