eBay Holds Sellers 100% responsible for Buyers Receiving Their Items

I got an email from a reader today who alerted me to a new stealth shipping policy. Maybe eBay announced it somewhere but I can’t find it.

This particular seller shipped an item to a buyer who claimed they did not receive it even though the seller’s tracking info showed it had been delivered. The seller then sent the person a second item at his own expense. It was also delivered.  Then the buyer left the seller negative feedback. (Don’t you just love those kind of people?)

So our intrepid seller reaches out to PowerSeller Support for help. And gets the following reply from the support rep who also seemed to be surprised by eBay’s policy. Here is what the support rep sent to the seller:

“Unfortunately I was not aware of this but they just had a policy change
in the last couple weeks that holds the seller 100% responsible for
making sure that the buyer receives their item. Although the tracking
shows that the item was delivered, because the buyer says they didn’t
receive it, it’s the seller fault. So essentially if someone steals that
package from the porch or something, they are still holding the seller

So we are also now responsible for theft. But if you really want to build up your negative feedback, just try requiring a signature.  When people get home from work and find a card on their door telling them to contact UPS to arrange for delivery, they get even more upset.


  1. Or the buyer could take it and say they did not received it.

    However remember that a buyer can always claim a SNAD(significantly not as described) and the box was empty when it was received and always win.

    The real question is does this affect any refund or just the feedback.

  2. This happened to me a couple of years ago when I was shipping two large cartons of books (a complete Time-Life book series) to a buyer who only received one of them. EBay, in their infinite wisdom, determined that it was my fault. Luckily, I was able to find some of the missing books at a garage sale for the buyer and negotiated a mutually agreeable settlement resulting in a positive feedback. But it seems that only way to avoid this is to insure everything that is sent, an expense which I am not willing to pay.

  3. I had a buyer file an item not received dispute against me. I responded with the tracking information showing it was delivered. To my shock I *LOST* the case. I called up eBay and complained and they “reversed” the decision. They immediately took the funds out of my paypal account but now I have wait 7 days to get the funds back.

    eBay knows that they have too many sellers and not enough buyers so they really don’t care about the selling experience. Just the buying experience which sucks if you are a seller.

  4. The way I see it is there are too many T.R.S. that are getting discounts that is hurting eBay’s bottom line. This is a way to gain the discounts back by disqualifying as many as they can by not standing by the seller.

    I saw this coming.

    I just makes Amazon more attractive. On Amazon if a buyer gives me bad feedback in reviewing the product instead of my services, Amazon policy takes them off. On the other hand, the same issue on eBay they will not remove them.

    If John D. wants to follow Amazon so bad he better try to see what they are doing right for the seller.

  5. And they wonder why their business is dropping like a rock!

  6. This seller responsible insanity HAS been publicized. Never in ,my long life have I experienced a worse regulation to live with. I am responsible for Post Office delivery???? I ship overseas. I am responsible for the Canadian, British, Japanese and Australian post offices?
    I sell on of a kind items 99% of the time. There is no way to send a duplicate. Ebay is sowing the seeds of its own destruction.

  7. Hi Skip, this has happened to me a few times. Don’t you just hate it when a buyer tells you they didn’t receive your item? You check your tracking info and you see the item has been delivered. Makes you wonder doesn’t it?

  8. If every seller that this happens to would contact the Postal Inspectors it wouldn’t take long for the policy to change

  9. This is why I have always insured everything. It is built into the shipping cost. When buyers see the package is insured they don’t make fake claims of loss or breakage. Also, I believe the USPS gives better service for insured packages. In years of shipping hundreds of packages, only one package was ‘lost’ and that was a Fedex package, which they reimbursed for. I don’t understand why ebay is squeezing the sellers on shipping cost so much. When I order from a retailer on line the shipping is almost always at least $5 usually more. Even if the item is very small.

  10. You don’t know why ebay is squeezing the seller so much about shipping costs? Really? It is so obvious! Ebay doesn’t make any money off of a seller’s shipping cost. They want sellers to lower their shipping cost and raise the selling price. That way they get a larger percentage of the total! They are so ridiculous!

  11. Ok, When you say you lost the dispute for a Delivered item, was the item over $250 and you did not get Signature Confirmation?

