Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Apr 16 2017 21:44:16

eBay OKs Practice of Fulfilling from Amazon

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay said it was fine with sellers who use the Amazon marketplace as a drop-shipper, and Amazon seems pretty laissez-faire about the concept as well, with no known reports of the company cracking down on the practice.

During last week's eBay chat session, a moderator called the practice a valid form of order fulfillment.

The topic came up when a buyer described an issue they were having with an eBay seller and asked, "Why are seller's shipping via Amazon when an item is bought on eBay?" 

"Am I missing something," they asked, saying it had happened to the twice in as many months.

The moderator replied, "Our sellers source their products from a variety of different reputable locations and some of these may be other retailers. While I certainly understand the frustration of not receiving what you ordered and we are happy to ensure you are refunded in these instances through our eBay Money Back Guarantee, this form of dropshipping is considered a valid form of order fulfillment." They referred the buyer to eBay's Product Sourcing policy.

The fact that an eBay moderator officially condoned the practice was surprising to us. We sent an inquiry to eBay for confirmation, but did not receive a response. Amazon declined to comment, pointing to its own policy on drop shipping, which included the following provisions:

Examples of drop shipping that is not permitted:

Purchasing products from another online retailer and having that retailer ship directly to customers; or

Shipping orders with packing slips, invoices, or other information indicating a seller name or contact information other than your own.

Failure to comply with these requirements may result in the suspension or removal of your selling privileges.

Shoppers may get confused about marketplace branding on shipping boxes, but unless they complain to marketplaces, it seems likely the practice of cross-marketplace drop-shipping will continue.

What it says about eBay and Amazon is another story - we'd love to hear your opinions.

Comments (24) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

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by: thebobman This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 17 00:39:59 2017

Its getting to the point where if you purchase a new, currently produced item from a seller with high feedback numbers, its going to be drop shipped via a Amazon prime account.

Office supplies - Prime dropshipped
Cardboard boxes - Prime dropshipped.
Packing tape - Prime dropshipped.

I'd check ebay prices, then Amazon. Find out its cheaper on Ebay unless I have prime or order $50 worth of stuff. And then order on ebay.

We just got a couple of accordion file folders on ebay for $14, that were $11 with prime on Amazon. Then someone ordered them on Amazon and had them shipped to us.

I wish Amazon would just crack down on those users as they already say its against policy, or just say "its ok to have thousands of gift addresses with prime" and then I'd do a bunch of drop shipping too.

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by: Oh Really? This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 17 02:20:07 2017

The only people who could possibly complain would be a buyer who is mad at themselves for overpaying.

Or as the previous commentator stated it was a better deal for them meaning that EVERYBODY is happy.

Much ado about nothing really.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Apr 17 02:27:57 2017

Ebay has had the dropshipping rule for a very long time.  Dropshipping gets a bad name from sellers that don't do their jobs properly.  Those that want a simple way to make a buck do not pay attention to available inventory quantities.  A seller that is trying to provide good service to their customers do pay attention to inventory levels and corrects their listings accordingly.  This method is more time consuming.

I personally wouldn't dropship from Amazon, but then I wouldn't want my customer receiving an item with the Amazon branding all over it if I wasn't selling to them from that site.

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by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 17 05:36:46 2017

I don't care if a seller ships my item from Mars as long as I get it undamaged and in a timely manner.

I would think if the only worry people have is the printing on the outside of the box then the world is doing just fine.

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by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 17 09:00:49 2017

As a seller, I would not do it. I have received so much garbage back from Amazon (someone else's different or poor quality items which have the asin on it when I co-mingled...never do that.) And so many buyer complaints due to their poor shipping methods (breakable items in an envelope!).   I would never allow them to ruin my business. They can't just eliminate the feedback about their services on ebay like they do on Amazon.

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by: DebraD This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 17 09:14:01 2017

Here's something to consider, I purchased an item on Ebay that was shipped from Amazon. The item had to be returned due to a defect. I opened a return with Ebay, the seller sent a return shipping label in a timely manner, and I returned the item. I was busy that day with my own shipping and forgot to record the return shipping label tracking number. The link for the label disappeared and could not be retrieved, it was not recorded within the return, and when it finally was delivered back to Aamzon, it was the delivery was not updated on Ebay. I played hell retreiving that tracking number. Fortunately, I have a daily UPS pickup. I finally had to call my local terminal and explain the problem. They searched their records and found the number. I was then able to track the package to see if it had been received. It had been several days earlier, but no refund from the buyer yet. I notified the buyer of the tracking status, no response. Several days later threatened a claim-immediate refund followed. So beware, my dumb mistake could have resulted in a loss of the payment, because I couldn't prove I had even returned the item without that number.

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by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 17 10:34:17 2017

Another point to keep in mind is sometimes a seller on ebay runs out of product...but they have their products in amazon fba..in this scenario you can use your st9ck in amazon and have them shipped it to your ebay buyer.

The problem is ebay and amazon have attracted the worse whiney buyers

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by: a_c_green This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 17 10:58:08 2017

> Examples of drop shipping that is not permitted:
>
> Purchasing products from another online retailer
> and having that retailer ship directly to customers; or
>
> Shipping orders with packing slips, invoices, or other
> information indicating a seller name or contact information other
> than your own.

No, that's missing the point. What's quoted there is Amazon's policy for their own sellers. The behavior being discussed here is what eBay sellers are doing: buying items from Amazon sellers to fulfill eBay orders.

The Amazon sellers aren't violating anyone's policy; they're just shipping items to purchasers whenever the order comes in.

