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How can I find out when (or if) my purchase will arrive?

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How can I find out when (or if) my purchase will arrive?

When you've been waiting a while for a purchase, it's only natural to want to know where it is, what it's doing right now, and when it's going to get to you.

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Question: How can I find out when (or if) my purchase will arrive?

There's no other feeling quite like the feeling of impatience you feel once you've made a major purchase online and are waiting for that purchase to arrive. The feeling is heavily intensified when you don't know when the item is going to arrive, or have been waiting for some time and suspect that there may be a problem of some sort with the order without any concrete details.

So how can you get such details as an eBay shopper?

Answer:

Track Your Package

Look for package shipping and tracking information. These days most eBay sellers pay for their shipments on major carries through eBay's website after the sale. When sellers do this, eBay automatically has access to all of the shipping details, including the date on which the item was shipped and tracking information for the package, and makes them available in your My eBay area.

To access this information, follow these steps:

  1. Visit My eBay by clicking on the "My eBay" link seen at the top of most eBay pages or tapping on the "My eBay" option in your eBay mobile app.
     
  2. On the eBay website's My eBay area, click "Purchase History," or, in an eBay Mobile app, visit the "Buying" area of My eBay and then scroll to the "Won" items list.
     
  3. On the eBay website, look for the "Tracking number" link next to the item you're concerned about, or, in an eBay Mobile app, tap on the item and then on the "Track package" link.

Following these steps will show you the tracking information for your item, including details such as the date on which the item was shipped and the expected delivery date, if such information is available from the carrier.

When There's No Tracking Link

If there are no package tracking links or buttons in My eBay for the item you're concerned about, don't panic—there are still a decent number of sellers that don't work through eBay's label printing system, but instead maintain their own relationships with shippers. This is fine; it just means that the tracking information for shipped packages isn't automatically available to eBay. Here's how to contact your trading partner if you're interested in or concerned about such a package:

  • On the eBay website: Follow the steps above, but instead of clicking on the tracking number, click on the "More actions" link at the far right in My eBay for the item in question, then "Contact Seller."
     
  • From eBay Mobile: Follow the steps above, but instead of tapping on "track package," scroll all the way down and tap on the "Contact Seller" button.

Either way, you'll see a box where you can enter a message to your seller, whose response will come to you by email. Just ask the seller for the information you seek, such as the shipping date, carrier, and tracking number for your package.

It may take the seller a day or two to respond (which can be an agonizing wait), but when they do you can plug the number they provide into the relevant major carrier's website (whether USPS, UPS, or FedEx) to get information about where the package is and how to proceed.

If the Seller Doesn't Respond

If you don't see tracking information in My eBay and attempts to contact the seller have been fruitless (i.e. they haven't responded), it's time to take your questions directly to eBay.

Many shoppers are inclined to try to go the "customer service" route and contact eBay directly, but this is usually both fruitless and frustrating. eBay doesn't want to handle a large volume of calls or emails on a per-case basis, and instead try to emphasize resolving complaints through their automated buyer protection process called the Resolution Center, in which you select the item you're concerned about from amongst your recent purchases and tell eBay either that it hasn't arrived yet or that you're not satisfied with it.

eBay generally processes these complaint automatically and will either contact you directly to ask for more information, opt to refund your money immediately, or tell you that you are not entitled to a refund in their judgment.

Note that you won't be able to initiate this kind of dispute until seven business days have passed since eBay's estimated delivery date for the item (shown in the listing for the item that you purchased).

If the Item Doesn't Appear in My eBay or the Resolution Center

If you've made a purchase and can't find the item (or, thus, its seller) in My eBay, nor in the Resolution Center, then things get considerably more complicated. Though this can be hard to hear at this point, it's likely that you have been scammed—and not by eBay, but by someone or a website posing as eBay or claiming to work on eBay's behalf despite being completely unaffiliated with eBay.

Often this kind of thing involves your having made a payment by wire transfer for an expensive item. If this is what has happened, then you're largely out of options, beyond contacting law enforcement, who is unlikely to be able to help. Though it sounds harsh to say this, there's no point in trying to work with eBay if this has happened to you; they will simply say that they bear no responsibility since you didn't buy the item through them, and they are, in fact, correct.

If the payment that you made wasn't by wire transfer, but was in fact through a credit card or through PayPal, you can work through either of these agencies to dispute the payment just as you would any other payment made through them. Simply contact them to begin to initiate a dispute based on an item that you haven't received—but be sure you've given the item enough time to arrive before going this route, usually 2-3 weeks for domestic purchases or 6-8 weeks for international purchases.

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