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Avoiding payment problems

Here are some steps you can take to help ensure prompt payment and avoid payment problems.

Note: If you have problems receiving payment for your sold item, see what to do when a buyer doesn't pay.

General tips

  • Include detailed postage and handling information in your listing's item description and Postage section.

  • Make it easy for your buyers to pay by accepting one or more electronic payment methods like PayPal or merchant credit card. (All sellers on are required to offer at least one of these accepted safer electronic payment options.)

  • Use eBay checkout to make it easy for buyers to pay you. (Required for electronic payments.)

  • Use immediate payments for fixed price listings and auction-style listings with a Buy It Now price.

  • Post with a tracking number to help resolve any postage problems.

  • Keep any proof of your item's authenticity.

  • Verify that payment has been made before sending the item.

International sales

  • With a PayPal account, you can accept credit card payments from buyers in many countries. 

  • If your preferred payment methods aren't available internationally, add other payment options that attract international buyers.

  • If you're passing the postage costs on to your buyers, review our posting internationally page and use the postage rate calculator to estimate postage costs. Let your buyers know if there are any duties, taxes or additional fees such as insurance.

  • Make sure buyers know that packages will pass through customs, and that they should investigate any costs that might be involved.

Credit card problems

  • If the buyer pays with a credit card, you can help ensure that it's valid by contacting the credit card issuer to verify that the name on the card matches both the postage information and the contact information. If you doubt the identity of the buyer, ask the credit card company to validate that payment was made before you send the item.

  • If you suspect that a buyer has attempted to pay with a stolen credit card, report it.

  • If a credit card payment is being reversed or can't be received, contact the credit card company, the issuing bank, or PayPal (if the payment went through PayPal) to review your options.

Fraudulent payments

  • If you believe that a buyer paid or is attempting to pay with fraudulent funds, report it. Also contact local law enforcement where the buyer resides. We'll fully cooperate with all law enforcement inquiries.

  • Report a buyer who sent a cheque or money order that can't be cashed. These payment methods are permitted only for certain categories and for local pick-up (see the Accepted payment policy).

  • Don't accept overpayments from buyers who ask to be reimbursed for the difference.

Counterfeit cheque schemes

Watch out for counterfeit cashier's cheque schemes. Here's how they work:

  1. You receive a request from a bidder to accept a cashier's cheque as payment or deposit for an item you are selling.

  2. The cashier's cheque amount far exceeds the value of your item.

  3. The buyer asks you to send the overpayment amount via an instant cash wire transfer service such as Western Union or MoneyGram.

In this case, the cashier's cheque is probably fraudulent. It can take weeks or months for the seller's bank to know if a cheque is real. If the cashier's cheque is fraudulent, you'll be held responsible. Sometimes the cheque appears to be from a domestic bank. However, upon closer inspection, you'll see that the cheque includes foreign country or city names.

The fine print

Due to the high potential for fraud, we don't allow buyers and sellers to complete sales outside of eBay. These sales are not eligible for Feedback, requests for contact information or eBay's problem resolution services.

Some payment methods offer protection for sellers against fraud. Review your payment provider's policy and contact them for more information.

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