While the majority of eBay packages tend to arrive at their intended destination, it is an unavoidable fact of life that some may not. Whether delivered to the wrong address or damaged enough for the label to be unreadable, an item missing midway through the business process is disappointing for both the eBay buyer and seller.

For sellers on eBay, one sure way to protect yourself is to use eBay or PayPal shipping labels. Using one of those two services will ensure that you have done everything possible from your end to ensure the buyer’s package is en route to the address the buyer provided.

While for buyers on EBay, there are the steps you can take to try and track it down or ask for your money back if your purchase gets missing. According to eBay rules, you are entitled to a refund or replacement item from the seller unless they have tracking information that confirms the package was delivered.

Possible Reasons Why an Item Will say Delivered Yet “Item Not Received”

  1. Item was delivered to the wrong address

If as a seller you used either PayPal or eBay shipping labels, this should not be the reason. However, you still have to give room to allow for postal error—after all, none of us are perfect. Howbeit, if this happens, you can contact the local postal service and ask that they locate the package. For a buyer, since opening mail that does not belong to you is illegal, all miss-delivered mails tend to be returned to the post office. In some cases, if your neighbour received your mail by accident, they will bring it to you.

  1. The buyer is lying

This is one of the most common reasons for an item not received claim. In the same way, this is the easiest scenario to address. If a buyer is lying about receiving an item, they have probably done so in the past or will do it again in the future. Have it in mind that once the buyer has less than 5 feedback ratings and/or has been an eBay member for less than a month, chances are you are dealing with an untested customer.

  1. The item has not been delivered yet

Note that just like in any other any profession, even the postal service has employees that do not always follow rules and regulations—this is a fact. Before delivering a package, a postal carrier can scan the package before it is actually delivered.

If the carrier cannot fit an item into a mailbox and decides the package should not be set outside of a house, they can and will retain the package and hold it for future delivery. Every package is only expected to be scanned as delivered after it has definitively reached its destination, but it doesn’t always work that way.

  1. The item was stolen

Even though this is the least occurring reason, it does happen. If this is the case, it is still the buyer’s responsibility to contact the postal service for an insurance claim. Have it in mind that if the package was not insured, the buyer could still recover their payment via PayPal, but that is solely their responsibility.

What to Do as a Seller When EBay Item Says Delivered But Never Received

Note that buyers have up to 30 days after the estimated delivery date of an item to report it missing on EBay. But once a buyer sends an ‘item not received’ request, sellers have 3 days to respond and resolve the issue with the buyer. After this, eBay will step in. However, here are things to do as a seller in this situation.

  1. Check tracking information first

Have it in mind that it is always good for eBay sellers to upload an item’s tracking information as soon as possible. Not only is this helpful for the buyer, it usually reduces anxious messages to the seller concerning the location of the item.

Note that when a buyer files an ‘item not received’ request, the first thing a seller should do is check the tracking information. A seller’s next move will depend on the most recent status shown on the item tracking information.

  1. If tracking information shows item delivered, wait

If valid tracking information is showing that the item has been delivered to the intended destination within the correct time frame, as the seller you do not have to refund or otherwise resolve the situation with the buyer. The seller does not have any liability for the missing item. However, it would be a good idea to ask the buyer to:

  • Check with other household members that they did not forget to mention a package arriving
  • Make a thorough search around the outside of their house to make sure that the package was not left in an unusual place
  • Ask neighbours whether they have received any packages on behalf on someone else
  • Contact the shipping company to request more details about the delivery
  • File a police report if they suspect the item was stolen
  1. If tracking information shows item lost, refund the buyer

Note that eBay’s policy on missing items is explicitly clear – buyers are entitled to a refund under the Money Back Guarantee. If the tracking details show that the item has been in transit without movement for more than 7 days (10 for international shipments), refund the buyer the full sale amount including the shipping cost.

In addition, if the seller does not have any kind of tracking information, the resolution is the same. The buyer is entitled to a full refund. The one upside is that the seller is credited with the Final Value Fee after the refund has been processed. However, another alternative to the refund is to send a replacement item, though sellers should check with the buyer first whether this is an appropriate solution.

  1. Make an insurance claim with the shipping company

The next thing to do as a seller with a missing item is to make an insurance claim with the shipping company. This tends to involve providing proof of the item’s value (a PayPal transaction record is one example of evidence) and a copy of the original shipping receipt. Seller without shipping insurance will likely find themselves out of pocket for missing item transactions.

What to Do as a Buyer When EBay Item Says Delivered But Never Received

If as an eBay shopper you made a purchase on eBay a month ago, and you have waited and waited for it to arrive but you have finally contacted your seller, only to be told that it was delivered weeks ago, only it wasn’t. Here are few steps to consider:

  1. Contact the Seller

To start the process, you can contact the seller directly, but you have to wait until at least three days past the estimated delivery date. You can start by submitting an “Item not received” request. EBay will then share the details of your request with the seller, including whether you are asking for a refund or a replacement item, at which point the seller has three days to respond.

Note that if the seller doesn’t offer delivery confirmation, doesn’t provide a resolution or you simply don’t receive a response in that time, you can ask eBay to intervene. You can do this by logging into your account and clicking the “My eBay” link, which will take you to a summary page.

There, you will click on the “Purchase history” link on the left sidebar, locate the item in question, click “See request details,” followed by “Ask eBay to step in.” eBay will then review the case and respond within 48 hours. If eBay determines the seller is at fault, you will get a full refund, including shipping, within an additional 48 hours.

If the seller responds but doesn’t have delivery confirmation, they can either issue a refund or offer a replacement item. Otherwise, if the seller provides tracking information that confirms the package has been delivered, there is no further obligation for a refund from them.

  1. Check the Shipping Address Again

In addition, right before gearing up your detective skills to work, review the email correspondence you have received from eBay and PayPal to ensure the address is correct on both sites. If the package was sent to the wrong address, you will be better positioned to explain your situation in any discussion or dispute.

  1. Contact the Shipper and Reach out to Neighbours

Also, with your tracking number handy, contact the carrier (USPS, FedEx, UPS, or whichever company was tasked with the delivery), and check their website for details. If the package was sent through USPS, you can with decide to pay a visit to the post office with your tracking number and have them trace the exact shipping route. Note that sometimes packages marked as delivered went to the right zip code but the wrong address.

Also note that drivers also sometimes leave packages in a “hidden location” (behind a bush, under a mat, or inside a rear screen door, for instance) to prevent theft. If this is the case, there may be a note about the package’s location posted in the system. It also might be advisable to stop by the neighbours to see if they might have grabbed the package either by mistake or for safekeeping.

  1. Be Patient and Follow Up

Most times, the missing shipment situation will more or less get resolved and your package will be delivered. If not, you can look into reimbursement through PayPal or your credit card provider, which may offer such protections for their customers.

Conclusion

More often than not, when buyers and sellers find themselves at odds over whether a package was ever delivered, it is the shipper that is to blame. If a buyer claims that they have not received their item, but the tracking information states that it was delivered, do not jump to the conclusion that the buyer is lying.

Send a message to your buyer; provide empathy, stating that you will do your best to resolve this dispute for them. Let the buyer know the actions that you will be taking, such as: contacting eBay, contacting PayPal, Contacting their local postal carrier, and opening a case with the postal carrier involved.

Do not give your opinion on whether you believe they are telling the truth or if the package may have been lost. This reflects doubt. If a buyer is lying, they will use any sign of doubt to prolong their claim and try to get their item for free.

Solomon. O'Chucks