Most buyers are happy to pay through eBay using PayPal at the time of purchase. However, the occasional eBay buyer wants to pay on their own terms. Here are the most common scenarios—and how to handle each one.
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eBay Buyer Wants to Pay Directly through PayPal / Asks for Email Address
When an eBay buyer wants your PayPal email address, they’re up to no good or just don’t understand how eBay works. There’s a very good chance they’re trying to lure you into violating eBay policy, tempting you with the option to make a sale without paying any eBay fees, so that you will have no eBay seller protection when they reverse the transaction.
Another scam commonly mentioned on eBay forums goes something like this: The buyer asks for your PayPal email address. You give it to them, and you get an email from PayPal saying that you’ve received the payment for your item. You ship the item only to realize later that the PayPal email was counterfeit, and no payment ever reached your account.
Tell these buyers they’ll get your PayPal email as part of the checkout process on eBay. Better yet, block them.
eBay Buyer Wants to Pay Cash
It’s acceptable for a buyer to pay in cash, and actually the lowest-risk option for a seller. There’s no risk of them reversing the payment without the protection of banks or PayPal chargeback policy. After receiving the cash, you simply mark the item as paid and delivered on eBay to pay your fees and let the buyer leave you Feedback.
The only concerns here are personal safety. Consider meeting somewhere public to make the transaction—the parking lot of a public park or an easy-to-find spot downtown will often do the trick.
I remember reading about one seller conducting her cash sales in a police station parking lot. While not all police stations would be okay with this, it never hurts to ask yours. It’s hard to think of a safer place to do business.
eBay Buyer Wants to Pay Later
Occasionally, a buyer will win an auction or place an order and then tell you they can’t pay for the next two weeks or so. How should you respond? Should you trust the buyer?
Often, this happens when a buyer’s bank account is just about down to zero and they need to wait for the next check to clear, or their PayPal account is a bit short and they need to transfer money into it. This is rude or careless of them, but many make good on the payment when they can.
This one is your call. If you can afford to wait, it’s often worthwhile. If you can’t, you should politely explain to the buyer that payment is due immediately, and file an unpaid item case with eBay after 48 hours have passed.
If you file an unpaid item case and it goes through before the buyer makes a payment, it’s generally a good idea to block them afterwards. They may be upset enough to engage in some malicious buying when they have money again.
It’s also worth noting that you should never give a buyer more than 30 days to pay. You only have 32 days to report an unpaid item.
I’m Getting Some Other Weird Questions…
There are a lot of crazy buyers out there. Learn how to deal with weird eBay shipping questions so you’re never caught off guard.