Package Didnt Arrive or is Lost - DONT GIVE UP

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If you are wondering if your package will ever arrive or if you were told that is must be "lost" -  READ THIS... EVEN if insurance was not purchased!

If you buy on Ebay enough chances are you will run into the problem of your items not arriving or being told your package must be "lost" in the mail.

Whelp.  As obnoxious and fustrating as this is, all is not lost.

Before you post negative feedback and count your money as long gone, follow these steps...

#1:  Re-read the auction completely and double-check your payment to verify the shipping method if it is listed.  There can be a BIG delivery time difference with USPS Priority, USPS First Class, USPS Parcel Post, USPS Media Mail and so on... so first find out the shipping method used.  Also, not all sellers will get around to shipping your items imediately - I have had one seller in particular hold onto my package for a good 2 weeks before they got around to shipping.... I have had another few times when there was "some misscommunication" between spouses that kept them from shipping your package (*hubby was "supposed" to ship this but he forgot and I didn't know it wasn't shipped...or simply that it was "overlooked").  Beware of auctions that list "standard flat rate shipping" - if you need or want your items in a certain time frame you should email the Seller BEFORE you bid (in plenty of time to get a reply, too) and ask what method they ship and if you can "upgrade" and ship with "fill-in-the-blank" (your prefered choice) method.  AND ASK HOW MUCH IT IS TO SHIP with that new method (don't forget to include your zipcode). 

ADD Sidenote - (**If they try to throw an outragous s/h price at you - even if it is listed in the auction - REPORT it to Ebay.  Ebay is cracking down on people that try to avoid Ebay fees by making up for their low selling price by jacking up the s/h costs.   Go to HELP, then in the far left column, click CONTACT US (Email) and then:
and then click continue - you will have to paste the auction number.

Ebay will investigate and most of the time - end the Seller's auction stating they have to lower their s/h costs.

Okay, back to my original point...... after you re-read the auction....

Next step to take, E-mail the seller (THROUGH EBAY, NEVER through personal emails.... and ALWAYS reply THROUGH Ebay - "click the yellow button" - this way there is a hard-copy of all your conversations in your "My Messages" profile.) and

ask the seller to please let you know:

(1) When this item was shipped,

(2) What was the method used (Priority, Parcel Post...etc) and

(3) if there is a tracking or delivery confirmation number for your item.

If more than enough time has passed for the method used (see list below) the next step to take is:

*If there is a tracking number - call the shipping company (UPS, FedEx, US Post Office) and give them the tracking number to verify the tracking information on your package. 

*Please note, USPS Delivery Confirmation ONLY provides proof of "Delivery" (actually that it was shipped - they use the term "Delivery" but they really mean that it was shipped - as in postage added and dropped in the mail - therefore they do not provide actual tracking information)

Plus, calling your post office or shipping office verifies that for whatever reason it is not at the company waiting on you to claim (a lot of the time for whatever reason packages are just at the post office and people did not see that tiny orange package claim post card). 

(*Please note all times are for BUSINESS days only - not including weekend or holidays*  USPS says to allow: 1 week for USPS Priority.... 3 weeks for USPS Parcel Post... 2 weeks for USPS First Class.... 30 days for USPS Media Mail.... if shipped with UPS or FedEx there is ALWAYS a tracking number and insurance added on your itmes - so once the deadline has passed as in 5days for UPS Ground, or Overnight and the next day has come and gone - then contact UPS or FedEx - you will need the tracking number and the Seller may have to provide the postage receipt)

You should (but don't have to) notify your Seller that you are going to file a Paypal Claim and/or an Ebay Dispute.  I don't know why but some Sellers will not take you serious until these words are mentioned.  This is NOT a threat and should not be used as one, this is just what Ebay and Paypal say Buyers should do if there is a problem - that is WHY this option is available!  But first try to contact your Seller and follow these other steps... often a little communication goes a long way!

#2: *If you purchased insurance coverage with USPS, or if your package was shipped with UPS or Fed Ex...

You or the Seller can start the Insurance Claim but often the Seller will be required to provide proof of insurance purchased with the postage receipt. 

  • #3:  *If there was NOT a Delivery Confirmation or a Tracking Number attached to your package or if the seller is refusing to work with you (or even answer an email)... your next steps should be....

    (*Paid with Paypal:  information:)
    Paypal is one of the safest ways to pay for your auction purchases.  It offers automatic Paypal Buyer Protection, it covers items that did not arrive and items that were signifigantly different from what was described.  The guidelines include:

    You MUST send payment to the Paypal account associated with the listing (always pay THROUGH the Ebay auction link to ensure this)
  • You purchased a tangible item (not an e-book or other intangible object - ie- something you cannot hold)
  • Your claim MUST be filed within 45 days of payment.
  • You may only file ONE claim per Paypal payment (ie, you can't file more than one complaint for the same auction).
  • You are limited to THREE Paypal payment refunds per calandar year. (If your item is under $10 you might want to try everything else first... especially if you do a lot of Ebay purchases...)
  • The Buyer Complaint process ONLY covers items that were NOT recieved.
  • You MUST list a "comfirmed" address for the item to be shipped to. 

