I’m still the “eBay expert” offering free advice and support for all my neighbours, and yesterday a classic payment problem cropped up.
My neighbours credit card registered with PayPal had expired, so when he made a purchase he selected the credit card option as an alternative. Of course on eBay nothing is that simple, paying by credit card means making contact with the seller and that’s just not going to happen in the evening. Next day although the seller had a telephone number displayed in their business contact details it turned out to be their fax number and it was impossible to contact them.
Solving the PayPal issue was simply a matter of updating the card on file and from then on paying on eBay with PayPal was all set up again. However once you’ve selected to pay by credit card it’s impossible to go back and change the payment method back to PayPal.
eBay helpfully tell you that if you want to change the payment method once you’ve selected it the only way to do so is to contact the seller. This just isn’t good enough and for the average buyer leaves them in a bit of a quandary. My neighbours suggestion was “Shall I just buy it again and not bother paying for the first one?”, and as online traders we all know just how much that would have pleased the seller!
eBay need to make payments frictionless and easy and if a buyer wants to change his mind on the payment method they’ve selected then they should be able to do so at the click of a button. Just because they opt to pay by credit card shouldn’t preclude them from going back and paying by PayPal – after all eBay get a cut of PayPal payments so it’s in their interest to make it easy to do so.
In the end we managed to Google the companies details and get hold of a phone number that worked, but other buyers will probably either just make their purchase elsewhere and/or get an automatic unpaid item strike. Certainly eBay should not be forcing buyers to search the Internet for an eBay seller’s telephone number, this is a terrible buying experience for a customer trying to pay for their eBay purchase.