Non-paying buyer

Over the years, I’ve had quite a few “buyers”, not paying for the painting that they won. Not only that usually, they don’t attempt to contact me about the sale of the painting. My question is, since I’m sure I’m not the only one plagued with this problem, what can anyone suggest to get the “buyer” to pay or at least make contact so I at least know how to proceed. Now, it makes my painting useless to put up for sale or market since someone put it in limbo. So it’s not only not paid for but I also can’t attempt to sell it on auction again since I have to wait until it gets paid for or it gets so old that I have to give up on the “buyer” and relist it.
I already re-notified the person twice and got no response at all. Now I know that people aren’t glued to their computers, but sometimes I’ve waited up to 10 days for any response whatsoever. It’s hard enough to sell a painting in the first place but when someone plays around with your business, it makes matters even worse.
Any suggestions???

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That’s really disappointing when someone doesn’t pay. But I think you have to set a rule that is clear and in writing, so that non-paying bidders cannot argue against you if you elect to relist the painting.
I don’t know whether there are any particular regulations that apply in the USA, with regard to this matter; but I think if it were me, I would send a reminder after 7 days of non-receipt, and again after a further 7 days. With the second reminder (and maybe indeed the first) I would tell the bidder that I reserve the right to relist the work if payment has not been received by X date (where X is a date that you choose…this might be, say, after another 10 days).
If you are having regular problems with NPBs then maybe you can add a brief statement in your auction description, ref your right to relist a work if payment isn’t received after X days. Otherwise your work is held to ransom indefinitely by these people.


I have not had this experience, but you have read the following on your auctions page, haven’t you?
You can “flag” buyers who have neither paid nor have replied to your emails within 4 days of an auction’s end. Flagging will send the buyer a friendly reminder email from DPW, mark the artwork as flagged in their my Auctions page, and prohibit them from bidding again until the issue is resolved.
If an auction winner still does not respond, I think you can notify DPW and arrange to offer the painting to the next highest bidder.


I’ve had that happen on ebay but not on DPW or anywhere else. Ebay takes over for you but you do wait to be able to relist. I have had buyers try to pay after the 14 day time limit. Now I clearly spell out that I’d love to have quick payment so you can receive your art right away or something like that…in 5 days. Though after 7 days I relist now. Don’t spend any time boohooing over a non payer, just relist and go again.

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Yes, Connie, I did read that. It’s good to know that I can do that. I don’t have a lot of patience for people who ignore their obligations to complete the transaction or, almost as bad, not to communicate at all.
There is no next highest bidder to offer the painting to, but that’s ok. I’ll just end the sale and be done with it.
Thank you for your reply.

I have had my share of non-paying bidders on ebay and DPW. I’m not sure which had more. Sometimes I think I attract them.
Thanks for your reply.

Christine, I can’t remember ever setting any rules here on DPW. i’m not even sure where to state them. I’ll have to look all over. I’m not really worried about anyone arguing against me because if someone is ignoring their obligation to complete the transaction, I don’t feel obligated to wait forever. So far I sent two reminders so I’ll see what happens. I’m sure this won’t be the last time. I wish there was a block bidder list on this site.
I have had a couple of “buyers” not pay at all and never responded to the sale. i could never do something like that to a seller.
Thank you for your reply.

Wow, Bob, I just looked at your work, and it’s beautiful–you shouldn’t have to put up with that for five minutes. Maybe by starting your auctions so low you’re attracting some low-end bidders? Just a thought.

Thank you for the compliment, Connie, but I can’t raise my prices because when I do, I go from $25 sales to nothing sales. I guess I’m destined to get low-end bidders. I’m coming close to quitting painting anyway. It would be great if I had consistent sales but i don’t and I don’t have enough talent to market well.

Bob, you should not quit painting!
Your paintings are beautiful and maybe if you marketed them higher you would set the true value of your work. To me it seems you are undervaluing your work and therefore attracting the low bidders.

Frustration is a part of painting and the business, don’t let a few rotten apples steal your gift and passion from you.

Hello Vy. Thank you for your compliment! I think sometimes we all have those days where everything bad happens at once. Low sales, non-paying bidders…they always seem to happen at the same time. I used to start my prices at $35…not that that’s much more but anyway I think I’ll start inching my prices back up again and studying better marketing. I joined a lot of facebook groups but after all that effort, it doesn’t really help. I have to start trying something else. Thank you for your encouragement and good luck to you too with your sales.
BTW, you said pretty much the same thing that Bonnie was suggesting about pricing higher.

