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Wed Mar 26 2014 16:16:31

eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desired

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
Just got off the phone with postmaster here on tracking. My complaint was that I put items in the box yesterday (they are charging 1.10 for the items to be scanned at post office) at 9:00 am box before the 11 am pick up at our post office. I wanted to see if what eBay claims is true; that they have real tracking at USPS same as FedEX or UPS. Nope, just showed label was generated and now it also says "in process" so it does not appear that I shipped the items for all of the items except one (more on that later)

I decided to call, got a supervisor who told me that there is not tracking on delivery confirmation or signature confirmation until it reaches its destination. This is not what eBay and Griff say so she got me the Postmaster. I explained to him that they are supposed to have "real time tracking" and that eBay uploads the tracking info as a metric of how fast we actually ship based on this assumption,

He said the only way to be sure it is scanned is to take it to the post office and have them scan it and if the label is pre-printed there is 1.20 charge to have it scanned. He said that the carriers that pick up the boxes do not scan; they are supposed to scan at the processing center postal location.

He said though sometimes they are not scanned at the processing center either. It will depend upon if the scan portion of the package is facing up or down on the belt. If it is facing down if they are busy, it will not be scanned until it reaches its destination. So one should consider putting labels on both sides, kill some trees or cough up an extra $1.20 to have it scanned and go to the post office if one is concerned about ratings, exposure in search and 20% discount.

Another change: Some may recall seeing the term "missent" on the packages when they went to another state instead of the processing center in your own state? Any errors will only be visible internally. The postmaster said that the tracking that they have in their office or 800# shows all this info but these details have been removed from what the public can view. In fact he could see that one of the packages made it to the processing center by the time we were ready to end the call but I still could not see it. I guess the others were facing down on the conveyor belt!

I really was amazed and appreciative of his honesty. It solved the mystery. It is a high volume post office and it is not too busy this week. eBay via Griff states that there is tracking now on USPS like FEDEX, UPS and that eBay only contracts with services that has real time tracking. Yes if you want to stand in line which adds to costs and add 1.20 to your postage which is more than the priority discount.

This is what they mean by stream-lining their operations. Why pretend that there are no problems with USPS tracking and confirmation systems? There is no uniformity. It depends where you live, who you talk to and what the area or district manager tells them to do. Sellers will be subject to a metric where the items may arrive at the same time from two different sellers going to the same destination, one will have had tracking uploaded at the receiving post office and the other not until it reaches its destination and the first seller will be dinged although they both shipped on the same day.
Irene

Update 4/2/14: USPS spokesperson Roy Betts sent a letter to the editor clarifying the issues raised in this letter, see April 2nd post.




Comments (21) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir   eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir

by: That Guy This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 26 18:16:50 2014

They charge you an extra $1.20 just to SCAN it? I'm glad I don't live where you do.

eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir   eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir

This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Wed Mar 26 21:58:27 2014

When you print an item on line with the scanning number you already paid for the right to have it scanned. If your Postmaster is charging you extra you need to call the USPS and make a complaint becasue the extra charge is ridiculous and there is no way to right it up on the computers that they all use so the Postmaster must be pocketing the $1.20 that he wants to charge you.

Bill

eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir   eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Wed Mar 26 22:12:31 2014

I would ask this supervisor to show me on the USPS website this so-called $1.20 scanning charge and when it was implemented. Heaven forbid they have to do all that work to swipe a scanner over a label. Boy how exhausting!

eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir   eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed Mar 26 22:47:11 2014

Irene: You need to talk to the postmaster for your branch about the extra fee you are being charged. If he can't help you you need to find out who the highest ranking post office official for your county or state and file a complaint! I have packages scanned almost every day and get a printed Acceptance receipt and not one time has any postal employee ever charged me a fee for that. If someone is charging you a fee, they are stealing your money!

eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir   eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir

by: jonesridge This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 26 22:54:48 2014

I print my label from the ebay "Your item sold" email and then I do take it in and give it to the clerk. No charge to scan and they do it right then.  I can just leave it on the counter, but risk it just being thrown into the Postal bin and not scanned until some point farther down the line. It is inconsistent, several packages going to the same place will show different results sometimes, but overall, I have little problems with it.
I will mention that my shiments seem to move very fast thru the system. Often I mail on a Monday and it is delivered 1/2 way across the country on Wednesday.It often amazes me, how fast.

eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir   eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir

by: PFergy This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 26 23:00:46 2014

At my local Colorado Post Office, I drop my packages off with pre-purchased labels. Generally, they do not upload their Acceptance scans until after they close at 6pm but it is very rare that a package is missed. Next stop is the processing center where it is always scanned (automated vs manual probably). I either print labels on eBay or sometimes Click and Ship. I would say the Post Office is getting better with their tracking but that might be a local thing.

eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir   eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir

This user has validated their user name. by: thehosst

Wed Mar 26 23:26:23 2014

A few post offices are running their own made up policies - in some places known as abusive scams -. The USPS is out of control and do not keep track of the each post office, they have something called delivery score cards to rate each post office and assign budgets in every district. A lot of dishonest postmasters are trying to get income that IS NOT clearly published in the USPS policy, they use vague excuses and explanations to return and charge more. I see many USPS employees driving brand new fancy cars with government plates, but nationwide claim billion on loses and now those few sketchy postmasters are running their own laws. I'm glad to see this reported here and soon to be national news. The USPS ( in many places ) is misleading, dishonest and abusive these individuals need to be stop. $1.20 just to scan? what a scam, their new motto should be scan to scam!  

eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir   eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir

by: SparklyEyes7 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 27 00:14:34 2014

I leave my boxes on the front porch and my local carrier scans when he picks them up.  I don't check very often but when I do, there are scans along the way as well.

eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir   eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir

by: RichieC This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 27 00:26:43 2014

Just another note to watch for!!!

I have had a few packages delivered with a different zip code scan, than where it was suppose to go! When I called the local P.O. to find out about it, the P.O. guy said that they had consolidated the office around them and they were now delivering to two other town, besides their own!
I explained about D.C. and eBay, but he assured me that it was delivered! Big Deal, Scan didn't match Town or Zip! Fortunately, I had an honest buyer, or maybe he just didn't know about tracking and was happy he got his item fast, left great feedback!
Another one went to a college in WY, when I saw the delivery scan, I was really confused! As the scan showed arrival at the local post office, you would expect to see "Out For Delivery!" But no, the next scan was 24 minutes later, Delivered? Again, with the P.O. Zip, not the buyers. Again, I called the local P.O. to find out what was up! They explained that the package was headed to the local college and that they scanned it delivered, because they put all the college mail into a bid that the college then pickups up at the local P.O.
Same thing just happened again! Long Beach CA, P.O. delivered package to address 2 miles away, though P.O. and Buyer had different zips, guess what, P.O. scanned delivered with their zip, not the buyers! Waiting to see what happens on this one.

As I said to all of these postal worker, we need the proper scan!!! Silents....

eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir   eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 27 00:29:17 2014

I recently had a SCANNED at delivery to the Post Office item--one I paid for AT THE PO---get stuck in the USPS web.  It traveled from New York State to the processing center in Mass;  then to NJ;  PA;  and on to Illinois.  Only problem?  It was suppossed to be going to KANSAS.

I called the PO from which I had mailed it;  they told me to call MY local home town tiny PO. They had nothing to DO with this package!  They  tried to help but---They all claim the "Processing Centers"  have NO phones and NO other means to contact the outside world.  This is an out and out lie;  you can find the Processing Centers phone numbers AND emails on the USPS web site---they just will NOT answer those phones or emails!  Not from the likes of me and not from their fellow USPS workers either.

It took a solid MONTH --as we all watched this SCAN multiple times per DAY----to get this package delivered.  Fortunately this was NOT an ebay sale. I ended up having to send another one of the items--at least I HAD another one TO send here!!!---and the buyer nicely returned one of them once they finally GOT their item.

A solid MONTH from start to finish WITH scanning at multiple points--and ZERO help from the USPS at any point along the way.  Even tho we KNEW where the item was.

Yet--THIS is what we are going to be RATED on come April?  And worse in August?????

Give me strength.  And Icahn.  

 

eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir   eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir

by: KathleenJohnson This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Mar 27 05:03:34 2014

1. I have never heard of a charge to "scan" a parcel. I would be filing a question on that with the Inspector General through their website.

2. I gave up depending on anyone facing my packages the "correct way" and personally hand my packages into the Post Office and they give me a receipt (if I paid online). Or, if I am sending Parcel Select (my preferred option and it only takes 2-3 days longer for a lot less cost), then, they scan and give me the receipt right there on the spot.

