Yes, sellers do have ways to protect themselves. Say for instance that you've had dealings with a bidder who took a long time to pay you. Perhaps they even have a history of being a deadbeat. In order to protect themselves from this bidder, Ebay merchants can add the bidder to their "Blocked Bidders" list. This will prevent the problem bidder from placing bids on any of the seller's auctions until their name is removed from the list.
To add a problem bidder to your Blocked Bidder list, simply go to your My Ebay Seller's page. Go to the bottom of the page and click the link for your Blocked Bidders list. Once there, you can add and remove as many names as you like. You can even block multiple usernames by placing a comma between them. If the user redeems himself someday, you can remove his name from your blocked list by returning to this page.
In the meantime, how does an Ebay seller handle a non-paying customer? Sellers can file a Non Paying Bidder report seven days after the auction ends. Seven days is the minimum amount of time sellers must wait before filing this report; they can file it up to forty-five days later.
Upon receiving your report, Ebay will send out a letter to the auction winner. Sometimes this is sufficient to make a buyer pay up. If a buyer pays you after you’ve filed a report but before the warning letter is sent, you can cancel the warning by sending in a Non Paying Bidder Warning Removal. This will prevent the warning letter from going out to the buyer. If a buyer receives three or more warning letters from Ebay, their account will be suspended.
What if a buyer fails to pay you, but you have no way to contact them to request payment? If you are involved in a transaction with the user, you can use Ebay’s “Search -> Find a Member” feature. You will need the buyer’s user name as well as the transaction number. The search will return their name, city, state, and phone number. This gives sellers an opportunity to send out letters or even call the buyer to discuss payment.
Finally, feedback is also a possible recourse for sellers, but it should be applied sparingly. A seller should leave negative feedback on a buyer only when they really feel that the buyer is detrimental to other sellers. Anytime you leave negative feedback, you run the risk of retaliatory feedback from the offending party, even if it’s undeserved. Negative feedback can be costly and time-consuming to remove from your record. Most sellers simply use warning letters and their Blocked Bidder list to distance themselves from deadbeats.
Ebay, like any marketplace, has its share of good customers and bad customers. Luckily, sellers have several ways to separate the good from the bad, and to pursue the money they are rightfully owed.