Why can’t eBay buyers change their payment method?

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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.

16 Responses

  1. Don’t know if it’s just me but this year we’ve had countless problems with buyers who click on the pay with credit card option, they then assume they have paid.

    When we send a UPI we got snotty emails claiming they have paid.

    It’s become a real pain in the ass this year and I don’t know why, we never used to get this hassle.

  2. Agreed, I wish they’d fix this one, it’s ridiculous!

    As for “Shall I just buy it again and not bother paying for the first one?”

    …well so long as they *tell me*, its fine. In fact, as far as I’m aware, it’s the only way to resolve that accidental choice at the moment!

  3. I think the big issue is people often click “Pay by Credit Card” and either think (I don’t know why but it’s not *that* obvious that they’re not) that they’re opting to pay via credit card via PayPal, or that they’ve probably got their card details saved on eBay and that eBay will automatically bill their card as other websites with stored details do.

    The problem is they’re not taken to a page to enter their card details, they’re not redirected to the eBay seller’s merchant gateway, they just get a tiny message saying that they need to contact the seller to pay which they don’t notice 🙁

    What’s even worse is that the seller has no control over that page and can’t put in a massive boxout message saying “You now need to call us between the hours of 9am and 5pm Monday – Friday on 01xxx xxxxxx to pay by credit card over the phone” or similar.

  4. A agree this particular issue needs to be fixed by Ebay, quite ridiculous that a customer cannot “Change their mind” up until the point when a successful payment has been made.

  5. Solution is don’t offer credit card payment options on ebay.

    ebay obviously don’t want buyers to use credit cards and it is in their interests to make the whole credit card payment process as complicated as they can make it.

    I offer online credit card payment options on the website and that is straightforward for customers. See little old me can do it but BIG giant ebay cannot!

    Last thing I want is worldwide punters ringing me 24/7 with credit card details.

  6. When my business used to accept cheques I had a lot of buyers clicking pay by cheque/postal order during checkout and then changing their minds.
    It was easy for me to forward paypal invoice or details IF I was on-hand to do so. A lot of buyers in this position found it very frustrating as they didn’t understand why they couldn’t change payment method and it left me having to explain it all and then tell them how to pay for their goods without the seemless transition from ebay to paypal and back again.
    You’d think a big company like ebay would have fixed that already?
    Instead I had to solve it myself by stoping accepting cheques

  7. What I do find strange is that eBay cannot integrate Paypals merchant terminal into their own payment process.it is for website and bricks and mortar store use only.

    This surely would solve the credit card payment issue and maybe increase sales on eBay at the same time as more sellers would accept credit card payments.

    As I said previously I currently don’t on eBay because it is a pain in the butt to manage.

    None of the outlets do either but that is a different story.

  8. The issue that buyers think they have paid when they select credit card though is a serious issue for those who offer credit card payments.

    I agree eBay should make it a lot clearer up front what buyers have to do before they finally go down this route.

    If they installed a warning pop up when this option was selected they could convert buyers to use papal instead prior to any final commitment.

  9. I agree it is a glitch that ebay should fix. Often buyers click Payment Sent intending to pay by cheque, but then change their minds and want to use Paypal and can’t.

    Normally when this happens they send a message to the seller who can sort it.

    All you do is log on to Paypal, send a Paypal invoice to the Buyer for them to pay, and when they do, mark the item as paid on ebay. A bit of a hassle, but it takes a couple of minutes and keeps your customer happy.

    Ebay is riddled with faults and difficulties for sellers. They just don’t do enough to fix them. They forget sellers are their customers too.


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