eCheques are the single greatest cause of confusion between buyer and seller when it comes to paying for an item. Here is a short guide to the difference between PayPal Instant Payment and e-cheque Payment so you will understand how your payment has been handled.
PayPal Instant Payment: This occurs when the payment for an item comes from (a) existing funds in your PayPal account (if, for example you are a seller who has been paid for items via PayPal and you have not withdrawn the funds from your PayPal account) or (b) your payment is backed up with a Credit or Debit Card. It is important that you keep the details up to date when you are issued with a new card because PayPal sometimes resorts to an e-cheque if your card is due to expire in the near future.
An eCheque (eCheck for US bidders): This form of payment is akin to a 'paper check' because PayPal requests clearance of the payment from your bank. When you have paid this way, it is essential that there are funds to cover the payment or the e-cheque will fail.
The confusion arises because some buyers are unaware they have not made an instant payment and the seller is unable to send out their item until the payment clears. Further added to the confusion is the fact that a buyer will be told their 'non-instant payment' will clear in a short number of days, while the seller is given a clearance date sometimes 2 to 3 weeks forward of the date the notification is received.
PayPal advises the seller not to send the item until they receive notification in their PayPal account that the payment is 'completed'. This can lead to frustration for the buyer and it can lead to pressure on the seller to send out the item before the payment has cleared. If the payment is cancelled due to lack of funds in the buyer's account and the item has already been sent to the buyer, there is a loss to the seller who may never be able to recover the cost of the item, the postage paid etc., unless the buyer is willing to send payment by an alternative method.
I hope this will aid those buyers who cannot understand why they have to wait for the item to be sent and that they do not penalise the seller on the Detailed Seller Ratings Dispatch star. It is not the fault of the seller at all, so long as they ship the item quickly after the payment has cleared and is marked in their PayPal account as 'completed'.