eBay tightens rules around unpaid item disputes

EBay has announced changes to the unpaid item dispute process; a move aimed at curbing the friction that can occur between buyers and sellers when something goes wrong at the auction site.

The announcements specifically relate to unpaid items, which are those that are not paid for within a reasonable amount of time. eBay typically encourage users to contact one another to resolve potential issues in this event, but if this cannot or does not happen the resolution process kicks in.

The changes to the unpaid item dispute process include:

    - Reducing the waiting period before a dispute can be opened from 7 days to 4 days
    - Reducing the dispute resolution process from up to 60 days to around 30 days
    - Reducing the period of time following the sale of an item in which a dispute can be filed from 45 days down to 32 days

In addition to the above changes, eBay has indicated that there are fewer forms to be filled when lodging an unpaid item dispute. There is now also no need to liaise directly with the other party back and forth; the item seller instead determines how much communication they are willing to take part in with the buyer.

EBay has also taken the role of 'middleman' under the changes, authoring all emails between the buyer and the seller to give them a more neutral tone.

Finally, the language used on the site regarding unpaid items is being softened so that terms like "unpaid item strike" are no longer used, although such occurrences still have the same negative impact on the buyer.

It has been announced that these changes take place immediately.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

New Macbook Pros in the works?

Next Story

Netflix announces upcoming PS3 streaming service

21 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Ebay is much better for sellers than buyers & this has in the last 10 years I have been using it been the same.
When your a buyer you have to first pay for the goods up front, then if the goods are dodgy or the seller is & you do not even get the goods it is a long process to get any money back or goods swapped over.
I have been burned 3 or 4 times over the years where a seller takes my money, has no goods to sell & runs.
Yes paypal will investigate but if the seller has no funds in bank account for a refund then paypal will tell you they agree with you & seller is in the wrong but they cannot do anything as seller has no funds.
If it is covered with the paypal protection you may get some back.
I think it should be that when you purchase goods your money goes into a holding fund held by paypal or ebay until the goods are delivered & your happy with them & then they can release the funds to seller.
And if the goods are no good or dont arrive the seller does not get paid & money is refunded back to buyer.
Of course buyer would need to send goods back.
Now that would be fair.

Having just bought a used MacBook Pro battery described as "Excellent" only have a POS battery that is all scratched up, dented and won't even charge delivered, my hope is that eBay/PayPal will side with me... This is the 1st time I've been burned on eBay and I have bought a lot over the past 10 years...

I also sell a lot and other than a call one day from PayPal (who was sorta confrontational) about items I was selling... basically verifying I was actually sending the items I was selling... took my explanation that the buyers were already leaving positive feedback on the items I did sell and left the situation alone. I thought for sure I would end up in PayPal Hell but no problem since.

Knocking on wood that I don't get the scumbag buyer who screw me over...

TSO said,
eBay makes a move that doesn't stab their sellers in the back? I'm astounded, what's the catch?

Ebay is still stabbing their sellers in the back, they are just trying to do a better job of hiding it.

I despise feeBay, yet I still do business with them. But only if it's a niche item that wouldn't sell on Craigs.

Although this helps (seven days to open a dispute for nonpaying was ridiculous), eBay is still weighted towards the buyer. I sold someone nonworking item which I disclosed all that was wrong with it. The buyer tried to flip it and when it didn't work, he opened a not as described dispute against me. The buyer offered no proof with their claims and even accused me of manipulating the item. I submitted everything backing up my claims. I was still required to refund the buyer. I did end up selling it again for more so it worked out for me.

this is very true, ebay seems to be treating their sellers as crooks. i've been selling on ebay since 2002 and have been having more and more issues like yours. sold a NON working ipod AS IS, clearly stated in auction, buyer demand a working ipod. wtf? i had them open a paypal (which is really still ebay) claim to resolve it, thinking i'd come out the "winner" and paypal demand i refund their money. it's caused me to put an end to my endless upgrading since i can no longer comfortably sell items there. goodbye ebay, and even better, goodbye paypal!

i just noticed this the other day when i decided 4 days was much too long to pay for a $10 item

i have to say, the new system seems to be much easier than the old. in 13 hours i will be able to close the 4-day ticket and get my seller fees refunded, and that jerkoff who sends me absolutely ZERO email can automatically get negatives

all within 8 days of auction close, vs 3+ weeks for the old setup

thank you eBay!

they won't get a negative on their feedback, but they will get a hidden unpaid item strike, but nothing will show for other sellers to warn them.

Finaly Ebay does something good now if it were to say ban bad sellers and buyers for a time to curb rotten sellers and buyers from using ebay to scam others and or to raise the price on items.

If you are a seller on ebay then you are screwed, ebay hates your guts and will treat you with contempt for as long as you are a seller.
If you are a buyer you can get away with just about anything on ebay and nothing will happen.

Ebay might pretend to be a middleman but ebay will always side with the buyer in the end.

James Riske said,
If you are a seller on ebay then you are screwed, ebay hates your guts and will treat you with contempt for as long as you are a seller.
If you are a buyer you can get away with just about anything on ebay and nothing will happen.

Ebay might pretend to be a middleman but ebay will always side with the buyer in the end.

Have you even bothered to read that? This helps sellers.

James Riske said,
Yes, did you bother to read "Ebay might pretend to be a middleman but ebay will always side with the buyer in the end." :)


That is simply not true. They generally aren't fast but they have almost always been fair with me and these new policies are a good step.

James Riske said,
Yes, did you bother to read "Ebay might pretend to be a middleman but ebay will always side with the buyer in the end." :)
I did read your remark, but you have nothing to support it. Read article again.

Jelly Beans said,
I did read your remark, but you have nothing to support it. Read article again.

My claims are easily supported, one only has to look to the feedback changes the ebay forced everyone into not so long ago, sellers can only leave positive feedback, buyers can leave whatever they want.
The feedback is clearly biased and shows that ebay favors the buyer over the seller.

James Riske said,
My claims are easily supported, one only has to look to the feedback changes the ebay forced everyone into not so long ago, sellers can only leave positive feedback, buyers can leave whatever they want.
The feedback is clearly biased and shows that ebay favors the buyer over the seller.
Anyone who doesn't see this is clearly an idiot or hasn't used eBay much as a seller.

About time! I went through a load of trouble when i sold a car and had to wait a week before i could even issue a dispute and took about 3 weeks before i was allowed to relist the item! meanwhile ebay had charged me fees for selling the item even thought it obviously hadn't been sold!

And last year they removed the ability to give negative feedback about people! You can only give positive feedback which to me makes the entire system unusable now and myself and my partner no longer use it!

Good. It's incredibly annoying when you get a bidder that doesn't pay, doesn't email you, and doesn't even respond to the unpaid item thing, and then eBay takes their sweet time solving it.