One woman has taken receiving payment for the items she sells on eBay to the next level. Connie Lang of Naperville, Illinois recently made a cross-country trip to track down her money after selling her family’s RV camper in an online auction for $11,000. The winning bidder sent a deposit check for $500, which cleared quickly and thus assuaging any doubts Lang, a new online auction seller, had about the transaction. Two weeks after a driver came to Lang’s home to pick up the camper and drive it back to Albuquerque, where the winning bidder, Ken, lives, Lang found out from her bank that the check for $10,500 bounced. After a few additional weeks of run around from Ken, Lang decided to take matters into her own hands.
By gathering all of the details she knew about Ken, Lang managed to piece together a very accurate picture of the situation—Ken was to be receiving a bank loan soon for a down payment on a new house. From the details she acquired from their discussions, Lang knew the name of his bank, and through a bit of detective work, determined the day and time when Ken was scheduled to meet with his bank loan officer to receive payment on his house loan.
A quick call to the airlines and a few frequent flier miles later and Lang was landing in Albuquerque filled with a vigilante’s determination to receive payment for her camper. Arriving at the bank and sitting in the lobby with an oblivious Ken and his daughter, Lang made small talk while waiting for him to be called. When the loan officer called Ken forward, Lang rose and introduced herself as well. After explaining the situation to the bank loan officer, Lang received a check for the amount owed, plus $100 for her troubles, from Ken’s house loan. Within 24 hours of leaving Illinois, Lang had flown to New Mexico, received money from her non-paying bidder and headed home.
While this is a bit of an extreme case—most sellers do not travel cross-country to receive payment on their items—it is still a very common problem in the online auction marketplace. Most online sellers have become accustomed to a portion of their items going unpaid due to non-paying bidders and have accepted this as a cost of doing business. Imagine if every seller tried to physically locate and in-person demand their money from their non-paying bidders—the time and money they would spend doing this would destroy their companies.
For suggestions on how-to avoid these cross-country missions to receive payment for your goods, please feel free to contact our seller support team.