Resolving Common Disputes

When members run into disputes with each other, eBay tries to help sort them out. Listed below are some common eBay transaction disputes and how eBay recommends they be resolved.

Unpaid item. Occasionally, a winning bidder may fail to pay for an item. In that event, the seller may, within 45 days after the end of the auction, file an Unpaid Item Dispute and receive a Final Value Fee Credit (a credit because a buyer backed out). You must be signed in to your eBay account in order to file. Normally the seller must wait seven days to file the dispute form, but that delay is not required if the buyer is no longer registered with eBay or if the seller and buyer mutually withdraw from the transaction (even though there is no actual “dispute” in this case).

Item not received (or received but significantly not as described). eBay has a procedure for resolving disputes when the winning bidder fails to receive the item or the item received is “significantly not as described” (SNAD). If you are the winning bidder, you may first attempt to resolve the matter with a written demand on the seller. Although you should tailor the tone of any demand to fit the situation — sometimes there are extenuating circumstances for a seller — the sample auction demand letter template may serve as the basis for your demand letter. Assuming all attempts at resolution have failed — for example, you and the seller and buyer have already communicated without a satisfactory resolution — then eBay will step in, contact the seller, and seek to resolve the matter once you file an “An Item Not Received or Significantly Not as Described dispute.” If you are given the choice to escalate this to an official eBay claim, eBay’s Trust and Safety Team is alerted and your claim may result in the seller's account being closed.

Using PayPals Buyer Protection Program. If you used PayPal to make your purchase and you (1) did not receive the item or (2) received an item that you believe is significantly not as described by the seller, your loss is insured by PayPal for at least $200. Moreover, it is likely to be insured by PayPal for up to $2,000 if it meets certain requirementsfor example, the sellers eBay feedback rating is at least 50; at least 98% of the sellers eBay feedback is positive; and the seller has a Verified Premier or Verified Business Account in good standing. You must first attempt to resolve the dispute using PayPals dispute resolution process.

Mutual feedback withdrawal. If members have a dispute over the content of feedback one or both writes, they can mutually agree to withdraw it under eBay's mutual feedback withdrawal process. This differs from the process whereby eBay will remove the feedback if it violates the feedback abuse rules. You may also be able to get feedback removed if you invite the other party to participate in a SquareTrade mediation, described below, and the other party refuses. There are also special procedures for independent feedback review of eBay Motors transactions. There's more on feedback rules later in this section.

SquareTrade. SquareTrade is an independent online dispute resolution service that offers impartial mediation services for eBay users. The SquareTrade process requires the disputing parties’ consent to the mediation. An impartial mediator guides the parties to a final resolution. The party requesting the mediation must pay a fee of approximately $30; there are no additional charges for participating in the mediation.

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