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eBay looks to improve protection for sellers as one seller takes them to court over a dispute

2014 Feb 18th 10:55 AM

After many stories arising about legitimate sellers being ripped off by buyers who say they haven`t received their goods, eBay is looking to improve the help it provides to cover sellers from non-payers.

The e-commerce giant has identified that there are "a significant number of unpaid items on eBay" – that is, goods which are shipped by a seller, or by eBay on their behalf, for which the buyer then either cancels their payment, or doesn`t make one at all.

This is what happened to a frequent eBay buyer and seller Vishal Vora. He sold his iPhone and the buyer claimed he had only sent the box. Despite Vishal having proof he sent the phone  "The weight on our Post Office receipt confirms that the phone must have been in the box when it was dispatched, yet the buyer insisted it arrived empty," he says. eBay sided with the buyer and pursued Vishal for the money by deducting it from his Paypal and and then through a debt collection service. Needless to say Vishal has never seen his phone again.

Although Vishal Vora didn`t take this lying down as he began proceedings through the small claims court and eBay eventually paid him back the cost of his iPhone, his court costs and the £17 that was removed from his Paypal.

The company says it is taking steps to change its policy when buyers and sellers provide conflicting information .

Senior manager of seller protection, Jonathan Haney, has reassured merchants that, although the company had been quiet on the subject for a while, it has implemented a number of changes. These, he said, had helped reduce the proportion of sales which became the subject of an arbitration case for non-payment by just over a quarter (26 per cent).

It is reassuring to see that eBay have picked up that the buyer is not always the innocent party when there is a dispute over payment or delivery. But it is important as a seller to take some precautions so that you are prepared if a sneaky buyer tries to scam you.

- Take detailed pictures before dispatch in case a buyer disputes condition.

 - Always use special or recorded delivery Proof of postage is not deemed sufficient by eBay or Paypal if a buyer claims not to have received the goods.

- Add "Buyer Requirements" to listings to block buyers who have too many policy violations, or aren`t registered with PayPal.



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