My purchase hasn't arrived - what can I do?

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The first thing to do is to consider how long it has been since your seller will have received your money and whether - if applicable - they will have had time to clear your payment and dispatch your item.

Use the following as a general guide;

Items paid for with Paypal :

In the case of instant payments, ie those funded by either a balance in  Paypal funds or from a debit or credit card it is reasonable to anticipate your goods being posted within seven days of payment being made - indeed sellers who fail to post within that time frame lose any eligibility for seller protection.

Please note : Items paid for by e-cheque are subject to longer delays - if you paid using an e-cheque log into your Paypal account and see when that payment cleared.

Items paid for with a cheque :

Cheque payment processing is a complicated beast because clearance time varies so greatly from bank to bank. Most sellers who accept cheques will specify a clearance time on the auction page - be guided by that but don't forget to allow time for the cheque to reach your seller.

Please Note : Cheques will often show as cleared from your account a couple of days before they appear in the sellers account as a cleared item. Just because the Abbey National tell you that your cheque has cleared - it doesn't always follow that the seller has been paid.

Items paid for with Nochex :

Nochex only offer instant payments - if you paid using Nochex and there are no indicators on the auction to suggest that there may be a delay in sending your item then it is reasonable to expect the seller to send your goods within seven days.

Items paid for with Bank Transfer:

Bank transfer times vary according to the banks involved - for instance if your seller banks with the same bank as you then payment is often instant. If, however you use different banks you can expect a lead time of at least 3-5 days before the payment arrives.

Items paid for with a Postal Order :

It is reasonable to expect the seller to dispatch your goods within seven days of receiving a postal order.

If you have established that there has been sufficient time since you paid for your money to have cleared - go back to the actual auction page and read it again. Look for any references to delivery times that you may have missed - this is especially important if you purchased your product from an eBay shop as some sellers leave sales running but have an advisory in place to inform buyers that they are on holiday.

When you have determined that your seller has had your money and that there is no other obvious explanation for the delay - use the Ask A Seller A Question button and send a polite email asking when you can expect delivery.

Remember - not everybody has access to their computer all day - allow your seller time to reply. 24 - 48 hours would be a reasonable time frame to wait for a reply.

If you fail to get a response or the reply you get doesn't satisfy you consider ringing your seller and talking about the problem.

To get a sellers phone number use this link  Contact Details

Once you have exhausted all the above methods it's time to consider reporting your concerns to eBay and if applicable Paypal - you can do that using this link Item Not Received

The above time frames apply only to transactions where there are no reasonable indicators of fraudulent activity by the seller.

From time to time you will need to file a complaint sooner because circumstances have led you to believe that you have been deceived. One such example of this would be if your seller has been suspended from eBay and you haven't received your goods.

There is a common misconception that you have to wait ten days to file an item not received complaint with Paypal - this is not true.

You can file an Item Not Received complaint at any time after you have paid by logging into your Paypal account and selecting the Resolution Tab in the Security Centre. Whilst Paypal complaints should never be initiated in an attempt to speed up delivery there does come a time when common sense dictates that you act promptly.

One example of such an occassion is if your seller's auction doesn't display the Paypal Buyer Protection logo and you have reason to suspect fraudulent activity.

Remember - initiating a Paypal complaint 'freezes' your money in the seller's Paypal account until they can prove delivery. It takes around five days to transfer money from a Paypal account to a Bank Account so obviously if you have reason to believe you have been defrauded it is in your interests to file before the funds can be removed.

The key to most disputes is good communication but remeber that communication is a two way street - if your seller wont communicate don't be afraid to take steps to protect yourself.
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