BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Just jump right in.
147 About Accepting Payments
148 About Accepting Escrow Service Payments
In the vast majority of cases, you won't run into trouble when accepting payment for an item. But there's a chance that you will. You might have to deal with bounced checks or high bidders who simply won't pay up or respond to your email after they've won the auction. In this section, you learn how to handle these kinds of problems.
When someone sends you a personal check for payment, it might be a bad one and bounce. That's bad on two counts. First, you haven't gotten your money for the auction. Secondly, banks often charge a fee for depositing the bad check.
If you receive a bad check, don't assume the worstthat the buyer was trying to scam you. Instead, send a polite note to the buyer, telling him that his check didn't clear the bank and informing him that you'd like him to send another check and to reimburse you for the bad-check fee your bank charged you. In most instances, this should clear up the problemthe buyer will be more embarrassed than anything else and will send along payment.
If you get a bad check and ask for repayment, make sure that the buyer doesn't send another personal checkit may well bounce a second time. Instead, have the buyer send a guaranteed form of payment, such as PayPal or a cashier's check.
You might get a buyer who tries to convince you to send the item anyway, saying that he'll send the check immediately. Don't do it. Send the item only after you've received a good check and received reimbursement for the bad one.
Make clear to the buyer that you don't want cash. Cash is bad because it can be stolen or lost when it's sent through the postal service, and there's no paper trail to follow should a dispute arise between buyer and seller. So, make it clear that you don't accept cash.
If, after some back-and-forth, the buyer doesn't send a good check and reimburse you for the bad one, it's time to cut your losses. Send a polite but firm note saying you want full payment and reimbursement and that, if you don't get it, you'll cancel the high bid, leave negative feedback about the buyer on eBay, and perhaps even take other action. Give the buyer a specific time period in which to send the money. If you don't get it, leave negative feedback. You can then either inform the second-highest bidder (click the X Bids link next to History on the closed auction listing) that the item is available to her for sale or ask eBay to reimburse the fee you paid for listing the item. Some auction sites, including eBay, reimburse you for a variety of reasons, including receiving a bad check. You won't get back the full amount of what you paid, but you'll get back a portion of it. I show you how to do so in "How to Get Reimbursed If There Are Payment Problems," later in this task.
In some instances, the buyer might not respond to your emails so there's no way for you to get payment. If the buyer doesn't respond to your first note, follow up with a second one several days later. Then try a third message a week after that.
Some buyers might be more casual about checking and replying to their email than sellers are. Some people (like me) check their email frequently throughout the day, whereas other people check their email only once every few days. If you don't hear back from a buyer within a few days of your sending an email message, it could simply mean that he hasn't checked his email recently and not that he's avoiding contact with you.
Warn the buyer that if you don't hear back within a certain amount of time, you're canceling his bid and leaving negative feedback about him on eBay. If you don't hear back, do what you do when dealing with someone who won't make good on a bad check: Inform the second-highest bidder (click the X Bids link next to History on the closed auction listing to find the ID of the second-highest bidder) that the item is available for sale at the price at which that bidder dropped out, or get eBay to reimburse you for the fee you paid for listing the item.
If you have payment problems, don't despair: eBay will reimburse your final value fee if you have a non-paying bidder. (You still have to pay for all the other costs in the auction listing, though.) To get the credit, follow these steps:
Final value fee The fee you'll pay only if your item sells on eBay. If the item doesn't sell, you're not charged this fee.
Wait between 7 and 45 days after the auction ends and file a Non-Paying Buyer Alert form with eBay.
Continue trying to get payment from the buyer for 10 days after you file the Non-Paying Buyer Alert form.
If the buyer still doesn't send money, file a Final Value Fee Credit Request form with eBay, and your final value fee will be reimbursed.
For more information about these formsalong with links to the formsgo to http://pages.ebay.com/help/basics/f-npb.html.