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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

  • Make it easy for your buyers to pay by accepting PayPal.

  • Include detailed postage and packaging information in the item description and in the P&P details area.

  • Use the eBay checkout system to make it simple for buyers to pay you.

  • Use immediate payments for fixed price listings and Buy it now listings.

  • Use a postage service with a tracking number to help resolve problems over whether an item was posted.

  • Keep any proof of your item's authenticity.

  • Verify that payment has been made before posting 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 are passing the postage costs on to your buyers, review our Posting Internationally page and use the postage estimator to estimate postage costs. Let your buyers know if there are any duties, taxes, or additional fees.

  • 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 chooses to pay 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 postage 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 post 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 cannot be received, contact the credit card company, the issuing bank, and 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 police where the buyer resides. We'll fully cooperate with all police enquiries.

  • Contact us to report a buyer who sent a cheque or postal order that can't be cashed. These payment methods are permitted only for certain categories and for collection in person (see Accepted Payment policy).

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

Counterfeit banker's draft schemes

Watch out for counterfeit banker's draft schemes. Here’s how they work:

  1. A seller receives a request from a bidder to accept a banker's draft as payment or deposit for an item they're selling.

  2. The banker's draft amount far exceeds the value of the item.

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

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

The small print

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

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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