Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How to handle a non-paying Paypal buyer by Laura of MAB Jewelry

Sooner or later, when selling on etsy, you’re probably going to encounter a Paypal buyer who does not pay. There are several reasons for this:

  • They may be new to the etsy site, and not understand the Paypal paying procedure. 
  • They may have committed to buy without knowing that they have purchased something and are required to pay for it. 
  • They may have changed their mind after committing to buy. 
  • They may even just forget to complete the transaction. 

It’s best to have a statement in your shop policies clearly stating how long you will wait for payment. Mine says three days, but I usually give them a week. Here is one way to handle this situation.

After something in your shop sells, always check the etsy invoice to make sure your item was paid for. If the box says, Pay now with Paypal, the buyer has not paid. Also, check your Paypal account. Occasionally, etsy has had glitches where the customer has paid, but the payment hasn’t registered in the etsy system, so it’s best to double check. Never ship an item until it has been paid for.

If your Paypal account shows no payment for the sale, convo the buyer. Say something like, “Thanks for ordering the widget from my etsy shop. I will ship this item as soon as your Paypal payment posts. It hasn’t posted yet. You can pay now by clicking the ‘Pay now with Paypal’ button on your receipt. Please let me know if you have any questions, or if I can be of any help. I appreciate your business.” Include a link to the etsy receipt for them.

Wait a day or so, and send another e-mail to their direct e-mail account. Their e-mail address is on your etsy receipt that you receive as an e-mail. Sometimes, buyers don’t check their etsy account convos, and they may not know there’s a problem until they receive a direct e-mail from you. You can use wording similar to the convo above. You can also send a Paypal invoice to them through Paypal.

If you still don’t hear back from your customer, wait another day or so, and send a final e-mail and convo, stating that you will have to cancel the sale if you don’t receive their payment by a specific date.

If you don’t receive payment by that date and the customer doesn’t answer your requests, you’ll have to cancel the sale. Relist the item, and leave feedback if you’d like to. I don’t leave negative feedback for non-paying buyers if I don’t hear back from them. I figure that they’ve either changed their minds or are new to etsy and haven’t figured out the process yet, and give them the benefit of the doubt. Many sellers choose to leave negative or neutral feedback for non-paying buyers. Feedback is entirely up to you. Then, choose the “Cancel a sale” option under items on the Your etsy screen and follow the directions there for a non-payment transaction. Your fees will be refunded for the listing and the sale.

Unfortunately, this is a lot of work for a non-sale, but buyers occasionally make mistakes, too. Etsy can be a confusing place when you’re new, and people sometimes have legitimate reasons for not paying. It’s always better to approach any customer politely and patiently. They will remember any positive experience, and will be more likely to shop etsy in the future if even a non-paying experience is a relatively good one. Plus, it happens to most of us eventually. Yes, it can be frustrating, but try your best to use tact and kindness. We have all made mistakes. Take care of the situation, and keep on keeping on!

About Laura:
I've only been selling my jewelry on etsy for six months, but I've tried to research the most pleasant and efficient way to do things. It has certainly been a wonderful learning experience, and etsians are always quick to help out whenever you encounter something puzzling. I've met a lot of wonderful people here, sellers and buyers.

Here's my shop link:


  1. Yay, I would love to visit again, any time. Now, if I can just snag a Treasury one of these days. . .

  2. Good advice. I'm off to update my shop policies...

  3. Thank you for a wonderful post. It is my first time here and I will come back for sure. :)