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eBay Sellers Spot Defect-Trap with eBay Shipping Labels

eBay sellers routinely keep an eye on potential issues regarding their shipments in order to avoid any potential “defect rate” problems. A high enough defect rate could result in punitive action from eBay against a seller. Sentiment against the defect rate program began rolling in early in 2014, with ongoing concerns about it apparently still causing seller headaches.

A recent discussion on an industry board found one seller perusing dashboard reports with an eye on tracking requirements. “I had a couple of transactions where a second package or second scan occurred,” he wrote. “The report clearly shows that the LAST scan recorded is what counts, not the first one.”

By printing a second tracking label for a replacement shipment, the scan date changed from the original shipping date to the new one, according to the seller. “As a result, that transaction now falls outside of the tracking uploaded requirement, even though I did upload the tracking correctly originally,” he said.

Another seller in the discussion expressed similar surprise at the situation. “I didn’t think you could get a defect for not meeting your handling time with a tracking number – I thought it just took away your TRS (Top Rated Seller),” she said.

“But yes, the 2nd tracking number will always replace the 1st, probably to keep people from entering false numbers, then updating them with the real ones after the handling time has expired,” she said.

Another seller noted how to handle such situations where a second shipment for an initial order was required. “The key is to create the label directly through USPS or FedEx, instead of using eBay after the first label has been created. Otherwise, if the additional label has not been created within 24 hours of the initial sale, a defect will be issued,” she said.

Sellers began feeling the effects of eBay’s new defect rating system in August and are still adapting to the impact it has on their ratings.

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David A Utter
David A Utter
David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. You can find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.