Not having been a new eBay seller for more than a decade, I am not exposed to the numerous hoops, red tape and runaround that newbie sellers face today. But while mentoring my co-worker Ryan and helping him sell on eBay for the first time, I saw firsthand the maze he had to go through to collect his $31 for an item he sold late last month.
While I think adding an extra layer of security when sellers first begin selling on eBay is a good thing in general, you have to draw the line somewhere. In Ryan’s case, it seemed that the line had not only been crossed, it had been cleared by a mile. It happens to thousands of other new sellers just like him every day. Here’s what happened:
Ryan sold his item and waited patiently for the buyer to pay. Four days after the sale, the buyer did, and he shipped the package the same day. Because Ryan’s PayPal payment was being held—PayPal does this for sellers who have little or no selling history—he had to use his credit card to pay the postage fee when he printed the shipping label. PayPal notified Ryan in advance that because he was a new seller his funds would be held for up to 21 days, so no big surprise there. Fine.
Two weeks have now passed since the item was shipped out, and because the buyer hasn’t left feedback, PayPal is still holding the funds. And Ryan’s PayPal account has a big notice in red that reads “As part of payment holds for new eBay sellers, we’ll hold the money from your eBay transactions for up to 21 days. Find out how how you may get your money sooner.”
He clicked the “Find out how how” link (yes, there really were two “hows” in the link) and it took him to a nonexistent page on PayPal.
But that wasn’t the end of it. Ryan also received his invoice notification from eBay for his March fees, totaling $8.33. Unfortunately, he cannot pay with his PayPal balance because the funds won’t be released until after the invoice’s due date. Back to the credit card!
All in all, Ryan will have put about $14 on his credit card while waiting for the release of his $31.
Just for fun, I sent Ryan the link to an enormous thread on PayPal’s Community Help Forum about the very topic he was dealing with, so he’d know he wasn’t alone. So if you’re going through the same thing, know you’re not alone, either.
Have an experience similar to this? Tell us about it below. Any advice for Ryan?
Rebecca Miller is Auctiva.com's Product Manager. As an eBay seller of more than 13 years, Rebecca is well tuned into the needs of online sellers, and serves as an internal advocate for merchants. She continuously monitors Auctiva's Community Forums, answering customer's questions and taking their feedback to developers for future enhancements. Rebecca continues to sell on eBay, and has experience as a PowerSeller and a Top-rated Seller.