AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Wed Sept 29 2010 22:43:16

eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

Quick - if I told you a package would be sent to you with Expedited shipping, how soon do you think you would receive it? Would you assume it was overnight delivery? Would you ever think the term could be used to describe First Class mail?

eBay buyers and sellers are left wondering what the term "expedited" means after eBay rolled out its new standardized shipping delivery terminology this month. I've received several letters from sellers who noticed the new terminology in their listings for which they were unprepared. This was a change announced in eBay's July Seller Release that got overlooked by many sellers - I even forgot that it had been announced in July when I wrote about it on the AuctionBytes Blog in August.

The policy states, "Starting in September, shipping options you offer will be displayed along with estimated delivery more prominently throughout the buying process. At the top of the item page and during checkout, four familiar industry-standard service level terms will be used: Economy, Standard, Expedited, and One-day."

"Just wondering if anyone else is worried what the Buyer's perception is going to be with the shipping information changes on Ebay," one AuctionBytes reader wrote to me. She was concerned that the first class mail shipping options now show as expedited shipping service in her listings. "I think this is going to leave buyer expectations at an even higher level than what they currently are and leave sellers paying the dues."

Another reader wrote, "I don't know if you've noticed this yet but when you submit First Class Mail as your shipping method at eBay auctions, it changes it to "$1.95 Expedited Shipping." And there appears to be no way to change it."

A third reader wrote of a colleague who had received an email from a buyer who wanted a refund due to "false advertising and inconvenience" - all because eBay had automatically changed "First Class Mail" to "expedited shipping" on the seller's listing. (If sellers aren't aware of a policy change, buyers are even less likely to be aware of it.)

Some sellers on the eBay discussion boards also thought the new policy was confusing. Said one seller, "I offer the choice of First Class as well as Priority...but why would both of them fall under the terminology of "Expedited Shipping"?"

If you have problems or questions about the new standardized shipping-delivery designations, please let us know in an expedited manner.




Comments (48) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays   eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays

by: Irritated

Wed Sep 29 23:11:04 2010

The whole thing feels like a joke, or just one more way for eBay to get the buyers mad at us sellers, get them to ding stars and neg us, thereby driving down our status and lose our discounts. Thanks so much eBay for creating yet one more unrealistic expectation among the buyers!

eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays   eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays

by: Ming Fan

Wed Sep 29 23:35:15 2010

This would not be an issue except for those idiotic, anonymous DSR stars bonehead bidders give out in 1's and 2's.

eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays   eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays

by: Leslie

Wed Sep 29 23:46:39 2010

This is a classic eBay shot from the hip - they don't understand shipping, they just want to imitate Amazon.  
eBay has this "if it ain't broke fix it 'til it is" approach to their site.
Adding ambiguous, vague and confusing shipping terms just as the holidays approach was just about as dumb as it gets....
I've already seen an increase in buyer inquiries about how I will ship their item...

eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays   eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays

by: another side of the coin

Wed Sep 29 23:50:43 2010

This is eBay's way to coerce sellers into offering one day handling time to go along with their automatic 5 star DSRs for shipping time and also, don't forget their automatic 5 stars for free shipping.

"Starting in November, when you specify 1-day handling time, upload tracking information by the end of the next business day after the buyer’s payment clears, and we know your package arrived within 4 business days from when the buyer pays (or arrived by your estimated delivery if that was earlier), you bend over backwards, comply to all our wishes and demands, give us your first born and all your money, eBay will automatically rate the transaction with 5 stars for shipping time."

eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays   eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays

by: RicRoe

Wed Sep 29 23:54:56 2010

eBay always tells sellers to utilize ''Best Practices''.

What part of Best Practice involves deliberately misleading buyers with shipping terms which are inaccurate and misleading??

Plain and simple, eBay's designation of ''Expedited Shipping'' meaning both First Class Mail and Priority Mail fall into the same category is deliberately misleading buyers into anticipating delivery which in unrealistic.

This designation by eBay leaves sellers at risk of having buyers disappointed by listing terms inserted into the sellers listing by eBay - not the seller, which in no way establishes realistic expectations.

Sellers will face the wrath of buyers confused by eBay's use of the term Expedited Shipping''  in the form of lower DSR scores and neutral or negative feedback.

eBay needs to examine their own actions with regard to ''Best Practices'' and eliminate the possibility of disappointing buyers with intentionally misleading terminology.

Buyers clearly understand the difference between First Class Mail and Priority Mail, and their expectations when these terms were used was not an issue. eBay's decision to lump these two distinctly different levels of delivery service under the term '' Expedited Shipping'' is simply a another glaring example of eBay fixing something that was not broken in the first place.

Hopefully, management will reverse course and eliminate this terminology before the holiday rush begins.

