2 min article

Resolving unpaid items with buyers

After you’ve made a sale on eBay, it’s usually a smooth process to complete the transaction with the buyer, but sometimes you might find yourself in a situation where the buyer hasn’t yet paid for the item they bought. If that happens, you should contact the buyer to try to resolve the issue. We’re always here to step in and help if needed.

From May 2021, sellers will no longer need to open an unpaid item case if a buyer doesn't pay. Instead, sellers can simply cancel an order if payment hasn't been made starting on the 5th calendar day from when the listing ended. This change is already available to some sellers – if it's available to you, you'll see Buyer hasn't paid as an option when cancelling an order in Seller Hub or My eBay Sold. If you can't see this option, don't worry – it'll be available to you in the coming weeks.

If you’re a high-volume seller, you can automate how you manage unpaid items using Unpaid Item Assistant. If you only sell occasionally or you haven’t yet set up Unpaid Item Assistant, here’s what you can do if a buyer doesn’t pay:

  • Get in touch with the buyer to find out why they haven’t paid. Sometimes it’s just that they didn’t realize they won the auction, they’re not sure of the shipping cost, or they don’t know how to pay.
  • Send the buyer an invoice to remind them to pay. In your Sold items - opens in new window or tab in My eBay, select the item, then select More actions, and choose Send invoice.

If the buyer doesn’t respond to your message or invoice and still hasn’t paid, here’s what you should do:

  1. If it’s been more than 2 full days since the listing ended, you can select Report an unpaid item. This lets us know you’re having a problem and starts the formal process of resolving the issue (we call this opening a case). You need to report a case within 32 days of the listing ending.
    Report an unpaid item
  2. After opening a case, the buyer has 4 days to respond or pay for the item. On the 5th day, you can close the case by going to the Resolution Center - opens in new window or tab and selecting Receive fee credit, then Close case on the following page. Under Have you received payment from the buyer?, select No. The unpaid item is then recorded on the buyer’s account, the final value fee will be credited back to you, and you can relist the item.

It’s important to close out any unpaid item cases. If you don’t close an unpaid item case within 36 days, we’ll close it for you, but you won’t be eligible for a final value fee credit. Also, if we close a case, the unpaid item won’t be recorded on the buyer’s account.

When you let us know that a buyer hasn’t paid, we can step in and help you. We’ll get in touch with the buyer on your behalf and ask them to pay you. We can also protect you against negative feedback. Once we’re certain that the sale won’t be completed, you can make a second chance offer to the next highest bidder.

We recommend waiting to send your item until you’ve received payment from your buyer.

Using Unpaid Item Assistant

If you enable Unpaid Item Assistant - opens in new window or tab on your seller account, it automatically opens and closes unpaid item cases when a buyer doesn’t pay. It can save time and ensure you don’t miss a final value fee credit if you forget to manually close a case.

Enable Unpaid Item Assistant - opens in new window or tab

You can use Unpaid Item Assistant if:

  • You use eBay checkout, which means that the buyer pays through the standard checkout flow, not cash on delivery or with a check.
  • The buyer has paid using a credit or debit card.

If you accept cash on local pickup, checks, or money orders on your listings, you’ll need to remove these payment methods if you want to use Unpaid Item Assistant on those listings.

When you opt in to Unpaid Item Assistant, you can set up your preferences for receiving notifications and for automatic relisting after a case has closed without payment. You also have the option to exclude certain buyers from having unpaid item cases automatically created.

Additionally, feedback from buyers who haven’t paid is blocked automatically with Unpaid Item Assistant. As soon as the Unpaid Item Assistant opens a case, the buyer can’t leave feedback until the case is closed and you’ve received payment.

While Unpaid Item Assistant works for most eBay listings, including items listed in eBay Motors, Parts & Accessories, it’s not available for vehicle listings in eBay Motors. If you’ve sold a car and haven’t received payment, you can manually open an unpaid item case in our Resolution Center - opens in new window or tab.

Turning off Unpaid Item Assistant

Turning off Unpaid Item Assistant allows you to give buyers more time to make a payment and ensures that unpaid items are not recorded on buyer accounts automatically.

To turn off Unpaid Item Assistant for a specific transaction:

  1. In My eBay, find the transaction in Sold items > Awaiting payment - opens in new window or tab.
  2. From the More actions dropdown menu, select Turn off Unpaid Item Assistant.

Once you turn it off, you can’t turn it back on for that transaction.

To turn off Unpaid Item Assistant for all future transactions:

  1. Go to Unpaid Item Assistant Preferences - opens in new window or tab.
  2. Select No thanks—​I’ll use the standard unpaid item process as needed, opening and closing cases manually.
  3. Select Save.

If an unpaid item case has already been opened, you can still turn off Unpaid Item Assistant to prevent the case from closing automatically. Here’s how:

  1. Go to the Resolution Center - opens in new window or tab and find the transaction in the list of cases.
  2. Select Take action.
  3. From the dropdown menu, select Turn off Unpaid Item Assistant.

If a buyer doesn’t pay, try contacting them or resending the invoice as a reminder to pay.

Was this article helpful for you?

Related help topics