Unpaid items disappear into eBay black hole

Having done a full stock check about six months ago my colleague John who trades on eBay as GMDC is rather annoyed to find that he’s got a number of items on the shelf which aren’t listed on eBay. Having tracked down the offending items it appears that many of them were unpaid items.

The trouble is that eBay aren’t particularly good at handling unpaid items, and often times the seller isn’t even aware that the item remained unpaid for as eBay now have an automated system to open and close unpaid items without any intervention from the seller.

Currently the only indication that you have an unpaid item for which the case is closed is to manually check the resolution centre on a regular basis. This is further compounded when you have a mix of stock items which are re-ordered on a regular basis combined with one off unique items which you’ll never have in stock again.

There are a number of solutions eBay could offer to solve this problem. One is to put unpaid items back into My eBay as unsold. For items which were on a multiple quantity fixed price listing the quantity could be automatically adjusted to reflect the unpaid item. If the multiple quantity listing has ended but been relisted then this becomes more difficult – should eBay add the unpaid item to the relisted item or should they add it to unsold items? The danger here is that if you see an unpaid item and relist it you could fall foul of the duplicate listing policy by having two identical fixed price listings running.

Inventory management on eBay has never been particularly good, but to have to do a complete stock check to find unpaid items, or to manually go through your eBay unpaid items in the Resolution Centre isn’t an efficient system.

Over a period of time it’s likely that all sellers will have unpaid items, and if they’re not tracked then the stock will remain on their shelves unlisted. What solution would you like to see put in place to indicate that eBay has automatically opened and closed an unpaid item case and you have inventory available to resell?