The Practicalities and Problems of eBay’s Local Pickup Option

eBay sellers have a myriad of options when it comes to delivery of items. The first decision to make, however, is whether to ship the item or offer the buyer the choice to pick up the item themselves. It is also possible to offer both options.

Deciding to ship items then opens up a new range of choices including calculated (cost varies by location), flat (same cost to all buyers) and freight (for large and bulky items). Free shipping is another, though more controversial, option.

Shipping has been a common topic here on Auction Nudge, with tips and advice shared on saving money, the Global Shipping Program, free shipping and more.

Until now, however, eBay’s ‘local pickup’ option has not been assessed. This article will explore the practicalities of local pickup, as well as the potential problem areas.

eBay’s local pickup option – the basics

For large and/or delicate items, eBay suggests using the local pickup delivery option. This could include items such as furniture or other bulky items that would be incredibly expensive to ship.

When selecting local pickup during listing creation, a ZIP code or postal code should be entered to inform buyers where the item is located. This will be publicly shown on the listing. sellers choosing to use the local pickup option must also:

  • Offer at least one of the approved electronic payment methods
  • Specify when and how the buyer can collect the item in the listing description or checkout instructions

It is recommended to avoid accepting payment methods, such as checks, that take a long time to clear.

Sellers are able to accept cash as a payment method for local pickup items.

Buyers are encouraged to directly message sellers if they require more information about the exact pickup location before purchasing.

Proof of pick-up

In July 2020, eBay launched an enhanced local pickup tracking feature on the eBay app to confirm the exchange and formally close the transaction.

After the purchase is completed, the buyer will receive a confirmation email with a QR code and 6 digit code.

Upon meeting, the buyer should show the QR code to the seller or have the 6 digit code ready. A printed out version is also acceptable.

Using the eBay app (Selling –> Sold –> Arrange Pickup –> Scan to confirm pickup), the seller will scan the QR code or manually enter the 6 digit code.

When one of these codes is entered, the item will immediately be marked as delivered. The seller will still need to mark the item as paid if cash was given as payment.

This proof of pickup option has greatly reduced the risk of buyers being able to make an ‘item not received’ claim via the Money Back Guarantee.

If a seller does not want to use the eBay app to confirm pick-up, eBay advises that sellers should ‘ask the buyer to sign a copy of the eBay order form.’

Returns process for local pickup items

Returns for items delivered to the buyer using the local pickup option are treated almost exactly the same as items that are shipped.

Here are some common return scenarios and their solutions:

  • The buyer has changed their mind and would like to return the item. If the seller does not accept returns for reasons of remorse, they do not have to accept the return request
  • The buyer claims that the item is faulty or does not match the listing description. The seller must accept a return as per the Money Back Guarantee if the buyer paid with PayPal or another electronic payment method
  • The buyer claims that the item was not received and files a Money Back Guarantee claim. eBay will still require proof (see the tracking feature above) that the item was successfully delivered from seller to buyer

It should be noted also that the buyer has no Money Back Guarantee protection at all when purchasing the item with cash.

The problems with local pickup

As with shipping, local pickup is not an infallible method of delivery. Read on to discover some of the most common problems with using local pickup on eBay as a seller.

Items not received

As mentioned in the previous section, buyers can still file ‘item not received’ claims as per eBay’s Money Back Guarantee for items collected in person.

Thankfully, this issue has been addressed with the introduction of the Local Pickup code system in 2020.

Electronic payment requirement

One of the biggest attractions of local pickup is the opportunity to receive cash rather than electronic funds. Cash is, after all, instant payment and comes with no other strings attached (such as the Money Back Guarantee protection as noted above).

The problem with’s local pickup option as it remains today is that sellers must accept at least one approved electronic payment method. Undoubtedly, this is a major issue. It is sure to be the deciding factor for many eBay sellers choosing not to offer local pickup.

On-time shipping

Sellers may be concerned whether using the local pickup delivery option may count against their Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) for shipping. The good news is no, it should not. At least, in theory.

According to the seller performance standards policy, eBay will check with the buyer if no tracking information is available. If the buyer confirms that the item was delivered on time, then the seller will be recognized for on-time shipping and their DSR will not be negatively affected.

In the event that a buyer takes a long time to collect an item, sellers are advised to trust the seller performance standards policy as noted above.

Wasted time

Selling items with a local pickup option has the potential to be a time waster in many ways.

First of all, it may take several or many attempts to contact the buyer before the actual pickup is arranged. Even when a time is arranged, there is no guarantee that the buyer will actually arrive at the time expected.

Time spent with the buyer on arrival may also be longer than anticipated. This is especially true if the pickup location is a business with other items for sale such as a retail store or warehouse.

On the other hand, sellers using local pickup can hope to save substantial time in other areas. Packing and shipping items, for example, can be more time consuming than expected.

Do you use local pickup as an eBay delivery method? If so, what do you like about it? And do you have any challenges besides those already mentioned?

Gemma is our all things eBay expert. Originally from the UK, she now lives in Canada and travels extensively. You can read about her travels at her blog Off Track Travel.

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