Always File eBay Disputes to Keep the Marketplace Reputable

eBay file disputes
Sellers are frustrated when eBay buyers don't pay. Getty Images

eBay is the only marketplace online where a buyer can "buy" an item and not have to pay for it immediately. Because eBay allows a delay in payment, sellers are often the ones left waiting for payment for their items. This is a huge inconvenience for sellers. If a buyer has made an offer on an item, and the seller accepts the offer, or if the buyer has won an auction, the seller's item is essentially off the market and no one else can buy it.

 Sellers should understand the rules regarding payment and know the proper process for collecting payment or filing an unpaid item case.

Use Immediate Payment on Fixed Price Items

One way to reduce the number of unpaid item cases is to use eBay's Immediate Payment feature. This option works on fixed priced items only. If a buyer purchases an item on fixed price (not best offer or auction), and the seller has Immediate Payment enabled, payment must be made right away. If the buyer begins the shopping cart checkout on an item with Immediate Payment and does not pay, the item remains available for another buyer to purchase. The item does not show as sold until payment is made on items set up with Immediate Payment enabled.

eBay Allows Buyers at Least Two Days to Pay

If a buyer purchases an item on buy it now at full price or on auction, eBay allows the buyer at least two days to pay. This is not fair to sellers, but it is what it is.

We must work within the eBay system. This can be a long two days for sellers! Especially if the items are high dollar. Buyers often request to cancel the transaction within this period. A common excuse is, "I bought this by mistake." Since buyers have to page through about four screens and confirm payment multiple times, this excuse is just that - a way for buyers to back out.

Unfortunately, sellers can't force a buyer to pay. If a buyer requests to cancel, it is best to cancel the transaction through Seller Hub, re-list the item, and move on. 

Importance of Filing Disputes and Unpaid Item Cases

eBay is a community, which means that people must work together. When some members don't follow the rules, or in this case, are slow payers, it is up to the sellers to file claims. When claims are filed, slow payment, or non payment, is recorded against the buyer. When a buyer has had too many slow payment, or non-payment claims, he is removed from eBay and loses his trading privileges. If a seller just lets the transaction go, the buyer's record isn't marked and he could continue to abuse the eBay system and inconvenience other sellers. Furthermore, sellers can have Final Value Fees refunded if an unpaid item case is opened and the buyer never pays. 

eBay Makes it Easy to File Unpaid Item Claims

Enabling the Unpaid Item Assistant automates the collection process. The Unpaid Item Assistant is free. You can set the UPI to open a case after two days if the buyer hasn't paid. Here is how to add it to all eBay listings:

  1. Go to My eBay > Account > Site Preferences or Seller Hub > Shortcuts > Site preferences.

  1. Click Show to the right of Unpaid Item Assistant, and then click Edit

  2. Select Yes – I want Unpaid Item Assistant to open and close cases on my behalf. 

  3. In the drop-down menu, select the number of days you want Unpaid Item Assistant to wait before opening a case. If you don't see the lower settings (for example, 2 days), update your combined payments preference.

  4. Select the Real-time option if you want to receive an email when the Unpaid Item Assistant opens or closes a case.

  5. Under Automatically relist the item when the case is closed with no payment, select Yes or No.

  6. Click Save.

Sellers, if you don't have the Unpaid Item Assistant on your listings, add it now. Cases will be opened as soon as allowed and the whole process runs in the background without you having to think about it. Let's work together to keep eBay a reputable place to buy and sell.

Updated by Suzanne A. Wells on September 30, 2016.