eBay System Sends Out Invoices That Buyers Are Unable to Pay

Posted on November 19, 2009. Filed under: eBay, Paypal | Tags: , , |

When an online shopper wants to buy something on eBay, it is at least a 2-step process whereby they “purchase” the item(s) and then “pay for” the item(s).  Many first time buyers experience trouble getting Paypal to work at all.  And inexperienced eBay shoppers often try to circumvent the PayPal system because it is too difficult to understand or too time-consuming to learn how to use it properly.

Despite making it very clear in our listings that we only send packages to the SHIP TO section of the PayPal payment (for the protection of the buyer as well as our own protection), we often receive PayPal payments from eBay buyers who then send us a follow-up email asking us to ship to an alternate address.  No matter the value of the transaction, we always decline to ship to an alternate address sent by separate email.

1. It is very difficult later to provide details about a shipment when a buyer uses a business ID and business PayPal account to purchase an item but then asks us in an email to send to their personal name and personal address.  When the buyer later inquires weeks or months later about the status of the package, we initially don’t know that the package was not shipped to the address in PayPal so it takes us quite awhile to research.

2. We have found that buyers sometimes purchase small items and request shipment to an alternate address and if we accommodate their request they return and purchase hundreds of dollars of items and make the same request.  It is difficult to explain why we did so the first time for a $10 transaction but will not do so for a $300 transaction. 

3. By shipping to an alternate address we have given up all PayPal Seller Protection that would have been provided to us if we had shipped to the address provided.  Selling on eBay is already risky enough and we are simply not willing to incur any unnecessary risk.  PayPal requires us to ship only to the address provided and we follow their recommendation.

Recently, PayPal has removed the ability for an eBay seller to send an invoice directly for eBay purchases.  So that means an invoice for an eBay purchase MUST be sent directly from the eBay system.  The problem with that, however, is that sometimes eBay makes it difficult or impossible to send invoices.  Take, for example, a case where a seller lists an item with Immediate Payment Required to avoid the issue of nonpayment.  Whenever a buyer makes a purchase of an Immediate Payment Required item, there is no room for error since a buyer has only one shot to get things right.  Afterward, if the buyer emails and tells you that they realized they put in the wrong address or used the wrong payment method and wants to make a change then they are simply out of luck.  The only option is to refund and cancel the order and start over (and, of course, cancelling the transaction opens the seller up to receiving negative feedback for the poor experience the buyer had with the eBay and PayPal system).

With Immediate Payment Required purchases, eBay removed the possibility of sending a new invoice after the original payment was refunded.  But now, we have experienced problems with purchases that are not Immediate Payment Required.  While a new invoice can be sent through the eBay system, the invoice is odd and the buyer says that they are unable to pay because they keep receiving an error message telling them that they have already paid.

For example, I recently had an eBay buyer win an auction that, with shipping, totalled $9.49 .  The buyer paid but sent a separate email requesting delivery to an alternate address.  We responded that we couldn’t send to an alternate address (as we state in our auctions) since that would violate PayPal policies.  We informed the buyer that we would refund their payment and reinvoice them unless we heard from them.  That would allow the buyer to add the new address on their PayPal account and resubmit payment. 

When we refunded the original PayPal payment and then sent a new invoice, the eBay invoice looked like this:

So, when the buyer attempts to pay the “new” invoice they receive an error message and they are unable to pay the eBay invoice through the eBay system.  The eBay “purchasing system” is so difficult for the buyer, eBay does not provide any type of buyer education, and when a buyer makes an error (no big surprise) eBay makes it impossible for the seller to work with the buyer to correct the buyer’s mistake.  What is ironic is that as we continue to sell less and less on eBay we experience even more problems.  I can’t even imagine the headaches we would have if we were selling at pre-2009 volumes.  We’ve kept a token “foot in the door” on eBay so that we would not have to start from scratch if/when eBay finally got things turned around.  But I am becoming less convinced every day that eBay even has a shot at turning things around.


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6 Responses to “eBay System Sends Out Invoices That Buyers Are Unable to Pay”

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[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Cliff Aliperti, TheBrewsNews. TheBrewsNews said: eBay System Sends Out Invoices That Buyers Are Unable to Pay http://tinyurl.com/ykuzzps […]

A system designed by people who do not use the system.

Despite having kept up with eBay changes I do not think I could sell effectively on the platform today. You see, selling requires the product to be seen.

The process is so complex that most small or beginning sellers would only be giving eBay money.

You could save a lot of time and plenty of headaches by just writing a check.

Another example of management nodding their bobbleheads to the code monkeys* at work.

* “a person only capable of grinding out code, but unable to perform the more intellectually complex tasks of software architecture, analysis, and design”


“Garbage in, Garbage out.”
George Fuechsel, IBM

Code Monkey, Jonathan Coulton


You are finally realizing exactly what I have come to realize about eBay. We keep a foot in it for the same reason as you. Unfortunately it is becoming so convoluted that we are constantly asking our selves is it worth it.

The “code monkeys”, or the IT idiots as I like to call them, are completely destroying the whole system.
The inability to change invoices, the now they’re here and now they’re gone item condition in the IS forcing buyers to send emails wanting to know if the item is new or used (this has been going on since the first of the month and it is still not rectified) on items that are listed from BT and TL of which the people that run them say it is an eBay problem. HELLO! You are eBay!

Of course you also have the situation where they are sending out payment reminders at 4 days. So now the buyers are mad and they can’t take it out on eBay so what do they do they slap our DSR’s. I tell all of my multiple buyers that this is happening and the buyers are getting fed up with eBay. To them this is harassment and of course I also let all of my eBay buyers know that they can buy the same things on our web site or on eBid for a cheaper price and cheaper shipping since we do not have to pay the outlandish fees that eBay charges.

Purely and simply eBay is cutting their own throat and like I have said many times before we only use eBay to dump our crap since the site now has become nothing more than a piece of crap.



Here’s my big thanks from ebay for turning 25k fb. They were kind enough to email me this link:


I am encouraged to print it out and ‘display it proudly’. The email ebay sent was stuffed with rover links too.

To them it is still 2005 because the building looks the same, the lights are still on and the checks still cash. Think Digital Equipment Corp circa 1996. Don’t believe me, read this:


These people actually believe themselves.

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