|Thu Oct 8 2009 10:55:29|
eBay UK to Take Unusual Step of Suspending Shipping DSRs
By: Ina Steiner
eBay issued an announcement to say it was preparing for the possibility of a national postal strike in the UK beginning October 18th. The company is working with alternative postal carriers and is lobbying the government, stating that a strike would disrupt 120,000 businesses that make a living on eBay.co.uk.
eBay UK Managing Director Mark Lewis told sellers that the company would temporarily remove the option for buyers to rate eBay UK sellers on the Dispatch Time DSR (Detailed Seller Rating) from the start date of any national strike action. (The Communication Workers Union did vote today to take strike action against Royal Mail.)
eBay sellers have long complained to the company that its DSR rating system is unfair to them, since shoppers rate sellers on carriers' delivery performance that is outside of sellers' control. Even when sellers can prove they shipped items in a timely fashion, eBay does not remove low ratings from sellers' shipping DSRs.
Compounding the problem of a nationwide postal strike is eBay UK's mandate that sellers in certain categories offer free shipping. Sellers looking for alternatives to Royal Mail are finding it's expensive to ship small lightweight items (link to discussion board post).
The strike affects all online retailers and marketplaces. Yesterday, the Guardian newspaper reported that Amazon.co.uk has cancelled its long-term contract to use the Royal Mail for parcels over 500 grams and will use a rival service, Home Delivery Network (HDN), which also delivers for Tesco and Argos.