How to deal with a non paying bidder

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Ebay is a great way to trade, most of the people buying and selling are honest and straightforward. Unfortunately there are exceptions, this guide deals with those who don't pay........

Item has been listed and then sold. First step is to send buyer an invoice/end of auction email with payment details. If you accept paypal and postal payments, a guesstimate would be that 70% of all buyers pay by Paypal within the first few hours after the purchase, a further 15% will pay within 24 hours and the remainder will send in a couple of days or send payment by post. I would suggest if you haven't received payment or contact from the buyer within 3 days, send another email, and get the buyer's contact telephone details (follow this link to Find contact details). Always be polite and concise, you don't know who you are dealing with or what their problem may be. If you do manage to communicate, be prepared to have a deadline as to when you want payment for (this can be any time you are happy with, the general accepted minimum time for payment is 7 days).

Having waited seven days for payment and the buyer has not contacted you, or you are not happy with the response, the first thing to do is to Report an unpaid item. This is ultimately so you can reclaim your final value fees, the charges incurred by Ebay as a percentage of your selling price. The listing fees are not refunded, although if you relist the item and it sells again the relist fees will be refunded (this does not include any additions, highlights, gallery, featured, subtitles, etc., the charges for these are never refunded by Ebay under non paying bidder circumstances).

After a further 7 days, if the buyer has not responded to the unpaid item dispute, you can file for the case to be closed and the fees refunded, this is NOT done automatically, you have to follow the links yourself. The buyer will then receive a strike against their account and usually after 3 such strikes, they will no longer be a registered user on Ebay. A buyer cannot leave negative feedback after a dispute has been opened and closed without them replying. Under certain circumstances if they reply and do leave negative feedback it is possible to have it removed (eg "My cat bid on this item in error"). The buyer is only affected once the dispute is closed, confirming that the trannsaction has not gone ahead, your account is then credited with the final value fee. From that page, you are given a link to add the buyer to your Blocked bidders list.

If the buyer does reply within the first 7 days, depending on the reply, you can complete the transaction as normal (fees are NOT refunded), you can agree to mutually not complete the transaction (this does not affect the buyer's status on Ebay, ie they do not receive a strike, but your fees ARE refunded), the third option is to cease communication with the buyer, a strike is issued against them and your fees are refunded. Under these circumstances (responding to the dispute) the buyer has the possibility to leave you negative feedback, you are no longer able to return the favour, but shouldn't let this deter you from opening a non paying dispute.

Remember there are so many reasons why a buyer doesn't pay, from email/computer problems to a family crisis, so be polite at all times. It can be frustrating, but if you are impolite it is less likely the transaction will ever be completed satisfactorily.

Most Ebayers are genuine and problems are few, so be careful, have fun and buy and sell wisely!

Please note that if you have a non payer and offer a second chance offer to another bidder that is taken up, you still need to open a dispute for the non payer as you have incurred two sets of final value fees and can only receive a credit by opening a dispute.