What to do when a buyer doesn't pay:
In order for a seller to avoid problems and negative retaliatory feedback with a buyer who hasn't paid for an item, a seller should contact the buyer first in a non threatening, cordial manner. When writing a letter: Take a Positive Stance: Don't take it personal if you buyer didn't sent the payment. Explore why the payment is late. It could be your buyer simply forgot. Provide a gentle reminder immediately following the due date.
Increase Directness Gradually: One of the secrets of sucessfully collecting your payment is to gradually increase the assertiveness of the letter over time. After making a few attempts and dependind on the buyer's response, a seller should open an unpaid item dispute so one can at least get the listing fees and Final Value Fee back. Ebay will automatically send an Unpaid item notification and gives the buyer 8 days to respond before the seller can close the dispute. If a buyer doesn't respond, I just close the dispute because after 8 days, they have had the opportunity to respond. There are some valid reasons when a buyer doesn't pay, for example, death in the family, illness, etc and we should be sensitive to those types of issues.
Below is a sample letter that I send to a buyer before I open the dispute:
In regards to item #............... that won/purchased with (your ebay ID) on (date), I'm becoming a little concerned that the payment hasn't been sent within the time frame stated in my auction. Please let me know when you will be able to send a payment. If there are any extenuating circunstances that this transaction hasn't been completed yet, please let me know so we can determine how tosucessful close this issue.
The final process: When a buyer does not respond to an Unpaid Item notification and the seller issues an Unpaid Item strike against them, the buyer can still leave a feedback comment, but the feedback rating they leave for the transaction will not appear and will not count toward the seller’s feedback score.An eBay administrative note will appear under the feedback comment, explaining that the member did not participate in the Unpaid Item process.
It is always unpleasant when you listing your item and invest your time and money but a buyer suffers buyer's remorse and fails to pay for the item. The way you deal with the situation will be the difference between getting retaliatory feedback or maybe keeping that buyer as a customer. Sometimes if it is feasible, one may even close the dispute if there is a extremely good reason. Getting into a altercation with the buyer will hurt your business.
Buyers are at a advantage, they still can purchase items even with a couple of negative feedbacks, most sellers won't refuse to sell an item to a buyer who a dubious feedback. However, buyers will certainly shy from buying from you if you have some negative feedback and if they can see on your feedback reply that you leave retaliatory feedback.
A couple of Ebayers gave a couple of good things to add to this guide: As stated by Ebay member REDEEMD:
First, keep your emails as short and concise as possible while remaining polite and gracious. It's amazing how many people never read past the first sentence of an email. ....Secondly, if you must leave negative feedback, be factual. No rants and name-calling. If I see ranting and raving by the seller, I won't even consider buying from that person. If I see civil, explanatory, factual negatives, I consider this seller reasonable and honest.
Another Ebay member, DIMZY, made some good points on my blog:
Also, it should be noted that sometimes buyers don't pay because THEY have been scammed. I had a "buyer" who was actually the buyer's ex--and he bought tons of stuff on eBay using her name ...
When leaving feeback:(Quoted from Ebay)
Members should use caution and good judgment when leaving feedback for another member of the eBay community, because:
* Feedback cannot be edited or removed once it has been left. It generally becomes a permanent part of a member's eBay record and is viewable by the entire eBay community.
* Members could be held legally responsible for damages to a member's reputation if a court were to find that the remarks constitute libel or defamation. Under federal law (the Communications Decency Act), because eBay does not censor feedback or investigate it for accuracy, eBay is not legally responsible for the remarks that members post, even if those remarks are defamatory. However, this law does not protect the person who leaves the feedback from responsibility for it.
Each member must decide how best to manage their reputation. eBay's internal research has shown that sellers who leave feedback upon payment receive a higher percentage of feedback compared to those that wait for the buyer to leave feedback first as confirmation that they are satisfied. Other sellers use automated tools to leave feedback and wait until feedback has been left to leave a comment. Regardless of who leaves feedback first, eBay encourages both members to always leave appropriate feedback.
eBay will remove feedback comments if any of the following are true:
* eBay is provided with a valid court order requesting removal
* The feedback comment contains profane, vulgar, obscene, or racist language * The feedback comment contains personal identifying information about a member.
* The feedback references an eBay, PayPal or law enforcement investigation.
* The feedback comment contains links or scripts.
* Negative feedback was intended for another member. This may only happen after the member responsible has already placed the same feedback for the correct member.
* Feedback was left by a person ineligible to participate in eBay transactions at the time of the transaction or the time the feedback was left.
* Feedback was left by a member who provided eBay with false contact information.
* Feedback was left by a member who bid on or purchased an item solely to have the opportunity to leave negative feedback for the seller, with no intention of completing the transaction.
Why multiple feedback are counted only once:
Much like voting, each member may only impact another member's reputation by one point, regardless of how many transactions they have with that individual. You can think of this similar to a person providing a recommendation for another person. Even though they may have had many interactions, their recommendation only counts once.
Counting all the transactions would undermine the credibility of the system since it would be easy for people to increase their feedback score by "trading" with the same person without actually exchanging money or products.
Repeat positive feedback from many different buyers is generally a very good indication that the seller meets his customer's needs, so buyers should always look at the Member Profile page so that they can view all the feedback received, not just the score.