Unresponsive International buyer not accepting package

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  1. This is new to me so I thought I would share. I sold an item a few weeks ago to a buyer with good feedback from Germany. She hasn't had any recent activity since last Spring but it all looked fine. She emailed me before she bought inquiring about the shipping costs and then she did a BIN. I shipped USPS Global Express with insurance ($50.00) and filled out the customs form correctly and selected return to sender. I've done this before so I'm familiar with the process and the seller protection from Paypal. What hadn't occurred to me is that buyers can choose to refuse the package and I can't do anything about it. The tracking shows that the box was out of customs on 01/17 and delivery was attempted on 01/20. My inquiry to the USPS stated that she needs to collect her package from Deutsche Post or contact them for redelivery. I sent her an ebay email on 01/25 asking if she had received the notice from the post and letting her know that tracking shows delivery had been attempted. I've heard nothing from her. I can't get a definitive answer on how long they will hold the package before returning it but the USPS rep said 12-14 days. So I thought I'd do some calling around to see what my options are if she doesn't accept the package and this is what I learned. Paypal told me that most likely the package will be returned and that I will lose a dispute since delivery was never made so I might as well give her a full refund and save myself the hassle of a dispute. They suggested that I send her a friendly email asking her if she has changed her mind and let her know that the refund process can be sped up if I recall the package instead of waiting for it to be treated as abandoned. I did this yesterday and I sweetly apologized for sending 2 email inquiries (1 with ebay and 1 direct) and I expressed my concern about the package being returned if it isn't picked up soon and offered to redirect the package if she no longer wants it blah blah blah and still nothing. Eb@y told me that this is not uncommon, people order stuff hoping I'll send it without a signature with the intention of saying that it never arrived and getting Paypal to give them their money back. Once they see that the package is trackable, and that they won't win a dispute if they sign, they refuse the package and try again with another seller. I don't think that is the situation here, she might be on holiday, but I'll have to wait and see. I wanted to share my situation with you because this is yet another situation on eb@y where sellers cannot win. Ebay told me that sellers have no options to recover shipping costs or to warn other sellers of this type of buyer. You can't file an unpaid item dispute because she did pay and no negative feedback for buyers means that they have no consequences and we are out the expensive express shipping cosst and the ebay fees. Yay eb@y! I'm done with them!
  2. I'm sorry to hear about your situation! :hugs:

    It doesn't seem right that the buyer is not responding to you and to be honest I'd prepare for the worst (having the package get sent back to you and all the waiting that's coming with that)

    There's one thing to consider though: The "Leaving customs" status USPS shows you only means the customs office at the airport (I'm in Germany, with lots of international shopping experience :P) If there are custom fees to be paid, which is very likely, they will send it to the local customs office. That step is always marked as "Attempted Delivery" on the tracking page, don't ask me why, lol, I guess they simply don't know what else to say. The local customs office will then send the recipient a letter telling them to pick up the item. Depending on how big the customs office is this might take 7-10 days :tdown: My local customs bureau is tiny and it still usually takes a week to get their notification.

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed that there's an easy explanation for it though and maybe the buyer is on holidays or something. :shrugs:

    Where's your buyer located (city)?
  3. Thank you for the information! :smile: I didn't know that their are local customs offices. I shipped the package to Mühlheim.
  4. that's about the same sized city that I am in, so it should approx. take a week to get there as well :shrugs: I'm kinda afraid that she already has the note ...

    What value are we talking about if you don't mind me asking? I suspect the buyer might have been slapped with custom fees and is now "playing dead" :tdown:
  5. The value is $300.00. I sent a copy of the receipt with the customs form and I put a copy inside the box.
  6. #6 Jan 29, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2009
    That means she'll have to pay 19% VAT for the item, which comes out to about 57US$ plus Import tax (the % depends on what item it is, a leather bag, for example would be taxed at 3% adding another 9US$ )

    oh, and since you added a copy of the receipt, there's another possibility how things can work: If they think that's enough proof for the value (which sometimes they don't as they want to see the eBay auction as well) they can calculate the fees at the airport and the item is then given to the postal service who will take it to the recipient and collect the fees at their door. This does not have to be a lot quicker though