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eBay Changes Delivery Estimates Ahead of Holidays

Sellers say eBay is setting up buyers for disappointment with the changes to delivery estimates it displays to shoppers. Thanks to Wednesday’s announcement, some are also concerned about how the change could impact their seller performance standings thanks to eBay’s On-Time Shipping metric.

“Effective September 1, 2016, we are updating the estimated delivery date for seller on-time shipping performance for USPS First-Class Mail to three days and USPS Priority Mail Express to one day,” it explained. Here’s a comparison of the way it was, and the way it will be beginning today:

Prior to September 1st the estimated delivery date for First class mail was your handle time plus 5 days, now it will be handle time plus 3 days.

For USPS Priority express the estimated delivery date was your handle time plus 2 days, now it will be handle time plus 1 day.

eBay explained, “If you use these services and are shipping within your stated handling time, you should not be impacted by this change. Shipping outside your stated handling time increases the risk that your item may arrive late, which can impact your on-time shipping and overall selling performance.”

Sellers expressed their concerns in this thread on the eBay boards, where members of the shipping team jumped in to respond. Some excerpts of their posts:

“When we calculate your late shipment rate, we do used a combination of your stated handling time plus the carrier allowance – regardless of the information that is shown to your buyer in the listing.”

“Also, as a reminder, as long as we have tracking information that shows the item was shipped within the stated handling time, the transaction will be considered on-time – regardless of when it arrives to the buyer.”

Team members also said, there would be no changes to the delivery time frames for Priority or Media Mail. “Priority if 4 days and Media Mail is 8 days,” they explained. “You can see these time frames when you go to select the service option while creating a listing.”

But sellers wondered where eBay was getting the shorter timeframes from – “Where is eBay getting these delivery estimates,” asked one seller, “3 days for FCM is NOT the standard, in fact many of my PRIORITY pkgs print out 3 days directly on the label. So eBay thinks FCM (First Class Mail) is supposed to be as fast as Priority!”

The seller continued, “(You’re) making promises to OUR buyers based on unrealistic and wrong USPS delivery times, especially with the busy overloaded Holiday Season forthcoming, your only setting up buyers for disappointment and sellers to bear the blame. These buyers will go elsewhere when they see eBay posted delivery is not being met.”

The seller said normal First Class Mail delivery is 5 days.

Weigh in on whether these delivery estimates are realistic:

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). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.