How long is too long to wait for shipping?

Is there a common understanding of the maximum acceptible delay between receiving payment and shipping the item? What have you done when it has been exceeded?
I believe it is important to set expectations up front. If the buyer and seller agree on a proposed shipping date, then that should be honored. If there are changes to the shipping date on the sellers end, the buyer should be made aware and have the opportunity to accept or decline the new conditions. If the buyer is expecting shippment on one particular day and a week goes by with no word from the seller, that is unacceptable. Give or take one day is usually acceptable to me as a buyer imo.
Payment should be received as soon as the buyer and seller agree on terms. Or if a check is sent, when the check is received, the buyer and seller should set shipping expectations. Just the way I prefer to do business... thus far has been a successful recipe!
Happy listening,
Custom Audio LLC
Is this for a private A'gon transaction or from a company/dealer, IE; back-ordered, etc.? For a private one, I would say a week unless extraordinary circumstances. From a company/dealer, I would give it more time than a week, maybe 2 weeks or so.
If someone purchases something from me, i'll always state something to the effect of "product shipped within 48 - 72 hours of receipt of payment" or something to that effect. Obviously, Holidays and week-ends can screw things up a bit. While i always try to get it out by the next day ( within 24 hours ), that does not always work out. Either way, i'll typically keep the person up to date and forward the tracking info once it is on the way.

As to what i expect out of others will depend on the item being purchased. Unfortunately, not everyone is prepared to package or ship an item even though they know that they've listed it for sale. Some items end up being delayed because the seller can't find the original box that they thought they had, they though finding a box would be easier, they don't have the proper amount of packing material, etc... On top of this, i am VERY picky about how i want things shipped. I will typically give specific instructions to those that don't have a lot of experience shipping items so as to protect my investment. Since many of these folks have little to no experience with Fed - UPS and their destruction policy, they have no idea as to what it really takes to get a valuable piece of cargo from Point A to Point B. As such, it takes longer for them to pack it than they had planned i.e. throwing it in a box takes no time at all. On the other hand, properly packing an item may take an hour, etc... On top of that, some things in life just can't be planned for and we do run into delays.

If you've run into a situation where the seller is not keeping you posted and / or there has been a delay, i would send them an email stating the following:

"I forwarded payment to you on 05/01/03 for a Super-Duper Gadgetron. I have not heard back from you since that point nor has the unit shown up here. If the unit has shipped, please forward me the tracking information as soon as possible. If it has not shipped, please let me know a specific date that it will ship by or when you can refund payment to me. I would appreciate email confirmation once the unit or refund payment is sent out with any of the pertinent shipping information included."

This reminds those that are prone to putting things off that they've had your money for XX amount of days, that you are getting pissed and that their communication skills need work. Most people will get on the ball at this point in time after seeing the specific date of transaction and realizing that they've dropped the ball. After all, what gets put off for one day sometimes turns into a few days and it becomes longer than we think.

If you get nothing as a response to this, give them a call ( if you have the phone number ) and touch base with them. After all, it is possible that their computer went down, etc... Hopefully, you'll be able to resolve this over the phone very quickly.

If you get nothing out of them as a response from the first email and / or a phone call, I would suggest letting them know that you will be contacting the local police department in their area and speaking to their detectives regarding internet fraud. Include an itemized list of the items that you will be forwarding to the cops as evidence to support your side of the story. While this is primarily a scare tactic, it shows that you are organized, dilligent and not about to let this go. At the same time, you might want to think about actually doing this or at least getting all of the info together to do so.

While i've not had to use the latter part of my suggestion, i would have to think it would scare everyone but an honest citizen. Having said that, i would also like to point out that "bad things" do happen at times and people have family / medical / business emergencies at times. While it really sucks being the buyer that is left out in the dark, something far worse could be happening to you than suffering through a delay in shipment, etc... I think we have all been put into scenarios where everything else in life takes a back seat to one or two specific situations that arose unexpectedly. Sean
A private sale, 2 weeks is extremely generous. Things can happen though. If a dealer had to order an item, it can be a very long wait!
Are you paying by personal check? Many sellers require a 10 business day period for checks to remain cleared. Also some sellers verify that money orders and/or certified checks are legit, since there have been some cases of fraud with them as well. Were terms agreed to in advance?
I try my best to accommodate buyers. Howver, if paying by personal check, it does take 10 business days for my (your) bank to be sure it is not a returned item. Often, I look for an 800 number of the bank to call them to verify if the check cleared. Half of the banks will tell you; the other half will only tell you if the funds are available, which means nothing if there is a stop on the check, or if other checks bring the balance down to below the amount of the check writtent to you.

I also try to verify money orders and bank checks, as they can be stopped in some instances. I have my items packages before the check arrives most of the time, but I have had instances where some jerk never sends the check at all, and then I have to relabel the box, or even rebox because the item doesn't sell, or, in the case of tubes, someone wants a different quantity.
Thanks, good input so far. This question came up for me when a seller didn't acknowledge a certified check for 4 days after delivery, replied crudely to my inquiry, and then wouldn't set a certain shipping date. I agree with those who say a week is a reasnoable max, with accomodation for surprises, as long as communication occurs.

Communication is the key. Sellers should be aware that until the product arrives, all the buyer has for his money is faith, and good communication keeps that faith strong.
Sometimes people forget that the seller has the right to wait for a personal check to clear unless you make other arangements. Once I receive payment via pay pal money order or cleared check , I call UPS for a pickup the next day. Whenever I buy or sell an item I usually try to get/give a commitment on exactly what will happen. A friend of mine got a negative on ebay on an auction that stated no personal checks because he waited a week for the check to clear.It is also a good idea to request that the seller send you the tracking number when it ships.Any delay in sending payment or shipping should be discussed up front and agreed to by both parties.
If it's a private-party transanction in which the buyer sends a monoy order or paypal, the seller really should ship within 5 business days. I mean, why the hold up? You know you were going to sale the thing; get it ready to go!--or at least mention some anticipated delay in the copy of the for-sale ad. Unexpected delays in shipping are particularly irksome when you've just paid 2 or 3k for that BAT pre you've always wanted!
I can very according to how far and who carries. Once in an effot to speed up a transaction I send payment USP "priority". Took twice as long as regular service. You never know. If communication is maintained, it should work out.