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Winning eBay Claims As The Seller

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Written by Charlie

Selling on eBay can be helpful for many reasons but having disputes filed against you can be difficult. Here are some tips on winning eBay claims as a seller for when things do go wrong.


There are many people that generate more miles and points through reselling. I know that a lot of that reselling takes place with the Amazon Fulfillment program but there are some of us that deal with eBay as well. eBay may not be that great for certain items because of fees and hassles but if you are selling individual items, especially that are of limited release, it can be pretty good.

But, when happens when you have a claim filed against you as the seller? That can really hurt, especially if the buyer leaves negative feedback and you lose those cases. Here are some tips for winning eBay claims as the seller.

Winning eBay Claims As the Seller

If you ask most eBayers, you would probably find that the customer satisfaction end of things for eBay is pretty much geared to protect the buyer. I mean, at the base of it all, the seller cannot even leave negative feedback on a buyer anymore and the claims are much easier for the buyer to make and win. Not only that, but once claims are made against a buyer, it really puts the squeeze on the buyer since the amount of funds from the auction are frozen in PayPal (or a negative balance created that will not allow you to do any PayPal business until that is made right). So, what do you do?

I have heard from many people who have just given up on eBay as sellers because they would get claims filed against them and they would lose. But, I have had a few claims filed and have actually not lost one yet. Here is what I have learned about winning eBay claims as the seller.

Be Accurate & Brief in Your Description

There are many reasons buyers file claims, especially false ones. I have had claims filed against me because the buyer found out that he could have bought the item new because of a huge sale that just launched. I knew that because of the language the buyer used to describe his “issue” – which was false.

The first thing to remember is to be completely accurate in your description. When you are describing the item’s condition, be exact and mention any problems with the item. Do your absolute best to capture any issues with the item for photos – even if it looks worse in photos than in person (which definitely can happen!).

Item Did Not Match Description – Be Accurate but Brief

But, also be brief. If someone is going to file a false claim, they will try to often do it as “item did not match description.” It is easy to try and oversell your item or describe the “great uses” it can have. But, you do not want to give the buyer anything they can grab later to use as an excuse. Be as accurate as possible but also brief. If the buyer needs more information, you can always include some manufacturer information about the item and say it was taken from the manufacturer. Or, send them a link if they have questions.

Always Get Tracking

The USPS has made it such now that it is almost always better to send an item by priority mail over parcel post (at least items that are smaller and that fit into Priority mail boxes) – especially when you take into account the time and the cost of tracking if added to parcel post.

This means you should always have tracking since it comes standard with Priority Mail. If you don’t send Priority Mail, get the tracking as an add-on. I have had some false/inaccurate claims filed by buyers who said they did not receive the item. The tracking number is what saved me. Once eBay has verified that it was delivered to their eBay-registered address, case closed.

Ship Through eBay System

Which brings me to the next part – do your label handling through eBay’s system. Not only will you get a discount on the shipping but you are now handling the entire transaction directly through eBay. There will be no misunderstanding of a messed up address, forgetting to upload tracking, etc. Once you pay for that label, your item is marked as shipped and the tracking number is added for the buyer. This isn’t essential but it definitely makes it easier and cheaper.

Take More Pictures

If this is something of value, like electronics, take more photos than you do for the auction! First of all, eBay only allows 12 photos for an auction so I make sure I have at least that many. Then I also take photos of the boxing process and showing the care in providing ample packaging for the item. These photos are for me in case a claim is filed or damage is caused (and I have the insurance for it).

Call eBay!

winning eBay claims

Give eBay a call to get a start on the issue!

You can get a 7 digit code to enter when you call eBay to get quicker, more accurate access. So, click the Contact button in eBay but they will have you call this number – 866-540-3229

This is something I have done every time that I had a claim filed against me. eBay has a system in place for complaints and it involves the customer opening a claim, encourages a dialogue between buyer and seller, and allows time for a resolution. After a week, the buyer is allowed to escalate the claim to eBay for eBay to decide.

Talk About It

But, it never hurts to talk to someone at eBay about the claim and ask them what they think your next step should be. They will review any messages between you and the buyer and look at the claim. Depending on the complaint, I mention that I have more photos that I can show as proof that the item was as described also. I generally like to mention this to eBay rather than post them through the online system since I am at a disadvantage – the buyer has the item and if they are filing a fraudulent complaint, they see what proof I have and they can do whatever they want to the item to show their side. If they don’t know I have photos, then I can show them to eBay if/when I need to.

Each time, I have received a very professional person that has been helpful. They always make notes in the dispute and suggest (without actually telling me what to do) what may be a good thing going forward. Remember, there are notes being taken so this can help when it comes time for eBay to review the claim! It also indicates a bit that I am not trying to scam someone but that I feel strongly about the auction that I want to follow up on it with eBay immediately.

Ask For a Resolution Agent

Now, this is one that I am not sure they will be willing to do for you but there is no harm in trying. It was suggested during the most recent claim (item not received – though it showed as delivered) that I speak with a “resolution agent” right then. They transferred me to an eBay resolution agent (so I do not have a direct number) and that person actually ended the dispute right while she was on the phone with me – less than an hour after the buyer had filed the dispute!


In the end, I want all my buyers to be happy. But there are times that some buyers are just trying to cause problems or they did not read the item description or realize what it actually does. In those instances, I never am in a position to offer a refund since I do not know what condition the item will be (many times, it is camera lenses) when I receive it back. That just starts a whole new set of issues!

To be a good seller, I try to be as honest and upright in the photos and description as I can while also considering that there could be a scammer that is the winning bidder. I do my best to protect myself and am very thankful that each time a dispute has been filed that eBay has ruled in my favor – as the seller. That is not something that happens all of the time so I hope that what I have learned can help you in winning eBay claims as a seller.

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • Looking at the T&Cs, the protection appears to be stronger for people who ship through the Ebay. Otherwise, USPS doesn’t show what address the package was delivered to but just the zip code and you are left needing to prove you shipped the package to the right address.

  • Wonderful post Charlie. Valuable and helpful for us eBayers. I’m going to forward on to a couple of my friends. Thanks!

  • I learned this the hard way. I sold a video game on eBay and the buyer asked me to email the game code to save on shipping, which I did through the eBay system. A couple of months later, they disputed the charge through PayPal who reversed the charge even though I had evidence that I had sent the code. I checked the user’s rating, which was high, and had lots of negative comments from other sellers but they had to rate them positive because EBay doesn’t allow negative feedback.

    The system is screwy, but I learned to always ship the product and check the buyer’s reviews rather than just looking at their rating.

  • Thanks for this post Charlie! I am in the middle of claim with a buyer who has a facebook post wearing the item in question while on vacation and now trying to return it a month later because it doesn’t fit as described.

  • is there cheaper way to ship items than USPS first class? i know there is USPS media mail rate but my items do not qualify as media material. i don’t know how some of sellers sell for so cheap.