The Keys to Surviving the PayPal 21-Day Hold Policy
The “21 Day Hold Paypal Policy” has created a great deal of frustration for many eBay sellers. Below I have some recommendations for eBay sellers who are looking to ease the pain of this new policy:
1. Become informed
By knowing when PayPal is most likely to hold your money and what it takes to get the money released, you can better prepare the hold and react more quickly to get the funds released.
To read about the details of the PayPal 21-Day Hold Policy for Seller, be sure to click HERE
2. Prevent the 21-Day hold to the extent that you can
In all cases, your buyer satisfaction rating must be greater than 95%. A dissatisfied buyer is one who (a) leaves negative or neutral feedback or (b) files a PayPal dispute / seller non-performance dispute or (c) leaves a 1 or 2 star rating in any of the detailed seller ratings categories. More than 5% buyer dissatisfaction automatically subjects you to the PayPal 21-day hold.
Other than having a buyer satisfaction rating greater than 95% you also either have to
(a) have been an eBay member for more than 6 months and you have 100 feedback or more, or
(b) you will need to have received 20 or more detailed seller ratings in the last 12 months.
eBay sellers who are relatively new (less than 100 feedback or member less than 6 months) or who have had little activity in the last year (fewer than 20 DSRs in the last 12 months) are, therefore, automatically subjected to the PayPal 21-Day hold even if their buyer satisfaction rating is greater than 95%.
3. Understand that sometimes you cannot prevent the 21-Day Hold
If you are a seller listing your item in a high-risk category such as gift certificates, video games, cell phones, computers or consumer electronics then you are subject to the 21-Day Hold simply because of the type of product you sell.
4. Do not offer international shipments if you are subjected to the 21-Day Hold
Unless your international buyers will pay express mail shipping costs willingly, it is not in your best interest to offer international shipping options. International shipments take longer to arrive than U.S. destinations and it is more difficult to confirm delivery thus taking even longer for your funds to be released by PayPal. Instead, sell domestically only while you work toward meeting the requirements to prevent the PayPal holds (see number 2 above). When you are not automatically subjected to the PayPal hold then you can once again consider selling internationally.
5. Do not contact the buyer specifically for feedback to get the funds released
PayPal funds are released from the hold if the buyer leaves positive feedback. While you would hope that the buyer would leave feedback immediately upon receipt of the item, that does not always happen. Contacting the buyer to inform them that PayPal will not release your funds until they leave positive feedback puts the buyer in an awkward situation, gives them undue influence over the transaction, and gives an unfavorable impression of you and your business. So, your pleading with the buyer to leave feedback could actually cause the buyer to leave unfavorable DSR ratings with their positive rating if they feel unduly pressured or it could cause the buyer not to leave feedback at all when they otherwise would have done so automatically. Instead of asking the buyer to leave feedback to have your funds released, consider another alternative (see number 6 below).
6. Ship all items with delivery confirmation (postal) or tracking (UPS/Fedex) to a valid address
Be sure to use delivery confirmation if you ship by postal and keep a record of the delivery confirmation number or the tracking number if you ship by UPS or FedEx. If the item is a high-value item, be sure to require signature confirmation. And always let the buyer know in advance the method by which you ship an item, especially if by a method other than postal. Some buyers may have had problems with a particular delivery service and they might tell you in advance if FedEx seems to never be able to locate their address, for example. Again, your goal is to get the item to the buyer as quickly as possible. Once the item has been delivered to the buyer, give PayPal the delivery confirmation number or tracking number. The PayPal funds will then be released to you approximately 3 days after the package has been delivered.
Also, it is important to note that you MUST ship to the address supplied by PayPal not an alternative address that the buyer might provide in the PayPal notes or in a separate email. And if you attempt to run a shipping label and the carrier notifies that the address appears to be invalid, do NOT ship but immediately contact the buyer to work out the issue before shipping. If you need to, request the buyer’s phone number from eBay and give them a call. Again, it is best not to mention the PayPal 21-Day hold issue.
If you fail to provide the delivery confirmation or tracking number to PayPal and the buyer does not leave positive feedback, then you will not receive your held funds until 3 weeks after the payment was made.
7. Be professional and calm with all dealings with PayPal personnel
PayPal employees cannot change the 21-Day Hold policy and they cannot get your funds released any more quickly than what the rules state. Therefore, no amount of pleading for leniency or for an exception, no amount of complaining about the policy or threatening PayPal customer service agents will help you. Instead, provide the shipping information that is necessary to get your funds released in a timely manner. Be diligent and persistent in your efforts but always remain professional and calm. Place your call to PayPal when you have had a few minutes to sit down and relax first and call at a time when you are not rushed.
The goal is to get your PayPal funds released as quickly as possible with the least amount of effort and stress while, at the same time, working toward preventing the funds from being held anymore in the future.