    From what I understand as long as you have SIGNATURE CONFIRMATION to prove the buyer signed for the item you cannot loose an Item Not Received dispute.

    Am I correct? or is eBay giving refunds for items that have Sig Proof of delivery?

    1. Author

      You are correct –but it has happened a few times and it took sellers a while to get the dispute resolved, but they did prevail in the end.

  12. I assume I am going to lose this one. I shipped an item on 10/6 and on 10/26, the buyer claims non-receipt. I checked delivery confirmation which showed the packaged shipped on the day I advised and was out for delivery on 10/9, but does not show actual delivery. There has been nothing else posted on the website since that time. The item never came back to me. I have to assume that either the buyer did not receieve the item and the post office mis-delivered it to someone else or the buyer did receive it, and then checked the tracking number on the envelope and saw the website results, and he knew they could make such a claim. Every change Ebay has made since 2008 could have been written by the dishonest buyers association (one probably actually exists).

    So I can show the item did ship and was out for delivery in his zip code, so ofcouse since there is no such thing as a dishonest buyer to Ebay, I am now responsible for shipping the item, seeing that it is delivered and that the buyer is 1,000% happy wiht it or I must eat all cost and in the chances are the buyer gets everything FREE and still then leaves a negative feedback. What a wonderful system. Whatever happened to equal protection under the law? In order for any contract to be deemed legally enforcable it must provide equal protection to all parties. How is it equal that the buyer gets all the benetits and protections under the ebay contract, while the sellers receive none and are held to rediculous and extreme standards? Then in the end, the buyer, who in many cases has received and kept an item, gotten a full refund, including shipping cost, can then leave negative feedbacks that are usually filled with lies. They buyer knows that ebay will never remove any buyer feedback unless there is a court order, even if that feedback clearly violates their selectively enforced policies. The mafia should open an on-line auction site, it would probably be more fair than ebay.

  13. I have a buyer in Italy who purchased a ipod nano, he claims the box arrived empty and the package weighed 8 oz and its being reviewed now by paypal. I am almost 100% sure I will lose this because paypal and ebay is holding me responsible for this package to arrive to him safe in a country 1000’s of miles away. I know he said the package did not look damaged and he opened it at the post office and only 2 sheets of paper. Now I have over 3000 feeback 100% positive and would never send out an empty package but its my mistake because he had 1 feedback from last year and I took a chance. I sold this for my nephew and of course either way I will not let my nephew lose the money bc he is young and I would feel so bad but i gut tells me he is not being truthful and is trying to get his money back and the nano. You would think that ebay notice the amount of business I do selling and buying and would stand by me but this guy with the 1 feedback a year ago will most likely win so “the con is on” over at ebay!

    1. Author

      HI – I wouldn’t wait for eBay to make a decision. i would call eBay on Monday morning (use the help tab to get to the contact phone number) and explain your side of it and remind them that your have 3000 feedback and a good track record. This buyer is obviously scamming you.


  14. Skip good News!
    I won my case, I was shocked!!
    The case was closed and no money taken just closed.
    Last time I spoke with Paypal I was told the buyer made a police report and they needed time to translate the report. I did explain to the rep at PP claims my side & as a top rated seller who would not risk feedback rating to scam anyone. Then a couple days later case was closed and I did not lose any money.

    wow did not think that would go my way at all but either way I always get the best service at paypal.

  15. I had an item not received complaint filed on me and I lost. My buyer sent me a message through ebay saying their address had been changed and they didn’t notice it until after the purchase. I changed the address and sent to the address they said with a tracking number.
    The item was delivered. The buyer even left me a good feedback on the item. I even showed ebay proof of communication between me and the buyer.They received the item and their money back because I shipped to another address. Two weeks later, I had another buyer try to pull the same stunt. I sent to their address they had listed on ebay. The buyer left me a negative and said they didn’t receive the item and I didn’t change the address like they asked me too. I am no longer a seller on ebay. When ebay gets rid of the dsr and other BS, I might think about selling again.

  16. We have the same issues as above. We can send the customer order recorded delivery and dispite having a proof of delivery the buyer claims they have not received their order. The buyer claims the signature on the carrier document is not theirs.

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