Even though it is more a nuisance than anything else, every eBay store owner should know how to properly deal with nonpaying bidders.
Once an eBay buyer has placed and won a bid on your item or clicked on the Buy It Now button and went through the checkout process, they have entered a legally binding transaction with you.
You are legally obligated to deliver the goods as advertised to them and they are legally obligated to fulfill their financial obligations in terms of the purchase transaction.
In rare cases some buyers take a long time to pay or do not pay you at all.
Often these are people who have been taken away by life circumstances such as dealing with a crisis. Sometimes people get buyer's remorse and do not want to go through with the transaction. Some people run into adverse financial circumstances that are outside their control. Lastly, some people are just jokers who troll around on eBay and frivolously bid on things they have no intention of buying.
None of these circumstances excuse bidders from their obligations to complete their financial transaction with you.
The first action you should take is to give the bidder the benefit of the doubt.
Malicious bidders are in such a small minority that you would alienate valuable customers if you treated every nonpaying bidder as a malicious bidder by default.
Contact the bidder by e-mail or telephone and politely remind them of the outstanding payment.
Remember, you are a business person, so always remain professional, courteous, and polite in your communication with the bidder, and always stick to the facts. Do not get emotional about the transaction and do not allow emotions to impair your judgment.
Give the person a reasonable amount of time to respond to your request for payment.
If the person simply forgot about the transaction then it is no big deal. Those people usually pay promptly once reminded.
If the bidder has buyer's remorse you need to use your best judgment. You could force a person to go through with the transaction, but they are likely to activate your refund policies or give you some grief in the future. Usually these people are willing to defray your costs and cancel the transaction.
For people who have run into financial circumstances that make it difficult for them to pay for the item, you could talk to them about payment terms or other arrangements that would be suitable to you both.
As a last resort for the people mentioned above, as well as for the frivolous bidders, you could follow the Non-Paying Buyer process that eBay has put at your disposal.
If a person gets three nonpaying strikes against their eBay ID they are automatically suspended from the eBay site.
Golden rule: Never send the merchandise to the buyer until you have received payment in full.
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Jason Griffith recommends that you review this very helpful tool to enhance your eBay selling success. Jason also writes eBay Store reviews for BestAuctionStores.com.