Hi, this guide is all about Postal payments.
Because Ebay has become such a popular site these days when it comes to buying and selling things, it has become vital to effectively use your local Post Office and Postal services available to you.
Buying from Ebay is essentially done through mail-order principles which has inevitably made Postal Order's and Cheque's all the more important.
I'm assuming that most users here know how to write a Cheque. There is no hidden charges for creating Cheques but there is usually a 3-5 working day (working days excludes Weekends and Bank Holidays) wait for the money to clear which can be inconvenient especially if you want the item straight away.
You just need to make sure that you do one of 3 things before you seal it up into an envelope:
1) Write the seller's name and the amount in words as well as the amount in numbers.
2) Write the date (date must not be in the future - I've seen people do this!).
3) Sign the Cheque.
Postal Order's however, come in two different flavours - Uncrossed and Crossed. Let me just say now that there is a surcharge for creating Postal Order's. The current charges at the moment are:
£0.01p - £4.99p = 45p
£5.00p - £9.99p = 85p
£10.00p - £100 = 8.75% of the monetary value of the Postal Order.
£100 - £250 = £8.75p
There is a surcharge regardless of whether you choose to make the Postal Order Crossed or Uncrossed.
A Crossed Postal Order is a lot like a Cheque. They usually take 3-5 working days to clear. An Uncrossed Postal Order however, is a lot like being handed Cash. Uncrossed Postal Orders can be cashed immediately at any Bank or Post Office in the country.
If you want the item ASAP but you don't have a PayPal account or you don't want to reveal your Card Details then I'd strongly suggest using Uncrossed Postal Orders.
Postal Order's can only be created at Post Office branches in the UK.
You can find your local Post Office branch by going to the Post Office website (postoffice.co.uk).
Keep a copy of your Postal Order/Cheque:
You will need a Scanner or a Fax Machine with a copy function to make copies of your payment. I suggest that you use a Scanner as this is the most accessible copy device associated with a PC.
The reason why you want to make a copy of your payment is because of fraud. I generally haven't come across that many fraudsters on Ebay over the past 3 years or so (since I've been registered here).
But I have come across the odd scam-artist here and there. Let me tell you, it's not a nice feeling seeing you're money go down the drain.
If you become a victim to a scam, then you can get some of your money back by sending Ebay a copy of the payment you sent to the seller along with some other information about the item you bought. I know you might not get the entire amount of money back but it's better than nothing, right? This only enforces my idea of keeping a copy of your Postal payments.
Print out a copy and keep the .jpg file on your PC's Hard Drive for printing out more copies in the future (if need be). The hard copy should be kept inside a ringbinder or cardboard folder for your reference. And remember to keep this folder in a safe place.
Preparing the letter:
It is probably best to print out a copy of the Ebay Checkout page (for the item that you're buying) and staple your payment to this page.
The reason as to why you want to print out the Ebay Checkout page is because it will allow the seller to quickly identify what your payment is for and they can promptly cash it or put it in their bank. Then once the money clears, they know where to send the item you just bought because they have your address on the Ebay Checkout page you sent in the letter.
Be warned, there may be a delay in processing your payment if you choose not to send a print-out of the Ebay Checkout page as part of the letter.
I recommend sending all Postal payments (Postal Order's and Cheque's) via an insured postal service such as Royal Mail's First Class, Recorded Delivery service.
Recorded Delivery usually costs 70p on top of the price of a First Class stamp. Without a stamp, it costs £1.04p.
Of course, Second Class is cheaper. You'll probably save around £0.10p - £0.15p from the First Class prices. But, your letter will not arrive at it's destination for another day or two - it's your choice.
More information on Recorded Delivery can be found at the Royal Mail website (royalmail.com).
The reason why you want to send Postal payments out via Recorded Delivery and not Standard Mail is because Standard Mail does not have any guarantees associated with it, no tracking, and no compensation if the item is deemed lost.
With Recorded Delivery, you're given a ticket with a Reference Number which is stamped by a postal worker at the Post Office, the ticket has a Reference Number on it which you can track on the Royal Mail website and a signature is taken upon delivery of your item at the destination address. The signature can be viewed online on the Royal Mail website.
If your item gets lost (for whatever reason), then you can make a claim from Royal Mail and get back up to £36 in Compensation.
A sound and secure postal service if you ask me.
But remember to keep your Recorded Delivery tickets in a safe place just in case you need to call upon them. Like I touched upon earlier, putting them in a ringbinder or a cardboard folder is a good idea.
Many thanks for taking a look at this guide. I hope it helps you successfully maintain and administer your Ebay buying activites.