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eBay Offers Advice for Rural Sellers Using USPS

eBay Offers Advice for Rural Sellers Using USPS

eBay sellers recently reported that some USPS postal carriers had begun limiting the number of packages they would scan upon pick-up to five. Leaving some packages unscanned is problematic for sellers who must prove to customers and to marketplaces that they ship in a timely fashion.

USPS SCAN Forms would normally overcome this problem – sellers can provide their carrier with a single form that contains a master barcode representing all the packages in a shipment, and a single scan of the form enters all of the associated packages into the USPS database as “Shipment Accepted.”

But some sellers prefer to print shipping labels out one at a time and said that prevented them from printing a single SCAN sheet on eBay for all of their packages.

The issue was tackled in a recent eBay for Business podcast. Podcast host Jim “Griff” Griffith said the discussion on the eBay boards had caught his eye, and interviewed eBay employee Tyler to see if SCAN forms for printed bulk labels on eBay were only available at the moment of printing and then disappeared after that.

Tyler said it was true that, “once a seller finishes printing out a batch of bulk labels and leaves the labels page there is no direct link back to the scan forms page.” But, he said, “There are two links to get back to the SCAN form page after a seller has left the bulk label print pages.”

He provided instructions on how to find those links that would take sellers back to the scan forms page.

However, Griffith and Tyler indicated that if a seller purchased more than one batch of labels during the day, there would be more than one SCAN form. “Correct,” Tyler said. “But technically, if you have say five SCAN forms to generate, that would be five SCAN sheets for the postal clerk to scan. Even if there are 25 parcels with five parcels on each SCAN form, that’s still only five scans.”

Sellers may want to review a March 2nd post by an eBay seller who said they were able to print labels in batches throughout the morning and then print one SCAN form that includes all of their packages.

Sellers had asked eBay for confirmation about the reports that postal carriers in at least some locales refused to scan more than 5 packages on their routes. Moderators said in early March they had forwarded the question on to the Shipping team, but it’s unclear if the team ever provided an answer. (In the podcast, Tyler said it was apparently the case that some post offices in rural locations had been given the okay to limit scans to only five parcels per customer.)

Once a marketplace seller reaches over 5 packages a day, they need an online postage provider that can automate not only SCAN forms, but upload tracking information to the marketplace. There are third-party providers that can make sellers’ lives easier – even handling multiple selling channels and multiple shipping carriers – but they generally come with monthly subscription costs, which is why some sellers stick with printing shipping labels through the marketplaces on which they sell.

If you’ve been impacted by new USPS scanning practices or have advice for colleagues on how to be more efficient when printing shipping labels, on eBay or elsewhere, feel free to share in the comments.

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/.

7 thoughts on “eBay Offers Advice for Rural Sellers Using USPS”

  1. It is still the carriers job to scan every package as prepaid acceptance. A firm sheet scanned is not proof USPS has possession of all the packages attached to the firm sheet. Nothing really has changed expect the request for 5 popping up which prior it would just say shipment accepted on scanner yes or no. The carrier must scan each package as prepaid acceptance. This can be done prior to scanning the firm sheet or after the scan and then the 5 packages. The carrier simply scrolls down to prepaid acceptance and starts scanning each package. Basically now 5 packages will be scanned twice. I have family that works for the Postal Office and everything in their office is scan, scan, scan as instructed in several Postmaster Generals employee videos.

  2. I love my mail lady, she knows this is my living, she will scan every package because that is her job.
    The shipping team is about useless, they were told about this and about the OUTRAGEOUS surcharge months ago and has done nothing to mediate some kind of deal. Now I have to send more time and money on ink and paper to print out 2 forms for the USPS.

  3. Surprised eBay didn’t tell rural sellers to hurry it up, drive to the cities themselves and hustle like Big Bro Amazon!

  4. Wow, I gave the USPS over 58k last year for shipping, and they don’t want to scan my packages ? I already have a horriffic mail carrier who seems to hate her job. She hates to pick up when there is a snow storm the night before. We own two snowplows and custom plow our driveway thoroughly first thing in the am, especially keeping in mind she picks up around 10am every day. I even got 10 yds of sand delivered this year because she kept complaining about the ice near my ramp where she picks up the packges. Twice this year, she just drove right by and never picked up the packages. Grrrrr… In previous years, the postmaster knew she was an asshole, and on snodays he would bring his SUV and do the pick up himself, but not this year. I have lived here 30 years, been doing online pick up here for 20. When this mail carrer went out on workmans comp for almost a year, the mail pickups went smoothly with no problems. Pure bliss for me. My incoming packages were not thrown down in the mud and snow like the horriffic woman who went out on comp.

  5. Shipping is a scary place.

    I’ve experience with UPS, FedEx, USPS & DHL. Plus a couple of freight services. The only ones I have not had issues with having packages shipped & delivered with has been UPS & FedEx.

    Bulk shipments can easily have items lost, and tracking to locate them can be a terrible experience, depending upon the value of the missing package. So, to me, a quick scan of a multi-item form is NOT sufficient.

    Best description of most of these companies processes is “HIT & MISS.”

  6. If I got that BS from my local post office I would meet with the local office manager and ask that they go on the record and put their position in writing.

    I can’t believe that this would be supported for a second by anyone in authority in USPS.

    I’d track down the local Senior VP of Operations, or similar, in USPS for that region and ask that they stop by that office for a quick re-education session with the management team.

    They’ve spent many millions advertising that Priority Mail has insurance included (and printing that on their branded boxes), and that is invalidated if there is no record of USPS having taken receipt of the package.

    I’m sure this is just some local jobsworth thinking that USPS national policy revolves around them.

    In any case once you have the scanner in your hand and and set to pre-paid package acceptance scan mode, how much incremental time is added by scanning a sixth package? Two seconds?

    The problem here is that USPS retired Delivery Confirmation and replaced it with end-to-end tracking in mid 2013. But nearly ten years down the road there’s *still* thousands of employees fighting tooth and nail against this change and USPS local management in many places refuses to act against the people who refuse to work as directed.

    I know it’s a tough hiring market, but are they really saying that if they cleared out the dead wood (for cause) there isn’t anyone out there who wants a steady gig with benefits?

  7. Why isn’t the shipping team telling you that eBay doesn’t recognize the scan from a scan sheet when someone claims item not received. According to eBay that scan doesn’t show that usps physically had possession of the package and have denied sellers, seller protection.

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