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Shipping and Delivery Issues Weigh on eBay Sellers

Shipping and Delivery Issues Weigh on eBay Sellers

Shipping and delivery issues were top of mind for eBay sellers in the runup to Christmas, but many of their concerns are not likely to evaporate on December 26th – nor are sellers on eBay unique in their concerns over on-time delivery.

During eBay’s weekly chat session on Wednesday (December 15), questions for the marketplace reflected the pressure sellers are under to ensure their packages arrive on buyers’ doorsteps in a timely manner.

“If a buyer purchases something from me a 1 am on Monday and I have a 1-day handling time can that item ship out anytime on Tuesday,” a seller asked – “Also, do weekends count?”

An eBay moderator replied, “If you offer a 1-day handling time, it’s not based on 24 hours – it’s the end of the next business day. If an item is purchased on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday though, it will need to have an acceptance scan by Monday 11:59:59pm.”

Since Christmas falls on a Saturday and most federal workers have Christmas Eve off, it wasn’t surprising to see one seller ask if eBay would extend protections to sellers if their local shipping carriers were not offering pick-up on December 24th.

“We’re receiving a run-around with USPS in trying to figure out the Holiday hours for Christmas Eve. Our postman has confirmed that our station will be running on Holiday hours and pick ups may not be available, but he doesn’t know off hand what those hours will be as he won’t be working that day,” the seller explained. “Will eBay be providing any assistance or protections to sellers if their local shipping services are not available for Christmas eve? Or will we be out of luck if options are not available?”

An eBay moderator didn’t know but offered advice, including the following: “If you find that your regular carrier won’t work out on Christmas Eve, see if there is another carrier that will. You could also add additional handling time once you hit that window or consider canceling the sale if that’s going to be easiest and your metrics are in good shape.”

The moderator responded a second time, linking to a response from a moderator on eBay’s shipping team in a separate thread that offered the following response to such concerns:

“We are aware that some post offices and areas will have reduced hours or pick up on December 24th. For sellers impacted by shorter hours, you will be protected for late shipment as long as the package receives an acceptance scan by end of day Monday, December 27.”

Readers should note that the Post Offices will be closed on December 25 and may have either reduced or extended hours on the 24th.

Another participant on the chat board asked if eBay would extend protections for sellers impacted by USPS weather-related delays.

The eBay moderator said eBay historically protected sellers over shipping delays caused by severe weather conditions. “Keep an eye on our Announcements board and if weather is that bad, it’s usually newsworthy, so you can work towards appealing any defects you may receive by making that known to Customer Support.” The moderator also recommended reviewing the Seller performance and feedback policy help page to get more info about when defects could be removed.

Another issue sellers encounter especially this time of year is when a buyer makes a purchase but requests a shipping delay, such as someone travelling for the holidays who would not be home to receive the package. “When is eBay going to recognize that buyers sometimes wish to delay delivery after buying an item? How can a seller respond to buyer requests that will result in a late shipment according to eBay? Who is right – the buyer or eBay,” the seller asked.

A moderator offered this response: “a late shipment ding can be appealed by Customer Support if the buyer requested you to delay shipment after they paid. Just make sure that the conversation happened in eBay messages or as a note to you when they checked out (CS will need to be able to see the message from the buyer).”

Sellers had questions about other topics, including payment disputes, and one seller said they encountered an issue where eBay was forcing them to spend $2.99 to advertise a listing.

And, remember that issue where eBay was contacting some sellers requesting they file an IRS Form W-9? A seller said last year eBay prevented his wife who operates a single-member LLC from using her Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) when migrating to Managed Payments, forcing her to use her social security number instead.

eBay recently informed her she was required to submit a W-9 form, but after doing so, the information in her account has yet to be updated with the correct information.

“This isn’t something we have additional information to provide publicly,” a moderator responded. “I will need to point you back to the Payments team to get answers to your questions. I will pass your feedback on as to having more information made publicly available though, as to how this all works.”

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). 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/.

3 thoughts on “Shipping and Delivery Issues Weigh on eBay Sellers”

  1. I do what I do not based on ebay’s suggestions or rules. If my business works, good. If not, o well time to do something else. I dont care about anything that is beyond my control, because I cant do anything about it. I do the best I can, ship every business day, try my best to be honest and fair, and have the best prices I can give. If thats not enough, I cant do more, and will close.

    With the current labor shortage, it will be easy to find a decent paying job if need be.

  2. Moderators favorite saying “we’ll pass it along”, they don’t. I asked about putting combine shipping on their app, losing sales with out it, for the last year. I get “good idea” or “we’re working on it” or “we’ll pass it on”, BUT oh now they have video listings UGh.
    Its a waste of time logging on to the ebay community chat, the Mods don’t know anything

  3. That bit at the end where the wife was forced to use her SSN rather than her EIN? I heard the same BS from the managed payments team when they rolled me over 18 months ago.

    The explanation they gave me as to why it should be that way was riddled with inaccuracies. I provided proof of my business entity’s sales tax license, EIN, business-related financial accounts, they still insisted that as a sole proprietor I must use my PERSONAL checking account and SSN. I insisted this was wrong and pushed until they escalated my approval.

    In dealing with the escalations team, I received a copy/paste answer telling me I needed to provide X document, and after doing so, the same copy/paste request for the document they just got. (Which shouldn’t even have been necessary in the first place.) My accountant pointed me at some tax code I could cite in telling them they were wrong, and they rejected THAT with a copy/paste answer.

    It took a draft letter from my financial institution referencing the same documents I’d already provided: sales tax license, EIN letter, and business ownership info acquired from my state’s Secretary of State, to get them to relent.

    And for nearly a year after they finally accepted the proper documentation and reporting, I was greeted with a banner every morning claiming that there was a problem with my payment method, and payments could be withheld or delayed. I filed a bug report the first day, providing proof that I had in fact been approved by the MP escalation team, and of course could never get any further information about what they were doing to “fix” the problem.

    Know what fixed it? Surpassing $20K in sales through Managed Payments in the following fiscal year to trigger the mandatory 1099K.

    No matter what anyone at eBay, be it the MP team or regular reps, told me, that was why they were pushing personal info over business info. Someone somewhere didn’t want to deal with business level reporting until they had to.

    They happened to push me into MP before I hit the 20K cutoff through PayPal, although I had surpassed it by the time the approval went through, and then they refused to issue a 1099K because I didn’t hit $20K with MP during the remainder of the year thanks to their delayed approval.

    My accountant was NOT happy and speculated that this was done on purpose. Although with MP, how can you tell whether it’s something intentionally shady instead of sheer incompetence?

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