The eBay sellers are perhaps sticking their necks out by betting that they will be able to buy items on Amazon as they receive orders for them on eBay, but if that deal goes south, the only one who will get burned will be the eBay seller. His buyer will have eBay's Buyer Protection or Money Back Guarantee to fall back on.

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by: dander This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 17 12:43:52 2017

my prediction is Amazon will crack down on this, (just like they are cracking on RA) and people that sell on Amazon will whine and complain that the Chinese are exempt.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Apr 17 13:23:46 2017

Buy on eBay. Have the order filled by Amazon.  (Or just buy on Amazon and skip the middleman.)

This really needs to go viral.  What a PR nightmare that would be.

Forget how wrong this is....does eBay management have no pride?

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This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Mon Apr 17 13:39:40 2017

Amazon, or eBay, should be more than happy to ship anything to anyone, as long as the item is in stock and the customer receives their merchandise.

As Marie stated, it's the dropshippers who do not ensure they have available inventory which are the problem here. And the worst sin any 3P seller can make is non-fulfillment of an order.

Those who cannot maintain consistent stock levels will eventually fall by the wayside due to poor Amazon metrics or too many eBay Buyer Protection claims.

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This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Mon Apr 17 16:40:53 2017

I would never _ever_ rely on drop-shipping from Amazon.

Back in February, I put in an order for office supplies.  This included a 3-ring binder falsely listed as in stock.  Non-Prime orders are perpetually at the end of a line that Amazon keeps letting Prime accounts jump to the front of.  Eventually there's a lull and they get to your order.

Anyway, the March delivery date came and went.  In April, Amazon pretended to expedite it and then delayed it a few more weeks.  Now it's sitting in approval limbo.  I can't cancel because the site is literally broken.  When you use their contact form, Amazon says they'll contact you in 12-24 hours but this is the second time that window has come and gone with nary a peep.

53 days...I just drove to K-Mart of all places instead.

You take on a serious risk using Amazon to fulfill an eBay order.  They will not take any responsibility for the order.  Forget about the ripple effects on your eBay account.  That's just they're bungling; if fraud is involved, you're only the outside looking in until the bill falls on your head.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Apr 17 17:32:34 2017

extinctBay

Exactly!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Apr 17 17:39:02 2017

Just as some info for those concerned about this practice on Ebay.  Here are the Ebay rules on the subject.

http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/product_sourcing.html<
BR>
A
portion from the above link.

Is product sourcing allowed?

Selling using a product sourcing service is allowed on eBay as long as the seller can guarantee that the item will be delivered to the buyer within 30 days of the end of the listing. Sellers who choose to sell using this method are responsible for the item and their buyer's satisfaction just like any other eBay seller. If there is a problem, it's the seller's responsibility to work it out with the buyer.

Do sellers have to tell buyers the item is from a product sourcer?

Sellers don't need to indicate in the listing that an item is from a sourcer.



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by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 17 23:29:30 2017

If an eBay buyer has a problem with a seller using Amazon as his source, then he should have gone directly to The River in the first place! It's not the seller's fault that the buyer came to eBay!

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by: comments This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 18 00:42:57 2017

Nothing is more aggravating then buying something on ebay and having it come in an Amazon box knowing that I should have just purchased it on amazon and saved the middleman. This is actually the reason I stopped buying retail items on ebay.

But ebay's failure to see why this is a problem is no surprise given that since 2008 they have been the biggest contributor to the success and unbelievable growth of Amazon.

As DW continues to do the work of JD we will continue to see ebay erode and unravel contributing to amazon growth until ebay shuts its doors.

I am just awestruck. I can't believe in nearly 10 years of shrinkage and bad publicity ebay still has the blinders on and is determined to make it to that cliff.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Apr 18 03:02:07 2017

@comments

Just because you buy something on Ebay that ends up coming from Amazon does not mean it cost you more.  It certainly could, but it is also possible it didn't.  You won't know until you check.

The Ebay seller could have additional stock on Amazon and they just have Amazon FBA ship it to you.

I understand why you see this as a failure on Ebay's part.  But is it a failure by Ebay or a lack of researching pricing on something before a buyer buy it?  Buyers have responsibilities too.

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by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 18 07:30:40 2017

Those sellers who use their Amazon Prime account to fulfill orders for eBay or any other channel ARE in violation of Amazon policy -- they are stealing shipping from Amazon.

I ship orders of My items from My Amazon FBA warehouse to eBay or other customers all the time. Shipping is at my expense. That is not drop-shipping or a violation of any venue policy.

A recommendation for other sellers thinking of doing the same. Amazon packing basically sucks. Use the FBA method only for those products that are sturdy and well packed in solid retail packing.

For sure, do not do this method with electronics, fragile items of any kind or small items that would tend to be put in an envelope.

I mostly use FBA to ship books, calendars, canned and boxed grocery items and other well-packed non-fragile consumer items.  

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by: Lahav-CampaignGO This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Apr 18 15:36:22 2017

@comments
Short term it is extra money for eBay excellent for wallstreet.
Long term it will kill eBay!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Apr 18 18:44:18 2017

Some appear to think this is a new thing, it isn't.  Drop shipping has been going on for many years and using Amazon, Walmart, Egghead and others as their source as well.

There was a time that Amazon caught on that some were using the Prime program to accomplish this.  Amazon put a stop to that a while back.  If caught Amazon would be very harsh on that seller, or so they said.  I don't know anyone that actually experienced their wrath.

To my knowledge, over the years it has not harmed Ebay.  It certainly has ticked some buyers off but most realize they just didn't do enough shopping before purchasing and that is not the fault of the seller.  

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