If you paid with PAYPAL, contact Paypal and File A Claim - it is very simple - log in and at the top click on the "resolution center" tab, and then click on "open a dispute".  This should really be a last-option route.  Don't name call or play the blame game - just be professional and to the point.  (*Filing a Paypal claim does NOT put a flag in anyway to your Ebay or Paypal accounts, but should your claim be granted, it will put a flag against your Seller - because Paypal requires that ALL packages be shipped with a tracking or delivery confirmation number to provide "proof of delivery" in order for the SELLER to be protected... more on that below... even if a Delivery or Tracking number was added... see below). 

You want to state when this was paid for and what the auction said for shipping method used, and that your Seller is unable to provide "proof of delivery".  (And no, emailing you a copy of the postage receipt does not count).
Paypal will conduct their investigation.  In most cases, it can take up to 30 days from filing date to get a resolution.  IF you claim is denied, don't give up - CALL Paypal - before giving up.... and see below for more help...

(*Log into Paypal and click on their "Resolution Center Tutorials" for more information on this option)

*If your claim is denied, or if you did NOT pay by Paypal...if shipped by USPS (any method)

There is a little-known form called "Form 1510" that provides a package trace.  You can request this at the Post Office.  This can take several months to complete their investigation.  You will NOT recieve any reply either way from this method.  What it does it the post office will search the path your item will have taken from Point A (the Seller) to Point B (you) and search the trucks, the Post Offices and also double-check with both destinations to verify that this isn't waiting or became undeliverable along the way.  (As in, your package became open, damaged, or the label marred).  How this works is if ANYTHING comes up it will be imediately shipped to you.  Free to file.  No charge at all (including the postage to get any found items to you).

#4:  File an "Item Not Recieved or Not As Described" complaint with Ebay.

You should contact Ebay to report this, under "Item Not Recieved or Not As Described".  Click on My Ebay tab then in the left-hand column, click on "Dispute Console".  (*For more information on this option, in the same steps, click on the "related links" provided.)  You might want to do this in addition to filing a Paypal Claim anyways. Ebay will not get involved to personally help recoop your losses but they will put a file on the Seller's account that they have had a problem.  This could ultimately lead to the Seller losing their Selling and even Ebay account privilages.  Also, this step will provide you with more alternatives that you might not know about.

There is also an "outside" resolution service called Square Trade, ( I don't personally care for this service because you have to PAY a costly fee to get someone to review your claim and this does NOT guarentee a refund and your fee to file is NONrefundable.  However, you can use this as an outside mediation service and not pay to have someone play the middle man.  But if your item costed over $100, or if you didn't pay through Paypal it might be a last resort option.  I would personally not reccomend this if you have already filed a Paypal dispute because you will just be saying the same thing twice and if you paid with Paypal this should be solved within Paypal (or attempted to first).

#5:  *If you did pay by Paypal (transation OVER $250 in value) - then in addition to the Seller having to provide a tracking or Delivery Confirmation number - they MUST also include "Signature Proof" as in proof of a receipt signed or otherwise acknowleged by the buyer.  Proof of delivery by the shipper, which does not contain the buyer's signature or other acknowlegement will not be enough. 

What that means for the Buyer:  Whether or not YOU (the Buyer) choose to purchase insurance, delivery confirmation, or signature confirmation - does NOT matter AS LONG AS YOU pay with PAYPAL. Point blank: This is NOT your responsiblity.  Paypal REQUIRES this of EVERY seller that conducts business through Paypal.  So even if Delivery Confirmation or Tracking was provided, if it was a transaction worth over $250 - you can still file a Paypal claim if you did not sign or acknowlege receiving this package. 

*When a Seller purchases USPS Postage online they will automatically recieve a USPS Delivery Confirmation number for their items.  If it is shipped with "Priority" it will be included for free.  Any other method used they will recieve a discount for purchasing postage online (*either through  or following the steps to purchase postage through Ebay/Paypal).

If the Seller choses to purchase postage elsewhere this is STILL their responsiblity to provide if they recieve payment through Paypal.

~ Ebay strives to make buying and selling safe and trustworthy but it is up to BOTH sides to keep it this way.  So before you walk away from your money and lost items, you should follow these steps.... if anything to provide a warning and protect the next person that might come along.

Last resort, you should post feedback.  This isn't a place to leave snide comments but you might say "item never arrived but Seller was helpful in recooping losses" or "item never arrived, seller refused to help"... or "item never arrived, no reply or help from seller"... "Item Never Arrived, Took PAYPAL Claim to Recoop $".... or whatever you would like to say.... Bottom line, whether Postive, Neutral (does not effect feedback score) or Negative (effects Seller's feedback score) score you choose, this system keeps Ebayers informed of the Buyer's and Seller's track record.

Ebay update: Ebay has changed the way Sellers can post feedback, now our only options as a Seller is a Positive feedback comment, report to Ebay a problem or no feedback at all - takes the fear out of revenge feedback. 

Also, you can reply to feedback posted.  On your score you can reply once and the other party can have the last word.... so they can post feedback on your score then turn around and list a reply and you can only reply to your feedback once... vice versa, you can do the same to them - post feedback and then post a reply - and they can only reply once.  This is very easy to do, simply go to "feedback forum" and then click on either "reply to feedback recieved" or "reply to feedback posted" (or do both). 

(See my other guides - Paypal Loophole and Buyer Beware when Buying Overseas for more tips!)

(*Please vote for this guide if you think this information is helpful!  And if you think I left anything else out that needs to be addressed - please email me!)
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