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Opinions Wanted - My One Gripe with Selling on Amazon

Posted by tylerh1701, 18 December 2013 · 1457 views

I've been selling on Amazon for the last couple years now, and it's been great. An amazing outlet to resell my games for straight cash (rather than store credit) and generally on par with local trade-in values (and sometimes well above). I don't sell a lot though, I usually only ever have 2-3 items in my inventory. I've maybe done 200 transactions over the last 3 years.

I do have one gripe with their policy though. For some reason, I guess Amazon doesn't verify funds on credit or debit cards immediately. So sometimes a person will be able to completely check out with something I'm selling without having their payment verified.

When this happens, this order goes into a "Pending" file, I'm alerted not to ship yet, and Amazon also alerts the buyer that they need to update their payment information. Amazon gives the buyer 7 days to update their info before they auto-cancel the order.

And there's my gripe. 7 days is ridiculous! When I sell things, I price them slightly lower than the lowest currently available. Basically, I price my items to move. So I am not at all interested in holding an item for 7 days, hoping that the buyer actually check their email and update their info. I am not allowed to cancel the order or contact the buyer myself.

This just happened again yesterday. I sold Kingdom Hearts 1.5 Remix for $33.20 + $3.99 shipping. Very fair price compared to what I paid for it, this is probably attributed to the holiday season where basically everything goes up in value a little bit on Amazon. But this order went in to my pending file, so now this game is on hold for 7 days (until Christmas Eve) and even after those 7 days, if the seller doesn't come through, my only option then is to relist it. Video game prices can be fairly fluid and volatile, and demand is definitely going to drop in the next 7 days. And just imagine, Best Buy decides to put this game on sale for $14.99 this weekend, that is going to completely flood the market and drop prices. So as you can see, there's something to be said for getting the game out the door.

On top of that, imagine after 48 hours the buyer finally does finally check his email and sees the Amazon notice. What's stopping him from going back to Amazon and rechecking prices. If there is a new seller that has it priced $1 lower than me, he's just going to cancel my order anyway and re-place the order with the other seller. So I am responsible for holding the game for him, but he is under no obligation to buy the game from me.

I feel like, after 24 hours, as the seller I should have the option to cancel the order and re-list the item. What do you think? Am I being to impatient?

I can understand your frustration. Being at the mercy of the buyer, especially somewhere like Amazon where they tend to wield all the power (can come up with just about any reason to return the game or request a refund and Amazon will most likely side with them) can be frustrating.


It seems strange that Amazon would even allow an order like that to go through (I suppose they can afford to have it happen to them). You would figure the entire point of the checkout process would be to get this information out of the way. And if they haven't completed the process (which should include any verification) then the item should still be up for grabs like it would with any retailer.


Seems to be the trend, shared by eBay, of putting the more numerous buyers first at the expense of the seller.

Well I'll admit to loving this "feature" to give me extra time to decide on stuff from Amazon and AWD but I wouldn't intentionally use it with an actual person.  It does suck as the seller but unfortunately, as Not Eric mentioned, eBay and Amazon are so slanted towards the buyer it's really easy for people to be exploitative of you as the seller.


Orders like this used to only pend for a 72 hour maximum but Amazon changed it to a seven day maximum. And yes, that is a horrible policy, but they don't care about the seller's point of view. You can actually get some asshole to hold your order up for a few weeks or a month if they keep trying to buy it and it doesn't go through.

Cool, sounds like most of you are mostly in agreement with me.  I agree that selling online is always a risk because it seems like all the companies side with buyers, but I've actually never been scammed or had an unfair return.  *knock on wood*  This policy just really sucks.  Like Not Eric said, I can't believe they can't fully confirm the payment right away.  My locally owned supermarket down the street can do it.

I think you're right to be annoyed. It means those people bought the game without the money to do it. It should simply be declined.

I've had that happen to me, in which case I just relist the item. If the order goes through in a timely manner (which it never does), I just unlist it and proceed. Otherwise, when the pending order finally goes through, I just cancel it with the reason as being "No Inventory".

I just relist the item. If the order goes through in a timely manner (which it never does), I just unlist it and proceed. Otherwise, when the pending order finally goes through, I just cancel it with the reason as being "No Inventory".

This x 100% of the time.  A perfect solution to this annoying dilemma; it should be done immediately and every single time you encounter it.  It's best for you and other potential buyers who actually keep their finances straight, if not just out of principle alone.

Thanks davo and Kerig, I'll start doing that from now on.  The drawbacks to canceling orders are just a slight hit to my metrics and possible bad feedback, right?

Question... is there a reason you use Amazon over Ebay? 

Question... is there a reason you use Amazon over Ebay? 

Initially it was because Amazon had lower barriers to entry.  When I started, ebay wanted to charge me a fee for every listing I made (regardless if it sold) and I was new to the online selling game so I wasn't really interested in that.  Amazon's process was simpler and I only had to pay if my game actually sold, so I went with them.  I know ebay has changed their policies since then, but I've kind of just held out with Amazon for now.


Why do you ask?  I've heard ebay's fees are a little lower.  Are they significantly lower that I should give them another chance? 

I asked because it seems switching to Ebay would solve this particular dilemma.  I've only sold a few things on ebay and that was many years ago so I can't speak to what their fees and policies are now, but I still purchase items there and sellers set restrictions on payments all the time. 


So, in other words, I have no idea if it would be worth it for you to switch; I'm just trying to think of some options for you.  I only mention it because it seems it would be worth looking into if this issue with Amazon comes up fairly often. 

Amazon always wins over eBay in my opinion and experience. Except in instances like this, a buyer can't dick you around. The buyer pays, you ship, and you get your money deposited into your account in three days.


Otherwise you're waiting however long the BIN or auction takes, then for the buyer to pay, then somewhere between a week to three weeks, and then waiting for PayPal to take its cut and move it to your bank. I also have never had buyers try and play weird extortion games with me like they do on eBay.