What Do You Do Once Someone Has Purchased Something From You on eBay?

What Do You Do Once Someone Has Purchased Something From You on eBay?

Positive and negative feedback provide important input for a buyer's future transactions. Whether you're starting a business or trying to earn some extra money, eBay provides a global forum for selling just about anything. As a seller, however, you are responsible for more than simply listing an item for sale and making sure the description is accurate. 

What Do You Do Once Someone Has Purchased Something From You on eBay?

After you've made a sale, it's not only important that your buyer receives what is paid for, but that you also maintain open lines of communication and leave feedback -- critical to an eBay user's reputation -- appropriately. Making an effort to share a positive purchasing experience goes a long way towards ensuring buyer satisfaction and, in turn, a good seller feedback score for you.


1 - Contact your buyer directly to acknowledge and thank him for his payment. Create an automated confirmation email from your eBay Seller page or write a more personal eBay message. The idea is that the buyer knows you genuinely appreciate his business.


2 - Confirm that the credit card or electronic payment successfully processed before sending the item. If you accepted a check -- electronic or mailed -- be sure the check has cleared the bank first.


3 - Package your item as securely as possible. Remember that part of your feedback score comes from the quality of your packaging -- and it's your responsibility to ensure that the item arrives as safely as possible.


4 - Purchase and attach the appropriate postage to the package. Ensure you've selected the shipping option paid for by the buyer -- for example, overnight or Priority. If you stated in your auction that you will ship within three days, adhere to that time frame.


5 - Make sure the shipping information is correct. Double-check that the recipient's address is accurate, clearly written or printed, and that you have included a return address.


6 - Ship the package. If the buyer paid for overnight shipping, be sure you get the package scheduled for a pick-up or delivered to the drop-off location in enough time to make the delivery cutoff.


7 - Mark the item "Shipped" -- which sends the buyer an emailed shipping notification -- as soon as you've packaged and shipped the purchase. PayPal completes this automatically when you use the payment portal to print shipping labels. If you are not using PayPal's shipping features, log in to your eBay Selling page, locate the item in the Sold list and then choose "Mark as Shipped" in the Actions drop-down.


8 - Track the package, if there is tracking available for the postage option offered, so you can verify that it arrived safely. If there is a delay, communicate concerns in a message to the buyer so she knows you're keeping an eye on the shipment.


9 - Leave buyer Feedback. The eBay Feedback system is like your reputation on the site and helps inform future buyers and sellers about the transaction.

Tips & Warnings

Sellers are permitted to leave a short comment and positive ratings for buyers. Negative experiences -- as a seller, this generally means the buyer didn't make payment -- must be reported through the Resolution Center instead.

If the buyer has paid your requested amount for shipping and the payment amount doesn't cover the total shipping fees, do not downgrade the shipping option because of your miscalculation -- take responsibility for the difference.

How to Not Be Ripped Off by a Buyer on eBay

Shipping to confirmed addresses helps eBay sellers avoid problems. The popular auction website, eBay, can expose your products to a gigantic audience, but frequent sellers can expect to encounter problematic customers.

 If you have a buyer who won't pay for an item, eBay's Resolution Center can help you get a credit for the sales fee you incurred, and you'll be able to re-list the item for sale or offer it to another bidder. Before other problems arise, take steps to prevent potential ripoffs on eBay.


1 - Take advantage of eBay's buyer requirements feature. This feature allows you to prevent potentially untrustworthy buyers from bidding on your listings. Sellers can exclude buyers with a history of unpaid items, as well as those with low feedback scores and those who have reportedly violated eBay policies. To access this feature, go to "My eBay," then click the "Account" tab. Select "Site preferences" on the left side of the screen, then look for "Buyer requirements" on the next page that loads. Click "Show" on the right side of this line to see and edit the requirements you wish to apply to your listings.


2 - Require immediate payment for "Buy It Now" listings. These listings allow buyers to sell products on-demand, eliminating the need for customers to compete in an auction. By requiring immediate payment, sellers eliminate the possibility that someone will claim an item and then fail to pay for it. You can choose the immediate payment option in the listing-creation form.


3 - Verify non-traditional payments. While most listings require you to accept electronic payments, sellers can accept checks and money orders for items in select eBay categories. Find out from your bank how long it takes these payments to be verified and cleared, then specify in your listing that you won't ship items until this time period has passed.


4 - Make wise shipping choices. Don't ship an item to a buyer until you've received payment for it. When shipping, use a service that tracks deliveries so you have proof the item arrived at its destination. The eBay company also suggests that you only consider purchasing insurance for valuable items. Only ship items to the address on a buyer's eBay or PayPal account.

What Do You Do About Taxes When Selling on eBay?

Your eBay sales are subject to taxation.The IRS considers the money you make on eBay income, and you are technically required to report that income, even if all you are doing is cleaning out your closet and getting rid of unwanted items. The IRS has become more aggressive about collecting this type of income, so it pays to keep careful track of your eBay income and expenses going forward.

Cost of Goods

The money you make on eBay is not pure profit, and it is important to be able to demonstrate that to the IRS. The easiest way to document what you actually made in profit is to record the price you pay for each item you sell on eBay. Set up a spreadsheet that shows the purchase price of each item, the date the auction was posted, the date it ended and the final selling price. Also record any listing fees and final value fees imposed by eBay, as well as any fees assessed by PayPal. Recording each item as the auction ends allows you to accurately report your income and expenses to the IRS when you do your taxes.

Packaging Materials

It costs money to adequately protect each item and ship it to the buyer. The cost of those materials can be deducted when you complete your taxes and report your eBay earnings. You can track the cost of the foam peanuts, empty boxes, bubble wrap and other packaging materials on your main eBay spreadsheet, or on a separate spreadsheet you set up for that purpose. Also track the cost of shipping if it is not paid by the buyer.

PayPal Fees

You can deduct the cost of PayPal fees when you do your taxes, so be sure to track those expenses carefully. You can export your PayPal history to Microsoft Excel, and to a number of other financial software packages. Regularly tracking your PayPal earnings and fees also makes it easier to estimate your earnings for the year and correctly file your quarterly estimated taxes.

Schedule C

Schedule C is the form you use to report business income, including eBay earnings, to the IRS. Schedule C also provides space for you to list any business-related expenses you incurred, inclulding the cost of mailing your packages, the cost of the packing tape, boxes and packaging material you used and the amount of PayPal fees you incurred to receive your money. You can also deduct the listing and final value fees eBay collected on each auction, so be sure to track those expenses carefully. You might want to consult with a CPA or tax expert to maximize your deductions and minimize your taxes. If you do choose to prepare your own taxes, look for a tax software designed for small business owners.

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