Transaction time is important for eBay buyers and sellers alike. Sellers who fail to deliver items in a timely manner can see their feedback slip—and future sales affected as a result. Buyers who fail to pay in a timely manner also risk their feedback, as well as the item, since a seller who has to wait may simply choose to sell an item to someone else in the meantime.
Keep your feedback and your sanity intact by shipping or paying promptly. Though sometimes time frames shown in item descriptions can help to make both parties' obligations clear, if you simply follow these rough guidelines you'll always avoid upsetting your trading partner.
- Notify immediately when payment is received
- Ship within three days
- Try to ensure delivery within two weeks
A good rule of thumb for sellers is that you should be prepared to ship within three days of any auction's close to ensure arrival within two weeks. Savvy online buyers in today's ecommerce-enabled world are unprepared to wait any longer than two business weeks for an item to arrive, and in most cases buyers begin to get anxious if they wait longer than seven to ten days. So when you receive a payment, contact your trading partner immediately to thank them, and then ship as fast as you can.
Buyers' speedy expectations aren't unfair. In today's market, nearly all standard shipping services can cross a nation within a week and go anywhere around the world in two. Standard business practices in the online industry are to ship within 24-48 hours, and premium shipping services like UPS 2nd Day Air or United States Postal Service Priority Mail generally promise rapid cross-national delivery without substantially higher costs. In short, today's online shoppers have come to expect same-week service.
Remember that buyers who have never done business with you before have placed their faith in you based on your feedback and the item listing in question. From their perspective, there have no guarantees that they'll actually receive what they bought, and they're thus anxiously waiting for their item in hopes that all goes well. To disappoint them is to invite neutral or negative feedback at best, or to be faced with fraud investigations or credit card disputes at worst.
- Notify within 24 hours
- Pay within 48 hours if using PayPal
- Send paper payments to arrive within 10 business days
Buyers, beware: sellers aren't prepared to wait forever to get paid. Though you've won an auction, you haven't fulfilled your contractual obligation with the seller until you have made payment.
Unfortunately, as many sellers know, eBay buyers engage in a number of practices that make life very difficult for sellers. Some buyers bid without having the funds to complete the transaction, simply on the hope that eventually they will. Other buyers either don't take auctions seriously and win auctions without ever intending to pay for them. Still others are simply slow, forgetting about their bid after making it and not realizing until they check their email days later that a payment is owed.
In any case in which you can't immediately pay by PayPal at auction close, you should strive to contact your seller within 24 hours to make clear to your seller that you do indeed intend to pay. Then, follow through quickly. If you don't, you may receive negative feedback and a seller may ask eBay to reimburse them for the auction's selling fees. eBay monitors and may suspend buyers whose trading partners repeatedly ask for fee refunds.