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eBay Blames Robots for Delivery Date Glitch

For what may be the first time ever, eBay sent an email to customers acknowledging it displayed incorrect estimated delivery dates on listings, blaming a technical glitch for the error. While it used humor to soften the blow when it delivered the news that recipients might find their orders arriving 2 days later than expected, the company didn’t actually apologize for displaying the overly optimistic estimates.

The emails went out to UK customers after the company acknowledged on its announcement board on March 31st that it had forgotten to account for the Easter holiday when calculating shipping dates in sellers’ listings.

A day later, eBay UK updated the post to say the glitch had been fixed, and it promised to remove “defects” sellers might receive from buyers if it determines the poor ratings were a result of the issue.

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The title of the email included the buyer’s user name followed by the words, “your item may be delayed.” Inside were the words, “Blame it on the Robots” with a picture of a cartoon robot. The text of the email read:

Dear (User Name),
We want to let you know that we had a technical glitch and your item may arrive up to 2 working days later than suggested.

We dedicate ourselves to providing the best online shopping experience, but we recognise that we’ve not delivered that this Easter.

Please rest assured that the glitch is now fixed and the robots have been reprimanded.
Kind regards,
The eBay Team

On one of the threads where people discussed the letter, a seller said they wished eBay had made it clear that sellers were not responsible for the error.

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Ina Steiner

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. Send news tips to

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