Keep Track of Your eBay Transactions

The eBay transaction process can be daunting, and beginners can easily lose track. The best way to protect yourself is to keep good records on your own. This is your money, so keep a close eye on it.

Now don't become a packrat and overdo it. To help point you in the right direction, here's a list of important documents you might want to print and file whether you're a buyer or a burgeoning seller:

  • eBay invoices for your sales

  • PayPal statements indicating any payment you receive that doesn't clear

  • Insurance or escrow forms

  • Refund and credit requests

  • Receipts from purchases you make for items to sell on eBay

Always, always, always save every e-mail message you receive about a transaction, whether you buy or sell, until the transaction is over and feedback is left. Also save the end-of-transaction e-mails that eBay sends.

Why should you keep track of all this stuff? Here are some reasons:

  • Even if you're buying and selling just a few items a month on eBay, you need to keep track of who you owe and who owes you money.

  • Good e-mail correspondence is a learned art, but if you reference item numbers as you correspond, then your e-mail and eBay messages are an instant record. If you put your dates in writing — and follow up — you have a nice, neat paper trail (even if the trail is digital).

  • Documenting the transaction through eBay Messages will come in handy if you ever end up in a dispute over the terms of the sale.

  • If you sell specialized items, you can keep track of trends and your frequent buyers.

  • Someday the IRS may come knocking on your door, especially if you buy stuff for the purpose of selling it on eBay. Scary, but true.

When it comes to keeping records via e-mail and documents about transactions, after you receive your feedback (positive, of course), you can dump it. If you get negative feedback (how could you?), hang on to your paperwork for a little longer. Use your discretion, but generally you can toss the paperwork from a bad transaction after it has reached some sort of resolution.

Once a month, do a seller search on yourself and print your latest eBay history.

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