It happens to everyone who sells products on eBay, someone wins your auction but never pays. You can kvetch about it all you want, but there’s an official mechanism for filing a complaint and receiving a refund on the transaction fees that’s a critical step to really resolving the problem fairly!
First off, give it a week or so before you conclude that the buyer is a deadbeat. Ya just never know what might have happened in their lives, from a car crash to a sick relative, to a business trip. Some buyers say “you must pay within 48 hours of winning this auction”, but I think that’s unreasonable, personally.
Once you have decided that they’re a deadbeat non-paying buyer, however, your first step is to go to the eBay Dispute Console, where you’ll see two basic types of reports you can file:
As you might expect, you’ll want to click on “Report an unpaid item”. At that point you’ll want to know the Item Number of your auction, which you can easily obtain by opening up a new tab in your Web browser, going back to your “My eBay” area, and looking at the number in parens immediately next to the item description:
So you can see what I’m talking about, here the Item Number is highlighted: 220147820764.
Enter that and detail that they haven’t paid as of yet. Then you’ll have an open dispute, which will doubtless look like this one I am dealing with currently:
Give it a few days — or longer — and, if you really never hear from them (most likely) or they have some story about why they can’t pay and you indeed need to just cancel the transaction, come back to the Dispute Console and click on “Close Dispute”.
Now you’ll get to pick what happened: either the transaction is completed to your satisfaction, you’ve given up and want to cancel the entire transaction, or you and the buyer have agreed not to complete the transaction.
In the latter two cases you have to wait a week or longer for eBay to make that option available, and you will receive a Final Value Fee credit for the costs of your closed eBay auction. You can then relist the item and try again.
I have to say that I have sold a couple of hundred things through eBay and only twice experienced a non-paying buyer, once because of a money order that was “lost in the mail” (in the days before Paypal!) and once because they simply vanished and never responded. Don’t write off auctions because of the chance of a deadbeat, though; fact is, being able to sell your stuff through eBay is actually great fun and can be quite profitable too.