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.

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