EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 368 - October 05, 2014 - ISSN 1528-6703     4 of 6

eBay Seller Advocate Says Tracking Issues Can't Cause Defects

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eBay's new Defect Rate, announced in the spring, is causing angst from sellers as are some of the other requirements eBay has imposed with regards to its seller performance standards and Top Rated Seller status. eBay began imposing the new requirements on August 20th, and there are still many questions (and complaints) about the new policies and how they're enforced.

eBay Seller Advocate Jim "Griff" Griffith tried to clear up some of the confusion through a post on Facebook that he encouraged users to share with others. "There is still some confusion both about how tracking uploading and scanning impacts a seller's status and how tracking uploading and scanning actually works on eBay," he said.

To summarize some of the advice he shared:

  • Not uploading tracking (within or without your handling time) will not result in a Defect. The requirement to upload tracking and have verification of scan on 90% of transactions applies to Top Rated Seller and Top Rated Plus status.

  • Verification of tracking with a scan does not mean that the package must be scanned at acceptance or drop off.

  • It can take at least one business day before a tracking number's verified scan shows on your eBay Seller Dashboard. Any delay in displaying tracking information will have absolutely no impact on your performance status.

One of the issues generating the most concern from sellers are reports that eBay fails to display accurate data about tracking uploads in sellers' dashboards. Griffith admits that eBay does a poor job communicating the implications of that metric - here's what he had to say about that, verbatim:

The percentage of transactions with tracking uploaded and verified displayed in your Seller Dashboard will always be delayed by a day up to a week. So even if you are absolutely certain you are uploading tracking for 100% of all your shipments, the percentage will never show as 100% as long as you are uploading tracking most every day. Here’s why:

The eTRS requirements for uploaded tracking now also include that the tracking number itself is verified with a scan by the carrier at some point along that item’s shipping journey. That verifying scan could be at acceptance, at some point along the journey or at delivery. This verification is not available at the real time moment a label is printed. The package has to get into the mail flow and be scanned at some point and that scan has to be sent by USPS to Pitney Bowes and then to eBay. That means there will always be a delay in recording this information. For a seller who sells at least one item every day, this will mean that the percentage shown will never be 100% in real time. But what matters is not real time tracking upload and verification for Top Rated Seller requirements.

So, are you certain you are uploading your tracking in your stated handing time? Then stop worrying!

Remember, every seller account is evaluated on the 20th of the month for the preceding evaluation period which ends on last day of the preceding month. For example: for a seller with a 12 month look back evaluation period, his account is evaluated on say, July 20th for the past 12 months from June to June. This 20-day window allows for an accurate reading of that seller’s verified tracking as it stood on June 30th. If the seller uploaded tracking for 100% of all packages in that June-June period, it will be shown as 100% tracking.

We should make this clearer on the Seller Dashboard and I have sent in a request for wording that will make this clearer. In the meantime, don’t worry about the percentage that shows in real time. If you are uploading your tracking within your stated business day handling time and you can see that all your parcels are eventually scanned at some point in their travel to your buyers, then you will easily meet the requirement at the next evaluation period.

It's interesting to note that a seller commenting in the Facebook post said he did have some issues involving USPS scanning ("eBay CS said glitch in system that affected SOME sellers") and said he had lost TRS status as a result. Griffith advised the seller to send him the details and said he would check with the shipping team - "My original post still stands," he added.

You can read Griffith's post about tracking and scanning issues on this Facebook post.

Let us know what you think!

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About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.


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