Chapter 2. Don’t Get Burned on Payment

“A fool and his money are soon parted,” or so the saying goes.

But intelligence often has little to do with it. Even a smartypants may find his pockets empty if he zigs when he should zag.

The payment process is like a minefield, and the bombs don’t care if you’re a buyer or a seller—but if you know where to step, the whole thing is perfectly harmless (which also makes it like the beach where my neighbors walk their dogs). Consider this chapter your map. And wipe your shoes before you come in the house.

PayPal: Read the Fine Print

PayPal is the most common form of payment on eBay. By some estimates, as much as 80 percent of eBay users are registered with the popular payment service. That’s a whole lot of money flowing back and forth, and a whole lot of room for error on your part.

PayPal is remarkably safe for both buyers and sellers, but it does have rules that must be followed—for both your protection and that of your trading partner.

Local Pickup Means No Proof of Delivery

Adam listed and sold a laptop computer on eBay. After the auction was over, he received an email from the buyer, who lived in a neighboring town and wanted to pick up the laptop rather than have it shipped.

Since packing and shipping electronics safely can be tricky, Adam was happy to oblige. The buyer issued payment via PayPal and came by Adam’s house to get the computer the following day.

About a month later, he received a notice from PayPal stating the buyer claimed non-receipt ...

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