Unpaid items disappear into eBay black hole

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Having done a full stock check about six months ago my colleague John who trades on eBay as is rather annoyed to find that he’s got a number of items on the shelf which aren’t listed on eBay. Having tracked down the offending items it appears that many of them were unpaid items.

The trouble is that eBay aren’t particularly good at handling unpaid items, and often times the seller isn’t even aware that the item remained unpaid for as eBay now have an automated system to open and close unpaid items without any intervention from the seller.

Currently the only indication that you have an unpaid item for which the case is closed is to manually check the resolution centre on a regular basis. This is further compounded when you have a mix of stock items which are re-ordered on a regular basis combined with one off unique items which you’ll never have in stock again.

There are a number of solutions eBay could offer to solve this problem. One is to put unpaid items back into My eBay as unsold. For items which were on a multiple quantity fixed price listing the quantity could be automatically adjusted to reflect the unpaid item. If the multiple quantity listing has ended but been relisted then this becomes more difficult – should eBay add the unpaid item to the relisted item or should they add it to unsold items? The danger here is that if you see an unpaid item and relist it you could fall foul of the duplicate listing policy by having two identical fixed price listings running.

Inventory management on eBay has never been particularly good, but to have to do a complete stock check to find unpaid items, or to manually go through your eBay unpaid items in the Resolution Centre isn’t an efficient system.

Over a period of time it’s likely that all sellers will have unpaid items, and if they’re not tracked then the stock will remain on their shelves unlisted. What solution would you like to see put in place to indicate that eBay has automatically opened and closed an unpaid item case and you have inventory available to resell?

24 Responses

  1. Not to have the option of unpaid items would be a good start, you don’t get that problem on Amazon!

    This causes us a lot of work, about 30+ a week we have to attend to.

    We open the cases ourselves to stop issues and then once we close a case update the stock, but as you can imagine this takes up a lot of time and with 30+ a week we end up loosing quite a bit on listing fees to!

  2. and this unpaid item assistant is fun
    ebay systemcontacts and gives the buyer a chance to pay and after payment the buyer leaves a neg cos there pissed off

  3. In saying that unpaid item assistant could be improved and speeded up (instant?).

    The reasons list for giving refunds does not include “item not received” in the drop down menu. Now given that this is probably the most common reason for refunding it seems daft that eBay don’t include this!

    And why is the refund process part of unpaid item assistant anyway?

  4. My unpaid item percentage runs between 3.4% – 14% depending on time of year.

    Our terms are clear, we only sell new items. The main reason for UID’s is the buyer simply not paying. Sometimes when we request to cancel the trans, the buyer refuses to cancel, duh! That really peeeeees me off.

  5. Buy it now items should only be removed from sale when the buyer pays for them. Most sellers on eBay don’t sell via auction anymore. eBay should update BIN sales as this will benefit sellers as well as buyers who change their mind. Is this a good idea or what?

  6. OT

    Anyone else unable to leave feedback at the moment?

    I’ve got 20 to leave but just get “Sorry, an internal error occurred and we were unable to retrieve your sales record(s). Please try again.

  7. Can this be cleared up please.

    For eBay are we saying that if an item is placed in the basket then stock numbers are reduced at this stage before a payment is made (I take it the answer is yes).

    And that if an item in the basket remains in the basket and remains unpaid for and is never paid for, then the stock numbers in live listings with stock are subsequently not topped up when the item is removed from the basket by eBay as a result of non payment?

    And that if you only have a listing with a quantity of 1 for sale then that listing is not automatically relisted for free if the basket item is never paid for?

    If all this is true then I am bemused!!!

  8. eBay use an argument that buyers need to pay quickly else the item may no longer be available if others add item to basket and pay first. (ie item still available for sale until paid for and cannot be “reserved” by simply adding to basket)

    How does this eBay argument stack up if stock reduced before buyer pays?

    Really I am totally confused by all this.

  9. But the new shopping cart is arriving no ?
    So the unpaid items will be a bad memory… we hope.

  10. I follow the discussion with interest since we are very close to launch our marketplace for vintage and collectible toys (Chris was so kind to give some advice). It will have auctions (3 days payment window for buyers) and BINs (will go through check out which needs to be completed within a few hours otherwise the items go back on the “shelf”). That should get those NPB down!

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