Don’t Get Burned by Ebay’s Flawed Policy on Local Pick-up Auctions!!!
Whether you’re a casual eBay seller, run an eBay store, or are an auction hunter who attends storage unit auctions and re-sells your goods on eBay it’s critical you read this article to keep from getting burned by one of eBay’s most flawed policies.
If you’ve been selling on eBay for any period of time, it will probably come as no surprise to you that eBay heavily favors buyers in disputes. I’ll stop just short of saying that eBay automatically gives buyers their money back no matter what…lol.
I don’t necessarily like this as a seller I understand that with a site like eBay buyers have to have confidence that they will not only get items they buy but will get items that are in good condition and accurately described. If not people won’t shop on eBay, eBay won’t have a business, and you as a seller won’t have a business, so I understand eBay favoring buyers to a point.
Before I get into my story let me first tell you about eBay’s flawed policy on local pick-up items or items you will deliver. Ebay forces you to accept Pay Pal on all auctions, even local pick-up or delivery auctions. Ebay as I’m sure you know also AUTOMATICALLY rules in the favor of a buyer if they claim they never received an item and you can’t provide a tracking number.
So what does this mean in the case of local pick-up items? It means that whether a car, motorcycle, or piece of furniture if a buyer pays you through Pay Pal and you deliver the item in person and that buyer decides to open a claim with Pay Pal or eBay claiming they didn’t receive that item eBay will ask you for a tracking number.
Obviously there is no tracking number since you either delivered the item or had it picked up. Ebay will automatically refund that buyers money for your item and the buyer will keep your item meaning not only did you get burned on the money but you no longer have that high dollar item.
Ebay also has no other policies in place to protect the seller from this happening. If eBay allowed all local pick-up and delivery items to be cash pick-up only there wouldn’t be a problem, however since eBay forces you to accept Pay Pal payments you as a seller are required to offer a payment method that leaves you open to being burned EVERY SINGLE TIME. Ebay also doesn’t allow you to request or solicit a cash payment over Pay Pal in your listing either. You can list that way but if someone reports your listing it will be taken down immediately and believe me, someone will report your listing.
I’ll tell you about a recent experience I had. I found an end table in a storage unit I recently bought at auction. It had a cast iron base and marble top so it didn’t make sense to ship the item as it was both heavy and bulky and would have cost a fortune to ship.
I listed the item on eBay for $300, I had one bidder and the item wound up selling. Upon winning the auction the buyer sent me a message through eBay and asked if I could deliver the table. I had no problem with this and agreed.
I assumed the buyer would be cash since we were meeting up in person but the buyer immediately paid via Pay Pal. I didn’t like this as A. it was going to cost me $13 in Pay Pal fees which weren’t necessary since we were meeting up; B. Pay Pal has a $500 per month with-drawl limit which I was closed to reaching; and most importantly; C. Pay Pal offers no protection for the seller.
If this buyer claimed I never delivered the table to him eBay would ask me for a tracking number. I would have no tracking number to provide the seller with so eBay would not only give the money back to the buyer but he would also still have my table.
I politely e-mailed the buyer and asked if they would mind paying cash for these reasons. I thought the buyer would agree to this as I was going to give him a discount for any inconvenience this caused and also since I had been a good guy and offered to borrow a truck from a buddy and deliver the table.
The buyer shot me back a short message saying only “we only pay for items on eBay via Pay Pal.” I sent another message again stating my reasons why I preferred a cash deal and also explained how if the item were an electronic or something I could understand wanting Pay Pal protection but with a table you just don’t need it.
I told the buyer he could inspect the table before paying me and if he wasn’t happy we didn’t have to go through with the deal; no hard feelings. The buyer continued being difficult and refusing to do anything besides Pay Pal. He also said I shouldn’t have offered Pay Pal if I didn’t want to accept payment though it. Though this may be true eBay forces you to offer Pay Pal, yet offers no protection to the seller when they accept Pay Pal.
I then requested the transaction be cancelled because myself and the buyer couldn’t come to terms. The buyer then gets to decide whether to accept this, if they do the transaction is cancelled and the seller is charged no final value fees since an item wasn’t sold. Well just to be a jerk the buyer declined this to try to stick me with the final value fee as well which wound up being $30. This essentially meant eBay charged me $30 and I didn’t make a sale.
I contacted eBay through their chat customer service option. I spoke to a guy about the situation and after some back and forth he agreed to take away the $27 fee. By the way, several weeks later I have yet to have that credited to my account.
Before we ended our conversation I asked the customer service person I was speaking to what I could do in the future to protect myself from getting scammed by buyers when accepting Pay Pal on local pick-up items. He had nothing to say and essentially said there was no way for a seller to protect themselves.
After pressing this issue and explaining how ridiculous it is to force buyers to accept a payment method that allows them to be scammed he had a suggestion for me.
Are you ready for this…
He suggested I take a picture of myself handing the table to the buyer. This is ludicrous on so many levels. First I’m sure a buyer is going to wonder why this stranger I met on the internet wants to take pictures of me. Second, I would never be able to get anyone at eBay’s customer service or dispute center to actually look at a picture but even if I could what does that prove?
Ebay does not know what the buyer looks like. I could just as easily take a photo of me giving the table to a buddy of mine, it proves nothing. Ebay also in their terms and conditions states that even if you have a signed form from the buyer stating they took delivery of the item that is satisfactory proof the buyer has the item in the case of a dispute.
The long and short of it is if you accept Pay Pal on items you don’t ship, which by the way tend to be the higher dollar items you can’t afford to get scammed on, eBay offers no protection to you as a seller.
Ebay needs to come up with some way to remedy this. My suggestion was that eBay come up with some type of system that gives the buyer a code when they purchase an item to be picked up. Upon receiving delivery of the item the buyer would give the seller that code. The seller could then either enter that code into eBay’s website when they got home; or better yet text that code in and get a verification that it’s the correct code the buyer gave. This would be a way of proving that the buyer took delivery of the item.
This is a HUGE flaw eBay has and needs to remedy. Either they need to offer some type of protection to sellers accepting Pay Pal. They need to allow a seller to not offer Pay Pal on local pick-up items, or they need to allow sellers to request cash only as a payment option.
I mentioned this to the customer service rep I spoke with though he wasn’t interested in hearing this or passing it on to his supervisors.
If you’re an eBay seller keep this in mind when listing auctions that require local pick-up or delivery. Better yet, contact eBay and let them know they need to remedy this situation. Generally items that can’t be shipped are bigger ticket items that a seller can’t afford to lose both the money and the product on.
Have you had a bad experience with accepting Pay Pal for local pick-up or delivery sales on eBay? Do you have any suggestions on how a seller can protect him or herself? If so we’d love to here from you. Leave a comment below the article or if you’d like to write a guest blog post shoot us an e-mail.