After 10 Years Of Selling, Why I Swore Off eBay

After having used eBay for 10 years, Daniel has vowed to never do it again. “If I have something I know I can sell on eBay,” he wrote in a letter to eBay executives, “I’ll give it away before listing it.” Why is Daniel so steamed?

He just found out that if you make a sale on eBay and let the buyer choose a non-trackable method of shipment, and that buyer files a dispute, that dispute will invariably be decided in the buyer’s interest. This little policy screwed Daniel out of some cash and left him feeling like eBay treated him dishonorably.

Daniel writes:

Here’s an email I just fired off to a bunch of eBay executives. Thanks to

“A month ago, a buyer in Costa Rica bought an item from me. I offered him three forms of shipping, two of which were trackable. All my auctions include the caveat “Foreign buyers: I will not accept responsibility for undelivered items if you do not have insurance.” He chose the cheapest method, which does not offer tracking or insurance. After just over 3 weeks, he contacted me asking where his package was. I explained to him that I couldn’t tell him since there was no tracking on the shipping he decided to use.

So 2-3 days later, he disputed the transaction. I explained through the Resolution Center that not only did he ignore my caveat and consciously decide on cheap, non-trackable shipping but that the USPS no longer provides delivery estimates for the least expensive shipping so there was every possibility the package just had not reached him yet (I did have proof the package was in the system; tracking number LJ260649632US shows it was dropped off at the post office and proceeded to the sort facility but ends there). I also explained that back when the USPS DID offer estimates, it was usually 4-6 weeks.

But it seems any dispute that doesn’t involve to-the-door tracking is automatically decided in favor of the buyer. I had no way of knowing this I have never dealt with a dispute before and this information is not made obvious in any way (I certainly never came across it in 10 years). So despite my 399 feedbacks, all of which are positive, it was decided I was in the wrong and the money was refunded. I appealed and was again denied.

And then today the buyer received the package. He sent me the money back through PayPal and apologized “for the nuisance.” So of course PayPal blocked the payment as suspicious. (I won’t be using PayPal anymore, either, but that’s a different email).

I feel I have been treated dishonorably throughout this episode, with eBay providing me no benefit of the doubt despite my history of selling. I feel doubly so since I have been proven to be in the right.

Honestly, I have one more item to sell that the best and easiest way to do so will be through eBay. But after that no more. If I have something I know I can sell on eBay, I’ll give it away before listing it.

Thank you for your time


The takeaway is that as a seller, never offer your buyers a shipping option that doesn’t offer tracking. If they decide to dispute it, you could be up a creek without a paddle.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.