|Mon Dec 30 2013 21:26:24|
eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem
By: Ina Steiner
It was a perfect storm this holiday season (pardon the pun) as retailers became bolder in offering expedited delivery to last-minute shoppers while winter storms and unexpected volume caused shipping carriers to be overwhelmed. While news outlets picked up the story that some online shoppers didn't receive their presents in time for Christmas, there was an unpublicized story that played out for eBay sellers.
Like other retailers and marketplaces, eBay gets aggressive about attracting holiday shoppers with promises of quick delivery - but some sellers said the company went too far and said they weren't sure if it was intentional or a glitch.
In late November, sellers began reporting on Ecommerce EKG that eBay was displaying estimated delivery times that were physically impossible. "I've had many listings showing the estimated delivery time to be the same day, even on International orders," wrote one seller.
Some said eBay completely discounted their handling time when displaying delivery estimates in their listings. On December 12, a seller who had a 3-day handling time specified in his listings wrote and said a customer informed him that eBay guaranteed they would have the item the next day.
Compounding problems was the fact that USPS was delivering mail slower than normal during the holiday shopping period, according to many online sellers and the postal workers' union.
I've sent multiple inquiries to eBay asking if the unrealistic delivery estimates sellers were reporting was a known glitch, and what eBay was doing to communicate with buyers and protect sellers' ratings, but it has not addressed the issue.
eBay posted on its announcement board Friday, "Due to carrier delays, a small number of buyers who placed orders for delivery by holiday deadlines did not receive their packages on time," but sellers are not reassured that their feedback will survive unscathed this holiday season. (See tomorrows Newsflash newsletter.)
And the problem continues - the same seller who wrote on December 12 wrote again on Friday to say his items were still displaying unrealistic delivery estimates.
Let us know what tactics you used to get your items to holiday shoppers quickly this year, and what problems you encountered.