eBay.com test Immediate Payment for Auctions

Category: News
eBay.com test Immediate Payment for Auctions

eBay have started to test Immediate Payment for auction style listings in the US with a small group of buyers. The aim is to test how this impacts buyers behaviour before rolling out Immediate Payment more widely on the marketplace. We’ve not seen this in the UK yet, but fully expect that once live in the US that it will be a worldwide rollout.

Buy It Now listings have been Immediate Payment for some years now – if you add something to your shopping basket it’s not yours until you pay for it. However, there are some instances where you can buy without paying (notably Best Offers and Auctions), and in these cases eBay want to eradicate unpaid items.

eBay have shared two updates on the discussion boards. Firstly, confirming that eBay have turned on the immediate payment feature for auctions to a small number of buyers and are collecting feedback from users and iterating on the experience. Secondly, eBay have not yet turned on a similar feature for seller-initiated-offers, but plan to do so to solve for unpaid items in all formats/scenarios.

The way that Immediate Purchase will work is that buyers will be expected to add a payment method before placing a bid or making an offer. Should they be the winning bidder, then payment would be automatically taken from their chosen payment method enabling the seller to ship immediately.

You may be thinking this is great and eliminating unpaid items once and for all on eBay is a priority that’s been too long coming. Indeed, eBay.com announced in their Summer Seller Update that Immediate Payment should be expected soon for Best Offers. However, there are some that are less enthusiastic, particularly those who offer combined postage.

Combined postage is a feature that’s been used for many years by time served sellers in certain categories and especially the collectibles market. Once a buyer finds a particular must have item for their collection, they’ll often place bids on a number of auctions from the same seller.

Sellers themselves have been happy to wait until all auctions finish and then send an invoice via eBay with a single shipping charge, and indeed they themselves benefit from fee savings with a combined invoice as they’ll only pay the fixed fee of 30p (30cents) for a single invoice rather for each item.

The disadvantage of Immediate Payment is that is will spell the end of combining multiple auction wins into a single payment, single shipment and single invoice.

Auctions are a relatively small part of eBay’s business today, most sellers preferring to offer fixed price formats, but it’s an important part of the eco-system as it still attracts buyers for the more rarer, one off items that make eBay the unique venue it still is today. We’ll be watching with interest to see if eBay tweak immediate payment before rolling it out more widely.

Our suggestion for a solution would be, that if you are only bidding on a single item from a particular seller, then by all means eBay can charge immediate payment the second the auction finishes. However, if that same buyer also has additional bids on further items, then payment will be held off until all the auctions complete and the sellers’ combined postage rules then be applied with a single invoice and immediate payment be taken for all items successfully won.

7 Responses

  1. Who gives a rats arse about combined shipping
    If the sods dont pay, you cant combine the bugger in the first place

  2. We auction vintage/secondhand items on ebay and have hundreds of regular customers who return time and time again, buying multiple items knowing we are very fair with combined postage. Some other sellers refuse to do the same which, to be honest, only makes our auctions seem even more attractive. The above proposed policy of immediate payment (without Chris’s proposed tweak… although this doesnt cover the issue of buyers who only snipein the dying seconds) would be a pain but it can be got around. We get regular buyers who always seem to pay for the items individually (despite our pleas otherwise). Bit of a faff but we just quickly work out what the postage should have been, what they’ve ended up paying and then refund the difference, BUT we do also deduct the equivalent ebay fee (10-12%) of the refund and the 30p x however many separate payments they’ve made, otherwise we’d be out of pocketby this amount. So we’re no worse off really, the buyer thanks us for being generous (but probably without realising that ebay have effectively pocketed the fees for the overpayment) and Ebay end up pocketing extra money for nothing. For us to get that refund back from ebay and therefore refund the buyer in full would mean a phone conversation with ebay which wouldnt be worth our time, so its the only way we can get round it. We’ve been doing this for years. Admittedly most buyers read our auction decsription about combined postage and wait until they’ve finished bidding before requesting a single total, so it doesn’t happen often.

  3. combined postage is an iffy marketing ploy
    often loaded to give the impression of a discount
    when reduced

    1. Really? I won 13 sports cards in an auction last week and paid $7 for combined shipping rather than the $68.25 which will now be taken out immediately with eBays new “improvement.” I win. The sellers wins. Ebay loses out on the 30 cent transaction fee for each sale. Is it becoming clearer to you yet? I’m ready to ditch eBay because they have the insight of a blind man and… they suck.

  4. I can’t say that unpaid auction items have ever been a problem for us. Did eBay quantify how many closed auctions were never paid-for?

    I’m cautious that it is ever a good idea to ‘force’ customers to do anything as they tend to work out how to claim back and/or destroy the item in question thereby preventing having another go at selling. Maybe eBay should restrict buyers with no experience from taking part in auctions (as sellers can do) until they understand the eBay eco-system??

  5. This has just happened to me on my private account and am in the UK as is the seller so its not just the USA!
    Had to review offer with new window where you can change payment type add any vouchers etc and change delivery address.
    Its a pain as if offer not accepted will have to go through same process again!
    Been on ebay for very many years, never not paid for anything and have 1,000’s of + feedack. I can undserstand applying this to new or those who purchase very little and have not paid for items in the past.
    So if your bidding on car caravan boat or other expensive items which could be over £10,000 you have to pay straight away without seeing it first!!! how crazy i would only pay this amount by BACS once i had confirmed condition. This will lead to more seller scams and unhappy buyers trying to get money backfor collecting a POS

    EBAY get rid of this crap NOW


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