Occasionally, an eBay buyer just isn’t happy with going through the normal shipping process. Maybe they want a faster method than you offer, or to have the item shipped to a different address, or to pick it up in person. Here’s how to handle the weird stuff.
If shipping and customer service are getting too stressful, there are ways to make them faster and easier. Ecommerce shipping solutions can take a lot of work out of shipping, and using a helpdesk with eBay lets you blast through messages.
Last updated 6/11/2018.
eBay Buyer Wants Item Shipped to Different Address
"Now you need it delivered to Mars?"
Maybe the buyer gave you the wrong address, or perhaps they want you to ship the item directly to their girlfriend’s apartment in time for Valentine’s Day. Whatever the case, they paid to have you ship the item to one address and now they want you to ship it to a different one.
Don’t do it. If it’s a PayPal payment, you’ll lose your Seller Protection.
If You Haven’t Shipped the Item Yet
Ask the buyer to cancel the order. Then tell them to add the address to which they want the item shipped to PayPal, and to place the order using that address. The address that you deliver the item to must match the address on the transaction details.
If the Item Has Already Shipped or Been Delivered
If you’ve already sent the item out, you’ll have to consider how valuable it is. If it’s something expensive, you might want to use a service like USPS Package Intercept to have the delivery turned around. Then you can give the buyer a refund and have them redo the purchase if necessary.
You can also just tell the buyer, “Tough luck, you gave me the wrong address.” You shouldn’t face any trouble with eBay or PayPal. However, you should expect negative feedback if you take that option.
A better option is to offer to provide a refund if the item is returned. If it’s a different person’s address, then the current resident will probably return the package if they’re honest.
eBay Buyer Wants to Upgrade Shipping
You get an order, you’re about to package and ship it, and then suddenly you get a message saying the eBay buyer wants overnight shipping. What do you do?
When a customer asks you to use a faster shipping method or different postage after they’ve placed their order, you’re not obligated to do so. Buyers are allowed to make this kind of request, but sellers aren’t required to agree to it. You only have to complete everything according to the order details.
The best option is to tell them to cancel and re-order if you offer the faster shipping method on the listing. The last thing you want is to be waiting for them to pay you for a faster method while the clock is ticking on your shipping deadline.
You should only consider agreeing to upgrade their shipping if the buyer has a lot of good feedback. If you trust them, you can send a separate invoice for the shipping upgrade, and then pack and send out the item as soon as they’ve paid.
Consider warning them that you will send it out using the originally selected shipping method if they don’t pay for the upgrade within your timeframe. (Be friendly about it!) As long as you ship on time, you won’t incur a defect.
eBay Buyer Wants Combined Postage
"Can you shove that box in another box and charge me less?"
If someone orders multiple products from you and requests combined shipping, simply follow these instructions to create an invoice with the combined postage.
If the buyer has already paid, you can combine the postage and provide a partial refund, but long story short, this is usually more trouble than it’s worth. It’s best to apologize and tell them that shipping costs can only be combined before payment has begun. Avoid this situation in the first place by making it your policy to combine shipping by default whenever possible.
For a detailed explanation, see How to Combine Postage on eBay.
eBay Buyer Wants Cheaper Shipping
If the buyer wants to negotiate shipping down to something cheaper, you don’t have to agree. You should, however, accommodate them if they haven’t paid yet and you usually offer the cheaper method they’re requesting. It’s best to ask them to cancel and re-purchase the item with the cheaper method selected.
eBay Buyer Wants Free Shipping
"I'd hate for your feedback score to have an . . . accident."
An eBay buyer asking for free shipping after placing an order is equivalent to them demanding a discount.
If they threaten to give you negative feedback if you don’t give them the free shipping, it’s essentially blackmail and is a forbidden buying behavior. Refuse them and report them to eBay.
If they aren’t threatening you, politely turn them down and explain that the shipping charge is essential to your business. Offer to let them cancel the transaction if they can’t afford the shipping cost.
eBay Buyer Wants Me to Ship to Nigeria
If a buyer wants you to ship to Nigeria, the first question is, did they go through the normal channels? If you accept international orders and they placed an order with the shipping address in Nigeria, that’s fine—just make sure they pay before you ship.
If the original address was in one place and they then tell you to ship to Nigeria instead, don’t. See the earlier section on buyers who want the address changed for more details.
There are honest buyers in Nigeria. However, there are also a disproportionately high number of scam artists there. Be extremely suspicious of any abnormal requests.
eBay Buyer Wants to Use Own Courier
As a general rule, it’s wise to turn down a buyer who asks to arrange their own courier. It makes things needlessly complicated—you’ll have to wait around for the courier to show up—and if you aren’t the one arranging the shipping, you can’t qualify for PayPal purchase protection. It makes you highly vulnerable to a PayPal chargeback.
Again, you aren’t required to offer any services not explicitly offered on your listing. Report the buyer for violating eBay’s code of conduct if they threaten you with negative feedback for refusing to let them use their own courier.
eBay Buyer Wants to View Item
Occasionally, you’ll get an eBay buyer who wants to view an item you’ve listed in person before they place a bid or an order. Say no.
Buyers are only allowed to swap contact info and see the item in person after they've already bought it. They can only see the item before paying during a local pickup purchase (covered below). There's always the risk that the buyer has criminal intent, and it can give them an unfair advantage during an auction.
eBay Buyer Wants Local Pickup
"Thanks for selling us the couch. The van's included, right?"
If an eBay buyer wants to collect an item directly, play it safe. There is always a small risk that the “buyer” is a criminal looking to case your home. Plus, having strangers visit is always an inconvenience.
You can meet in a public place to limit the risks and avoid a frenzied cleaning session. If even that idea makes you uncomfortable, just turn them down—and consider blocking them to avoid malicious buying. You also don’t have to accept a local pickup request unless you offered it on the listing and they selected it when making the purchase.
For local pickup deals, accept payment in cash. Don’t use PayPal, as you won’t meet PayPal’s requirements for proof of delivery and the buyer can easily reverse the payment.
Mark the item as paid and shipped on eBay after the buyer has picked up and purchased the item. That way you can pay the necessary eBay fees and the buyer can give you feedback.
These Guys Are Driving Me Crazy!
The situations above often result in getting unfair negative feedback. You’ll be able to cut your losses significantly by following the advice here, but you may still get a few bad reviews from unreasonable people.
Luckily, most buyers are honest and fair. You should get a great eBay feedback score so long as you respond to all problems professionally and quickly. Connect eBay with a professional helpdesk to provide better and faster answers to your customers and win Top Rated Seller status.