There is a worrying trend of an increasing amount of claims being raised by buyers against sellers. The way eBay is currently set up is skewed toward the buyer, with a money-back guarantee if the buyer doesn’t receive the item or the product doesn’t match the listing. Hopefully you’ll never need this advice and your transactions as both a buyer and seller will go smoothly. In this week’s blog, l’ll be looking at how sellers can protect themselves and the process of resolving disputes.

Talk about a resolution

eBay’s Resolution Centre is a communication tool that can be found within the My Account section of eBay (last option on the left navigation menu). Its purpose is to help buyers and sellers track, manage, resolve, or close any existing disputes.

Information posted in this tool is accessible by the seller, buyer and eBay Customer Support. Sellers can use the eBay Resolution Centre to report a buyer, who has purchased an item but hasn’t paid for it, whilst buyers can use the tool if they have paid for an item but didn’t receive it, or the item was significantly different from the item description.

eBay Resolution Centre

Advice from eBay

eBay offers the following advice when communicating with a buyer/seller:

  • Focus on the problem, not the person.
  • Think about the big picture.
  • Look for creative solutions.
  • Don’t use feedback as a threat.
  • Remember that customer satisfaction is good business.

Tips for Buyers

1. Confirm the listed handling time of the item
Different sellers have different dispatch times. Some sellers ship the next-day after payment is confirmed, while some sellers have a dispatch time of two or three days.

2. Compare delivery services
Confirm what method of postage your seller is using.

3. Ensure your address is confirmed
Make sure your delivery address is confirmed, as sellers cannot ship to an unconfirmed address. Ensure your address is correct before purchasing—there was this case in the media recently where this happened and the goods ended up at an old address.

4. Pay using Paypal
eBay offer a money-back guarantee if buyers pay by Paypal and don’t receive the item or it doesn’t match the listing description.

Tips for Sellers

1. Use a recorded delivery method
If you’re worried your buyer might not receive the goods, it’s worth paying the extra for recorded delivery. With this method, the buyer is required to sign for the package so it’s easier to deal with any dispute, should one arise.

Remember to keep your receipt, for proof of postage.

2. Delayed shipping
If it takes longer than expected to ship an item to a customer, ensure you keep your customer informed. I had to message a buyer this week to inform them that as St Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in Northern Ireland, there would be a delay in shipping.

You may want to offer the buyer a partial or full refund on the cost of shipping. A happy customer is more likely to leave positive feedback and may buy from you again in the future.

What happens during a dispute/claim?

All funds associated with the transaction are deducted from the seller’s account and placed on ‘hold’. In some instances, PayPal may limit the seller’s account and at this time the seller may not be able to accept Paypal payments.

What’s the difference between a dispute and a claim?

A dispute offers the buyer and seller a chance to resolve the issue. A dispute can be escalated to a claim by both the buyer and seller. Paypal will assign an investigating agent who will review the case and make a decision.

Closing a dispute

Once you close a dispute, you will not be able to re-open it. Therefore, wait until you are completely satisfied with the transaction before you close it.

Buyers can appeal decisions

Buyers can appeal against decisions in favour of the seller. If successful, eBay will reimburse the buyer by requesting Paypal transfer funds from the seller’s account to the buyer.


Well, hopefully l’ve given both sellers and buyers some useful advice on how to handle eBay claims and disputes. Buying and selling on eBay is relatively safe, despite what some might say. eBay and PayPal both have good systems in place to protect both parties throughout the entire transaction.

Pierre Omidyar, eBay founder once said, “Most people are honest. And they mean well … But some people are dishonest. Or deceptive … It’s a fact of life. But here, those people can’t hide”. If you’re a victim of a scam (like this guy), eBay and PayPal will usually take the required action to resolve the issue in a timely manner.