PayPal eCheques will ruin Feedback 2.0 Detailed Seller Rating

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Today I received the worst email a seller on eBay can get:-

Dear [Seller],
The eCheque payment sent by [Name] ([email address]) did not clear through the PayPal system. You have not received funds for this payment in your PayPal balance.
You may want to contact [Name] regarding this payment.
Yours sincerely,

So why does this email upset me so much? Well firstly PayPal send our buyers an email stating that payment will “usually takes four working days”. That may be true in Cobb’s world in the US, but everyone in the UK knows that it will take ten days to clear. Secondly having informed the buyer that they won’t be getting their goods until the payment clears in ten days they’ve been patiently waiting. Now their payment has failed to clear. Sure on some occasions it may be because they have insufficient funds in their bank account, but frequently buyers are at a loss to explain why payment failed when funds are available.

The situation is intolerable and PayPal need to address it as a matter of urgency. It’s only a few days since I had another unhappy buyer (who’s payment thankfully cleared!). Now I have an extremely unhappy buyer who has been forced to wait almost a fortnight just to be told they have to attempt to repay again.

There are several options available to PayPal and eBay
1) Scrap eCheques, although there are many benefits to them in their current form they cause more trouble than they are worth.
2) Allow sellers to block eCheque payments for eBay transactions. You can already block them for your website so why not for eBay?
3) PayPal need to update their archaic banking arrangements to clear eCheques in the promised four working days rather than over ten.

In the short term PayPal need to revise their email and stop promising things they can’t deliver. “Under promise and over deliver” is a maxim all sellers and people in the service industry should be familiar with. The opposite (and PayPal’s current position), is untenable. The only real option available is whenever you’re paid with an eCheque to refund it and suggest the buyer uses an alternative method such as Nochex, who allow buyers to pay instantly without even registering.

Finally with the introduction of Feedback 2.0 I wonder just what ranking someone who’s waited ten days and is still no where near getting their item dispatched will give? Detailed Seller Ranking for “Dispatch time” is not going to look good! Well thanks for nothing PayPal – Your eCheques are worse than useless! πŸ™

15 Responses

  1. Oddly, I received an eBay message today from a US-based customer.

    “Hi, I’m trying to pay for this item in Paypal but it tells me that you don’t accept echecks. I have plenty of money in my Paypal balance. Can you help.”

    Two things there.

    Firstly, he says Paypal is blocking an eBay payment by echeque, which shouldn’t happen.

    Secondly, Paypal is issuing echeques even though the customer had, presumably cleared, Paypal funds available.

    Fortunately I took payment over the ‘phone.

  2. Kevin – I’ve heard a couple of other people saying that they’ve had echeques blocked on eBay too, though it isn’t universal as I am still getting the wretched things.

  3. In the US eBay’ers are allowed to block eChecks.

    In the Paypal LA under Receiving Payments section 4.3

    “eCheck is the only Funding Source that eBay Sellers are allowed to block.”

  4. Hi Jav, unfortunately the UK are the losers in this area. Our only option for blocking the infernal eCheques is “Block Payments from users who: Pay with eCheque for website and Smart Logo payments, or German bank transfer for all website payments except eBay”

    I don’t know why they won’t let us block them in the UK, especially as they take ten days to clear. I detest PayPal promising my buyers they’ll clear in four! At the very least they could either clear them in the timespan they promise or inform buyers with a realistic expectation. It’s just abominable behaviour from a service industry.

    Don’t get me wrong, PayPal is fantastic (although I still preferred BillPoint). It’s just with eCheques they’re ridiculously bad! πŸ™

  5. Buyer Requirements enable UK sellers to block anyone who does not have a credit card on file. In my case at least, this would probably eliminate most eCheque users, who often don’t realise that they needed to have a card on file to make instant payments.

    But a) it wouldn’t get rid of those who deliberatley set out to use eCheques & b) it could cause problems for people who don’t need a card on file because they prefer posting paper cheques & PO’s.

  6. Oh yeah, and c) the block can only be applied to buyers with 5 or fewer feedbacks anyway πŸ™

  7. Sam I have that block enabled, and in fact I have it applied to all users. It’s one of the few you don’t have to select between 1 and 5 – you *can* leave it to apply to everyone. Still doesn’t stop them using eCheques though as it applies to having a card on file with eBay not with PayPal πŸ™

  8. well, the buyer gets informed once payment cleared.

    If the buyer sees that payment only cleared after lets say 12days, he knows it will only be dispatched then. I don’t see why a buyer would leave bad ratings for delivery time because of this, as he knows his echeque cleared only after 12days.

  9. Trouble is it’s a bit like postage costs. The buyer doesn’t care if you are VAT registered and have to add on 17.5% compared to your non-VAT registered competitor. They just see you as more expensive just as they see you post slow with an eCheque compared to balance or credit card funded payment. Buyers don’t understand eCheques and don’t realise they’ll take 10 days to clear, they just think they’ve paid you πŸ™

  10. If the buyer’s had to wait twelve days for their echeque to clear, unless the seller has sorted things out way before then, they’ll have left neg. f/b before the payment has even cleared!!

  11. Uncle Sam says…”Buyer Requirements enable UK sellers to block anyone who does not have a credit card on file. In my case at least, this would probably eliminate most eCheque users, who often donÒ€ℒt realise that they needed to have a card on file to make instant payments”

    I keep being told this by Ebay when trying to open another seller account.
    I have never had a credit card but I am a verified Ebay and Paypal member that is allowed to buy and sell on Ebay and make and accept instant payments through Paypal.
    When I first registered in 2003 you could be verified by proving your bank account details and address were correct.
    Ebay/Paypal did this by sending a letter to my registered address telling me they were going to deposit a small amount of money (they did not say how much but it was 9p if I remember correctly) into my bank account. I then had to contact them to say how much money they had deposited.
    This method of verification showed Ebay/Paypal that my registered address was correct, that my bank details were correct and that I was who I said I was.

    I don’t know when Ebay/Paypal stopped using this method of verification but it certainly beats having to have a credit card on file.


  12. Sue, Thanks for that bit of info…
    I have queried this many times with Ebay when trying to setup additional seller accounts. Everytime I get to the section where it asks for a credit card it also gives the option of a debit card…but when I try putting the details of a Maestro debit card in it will not accept it.
    Ebay support come up with all sorts of reasons for the debit card rejection…such as debit cards are not accepted only credit cards…not true as it clearly says debit cards are accepted. I have also had it said that only Maestro debit cards are not acceptable…yet it quotes Maestro cards as one which is acceptable on the online form.
    I think Ebay are not really interested in accepting debit cards because they can be cancelled…Where as credit cards, once they are on file can not be cancelled and if there is any monetary dispute Ebay can just dip into your credit card account at will and there is little you can do about it.

  13. Try a Visa debit card instead πŸ˜‰

    As a point of record when you enter credit card / bank account details into the verification section of eBay (usually required when setting up a seller account) eBay do NOT use them to draw for fees. This is done in a seperate step where you agree to have the fees deducted from your payment method of choice. πŸ™‚

  14. But why should I have to open a new bank account so as to get a Visa card…Ebay’s online form says they accept Maestro…and my Maestro card is backed by Mastercard which is also acceptable according to Ebays online form.
    Ebay may well not use an on file credit card to withdraw fees but it is a fact that once a credit card is logged it can’t be cancelled and iff for any reason ebay wanted to recover funds from you they could do so without you being able to prevent it…That is in my view the reason why Ebay and most other online organisations insist on you logging a credit card on file before youcan use their services…they can’t lose out.


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