Tag Archives: ebay dispute

eBay Dispute: To refund or not to refund, that is the question

I hate conflict as much as anyone, so when I was greeted the other morning by an email from Paypal declaring that someone had opened a “dispute” with me, my heart sank.

The person who won my eBay auction for our old kitchen light fixture said he never received the item. Here’s his dispute message:

ITEM NOT ARRIVED. IF YOU KNOW WHO SIGNED FOR MY PURCHASE PLEASE FURNISH INFORMATION SO I MAY ADD TO THE POSTAL INSPECTORS REPORT. THANK YOU

The first thing I did was go over to eBay and check my shipping information. Fortunately I paid the 19 cents for delivery confirmation and according to the Post Office, the package made it to my customer’s home. So I responded:

I have “delivery confirmation” from the Post Office, but I don’t believe a signature was required. Could it have been left at a neighbor’s place or something? Was the shipping address correct? I just printed out the label via the Paypal function. It went to 355 N 34th Ave.

This was the first time one of my packages didn’t seem to make it into my buyer’s hands. However, I did know that the USPS “delivery confirmation” notices aren’t always accurate. Just a few weeks ago, AT&T shipped a new cellphone to my son. He had the tracking number and was checking its progress as it seemed to zero in on his office.

One day it was “out for delivery” and then later that same day the online status showed that it had been “delivered.”

But my son hadn’t received it. He asked around his office and neighboring offices. No luck. He was bummed.

Then, the following day the mail carrier showed up with it. How is it possible that it showed “delivered” online a day before it was really delivered?

Anyway, I was hoping that this might be the case with my kitchen light fixture. But, it wasn’t. A few days later I got another message from my disappointed (disgruntled?) buyer:

I HAD SEVERAL ITEMS DELIVERED THE SAME DAY. POSTAL MAN OR LADY JUST LEFT IT IN FRONT OF HOUSE I FEEL THIS PURCHASE AS WELL HAS BEEN TAKEN. NOT SURE WHAT TO DO. IM LOSING MONEY AND SOMEONE IS STEALING MY GOODS. I HATE THIS.

I searched all the “help” files on eBay and Paypal to find out what happens when the seller has a USPS delivery confirmation but the buyer says he never received the package.

It wasn’t easy information to uncover, but eventually I came across an article on eBay and a forum conversation saying that the seller was not responsible and a refund was not required. I learned that if the buyer bumped the “dispute” up to a “claim,” the claim would be denied. So here’s my final message to this eBay auction buyer:

I don’t think there is anything I can do about this from my end at this point. Hopefully the Post Office will be able to find your package if it was improperly delivered.

I think you can ask PayPal or eBay to issue a refund, but I believe that when there is a delivery confirmation, refunds are not issued.

Again, I’m sorry that someone either stole your package(s) or the carrier lost them.

The buyer told me he had lost more valuable packages and was going to let the issue drop. He closed the dispute. I left positive feedback for him when he originally made the purchase. So far, I don’t believe he has given me any feedback, but according to what I read on eBay a buyer should not leave either neutral or negative feedback when there is delivery confirmation.

The bottom line is that the 19 cents paid for delivery confirmation is money quite well spent.