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eBay Urges Anxious Sellers to Return to Selling

eBay tried to reassure sellers in Canada that they should return to listing on the site. Online merchants have been spooked by the looming threat of a disruption to mail service in Canada due to a dispute between Canada Post and its union workers.

A possible disruption has been averted several times, but the net effect has been a serious decline in mail volume. Last week, Canada Post said the amount of mail deposited across its network was down more than 80% on Thursday compared with the same day last year.

eBay contributed to the fear, uncertainty, and doubt among shoppers by adding a warning page when they attempted to purchase an item from a Canadian seller. A reader had sent a screenshot of a page he encountered during the purchase process. The message reads, “Delivery of this item may be delayed due to a Canada Post labor dispute. Please review the seller’s description.”

Seemingly on the brink of locking out workers as early as Monday, Canada Post withdrew its 72-hour lockout notice on Sunday and said, “assurance from both parties that the postal system will remain open for business while we negotiate will provide the certainty that Canadians and our employees are looking for.” On Monday, the Union said in a statement it had no plans to issue a 72-hour notice of a strike as negotiations continue.

eBay issued the following update on its US announcement board on Monday:

On Sunday, Canada Post announced that it had retracted its lockout notice to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), effectively removing the possibility of a strike or lockout until another 72 hour notice is issued by either party. At this time, Canada Post is accepting and delivering packages and mail as usual.

In response to this development, eBay will now initiate a process to roll back the changes made to estimated delivery dates as well as the buyer-facing messaging about a possible disruption. We will reinstate these measures as necessary, pending further announcements from Canada Post and/or CUPW.

Sellers who put their eBay Stores on vacation mode or otherwise reduced or removed their eBay inventory are now strongly encouraged to return to business as usual.

It’s uncertain how shippers will react to the news, since a fear of having packages stranded in the event of a mail stoppage is what drove the decline in volume this month and last.

As we reported in June, some sellers had begun putting their eBay Stores on vacation to avoid selling items they might not be able to fulfill in a timely manner.

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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/.