CHECK YOUR DETAILS
The most obvious is to check that you have the correct address listed in eBay. Make sure there are no spelling errors. It's also a good idea to have your contact phone number listed. This allows the seller to contact you quickly if there is a problem with your order, or if they need further information. This is especially important if you don't check your emails regularly, or if you get a lot of mail ending up in your junk mail folder when it shouldn't.
CHOOSE A TRACKABLE POSTAGE METHOD
Make sure you check the listing to see what postage methods are available. Regular post cannot be tracked, and is at the mercy of Australia Post. There are better options:
- Express Post Platinum: Your item will be delivered by courier, and will need to be signed for. The sender will have a unique number which can be used to track your item as it travels to you. Insurance is not included. (This is different to normal Express Post, which cannot be tracked until it has been delivered)
- Registered Post: Your item will need to be signed for. There is a unique identification number for each parcel allowing it to be tracked on its way to you. Insurance (they're calling it 'compensation' these days) of up to $100 is included, and you can request more (for a small fee).
- Courier: Your item will need to be signed for, can be tracked easily and usually includes insurance (check with the seller to make sure).
- Pick up: If you are in the area, and pick up is an available option in the listing, this is a great way to both save money on postage and ensure your item gets to you undamaged.
RECEIVING COURIER DELIVERIES
If the item you are purchasing is to be delivered by courier, there are a few things you need to remember. Firstly, someone will need to be home to sign for the item, so consider getting it sent to your work address. Secondly, because the item needs to be signed for, couriers cannot deliver to PO Boxes! Last but not least - don't just blindly sign for your item! Check it first to see that it is addressed to you, that it is roughly the size and shape you'd expect, and that the box isn't damaged in any way.
KNOW WHEN TO EXPECT YOUR ITEM
It's a lot harder to track and recover your item if two or three weeks pass before you email the seller to let them know it hasn't arrived yet. Know when to expect it, (taking into account public holidays, busy periods, or the fact that the seller may have just missed the postie and it didn't leave until the next day) and if it still hasn't arrived, let the seller know straight away. If you don't - especially with courier deliveries - the item may be sent back to the seller and you could be hit with re-stocking or re-delivery fees.
How do you find out when to expect your item? Simple: ask the seller. They know when they posted it and can work out roughly when it should arrive.
Wherever possible, buy from Australian based sellers. That way there are a lot less places for your item to go missing, and you don't have the inconvenience of time differences when emailing. If you do buy from overseas, check the seller's feedback carefully to see other customers experiences with postage times and communication. You can display items only from Australia when you search by choosing 'Australia Only' (instead of 'Worldwide') under 'Location' in the search options on the left hand side of every results page.
ASK, ASK, ASK! (AND READ!)
Don't be shy; the seller is not only there to provide you with goods, they are there to answer your questions. How will it be packaged? How long after you receive my payment will you post my item? Which courier company do you use? What's my tracking number? Do you offer Registered Post - how much is it?
However - in saying that - before you ask, read the listing! Sellers usually try and include answers to the most frequently asked questions in their listings or 'About Me' pages so that they don't have to keep answering the same questions.
If something has gone awry with your item, be polite and patient. Explain in detail what the problem is and ask how it can be resolved. If you're angry and rude the seller will be less inclined to help you. Keep in mind: once the seller has posted your item, it is in the hands of the delivery service. Keep your frustration in check - it may not be the seller's fault.