Deal with Stragglers, Deadbeats, and Returns

File nonpaying bidder alerts and credit requests in the event of a failed transaction.

Although sellers are responsible for paying all fees associated with an auction, eBay is not unreasonable about refunding those fees when it comes to returns, deadbeat bidders, and other extenuating circumstances.

Regardless of the terms of a failed transaction, every seller can complete the following two-step process to recover any final-value fees associated with an listing. Unfortunately, insertion fees [Hack #43] are nonrefundable, but they are rarely substantial.

Report an Unpaid Item

If a bidder never pays, if a buyer returns an item, or if you and the customer settle a transaction for less than the final bid price, the first (and sometimes only) step is to report an “Unpaid Item.” You can initiate this process no sooner than 7 days after the listing has closed, and no later than 45 days after.

Start by going to My eBay Dispute Console, and choose Unpaid Items from the Choose a Dispute Type box at the top of the page. (Alternatively, you can go to feedback.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewDisputeConsole.) Here, you’ll see any previous unpaid item disputes you’ve filed (or other sellers have filed against you).

Click Report an Unpaid Item to start a new claim. When prompted, enter the eBay item number of the disputed transaction, and click Continue.

On the next page, you’ll be presented with two questions. The choice you make here will affect the way ...

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