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eBay Warns Buyers to Expect Delays from China

If you bought an item from a seller based in China, expect to wait at least a week longer than you expected. And if the item you purchased was cologne, toner or a cigarette lighter, you might never receive the item. That’s the warning eBay issued to buyers, and it blamed the delay on changes to mail regulations in China.

“As a result of new regulations announced by the Civil Aviation Administration of China, the shipment of all items through the Shanghai airport may be delayed due to additional screening. If you purchased an item from a seller in China who ships through Shanghai, please allow extra time for delivery – at least a week more than the seller’s stated delivery time.”

eBay said items containing certain regulated materials are being returned to sellers and will not be delivered. “These items may include liquid beauty products (such as fragrances, colognes, lotions, and toner) and items containing flammable liquids (such as lighters).”

According to eBay’s warning, packages that ship through Shanghai are impacted – it’s unclear whether buyers can discern whether their order flows through Shanghai or not. eBay advised buyers to contact sellers if they don’t receive their item after waiting an additional week, and said buyers whose items were returned to sellers will receive a refund for their purchase. “If you encounter any issues, please contact eBay through the Resolution Center,” it said.

It’s not the first case of shipping problems impacting a “BRIC” country – Brazil, Russia, India and China – where eBay has been pushing for growth. eBay had to reassure sellers recently after Russia instituted new customs requirements that impacted shipments into Russia from private carriers, reporting in February that the requirements had been suspended. The company called the lifting of restrictions great news for eBay merchants, “as Russia remains an important market for sellers who want to build their businesses by expanding globally. We at eBay remain committed to both delivering exceptional experiences for shoppers in these markets, and to helping sellers reach new customers around the world.”

And, it continued, “Ecommerce – and mobile commerce growth globally – is expected to continue to increase, especially in emerging markets like Russia. In fact, according to a recent eMarketer study, Russian commerce is expected to grow 17% in 2014, and one of the top ways eBay sellers can continue to grow their businesses is to sell and ship to customers there.”

eBay is trying to effect change in government policies and regulation to make it easier for buyers and sellers to trade across country borders. An executive recently spoke at a World Customs Organization conference, suggesting approaches such as harmonization of custom regulations, better use of big data of tracking parcels and transaction behaviors (including biometrics), increasing de-minimis thresholds, and simplified custom procedures for SMEs.

Read the full post about the latest delays from China on the eBay Announcement Board.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.