3. There are no short cuts to good service and depending on mass sorting machines is akin to gambling. So, for good service, as you know, sometimes you just have to do the job right - do it yourself. Is it a hassle, yes it is as I have to get a cart to haul the packages into the Post Office some days. But, in the long haul - it pays off with zero issues on tracking and delivery.

By 6pm, on the day of any mailing - my packages show up without fail. All mail leaves our town at 6pm every night.
If, for any reason, my tracking were not to show up by 6pm - I would know there is a major issue and I would be back down to the Post Office first thing in the morning to see what happened.

I am not doing this to satisfy eBay - have not sold there for a long time. I do this as I want my website customers to get the best service I can offer.

eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir   eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir

by: digger This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 27 05:20:58 2014

If you use the USPS Click 'n Ship for Business software and pre-print the address label with tracking barcode, the charge for tracking is 23 cents (the electronic rate).  If you have a USPS window clerk add tracking to a package, the charge for tracking is $1.10 (retail rate). That is the story.

eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir   eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir

by: cosqueen This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 27 05:29:28 2014

Yes, it's me again!  What Ebay can't figure out is there are way too many variables at the USPS to "rate" seller's performance.  There is absolutely no consistency when it comes to the USPS. You can be a TRS, do everything exactly and perfectly correct and still get a 1 for shipping time due to post office screw ups, processing center delays, weather, disasters, and many other variables totally out of our control!  Have any of these big wigs ever shipped hundreds of parcels to see how many of them actually reach their destination without any issues or glitches along the way?  Of course not, so they don't understand sellers' daily frustration.  Does anyone know if sellers still get an automatic 5-star rating for shipping if the label is printed within 24 hours of sale, or has this also been taken away?

eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir   eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 27 07:49:39 2014

The real problem is that Ebay has coddled, burped and change the buyers diapers on a daily basis.... They have taught the buyers that estimate delivery date is the holy grail and if the item doesn't arrive by then its the sellers fault only...

We have changed 90% of our items to free first class shipping and no longer use tracking. We have also changed everything to 5 business days shipping. Estimate dates are a week away, more than enough time for the post office to straigten out a screw up.

Despite threats of lower standings in search bah bah from Ebay brainless, we have noticed no difference in sales.

The biggest thing is we have almost no questions of WHERE IS MY ITEM or CASES OPENED AS NOT RECIEVED.

When we get one we just refund, block and move on.

We truly think that the ebay or paypal notice on the shipping labels is an invite to screw with the shipping of the package by postal employees.

eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir   eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Mar 27 08:16:19 2014

$1.20 to have a package scanned that already had the postage label preprinted!! What a scam. I would report this not to anyone local as they all seem to be in on it, but take it straight to the Postmaster General with copies off your letter to your local Congressmen and Senators. This is not a rule with USPS. I too take packages into the PO and they scan them for free, I leave them in my mailbox for pickup and they are scanned for free, I drop them into the big blue mail box in front of the PO and they got scanned inside- for free. I just checked and the five packages that I tossed in the big blue box yesterday were all scanned and sent on their way to the sorting facility.

I was in awe yesterday when I got an email from a buyer in Belgium asking about their package. It was scanned every step of the way including through Belgium customs, showed it had an attempted delivery and was being held at the PO, I gave this info to the buyer and they were able to pick up the package. I was a case of perfect work between our two countries PO systems. This was my first question about 'non-delivery' since they initiated the international scanning. So scanning does work, but it seems to work best at smaller PO, especially those that realize they get credit for each and every label we print on line ourselves as it saves them worker hours while at the same time looking like they process lots of packages. The least they can do is scan them as they get here. When those scan print-outs come off the printer they don't have any charge and ALL PO should have the same set up so I don't know how they are charging you $1.20 to scan in a package. Time to clean up the thieves that are working at your PO!

eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir   eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir

by: a_c_green This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 27 10:11:30 2014

I'm wondering if some counter clerks are confusing the Pre-paid Mailpiece Acceptance scan (which is a zero-price menu item on their Point Of Sale terminal) with a Certificate of Mailing transaction, which I think is indeed $1.20, and not required for eBay shipping.

