I wrote recently about eBay's decision to stop letting sellers block PayPal echecks. The reason eBay let sellers block echecks in the first place is because it takes days for echeck payments to show up in sellers accounts (4 days in US, 9 days in UK, 8 days in Canada).
Buyers don't like this either, obviously - the reason many use PayPal is so they can pay instantly and get their items quickly.
So why would eBay change its policy - the echecks still take a long time to clear? I don't know the answer to that question!!
It appears that sometimes, buyers don't even know they are funding payments with echecks. A caller to the last Town Hall Meeting demonstrated this - I'm copying the transcript of that caller. Hopefully eBay takes this as free market research and figures out a solution, because this does not help the buying experience!
The following is an excerpt from the transcript of the eBay Town Hall Meeting held on April 17, 2008.
eBay Member:: Thanks, Brian. Let’s go to 877-474-3303. Kathy, from Haysteins, weclome to the Town Hall. Kathy, what’s your question?
eBay Member:: Hello. It’s nice to be here. My question concerns the new eBay checkout system.
eBay Member:: And my concern is that in the past, when I would make an instantaneous payment through PayPal, I knew that the seller’s account was credited immediately. But now with the new checkout system, it will take several days for the payment to be processed. Indeed, on a PayPal payment that I made on April 12, I received an email from a very nice seller, asking why the payment had not been received yet. And I checked the status of the payment on eBay and it said quote, "Your April 12, 2008, is being processed through PayPal. Remember, your item will be shipped to you after payment is complete." That payment was not processed until April 16. And so my concern is that even though PayPal used to be instantaneous, with the new checkout system, it doesn’t work that way anymore. And my worry is that I will receive negative feedback for late payments, even thought the payments were on time. And I did use the checkout feedback to talk about that concern of mine and I wondered how these glitches would be rectified.
Griff: Thanks, Kathy. We’re gonna turn this over to John. John?
eBay Member:: Thank you.
John: Yes, Kathy. Uh, so it’s difficult to understand exactly what might’ve happened to that transaction. Uh . .
eBay Member:: Actually, it’s several transactions. It’s happened to me on every transaction now. And I have . .
John: Just one question, was this with different sellers or was this with one seller?
eBay Member:: It’s with all different sellers.
eBay Member:: And it never happened in the past and I have more than four hundred positive feedbacks because all of my payments have always been on time. But now, they’re going to be, it seems automatically late by four days through no fault of my own. And how do we deal with that?
John: I have one further question. Did you pay with, you paid with PayPal.
eBay Member:: Yes.
John: Do you know if this was with an eCheck?
eBay Member:: Actually, one of the, some of the information that comes now from PayPal, and we never used to receive this, but it says, it does reference an eCheck on the correspondence.
Griff: There you go.
Kathy: That you got paid for this with an e-check. And it’s the same PayPal account that we had when we first registered for eBay but it’s only been since the new checkout system was instituted that this started happening.
John: So if this is actually not due to the new checkout system. And this is actually I, someone else on this one. So with PayPal, what uh, PayPal will do is, is if you hit a certain limit of uh, with your PayPal account . .
Griff: Actually John, I can answer this. So um, Kathy, what’s happening is when you pay with an eCheck.
eBay Member:: Through PayPal, is that what you’re saying?
Griff: Yeah, through PayPal. Regardless, it says, as John says, it’s nothing to do really, with the checkout system. It’s always when you pay through PayPal and fund it with an eCheck. And if you don’t have a backup funding source on your PayPal account, like a credit card, the eCheck processes through the system, the national banking system, otherwise it’s called ACH account clearing house.
eBay Member:: Um-hm.
Griff: And it takes up to four to five days to process.
eBay Member:: Actually, we have the same backup system, which we always did.
Griff: Right. But for some reason, and we’ll have to take this one off line, because we know this is not checkout. This is a feature of PayPal. And if you want, we can contact you uh, speak with you off line, find out what is on your PayPal account now, whether or not you have a backup funding source, and if so, if it’s currently valid. But this again, is something we should take off line. I think I have your email from yesterday, Kathy.
eBay Member:: Okay.
Griff: So one of us can delve deeper into this for you.
eBay Member:: Okay. I appreciate that. Because we’re really worried about it not working like it use to.
Griff: Yeah. Again, I want to reiterate though, that this is not a problem with eBay Checkout. This is actually a PayPal feature. Thanks.
eBay Member:: Is PayPal owned by eBay?
eBay Member:: Okay. So it still could be an eBay glitch.
Griff: No. It is definitely a feature of PayPal that we will hold a check, an eCheck payment for four days until it clears through Account Clearing House. It’s really not related to eBay Checkout. But thank you for your call.