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Avoiding payment problems

Here are some steps you can take to help ensure prompt payment and avoid payment problems. Note: If you have problems receiving payment for your sold item, see what to do when a buyer doesn't pay.

General tips

  • Include detailed shipping and handling information in your listing's item description and shipping details area.

  • Make it easy for your buyers to pay by accepting one or more electronic payment methods. (All eBay sellers are required to accept at least one of our approved electronic payment options.) These are the safest payment methods for you as a seller and are fast and convenient for buyers.

  • Use the eBay Checkout system to make it simple for buyers to pay you. (Required for electronic payments.)

  • Use Immediate Payments for Fixed Price listings and Buy It Now listings.

  • Ship with a tracking number to help resolve any shipping problems.

  • Keep any proof of your item’s authenticity.

  • Verify that payment has been made before shipping the item.

  • Consider using an escrow service for high-priced items.

International sales

  • With a PayPal Premier or Business account, you can accept credit card payments from buyers in many countries. 

  • If your preferred payment methods aren’t available internationally, add other payment options that attract international buyers.

  • If you're passing the shipping costs on to your buyers, review our Shipping Internationally page and use the shipping rate calculator to estimate shipping costs. Let your buyers know if there are any duties and taxes.

  • Make sure buyers know that packages will pass through customs, and that they should investigate any costs that might be involved.

Credit card problems

  • If the buyer pays with a credit card, you can help ensure that it‘s valid by contacting the credit card issuer to verify that the name on the card matches both the shipping information and the contact information. If you doubt the identity of the buyer, ask the credit card company to validate that payment was made before you ship the item.

  • If you suspect that a buyer has attempted to pay with a stolen credit card, contact us.

  • If a credit card payment is being reversed or can't be received, contact the credit card company, the issuing bank, and PayPal (if the buyer paid with PayPal) to review your options.

Fraudulent payments

  • If you believe that a buyer paid or is attempting to pay with fraudulent funds, contact us. Also contact local law enforcement where the buyer resides. We’ll cooperate fully with all law enforcement inquiries.

  • Report a buyer who sent a cheque or money order that can’t be cashed. These payment methods are permitted only for certain categories and for local pickup (see Accepted Payment Policy).

  • Don’t accept overpayments from buyers who ask to be reimbursed the difference.

Counterfeit cheque schemes

Watch out for counterfeit cashier’s cheque schemes. Here’s how they work:

  1. You receive a request from a bidder to accept a cashier’s cheque as payment or deposit for an item you are selling.

  2. The cashier's cheque amount far exceeds the value of your item.

  3. The buyer asks you to send the overpayment amount via an instant cash wire transfer service such as Western Union or MoneyGram.

In this case, the cashier's cheque is probably fraudulent. It can take weeks or months for the seller's bank to know if a cheque is real. If the cashier's cheque is fraudulent, you’ll be held responsible. Sometimes the cheque appears to be from a Canadian bank. However, upon closer inspection, you’ll see that the cheque includes foreign country or city names.

The fine print

Due to potential for fraud, we don’t allow buyers and sellers to complete sales outside of eBay. These sales are not eligible for Feedback, requests for contact information, or eBay's problem resolution services.

PayPal offers protection for items you sell following the guidelines outlined in the PayPal Seller Protection Policy. If you use a different method to receive payment, review the policy to see if fraud protection is provided.

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