BTC sell stalled - how can cancel trade and unlock my BTD

I made a BTC sale a couple of days ago, locked my BTC promptly, but the buyer never send the fiat, never responded to chat asking if he/she was planning to settle the trade. my BTC is now locked. How do I recover it ? I opened a dispute but the arbitrator seems slow - maybe waiting for a response from the other party to the trade. I don’t mind slowish trading on Bisq, but with unreliable counterparties it seems way too easy to end up in this situation with locked funds. I see several other reports of similar issues here. This is a BIG disincentive to using Bisq. Surely it makes sense to cancel trades on a timeout, maybe 48 hours, and automatically unlock the escrow ?

@henry_young Did you still not get any response from the counterparty or mediator/arbitrator?

The mediator suggested a settlement which the other party approved a few days later. But my point is that in the case of a buyer failing to settle a fiat payment within the allotted time, the trade cancellation should not be further delayed by requiring another interaction with an already proven unreliable other party. They have already implicitly agreed to trade cancellation through their own settlement failure. Bottom line is there are significant risks in fiat sales of crypto that your BTC may end up locked for several weeks. That’s a risk I’m not happy with and therefore will not use Bisq for selling crypto -> fiat until this has been addressed. For GBP, Bittylicious is a way more reliable route since they are actually able to offer full escrow on both the fiat and crypto sides. Bisq is still fine for buying crypto, although I think this very issue contributes to low liquidity. Who wants a significant portion of their working capital locked up for potentially weeks at a time ?!?!? I kept a note of the onion address of the trader (a) to avoid him/her and (b) get my revenge through unresponsive failure to settle should he/she ever pop up on the other side of the book, there seemingly being no sanction.

Hi Henry! Thanks for your detailed answer.
We tried to work against this future trades by increasing the default deposit, which would get confiscated if the trade goes to arbitration(refund agent) because of this. Of course if the trade canceling is suggested by a mediator the other party probably won’t agree to a reduced payout for his side.
I do understand your concern that your founds might get locked up for some time until a refund happens.
Unfortunately there is no easy solution for this. Working with a timelock (based on payment method) that refunds deposits and BTC if the trade is not settled in the meantime, would back fire if the buyer already transferred the amount and the release of the BTC is not done in time. Also it would probably even increase the number of future trades for some payment methods which have a longer settlement time (e.g. SEPA) if there is an auto cancel feature. If we build it in a way that the deposit goes to the other trade party automatically we have the problem if a technical problem occurs and there is an explanation for the not reacting counterparty, but the deposit will be lost forever.

To sum it up, there is no easy solution for this yet, that also scales well, but we are working on making the trade UX as fast and frictionless as possible.

Hello Christoph - Thanks for your considered reply. I do understand. I would comment that there is the option of varying the trading and dispute rules for differing types of trade depending on whether Bisq can escrow both sides or not, at the cost of complexity. In my opinion it is not unreasonable for those taking the market maker role to suffer some penalty or forfeit as a result of failure to perform/settle. I would like to see Bisq be successful, especially for types of trading that conventionally require intrusive and risky KYC/AML nonsense. But for the time being I have to accept that Bisq is not the best method when one needs to sell BTC for fiat and be assured of trade settlement in an assured time frame.