Learn to buy and sell antiques and collectibles

You Are Missing Out On eBay Fee Credits

Last month I found out I'd been overpaying eBay most months. Actually, I'd been eligable for fee credits, but never requested them. You are probably in the same position. While it took an eBay suspension for me to learn this, you can learn quickly and easily by reading this short article.

It all started one morning when I got up to find a message from eBay telling me my selling account had been restricted.

Here's the message:
Hello Terry,

Following our last email about offers to buy or sell outside of eBay, we determined that you still aren't following the policy.

As a result, we've taken the following actions:

- You're unable to list or buy items for 7 days.
- You may be subject to final value fees when you have offers to buy or sell outside of eBay, even if the item didn't sell.
- Your fixed price listings are hidden from search results for 7 days, and fees wonít be refunded.
- You can't send or receive messages with eBay members for 7 days unless you have a recent transaction.

Offers to buy or sell outside of eBay, including offering or requesting contact information or links within member-to-member messages or listings, arenít allowed except as outlined in the policy or required by law.

Below are the details where the activity occurred:
Item ### - Auction title

Violation: "I just sent you a request for payment with paypal. 65.76+2.40=68.16. Check your email."

But if you look at the whole exchange with the buyer you see something different. . .

Message from seller inside second chance offer:
I have a second one of these if you'd like it. The shipping for this 3rd car in the box with the first two cars will be 2.40 more. If you want this one, buy it, but don't pay, then ask for an invoice.

Hi, thanks for the offer. I am trying to follow your instructions, but eBay is taking me to the checkout screen, and there is no option to request an invoice there. How would you like to handle this?

I just sent you a request for payment with paypal. 65.76+2.40=68.16. Check your email.

Got it. You should have the payment confirmation shortly.

If you've read the system laid out in the The IWantCollectibles Guide to Ebay Sales (Formerly known as The Auction Revolution), you know I use inventory numbers in my titles and add an A to the end so I can see quickly when I have more than one of something. This way I can send second chance offers when I do combined invoices, and know what the additional shipping will be.

Just before this buyer asked about lowering the shipping, I'd had a different second chance buyer pay the full shipping with a message to just refund him the $8.00.

The eBay site specifically says eBay doesn't refund their fees unless it's done on the eBay system so in that transaction I was out 80 cents in eBay fees. (This is wrong, but we'll get to that in a minute.)

I was just in a rush and didn't think about avoiding eBay fees here. If I was trying to hide something from eBay I surely wouldn't send a message like that through the eBay system. He's already a buyer who paid so I have his email, and usually have his phone number.

My only excuse here is I'd just had 80 auctions end and was trying to deal with second chance offers, messages from buyers, and packing items for the buyers of multilpe items so I could send invoices.

I called eBay about this, and talked to a woman names "Stephanie" with a heavy Indian accent. I asked for a supervisor, and got a man named "Norman" who also had a heavy Indian accent. I asked for another supervisor, but he wouldn't transfer me without an explanation of my problem.

From my experience the Indian phone representatives will say anything inclding lies to get me off the phone. The best ones are US based reps that sound like they are in Texas or the south.

Norman wouldn't help me, but during my ranting I'd mentioned how eBay had cheated me out of 80 cents on the final value fees on the transaction where I'd refunded the shipping.

Norman told me I could get a credit for the refund and transferred me to the accounting department.

The woman in the accounting department was "Mary Anne" and also had a heavy Indian accent. I think some consultant told them using Anglo names would make their customers feel calmer or something. It makes me feel like they are playing games with me.

Anyway - and here's where the money is - "Mary Anne" wanted the transaction number so I went to Paypal and did a search for refunds. I found three of them in the past month, and went down the list and had her credit me for all of them.

My total refunds were $43. I ended up getting credited $3.93 in excess eBay final value fees.

Now call me distrustful, but I am sure eBay figures enough of us will not spend the time asking for credits for these paltry amounts that it adds up to big money for them.

In fact, in December 2018, I refunded a bunch of money without asking eBay for credits. I had over $300 worth of $20-50 toy cars damaged in the mail. I refunded the buyers and filed insurance claims with the post office. (I'd sold those items with free shipping so I even got the shipping back!)

A ten minute call with eBay would have gotten me some money.

Now, I've always considered calling eBay support a waste of time. The foreign representatives don't know anything and now eBay has made it harder to get to a real supervisor on the phone so it's more likely you won't get a correct answer.

I've been thinking of this wrong.

I can set the phone on speaker, and do other things while I'm on the phone with eBay. I can play fetch with the dog. I can make dinner as long as it doesn't involve frying things that could get burnt by a few minutes of inattention. Or, I can just have them call me.

I'm going to start calling them once a month and getting credits for all the refunds I did the month before.

The eBay site says they will only credit sellers for refunds done through the eBay system. This is different from what the representatives told me on the phone. I wrote the above in late February then waited a month to call eBay for more fee credits to see what would happen.

I just requested eBay to call me about a four dollar refund I made to a buyer who had bought five items and only gotten 4 in the combined invoice.

While I'm waiting, let me tell you about something else I started doing because of the above information and eBay's recent changes to the sold item pages.

I discovered I had relisted an item that I had sold out of when I went to pack it. I went to cancel the sale, but couldn't find the link on the new eBay sold items page. It's not on the order details page either. So I sent the buyer a note saying I was out of the item he bought, but eBay had removed the cancel transaction link from the new sold pages so he needed to cancel the transaction.

The buyer didn't know how to do it, so I sent him a link to his purchased items page and told him to click on the return item button to the right of the title.

Here's the page url:

Click on link and bookmark it as many versions have tracking information added.

A pleasant side effect of this change is a buyer who cancels a transaction can only leave positive feedback. Also, it doesn't count as a defect in your seller standings.

EBAy has called me, and I have a woman named Erica on the phone. This representative sounds like she's in the US. She is. She's looking up the transaction based on the eBay item ID. She credited me forty cents.

So it works. You can only do this with refunds you do within the PayPal system. You can find all your refunds for the past month in PayPal on the ACTIVITY tab. In activities, select "REFUNDS" in the drop down where it says "All Transactions."

That should get you some of your money back.


PS The rep I talked to in the US said calling eBay in the morning US time will make you more likely to get a US rep on the phone.

"The IWantCollectibles Guide to Ebay Sales"
is now available for immediate download.

Many of the articles and free reports here on IWantCollectibles were originally sent to readers of my Antiques and eBay Newsletter. Not all articles make it onto the website, and readers also get notices of free reports and special offers.

Ted at his desk.

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