What to Do When a Buyer Claims an eBay Item Wasn’t Delivered – ToughNickel

As a top rated eBay seller, I want to help all eBay sellers realize their potential for maximum sales and best practices.

experienced and new sellers

Whether you’re new to ebay or an experienced high-volume seller, chances are you’ll have to deal with an “item not delivered” case at some point. these cases can be daunting, but certain procedures must be followed regardless. There are four possible reasons why you might encounter an “item not received” case, but regardless of the reason, you can be protected.

article content

  • am i protected as an ebay seller?
  • the 4 possible reasons for an “item not received” case
  • how to avoid negative ebay feedback if a buyer no you don’t receive your package
  • how to deal with an “item not received” claim
  • what final decision can I expect?

Am I protected as an eBay seller?

The only absolute way to protect yourself as a seller is to use ebay or paypal shipping labels. Using one of those two services guarantees that you have done everything possible on your part to ensure that the buyer’s package is on its way to the address the buyer provided.

So, to answer the question most sellers may have, if you’ve used one of the two services listed above and the tracking information shows the item was delivered, you’re protected by the Seller Protection Program. from ebay and is not obligated to refund the buyer.

In ebay’s opinion, you did everything possible before the postal service took possession of the package. once it has left your possession, you are no longer in control of the destination of the package. Unfortunately, the buyer can still leave negative comments on your profile if they wish.

the 4 possible reasons for an “item not received” case

There are four (and only four) reasons why an item may be marked as delivered but not received by the buyer.

1. the buyer lies

Believe it or not, this is the most common reason for an “item not received” claim. Fortunately, this is usually the easiest scenario to tackle. If a buyer lies about receiving an item, he has probably done it in the past or will do it again in the future.

if the buyer has less than five feedback ratings and/or has been an ebay member for less than a month, they are probably dealing with a shady customer; excuse the pun.

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2. the item has not yet been delivered

As with any profession, the postal service has employees who don’t always follow the rules and regulations, this is a fact. the following statement is not an assumption; it actually happened to me.

Before a package is delivered, a postman can scan it. If the carrier is unable to place an item in a mailbox and decides that the package should not be placed outside a home, the carrier may hold the package and hold it for future delivery.

I’ve experienced that scenario on several different occasions. is that supposed to happen? no, a package should only be scanned as delivered after it has definitely arrived at its destination.

3. the item was delivered to the wrong address

if you use paypal or ebay shipping labels, this should not be the reason. however, you still need to allow for the postal error. after all, no one is perfect. Usually, if this happens, you can contact your local postal service and have the package traced. In most cases, since opening mail that does not belong to you is illegal, misdelivered mail will be returned to the post office.

4. the item was stolen

While this is the least common reason, it does happen. If this is the case, it remains the buyer’s responsibility to contact the postal service for an insurance claim. If the package was not insured, the buyer could still recover his payment through paypal, but that is his sole responsibility. As discussed above, once the package is in the carrier’s possession, it is out of their control.

how to avoid negative ebay feedback if a buyer doesn’t receive their package

To address the issue of receiving negative feedback, consider the following options:

option 1

If the item in question was purchased for less than $10, please consider giving the buyer a full refund. after you refund the buyer, report it to ebay, stop them from bidding on your future items, and consider this a $10 investment to make sure you never have to deal with them again.

option 2

if the total cost of the item was more than $10, please follow ebay’s case procedure. once the case is closed, the buyer can leave negative feedback. however, you may dispute/report comments as fraudulent or inaccurate. If the buyer has low feedback ratings on their account or is a new customer, that bodes well for you as eBay generally favors the member with the best reputation.

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be sure to tell the buyer to ebay as well to help future sellers. If the buyer is questionable and receives another report in the future, eBay may go back and remove your negative feedback if it didn’t already do so when you first reported it.

how to deal with an “item not received” claim

The most important advice I can give sellers based on my many experiences with these claims is to be unbiased. If a buyer claims that he has not received the item from him, but the tracking information indicates that it was delivered, do not conclude that the buyer is lying.

Send your buyer a message, give them empathy and let them know you will do everything you can to resolve this dispute for them. inform the buyer about the actions you will take, such as:

  • notify ebay
  • notify paypal
  • contact your local postman
  • open a case with the postman involved

Do not give an opinion on whether you think they are telling the truth or whether the package may have been lost. this reflects doubt. if a buyer lies, they will use any sign of doubt to prolong their claim and try to get the item for free. be as concise as possible and use only professional etiquette to inform your buyer of the actions to be taken.

what final decision can I expect?

as stated above, you will not be required to issue a refund if you use ebay or paypal shipping labels. That said, negative feedback is still a possibility.

ebay’s final decision is based on its discretion. If eBay decides that the buyer is honest about not receiving their item and/or the item in question cannot be located or confirmed as delivered, eBay may rule in favor of the buyer.

This does not mean you have to issue a refund. it just means that the case was not resolved by you, the seller, and this will be reflected in your seller statistics. if you only have one of these per month, it won’t make a difference to your seller level.

Unfortunately, eBay has become a place that stays true to the old motto, “the customer is always right.” the best thing you can do for yourself is to sweep this experience under the rug and move on. try not to feel cheated and keep in mind that buyer complaints are just an unpleasant but unavoidable part of doing business online.

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every business has to deal with customer dissatisfaction. your business cannot be the exception to the rule. good luck!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. the content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and is not a substitute for personal advice or professional advice on business, financial, legal or technical matters.


tara on June 19, 2020:

I just wanted to thank you for this article. I am a relatively new seller and just received a message that an item was not received two days after showing it was delivered. I automatically assumed the worst, but after reading your article, I realized that it was the worst possible way to approach the problem. I myself ordered an item on ebay that never showed up, so why should I assume the same thing didn’t happen to my buyer? I submitted a help request form online with usps and the buyer will check with his neighbor. USPS got back to me the next day and is looking into it. Let’s cross our fingers!

john on May 22, 2019:

Many times this is a vendor selection error, so be sure to check your selection list and stock level before charging the customer.

nick on December 22, 2018:

you give all this information but the truth is even if you use paypal shipping labels if there is no tracking the seller is out of luck and buyers use this day after day to scam sellers of items then to you get ebay to side with the buyer and get your money and item back. ebay has become nothing more than the dream of scammers, honesty and truthfulness of people have gone out the door, this is the reality of online shopping. I bet these scammers wouldn’t have the guts to walk into a store and walk out with a product/item in their hands without paying for it, so yeah, they’re hiding under a coat and trying to walk around and that’s what they’re doing. ebay uses ebay buyer protection and pay pal to scam

June whittle on September 02, 2018:

All I need to know is what to do when my purchase is not received. please help.

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