eCommerce Blog / Dealing with Two Problem eBay Buyers: The Non-Responder and the Fraudster!

Dealing with Two Problem eBay Buyers: The Non-Responder and the Fraudster!

Sometimes you just have to wonder why some buyers actually bid. The auction ends…and then the problems begin.

One of the most frustrating problems is when the buyer never responds. Have they disappeared off the face of the earth? Has their computer exploded? Whatever the reason, they ignore your emails and apparently forget that they purchased a second-hand Beatles record collection off you a couple of days before.

The Non-Responder

What should you do? First of all, you need to send them a couple of reminder emails: the first a couple of days after the auction ends, the second, 7 days after the auction ends. Firmly remind them of their purchase and that payment is due 10 days after auction end.

While you may be fuming, it’s possible that the buyer has a legitimate reason for not responding. A family emergency, illness, computer problems… these are all legitimate reasons why they may not have got in touch. So give them the benefit of the doubt and wait for 10 days before you take further action.

If there is still no response after that time, grit your teeth and consider filing an unpaid item dispute. Then relist your item and consider blocking the non-paying buyer from bidding.

This solution is not completely satisfactory if you suspect the non-responder has simply gone AWOL, but it’s all you can do in the situation. At least you haven’t lost money!

After you’ve filed an unpaid item dispute, eBay should credit your listing fee back and send the non-paying bidder three warning emails. The good news is that eBay is able to suspend non-paying bidders after three warnings.

The Fraudster

A more serious problem - and the greatest risk to eBay sellers - is the fraudulent credit card chargeback. Unfortunately, fraudulent chargeback’s are an unavoidable risk when you receive a payment by credit card or through Paypal.

Chargeback’s occur when the buyer asks their credit card company to remove a charge from their credit card statement. This can take place anytime from immediately after the transaction takes place to months later, and they can be very difficult to appeal.

There are two things you can do. Firstly, be aware of potentially risky situations, and secondly, learn what pieces of documentation can help you appeal a fraudulent chargeback.

So what situations are likely to lead to a chargeback?

Item not as described:

This is a common one. If you haven’t provided a full description of your item or stated your terms and conditions clearly, then it’s much easier for a buyer to claim your item wasn’t what they expected.

Buyer asks for the item to be send via urgent shipping at any cost or shipped to a different address:

Approach with caution! There have been some instances where buyers have paid with a stolen credit card (hence the different address), resulting in an “unauthorized” payment claim once the real cardholder realized what happened.

But, it’s not always easy to spot these situations. You can’t always assume the worst.

However, if you are unlucky enough to be victim of a fraudulent chargeback, then you’ll have a much greater chance of a successful appeal if you can show the following:

  • Proof of tracking and delivery: Always use a shipping company that provides tracking and an online confirmation number. Many shipping companies will also get a signature on delivery if you so desire. This documentation means that it’s easy to prove otherwise if you do get an ‘item not received’ chargeback.
  • Ship to a confirmed address: If you use Paypal, then a confirmed address is one that has been identified by Paypal as safer than other addresses. For this reason, it also gives you an extra leg to stand on when appealing a chargeback for non-delivery.
  • ALWAYS retain proof of refund if you give one: There’s nothing worse than providing a refund and the buyer initiating a chargeback as well!

And of course, always provide as much detail as possible in your item description. A good description and a couple of good-quality photos are your best protection against chargeback’s for item not as described.

Play it Safe!



Comments (2)

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Wayne Boyd on 11:42 2 Jun
I have no idea what I am doing wrong. I have sold over $8,000 dollars worth of items on Ebay and have not collected one penny in payment. The only thing that I did get was a payment made by the auction winner with money they stole from someone else's pay pal account. Pay Pal froze my account and now they expect me to pay the money back. ($334.49)Right is right and wrong is wrong and I do not feel that I am responsible for the repayment of these funds. I knew that there were dishonest people out there but I thought that it was fairly safe to sell on Ebay. Now I am not so sure. Maybe things will get better. I hope so.
Butterfly on 1:51 10 Jun
It\'s very interesting post. Id like it. Thanks!


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