So I have a non-paying bidder here on DPW and a buyer on ebay that won 2 paintings that isn’t paying either. They don’t even have the decency to communicate. My account is on hold on ebay for non-payment because of her so I can’t sell there until she pays…if she does.
Here on DPW, I also have a non-paying bidder and she’s not communicating either. That’s a total of $90 I’m out. With so few sales lately and the sales I do get they don’t pay anyway. I really think I’m wasting my time with making and trying to sell art. I’m extremely frustrated because of all this. I can’t even trust people in my own country anymore. What a shame.
Now I have 5 bids on an auction here and it’s hard to get exited about it because I might not get paid for it anyway. Selling online used to be fun…not anymore.

Likewise, have you contacted eBay and told them the problem?

Your paintings are gorgeous Bob. I can feel your frustration and I totally get it. But please don’t give up! Maybe you are so close to your breakthrough , don’t stop now. Keep on going! Praying that you have clarity and that this bad wave of energy leave you soon!

Bob–over the past two years, you’ve actually made quite a few sales. If non-payment also has been frequent, I still wonder if it might have something to do with the market you target with the combination of low starting prices and the very small size of your paintings. I’m no expert, but before you give up, I’d be curious to see how you’d do working slightly larger (6x8, 8x8, 8x10) and starting at at least $45-50. Your time and materials wouldn’t be that much more, and you might attract a more serious clientele with fewer deadbeat bottom-feeders.


Connie I love to read your comments, great tips. I have some 8 by 10 paintings and listed as min bid of 20-35 max 50, do you think its too cheap? I’m a beginner and I need all advice I can get. Thanks in Advance

Connie - Thanks for the advise. I’ve raised my prices before and ended up getting no takers. Maybe I just didn’t give it enough of a chance…I don’t know. I’m in a situation where I can’t afford to take chances, but then again, selling online is taking BIG chances anyway. I still didn’t get paid from the one on DPW, nor did I get paid from the one on ebay. This is the first time I’ve ever had two of them at the same time. I wonder if this happens to other people or is it just me for some reason. All I know is I’m getting into making a living with a blog and stop motion videos on youtube. It will take a while to pay off but if I can get by on my art until then that would be great. If that works out I’ll never make another painting. I’m totally disgusted with it.

Amanda - I think after trying this for many years, I’m just burnt out on deadbeat bidders. When I can replace my tiny “income” making art with blogging and other things I’m learning, I’m going to quit. Thank you for the encouraging words though.

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Amanda, I gave Bob a suggestion for his specific situation, and I can tell you what I do, but I am the last person who should give pricing advice generally. You would be better off reading the DPW help articles on pricing, some of these sites, looking at the prices of comparable work by others, and deciding what’s right for you. There are several factors, and the answer is different for everyone.

I try generally to price by size, though I tend to lower my price per sq. in. as the size increases. (To me, at roughly $2 per square inch, an 8x8" painting for $125 seems very reasonable, but $1,150 for a 24x24" painting seems more than I could expect to get–though I’m often told my prices are too low.) As David’s articles suggest, internet pricing often is lower than gallery pricing–which is OK only if you’re not offering similar work for higher prices in a gallery and undercutting your gallery.

Awhile back, I began setting my starting bid at about half (give or take) of what I ask for paintings offered in my DPW Gallery or at sales events. If all goes well, I may raise prices gradually. Hope this helps.


Connie, I only make my starting prices on my auctions at $25 (for 5 x 7) because it’s an auction. I really thought that’s the way auctions work…to make a starting price to get the auction started then expecting it to go up from there. At least that’s the way I’ve always known auctions to work whether it’s art auctions, furniture or cars.
The only problem with online auctions, is that you can’t explain that to potential bidders. if I were to ask a fixed price, I would definitely make the prices much higher. Of course,the prices you set are dependent on different factors such as, of course, how good your art is, although that’s not always the case. Also, how well your known, subject matter, etc.
Selling your art and figuring out a price for it is very tricky if you don’t have a slew of collectors that are going to buy it whether it’s good or not so good. The nature of art is very subjective which makes it difficult to price.

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