Reservations for One Please… One eBay Nonpaying Bidder that is!

Posted on May 27, 2008. Filed under: eBay | Tags: , , , , |

I am always amazed at the number of nonpaying bidders I get and some of the reasons they have (when they do respond) for not paying.  I follow eBay’s “Best Practices” to help prevent nonpaying bidders.  I clearly state the shipping costs.  I take Paypal only.  I do everything humanly possible to make it easy for an eBay bidder to pay for one of my items… but still… often times THEY JUST DON’T PAY.
There are some bidders that tell me fairly soon that they don’t intend on paying.  Those who have recently suffered job losses, an unexpected death in the family, a sudden but potentially deadly disease, or other catastrophic event will usually tell me within a week or two that they are unable to pay.  They are really really sorry for the inconvenience but they just can’t pay.  Never mind that they are still bidding and buying but they don’t realize you can easily see that they are a shop-a-holic still in a massive eBay buying frenzy.  And, of course, you should never ever mention that you see them continuing to buy because then they think you have somehow hacked into their account to spy on them and they will report you to the proper “eBay authorities”.  And mention that unfortunately you really must file a nonpaying bidder alert to recoup part of your eBay fees and they will tell you what a horrible person you are.  I am supposed to feel so very sorry for the bride whose wedding was just called off this past weekend because now she doesn’t want the wedding items she purchased from me four weeks ago.  Don’t I have any sympathy at all that I care so little as to try and recoup a measly $4 or $5 from eBay?  Never mind that the $4 or $5 per person multiplied by the number of nonpaying bidders would feed my children for a month.  Sympathetic I am; irresponsible I am not. 
Sometimes bidders really drag their feet paying but eventually end up paying, perhaps weeks later.  They have unplanned car problems that need to be paid for first or their roommate unexpectedly moved out and they have to come up with more rent this month or they have to cover the banking fees for a few bad checks they wrote last week.  They ask me to wait… and wait… and wait…. and wait some more.
I asked myself today why I thought there were so many nonpaying bidders on eBay.  I never hear about nonpayment on Amazon.  That is because Amazon is all fixed price items and the items are not truly “purchased” until payment is submitted by the buyer.  I never hear about nonpayment on for auctions.  That is because requires bidders to place a credit card on file and if you don’t pay in full within 2 days of the auction’s end then you are required to pay a cancellation fee.  It is only on eBay that a buyer can buy and buy and buy… and never pay. 
After thinking about my experiences as a 10+ year eBay seller veteran and the conversations I have had over the years with nonpaying (or very slow paying) eBay bidders, I really think that a big part of the problem with Nonpaying Bidders is that eBay buyers use the eBay marketplace as a “reservation” system.  They see something they want and they buy it, knowing it will be difficult to pay for it but they “reserve” it with the BUY NOW button and then figure out a way to “finance” it after the fact.  Or sometimes, they see an item they think is a really good deal and they “reserve” it with the BUY NOW because otherwise someone else might snatch up the good deal.  After they “buy now”, but before they pay, they do some research and sometimes they find out that the “good deal” wasn’t such a good deal after all and that they could save 42 cents elsewhere.  So they don’t pay.  They say to the seller — Please cancel my bid (on a BUY NOW item that I purchased last week).  But what they really mean is please cancel my reservation.

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One Response to “Reservations for One Please… One eBay Nonpaying Bidder that is!”

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please archive some of your rousing posts on Seller Central somewhere on this blog. They are ripping the whole thing up over there. Rescue your profound, eloquent posts now. They are even better than mine!

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