What eBay and Paypal do NOT Tell you about Immediate Payment Required Option

Posted on August 21, 2008. Filed under: eBay | Tags: , , , |


eBay’s Immediate Payment Required Option on eBay can be a great tool for eBay sellers.  We sometimes use Immediate Payment Required when we have an item that we know will be in great demand, either because of its rarity or because of its price, so that we can make sure that we don’t waste our time with nonpaying bidders or with someone who wants to drag out payment for several weeks before they ultimately pay.

According to eBay’s website, using the Immediate Payment Required option is one way to reduce the number of unpaid items for eBay Sellers.  Below is the information I copied directly from the eBay website (I used the bold feature on each of the two bullet points at the end to draw attention to the bullet point):

Avoiding Unpaid Items

eBay’s research has shown that following a few simple tips can significantly reduce the rate of unpaid item

  • Make it easy for your buyers to pay by offering PayPal.  
  • Include detailed shipping and handling information in the item description as well as the shipping details area.  
  • Use eBay’s Checkout feature to make it simple for buyers to pay you.  
  • Use Immediate Payments for fixed price listings and listings using the “Buy It Now” option.



To require immediate payment for your item, you must:

  • Have a PayPal Premier or PayPal Business account when you list your item.
  • Have an eBay seller account in good standing.
  • Specify a Buy It Now price of no more than $4,000.
  • Specify shipping costs (or include the shipping calculator in your listing) and include other related costs such as insurance and taxes, so your buyer knows exactly how much to pay.
  • Ship to the buyer’s credit card billing address registered at PayPal (unless you change your Payment Receiving preferences in your PayPal profile so that you’ll allow buyers to use other addresses). You may want to put this requirement in your item description or shipping and payment information.



When Immediate Payment Required works as intended, the buyer is only able to “purchase” the item if they pay for ite instantly.  And then the seller has their money and they promptly ship.  Unfortunately, buyers sometimes do not read a seller’s terms and/or they are not familiar with how to correctly have a seller ship to a “gift” address and this creates a problem for items sold with Instant Payment Required. 

Buyers who use PayPal are required to provide a shipping address and they are not allowed to provide an “alternate” address in the either the PayPal notes or in a separate email.  But many eBay buyers are not aware of the rules, do not understand the rules, and/or don’t care about the rules and so it is not unusual for buyers to make the request for alternative shipping via a note or separate email.  When that happens, we refund payment and send the buyer an email explaining the problem, pointing them back to the information in our auction which gives more detail, and then we re-invoice them to give them an opportunity to provide a different shipping address through Paypal.  This has worked just fine until now.  With PayPal Immediate Payment, however, there is no room for “forgiveness” of a buyer’s error.  If an Instant Payment Required payment is refunded, there is no possible way to obtain payment again through the eBay or PayPal system.

In the eBay system, the ability to send an invoice is removed:




And any attempt to send a PayPal invoice directly through Paypal for the auction, results in the following error message: “Payment for this item can only be done through the Pay Now and Buy It Now links found on the eBay item page.,”

After MUCH effort on my part to finally get through to a Powerseller Rep who was able to understand the problem and who also had talked with another seller recently who experienced the same problem, I learned that that this “issue” is by design.  There is no work-around.  I was told that getting the buyer to agree to a mutual withdrawal request and then relisting the item for purchase a second time was the ONLY way to resolve the issue (with eBay keeping my $4.00 insertion fee of course). 

Now, had I been aware of the “issue” I might have approached the situation differently.  I probably would have emailed or called the buyer BEFORE issuing the refund to let them know that I would either have to ship to the address provided in the shipping information details, not the notes, or I would have to refund their payment and go through the long process of voiding the original transaction and having them purchase the item a second time.  As it is now, I no longer have the buyer’s money and cannot invoice them a second time so I only have one option to present to the buyer.  My biggest complaint is that eBay failed to inform me or the buyer of the limitations of the Immediate Payment Required option and when I asked about that, I was told by the Rep that eBay didn’t think it was necessary to provide that “detail” on the website because the issue just doesn’t happen that often.

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5 Responses to “What eBay and Paypal do NOT Tell you about Immediate Payment Required Option”

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another scam by ebay!!

they really are something else. Does this only apply to immediate payment required or is everyone who refunds for the same reason going to encounter this problem also. How many more listing fees will eBay suck up with this new theft feature

When I get notes like that from buyers I just ignore it don’t acknowledge and ship where paypal says to

Another thing from Ebay/Paypal I can’t figure out … Paypal tried to charge me 20 something use shipping through them, when I got to the Post office, they only wanted like $9 … lame.

[…] What eBay and PayPal Do Not Tell You About Immediate Payment Required Option (click on article title) […]

Very helpful article title, Thanks a lot 🙂

It dosen’t happen that much eh?… Thats why you were 2nd of the recent guy who called. The others that don’t call them or know how have to choke on it and on their loss. Because they don’t know how to get a hold of ebay. Dosen’t happen much, really? It happends allot, actually. I had this happen back 2 back, 3-4 times a month. Also, a none paying bastard ALLOT and back to back more than three times back to back. Word. T_T

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