Learn to buy and sell antiques and collectibles

Ebay Buyer and Seller Protections

Ebay provides protections for buyers and sellers. This article contains a stories about eBay sales gone awry to explain how these protections work from a seller's point of view.

A story about a seller who didn't get his item. . .

Subject: I didn’t receive my item:
Dear seller,

Good Evening. The Post Office indicates the parcel containing this item was delivered to my porch at 11:37AM. I have been outside around the porch all morning and nothing was delivered at my house. The postal delivery van dropped off the rest of my mail at about 1:00 PM and the parcel containing this item was not included. Can you tell me what address you sent this parcel to. Please notify the post office of this also. I will do the same. Thank you for your consideration. With Regards Scott

Dear Buyer,

When the post office scans a label as delivered, it GPS tags where the scan happened. This is all done based on the tracking number on the label.

This is the number you need: ##################

I don't write down what kind of boxes I use for each sale, but I think that was a Priority Mail number 7 box. That's 12" by 12" by 8" - white with red lettering.

You need to contact your local post office with the tracking number and they will send someone to where ever the box was left to look for it.

Dear Seller,

Thank you for your message including information about postal scanning. I was unaware of the GPS scanning otherwise I would not have written. In any case, I went to the Post Office this morning and was able to find out where the parcel was actually left.

In theory, the postal carrier is supposed to contact the person who received the package. Based on my discussion with the supervisor for carriers, I am not sure this is going to happen; however, I do know where the parcel was delivered and have been able to find contact information for the people who live at the address so I will try to follow thorough with this. Your consideration is appreciated. I will keep you informed as to progress with this.

With Regards

Dear Buyer,

That's crap. They leave it at the wrong place and then make you go get it. UPS has people who do just that and I had a Wisconsin buyer told me USPS did GPS and then went to get the package. I bet it's just a lazy supervisor in your area.

Keep me informed.

Dear Seller,

Good Morning. Thank you for your consideration. It took about a week; however, I was finally able to recover the parcel.

First I went to the Post Office and spoke with the supervisor for carriers. His response was make a claim for the insurance. I asked the carrier supervisor for the GPS coordinates of where the parcel was delivered. He did provide that information. I spoke with the substitute carrier, who remembered having dropped the parcel off at the wrong address.

I went to the house where the parcel was dropped off but no one was home. Fortunately, the family had their name on their door so I went to the property tax records, where I found the family's home telephone number in Canada. The family lived across the border in British Columbia and used the address basically as a mail drop so no one was living at the address.

The family was quite gracious although they wanted to know how I had identified them: In any case, the wife came across the border with the parcel. I met her near the border and received the parcel from her. Everything in the parcel is in great shape. Thank YOU! I will leave positive feedback. The Post Office is increasingly worthless.

With Regards Scott

A Second Case With A Different Outcome

I had this same thing happen to another buyer a week later. I told the buyer he needed to talk to the Postal Route Supervisor, but he was unwilling to go to the post office.

Instead, he opened an item not received complaint with eBay. I had eBay call me, and the eBay representative in Texas checked the tracking and then closed the case.

I got to keep the money.

A few minutes late I got this email from eBay:

Subject: This case is now closed

Hi Terry,

We reviewed this case and have closed it without any refund to the buyer.

The case will not affect your seller performance. Any feedback left for this transaction will be removed.

We received tracking information that shows the item was delivered to the buyer's address.

That's the eBay Seller Protection Policy in Action

While I was on the phone with the eBay rep, I asked about confirmed address no longer being noted on the label page. She told me any address provided within the label system is fine. She said any tracking showing delivered, refused or addressee unknown sent to an eBay provided address will be closed in the seller's favor if the buyer complains about not getting it.

Buyer Protection

I also asked what would happen with the buyer. If tracking shows the item was delivered and the buyer claims he didn't get it, eBay will cover the costs if the buyer swears the item was stolen from his porch. I had this happen a few years ago with a $35 item.

  • For more expensive items eBay will require a police report. The second case above was for $235 and a police report would be required in addition to the sworn statement. A buyer can only do one stolen from porch claim a year.
  • For items that show tracking with addressee unknown or refused the buyer gets no refund.

A Gaping Hole in Seller Protection

I mentioned earlier that a buyer has no recourse through eBay if he doesn't complain within 30 days, but has 180 days to complain with PayPal.

Here's a story that illustrates the problem. . .

Corey Kresse of Tower City, ND bought items from me on eBay twice a month in September, October, and November 2019. Then in early January 2020, Kresse told his credit card company the “charges were not authorized” for five of the transactions.

I don't know why Kresse didn't complain the sixth transaction wasn't authorized. Just my opinion, but based on my experience criminals are usually lazy and not that smart.

I had to provide tracking numbers Even Though Paypal Already Had The Tracking Numbers From The Ebay Labels. I found that irritating, but I spent an enjoyable half hour opening the complaints and pasting one bit of information from the transaction detail page into the respond to complaint page.

Four of the cases were quickly closed by Paypal in my favor. I got messages like this:

We've closed this case in your favor, after reviewing the info you provided. If there was money held in your account previously, we’ll release that back to your PayPal balance.
The last case stayed open for a few weeks and then I got a message saying I'd lost:

The case was closed in favor of the buyer, based on the info they provided. The disputed amount has been withdrawn from your PayPal balance.

PayPal also charged me a $20 chargeback fee.

What was the difference between the case I lost and the other four?

Fedex. The four transactions where I got to keep my money even though Corey Kresse of Tower City, North Dakota claimed the transaction was “Not Authorized” were all shipped through the Post Office.

Fedex only keeps the tracking information for 90 days from when the package is delivered.

I called Paypal about this and they told me I had failed to provide tracking information. No room for argument.

I was directed to their website where I found this in the seller protection information:

IMPORTANT: Your choice of carrier and shipment options with that carrier can have a big impact on your ability to meet the proof of delivery requirements. Please ensure, especially when shipping goods internationally, that your carrier can provide ‘delivered’ status at the correct address, or your Seller Protection claim may be denied.

When a buyer complains it makes no difference how the payment was funded.

Basically if you ship with fedex and the buyer complains more than 90 days after the package is delivered like Corey Kresse of Tower City, North Dakota did to me you're screwed.

You're out the item(s) you shipped, the shipping, the eBay and Paypal fees and to make it even more enjoyable Paypal will take an extra $20 chargeback fee.

Luckily for us sellers the majority of people aren't assholes like Corey Kresse of North Dakota.

I won't give you a recomendation about what to do. I have repeat buyers who buy more because I ship with the cheaper Fedex labels. I do know that expensive items - Over a grand - will go by USPS Registered Mail. Luckily the majority of items I sell end up being less than 3 pounds packed so Priority Mail is not that much more than Fedex.


PS I never could figure these people out. Corey bought buildings for his toy train layout. I didn't count them all up, but there were more than 12 buildings in the six transactions. Does he get pleasure from looking at the buildings as his trains run past them becuase he stole them?

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