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The New and Confusing eBay Item Location Policy

eBay 2018 Summer Seller Update

eBay 2018 Summer Seller UpdateMany readers are familiar with Skip McGrath who has been writing about online selling since the late 1990s. His latest newsletter features an article, “Has eBay finally jumped the shark? New eBay Policies May Eliminate Some eBay Sellers.”

One of the problems he’s facing as a multi-channel seller stems from the following provision in eBay’s Seller Update: “Starting July 31, 2018, you will be required to provide a valid zip code for your item’s shipping location when you list. Valid zip codes help us provide your buyers with more accurate delivery estimates.”

Skip said the policy is a “real killer” for sellers like himself who fulfill eBay orders through Amazon FBA’s multi-channel fulfillment service, because such sellers don’t know from which address Amazon will ship each order.

The second paragraph in the eBay policy announcement Skip referred to states, “If the item you’re selling is located in multiple locations, outside of US, or you use freight, you will not be required to provide zip codes in your listings.”

Skip noted that the second paragraph seemed to provide an out, but when he called eBay customer support, they were unable to reassure him. “They claim a new Sell your item form will have to be developed and they have no idea how that will work,” he wrote. “In fact, the support folks did not seem to know much about the changes. Based on past experience, I do not have any faith in eBay’s ability to implement the exceptions.”

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When you go to the dedicated policy page, there’s another paragraph, and it’s extremely concerning:

“Make sure your listings follow these guidelines. If they don’t, some or all of your listings may be ended or not displayed in the eBay search results. You may also be subject to a range of actions, including limits of your buying and selling privileges and suspension of your account.”

It isn’t clear how eBay will be enforcing this – how would eBay know if the item a seller is selling is located in multiple locations or not in order to grant an exemption?

eBay’s Shipping location zip code FAQs (back on the policy announcement page) had only two questions and answers:

Why is eBay making this change?
By including the zip code of your shipping location when you list, you enable eBay to provide more accurate delivery estimates to buyers. Guaranteed Delivery sellers also improve their listings visibility when a zip code is provided.

Can I add a zip code to an existing listing without ending the listing?
Yes. You can add a zip code to an existing listing without ending the listing.

There is however one nugget we found on the Policy page that domestic US sellers may be happy to see. Under “Not allowed” in the Guidelines, eBay states:

– Incorrect item location information, such as providing a U.S. item location for an item that will ship from China

– Inaccurate or confusing item locations, such as “Beijing, United Kingdom”

– Information in the item description or other areas of the listing that contradict the item location, such as an item location in the U.S. with a shipping service indicating the item will ship from outside the U.S.

– Different item location and return address location if it would result in higher costs or confusion for buyers

Skip has additional thoughts about the eBay Summer Seller Update in his article, take a look, and let us know what you think of the new Item Location policy that takes effect beginning on July 31, 2018.

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
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.

5 thoughts on “The New and Confusing eBay Item Location Policy”

  1. We look at it this way. We list as normal. If Fleecebay thinks there is something wrong with the listing then they can take it down. We will then donate the item to the garbage can. When all our listing are gone so are we. We haven’t listed anything new in months and have no reason to believe we will be doing so in the coming months. If you can’t trust your partner then you are like them. JUST WAITING FOR THE SHIP TO SINK.

  2. eBay lists these things sellers are not allowed to do (i.e., inaccurate or confusing item locations), but if you report the seller, does eBay take any substantive action? I’m always reading on ECB how sellers are reported for one infraction or another, but that eBay does nothing.

  3. One more reason to confirm that I have been on the right path for awhile now. I’ve virtually eliminated GTC listings. Change change change – no more hoop jumping for me – as soon as an item is listed on ebay it gets mirrored on my website where no one ever hassles me – if ebay decides to let me sell something great meanwhile I’m pretty much not distressed by what ever it is their doing these days.

  4. Well well well. Ebay getting tired of seeing buyer claims finally? Social media calling them out perhaps?

    It would be good to know up front where something is actually coming from if it’s going to take longer than 3 weeks to receive. There are some items I don’t mind waiting for but I like the option of deciding that for myself. Most people don’t read the descriptions thoroughly enough or look at shipping times and the odd dollar amounts or shipping method (small packet) to figure out their item is coming from Kingdom Come. And then they complain.

    It’s something at least but its effectiveness remains to be seen. I’ve reported many listings that say US but shipping from Asia or the Ukraine. It’s irritating that nothing gets done. Multi channel sellers aren’t the problem, it’s the dishonest folk out there, as usual, making it harder for everyone.

  5. There are many people who are unhappy when they buy an item through Ebay but get it dropshipped through Amazon. I am one.
    I have no desire to support Amazon’s Wall Street-enabled drive to annihilate small business. I want nothing to do with it.

    Too many Ebay sellers do not disclose that they are dropshipping through Amazon. That is a problem.

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