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eBay Hacks by David A. Karp

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Sending Payment Instructions

How to communicate essential information to your bidders and avoid misunderstandings.

When an auction ends, it is your responsibility as the seller to guide your bidders through the rest of the transaction. Although eBay, by default, will send a notification email to bidders when they’ve won an auction, you should never rely solely on that email — or your auction description, for that matter — to communicate all the information your bidders need to know to send payment.

Instead, send a payment-instructions email to your customers, making sure to include all of the following:

  • Thank the customer for bidding on and purchasing your item. Include the title and item number of the auction (or auctions) your customer has purchased.

  • Tell the customer how much shipping will cost (even if it’s already specified in the auction) and explain exactly which shipping method you’ll be using. (Your customers have a right to know what they’re paying for.)

    Tip

    You can get the winning bidder’s location (and zip code if they’re in the U.S.) on the Bid History page, allowing you to determine the shipping cost before waiting for the bidder to send his or her street address.

  • Calculate the total, including shipping, tax, and any handling fees, and clearly tell your customer how much he or she is supposed to pay. Don’t make your customers do any math, because they’ll most likely get it wrong. In most cases, you’ll have all the tools you need to calculate a customer’s total before ...

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