Unpaid eBay items: Where do you stand?
Did you know that eBay's global user-base is bigger than the population of Japan? With 157 million people currently active on the pioneering auction site, products are being bought and sold at some speed. Not every transaction goes through without a hitch, however.
Sometimes, people don't pay for the items they've purchased. They may have innocently changed their mind, or woken up after a drunken night realising they won the bidding on that pair of vintage roller skates they definitely didn't need; either way, they just choose not to send any money.
When this happens, sellers must be clear on what to do. Otherwise, they risk losing time and money in the long run.
Start by asking
It sounds too simple, and chances are you've already tried this, but if not, talking to the buyer should be your first port of call. As eBay is quick to point out, most cases of non-payment are solved pretty quickly with some good old fashioned communication. Message the buyer and politely explain your expectations. Ask why there has been a delay, and see if extending the payment deadline would help them. Sometimes all it takes is a bit of flexibility.
There's even a useful tool
available to help you get hold of the other party's contact information.
eBay will help you
If the previous step doesn't work out, and you're still waiting for payment, you can turn to eBay. The company's Resolution Centre
has long played an important role in keeping the online auction train running smoothly.
Head over to the appropriate page and it will start asking some questions as it looks to understand the situation you're in. You can then open an unpaid item case, through which eBay will contact the buyer to request payment on your behalf. A four-day deadline will be given, although they can still contact you to request an extension. It's up to you whether you accept any requests. Talk of an official deadline is often enough to persuade the user that paying for their purchase is the right thing to do, though.
You can open an unpaid item case two days after the item is 'sold', but the window closes after a further 30 days have passed.
The next steps
Most transactions are completed using PayPal these days, and if the buyer decides to settle up in this way before their four-day deadline, the case will close automatically and all is hunky-dory. If they pay in another way, and you've accepted, you need to close the case manually.
You'll also need to close the case manually if you still don't get payment, at which point you're able to request reimbursement from eBay. You do have other options, though; if you still want rid of the item, you could extend a Second Chance Offer to another bidder. This route can be particularly appealing if the bidding war went down to the wire and the final winner only just edged it.
Either way, once the case is closed, eBay's Trust and Safety team will be alerted to the non-payment. It will then likely go against the buyer's account, damaging their reputation or even restricting their usage of the site in future.
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