As you probably know, eBay is a popular online shopping site that offers all sorts of items, in both fixed price and auction formats, usually for a lot less than retail store prices. While eBay is a great place to find bargains on items you’re looking for, occasionally you may receive an item which is damaged or encounter an unscrupulous seller who takes your money and never ships your item. This can be frustrating but don’t just chalk it up a loss; more often than not, you’ll be able to get your money back as long as you paid with Paypal.
When the item you purchased arrives damaged, not as described, or doesn’t arrive at all, you can usually get a refund by filing an eBay case against the seller (which I will discuss later on in the article) but, before doing this, your first step should always be to contact the seller directly. The best way to do this is through eBay’s messaging system. To contact the seller via the messaging system, sign in to your eBay account and open up the My eBay page. Look to the left side of the page and there should be a link to view the items you’ve won. From this page, click the Contact Seller link, which can be found in the drop-down menu to the right of the item in question.
If your item arrived damaged or not as described, tell the seller exactly what problems there are with the item. If there is visible damage to the item, offer to take pictures and email them to the seller. Let the seller know you would like to return the item for a full refund. Don’t ask the seller to allow you to return the item and receive your money back, tell the seller you intend to return the item and expect a refund. You want to give the impression you’re familiar with how eBay works and aren’t someone who will stand for being ripped off. However, this isn’t to say you should be rude in your message. Keep in mind that the seller may have simply made a mistake. A seller on eBay (or anyone else, for that matter) will be less likely to work with you if they feel you’re being irate and unreasonable. Be civil, polite, and professional but remain assertive as well.
If you haven’t received your item at all, before messaging the seller, make a reasonable amount of time has elapsed since you won the item. Depending on the shipping method used by the eBay seller, domestic shipping can sometimes take as long as one to two weeks. International shipping often takes two to three weeks. If you’ve allowed a reasonable amount of time to pass and still haven’t received your item, ask the seller about the shipping status of your item. You should ask whether or not the item has been shipped yet, when it was shipped, and if the seller has any tracking information so that you can check the status of your package online.
In either case, give the seller at least 24 hours to respond. If, after this time, the seller remains unresponsive or is unwilling to accept a return and refund your money, it’s time to get eBay customer support involved and open a case. To do so, return to your Items Won page, locate the item, and select Resolve a Problemfrom the drop-down menu on the right. Select the issue which applies to you, follow the prompts, and then open a case via the Open a Case Online button or by calling the listed customer support phone number. I recommend opening the case online as the phone option accomplishes the same result but takes a lot more time.
Once the case has been opened, a message will be sent, on your behalf, from eBay to the seller, informing him or her that a case has been opened. The seller will then have seven days to respond to the case and provide eBay with any relevant information. If the seller does not respond within seven days, eBay will decide the case in your favor and refund your payment from the seller’s Paypal account.
If you opened an item not received case and the seller responds with a tracking or delivery confirmation number, eBay will review the information and decide whether or not the seller is at fault for the missing item. If the item was shipped to the correct address and the delivery confirmation number shows the package was delivered, then the package may have been stolen from your mailbox or delivered to the wrong address. Unfortunately, in these cases, there’s not a whole lot you can do except contact the post office and hope they can help you out.
In the event that you opened an item significantly not as described case and the seller responds with a defense, eBay will review whatever information the seller provided and make a decision. In most cases, unless the damage or discrepancy your complaint is based on is listed in the item’s description, the buyer will win an item not as described case regardless of what the seller does. If you do win the case, you’ll be required to ship the item back to the seller. Make absolutely sure you ship the item with delivery confirmation so you have proof of shipment and can confirm the item has been delivered. Once the item arrives, the seller is to refund your payment. If the seller does not refund your payment, eBay will usually issue a refund through Paypal, automatically, once the tracking information shows the item was delivered to the seller.
Should the above steps fail and you can’t get your money back for a missing or defective item by contacting the seller or filing a case through eBay, you have one remaining option. You can file a police report via phone to the seller’s local police station and they may investigate the matter. While this option rarely gets results, it’s worth a shot when all else fails. For more information on returning an eBay item, be sure to check out eBay’s help pages. You can find a link to Help at the top right portion of your My eBay page.