4 min article

Best practices for avoiding and handling issues with buyers

There are some simple, practical steps you can take to reduce the risk of something going wrong with your buyers' purchases.

When a buyer has an issue with an order, it doesn't just risk creating an unhappy customer, it can also create extra work for you. Below are some tips to consider while listing and posting your item.

If a buyer does get in touch to let you know they've had a problem, there are also a few best practices to keep in mind while working with them to resolve their issue.

When listing your item

  • It's important to set proper expectations for the buyer – make sure your listing title and item descriptions are accurate, and include plenty of photos, making sure to highlight any scuffs or blemishes
  • Provide as many item specifics as you can – you want the buyer to know exactly what they're buying
  • State your return policy clearly in your listing. If you're happy to accept returns, you can automatically accept them, issue refunds, and even provide return postage. This can make the process much easier for the buyer, and much less effort for you
  • When stating your dispatch time, make sure it's something you can manage. Failing to post on time can lead to your item arriving late
  • To help you get paid quickly and avoid having to cancel orders because the buyer didn't to pay, set your payment preferences to require immediate payment on Buy It Now and Auction listings
  • Choose a shipping method with insurance and shipment tracking

After your listing ends

  • Use a postage service that provides tracking, and upload the details as soon as possible. This lets the buyer know where their item is, and it helps to protect you in case they claim they don't receive their item. If you buy and print an eBay postage label, tracking information is uploaded automatically
  • Make sure to pack the item securely and carefully, to reduce the chance of it being damaged in transit – while an item can be in perfect condition when you post it, if it arrives damaged, the buyer is entitled to send it back to you
  • Provide the buyer with any appropriate proofs of authenticity for the item, but make sure to keep copies of them, in case we need to ask you to prove that the item is genuine
  • If your returns policy states you accept returns and cover return postage, consider including a returns label in the package in case the buyer has an issue. This will make things easier for both of you if the buyer needs to send the item back to you

Working with the buyer

It's important to work with your buyer and help them resolve any issues that may come up with their order. Here are some steps you can take:

  • If a buyer lets you know that they have a problem with their purchase, you should respond to them as quickly as possible. Keep in mind that you have 3 business days to resolve their issue before they can ask us to step in and help
  • When communicating with the buyer, do your best to be polite and professional in your responses, even when they're upset or angry. It helps to provide a better customer experience, and might make it easier to come to an agreement about their issue
  • If the buyer wants to return the item, they may accept a replacement (where you send them the same item again) or an exchange (where you send them a similar but different item)
  • Buyers may also accept a partial refund, where they keep the item and you give them back some of their money

Learn more about helping buyers if their item didn't arrive, or how to handle a return

When creating your listing, make sure to provide a detailed description of your item and a clear statement of your return policy. This will help you avoid problems, but if something does go wrong, we're always here to help.

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