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eBay Scares Away Shoppers with Search Results Glitch

eBay sellers in the US and in the UK say a glitch is scaring buyers away from their listings by incorrectly displaying higher costs in search results than what the seller is offering. The glitch affects listings that offer free shipping – eBay is displaying shipping costs on some of those listings instead of free shipping.

In a thread on the eBay.com discussion boards titled, “No wonder sales and views are slowing down,” a seller wrote, “My price is 1.75 free shipping. I search by lowest price. My listing is further down in the results than it should be. It should be closer to the top. But no, eBay has added +2.04 shipping in the results, so I rank further down. Why? I have noticed this on quite a few listings. Sometimes, it goes away, sometimes it never does.”

In the UK, a seller wrote, “In the search Fast & Free isn’t showing on some of my listings. It’s not even showing free postage, instead it is showing my second postage option which is an express option of 7.99 pounds.”

In the same discussion thread, another said they were also experiencing the problem – “My item was at the very bottom of the Lowest Price with P&P sort as it was showing 7.50 pounds postage even though it’s a freepost item.”

Another seller said customer service told them they are aware of this problem and were trying to fix it. “Some of my items are showing the Special Next Day delivery option as default instead of free p&p, scaring buyers away & some listings are OK & showing the free p&p as a default.”

“Sales almost totally stopped on the few bestsellers where the postage of £10 was added in the search, yet when you click the item & go inside you see the postage is free, but not in general search,” the seller continued. “This would also explain why the few bestseller items have started to disappearing from the first search pages not to be found anywhere & competition coming up as now my prices are the most expensive, as I believe Cassini favours Free p&p ??”

These days, eBay rarely uses the Systems Announcement Board to report glitches. eBay’s Jim “Griff” Griffith has begun reporting the status of technical issues on the weekly chat boards. The most recent update doesn’t show this particular problem, but it does show that eBay has been experiencing some issues involving the way it displays shipping.

Comment on the AuctionBytes Blog.

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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/.