How to Track Your eBay Purchase

Woman packing a pair of shoes into box to be shipped out


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Tracking eBay purchases has evolved significantly over the years. The system is much more efficient than when eBay first debuted, and tracking is accessible through the buyer's account. All shipments from sellers must have tracking, or the seller's metrics are affected.

Where to Find Tracking Information

In most cases, eBay purchases are shipped USPS. Follow these six steps on the regular eBay site:

  1. Go to My eBay.
  2. Navigate to purchase history.
  3. Find the item in question.
  4. Find the tracking number inside the green shaded area.
  5. Click on the number.
  6. The complete tracking history will be displayed.

Follow these four steps on the eBay mobile app:

  1. Navigate to purchases.
  2. Click on the item in question.
  3. The basic tracking details will be displayed.
  4. Click "more tracking details" to see the complete list of every step in the tracking process.

How Long Does Delivery Take?

The time period for delivery varies based on how the seller has set up shipping and handling time and the shipping method you selected when checking out. Handling time is the number of days it takes for the seller to put the item into transit, in most cases. 

To achieve Top Rated Plus status, sellers must ship items within one business day. While Top Rated Plus is an admirable status, many sellers cannot promise one-day handling due to certain constraints. For example, if a seller also works a full-time job and travels, he may be away from his inventory and not able to ship every day.

Make sure you pay attention to the handling time on a seller's listing before purchasing. Some buyers don't care if it takes a while for an item to be delivered, but in other cases, time is of the essence if the item is a gift, for a vacation, or for some other reason involving a deadline. Some sellers extend their handling time if they are going on vacation or have a family emergency or life interruption. Sellers may increase handling time so they don't miss sales, rather than put their store on vacation mode.

What If the Item Doesn't Arrive?

Sometimes mail is misdirected and delivery is delayed. If you don't receive your item, the first course of action is to check the tracking information. Check and see if the item is stuck at a certain location for a few days. That could be a clue it is lost.

Sometimes mail is misdirected and goes clear across the country or to a faraway state when it isn't logical to do so. Usually, misdirected mail will make its way back to the proper destination. Be patient.

If your item doesn't arrive in a reasonable amount of time, contact the seller through the eBay messaging system. Always communicate with the seller through the eBay messaging system, because if there is a discrepancy or issue, eBay can see all the correspondence and help you work with the seller. Contact your seller and explain that the item hasn't arrived and it should have by now.

The seller can file a claim with the USPS or whatever carrier was involved. It is the seller's responsibility to refund your money or find the package. This is why tracking exists—so that packages don't get lost. If the seller does not resolve the situation, contact eBay customer service and ask for assistance. eBay can force a refund from the seller's PayPal account and credit yours.