When you print your Shipping label on-line at home, you get an on-line receipt for your payment, at which point the USPS has your money but not your package. You then bring in the package, and they do an Acceptance scan to acknowledge their taking possession of the package.

The Pre-paid Mailpiece Acceptance doesn't have a charge. Certificate of Mailing does, but that's not part of the process.

eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir   eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir

by: AlexandraC This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 27 11:57:17 2014

>>There is no uniformity. It depends where you live, who you talk to and what the area or district manager tells them to do.<<

This is the crux of the matter. I am fortunate enough to be equidistant from three different points where I can drop off my mail. Two of them scan every package (I ship media mail, so they're not really required to do so), while the third never does. The funny part is that the third, larger office, is the one whose carriers deliver our mail, and the carriers are actually under orders to scan every package they pick up, so I'm safe to hand my packages over to them. However, if I miss the carrier, I do drive to one of the places where I know they'll scan them.

This practice saved me from having to refund on several items the buyers claimed as not received. EBay ruled in my favor and removed negative feedback and low DSR associated with these claims, all based on the USPS delivery scan.

Conversely, eBay CS refused to remove one low DSR on shipping because there was no acceptance scan to prove that the item was mailed within my specified 1-day shipping policy. Which is how I found out that one of my nearby POs doesn't scan packages dropped off there.

It may sound petty that I worry about low DSR but I am a relative small seller and it only takes 3 low DSR within a 3-month period to knock out my TRS discount, which averages about $50 a month, so I do keep an eye on it. Strictly speaking, because I ship within the specified 1-day time frame, buyers should not even be able to leave me a shipping DSR, which is why I called CS in the first place, to find out how these DSR slipped in. The CS did not explain how it happened (my guess is that that the delivery dates were outside eBay's estimates), but he did remove one of them based on the acceptance scan, which was good enough for me.

With the new "defect rate" going into effect soon, it will be even more imperative for sellers to do some research and find out which post offices have the policy of doing acceptance scans routinely. Ironically, my most reliable place for that is the little outpost inside a 7-11 store, because they get credit from the USPS for each scanned package. Actual USPS offices, on the other hand, have no incentive to do scans, for them, it's just a waste of their employees' time.  

eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir   eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 27 16:22:45 2014

Besides the problem with Ebay's promise that the Post Office will give a buyer full scanning information of when the package was checked in at the Post Office, there is another problem. You cannot give your packages to the mail carrier with no actual receipt of them taking the packages. I mailed 11 packages, one was insured, but only 9 got scanned in at main Post Office. The insured package was one of the missing packages, so insurance that I was charged for was worthless. I lost about $100, when all was said and done. I had to give the buyers back their money. Ebay kept their fees. Paypal did give me back everything but the transaction fee and I was out the postage fees. I was also  out the cost of items. When I complained to Postmaster at the main center where they check items in by scanning them, I was told "Never give packages to a mail carrier. We are not responsible for mail given to carriers." So now I take all my packages to the Post Office. A different Post Office, where they do scan each package, before they send it to the main distribution center. I am thankful that the Salida California Post Office, has a Postmaster that cares.  

eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir   eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir

by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 28 09:50:48 2014

USPS used to always say ''delivery confirmation''.  Not nearly the same as ''tracking''.

If they get real tracking at USPS where you can tell where the package is at all times like FedEx, that would be great. But as far as I know USPS does not do that yet.

They may have to do that in order to remain in business.

It's weird that ebay inc. would be using the USPS unreliable scanning to rate seller's performance. That just makes no sense at all.  We know it's not reliable. We know you are not paying nearly enough for end to end tracking with USPS.  If you want end to end tracking use FedEx or UPS.

I just bet if USPS does get real end to end tracking it will cost lots more.  They will not be cheaper than the other two then.  As it is, USPS is cheap and crappy.   You are getting what you pay for.  

eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir   eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desir

by: DonC This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Mar 31 01:40:45 2014

Ebay's tracking often doesn't agree with that found on the USPS site. It is not unusual for them to run a day or more behind.

For what it's worth the tracking on my USPS Priority packages is very timely and accurate.

Your $1.20 charge? I would be willing to bet that they are running your package over the scale and the amount shown on your label after your discount differs by the amount you would pay at the Post Office. Do yourself a favor; don't print the postage amount on the labels you generate online and never pay anyone extra to scan your label. The people you are dealing with are probably unknowingly overcharging you.  

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