If management fails to act promptly and reverse this ill conceived policy, the holiday season is going to be filled with unhappy buyers and disgruntled sellers, none of which is going to help eBay realize it's stated goal of rebuilding buyer confidence.

eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays   eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays

by: m

Wed Sep 29 23:55:46 2010

I'm sure if you took a poll, most people would consider 'expedited' to be Priority or Express.
I ship quickly and for 'free'; as a result my shipping DSR is great...but I worry that some buyers will be felt feeling disappointed or misled when they receive their package.
Of course, we can specify the shipping method in the description, but everyone knows many buyers don't read descriptions.

I've rolled with the punches over the years with eBay and have expanded with varying success to other marketplaces, but still sell far more on eBay than anywhere else. If that weren't the case, I'd gladly leave. Too many changes, too much stress.

le sigh.

eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays   eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays

by: m

Thu Sep 30 00:01:36 2010

''This is eBay's way to coerce sellers into offering one day handling time''

Yes, perhaps..but how is that really a bad thing? More sellers should try harder to provide a good buying experience - part of that is shipping quickly.
I'm primarily a seller, but have purchased numerous things on eBay over the years...and have gotta say that cs, in various respects, was lacking regarding a decent percentage of the transactions.
More sellers should hold themselves to a higher standard.

eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays   eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays

by: Cadia
Web Site

Thu Sep 30 00:07:56 2010

I agree that the terms "expedited" and "standard" are vague, but that does allow sellers to use any means of transport they wish within those parameters.

As a buyer, I would expect "expedited" to mean via airmail or the equivalent air service of a private courier.  Likewise, I would expect "standard to mean surface mail or courier ground service.

For this purpose, both First Class Mail and Priority Mail are equivalent; in my experience sometimes FC is faster than PM!  
I think Express Mail (overnight or 2-day service) should be in a class by itself, but eBay lumps it in with FC and PM as "expedited."

By UPS or FedEx, the match is any of several air services; 2nd Day and 3rd Day Air equal FC and PM.  Next Day Air matches Express Mail.

Surface mail is either Parcel Post or Media Mail (if eligible).  UPS/FedEx Ground is the equivalent, though often faster than USPS service.

For sellers, the solution is to spell out ALL the mailing/shipping service that are applicable to a specific listing.  I have always done so for both domestic and international services.  In fact, my text often includes services for which there is no room in eBay's shipping section.  For example, I usually need 4 to 6 international options; the shipping section allows only 3.

Adding a few extra lines to text in the description/TOS area is fairly simple and should be part of every template.  For like items, the choices and amounts need not be changed; at most, amounts can be adjusted quickly.

The only real issue I see with "expedited" vs. "standard" is being unable to spot the use of Media Mail for ineligible items.  A secondary issue might be USPS vs. UPSA vs. FedEx.  Some buyers cannot conveniently receive one or the other.

However, as long as the choices are clearly spelled out by the seller -- and hang the eBay generic terms! -- there should be no confusion among buyers.

eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays   eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays

by: Rick1313

Thu Sep 30 00:10:02 2010

Ina, you and others may have forgotten about it, but not I (me?).

I sent a registered letter to eBay,inc. (c/o Mr. Donohoe) at the end of July (signature required as value may exceed US$250 someday. I took eBay,inc.'s recommended shipping recommendation to heart on this one. But, I digress...) and stated that this policy is unacceptable.

Placing this eBay-defined information in my listings, and then stating that I am responsible for all listing content, is fraudulently misleading MY!!!! potential buyers.

As much as you would like it to be, I am NOT! responsible for any information you place in my listing that I cannot edit.

To do so has eBay,inc., yet again, contradicting what they state on the site literature titled, ''YOUR USER AGREEMENT'' (liability section). Specifically, stating that eBay,inc. does not take part in the transaction process.

To do so will result in having to put in a disclaimer in the listings that buyer is to ignore the eBay generated (not seller generated) estimated delivery time.

Also, all listing fees will have to be reimbursed for as long as this fraudulent misinformation exists.

If eBay,inc. does not deduct the listing fees when they create the invoice, then a third party (usually someone wearing a black robe) will decide who is working in bad faith with who.

-----------------------------------

Side note: eBay.com is already calling it ''seller's estimated delivery time'' in their recent announcement, re: automatic 5-stars (another biased change as it favors only sellers shipping from the USA. Foreign based sellers, using eBay,com, do not get this 'break').

-----------------------------------

I hope eBay sellers realize that the feedback system is changing next year (probably with the first release).

Since last fall, eBay has been testing another feedback rating system (1 to 10 instead of 1 to 5) and SHIPPING TIME (when seller mailed package) is replaced by DELIVERY TIME (showing buyer the estimated time that eBay, not seller, generated for the listing).

From that test feedback, one sees that eBay was going to change the shipping information in a sellers listing and it was planned since at least last fall.

So, eBay is going to show, let's say, 10 days for estimated delivery. How many buyers will take this as being exactly 10 days and not 10 business days, no matter what kind of print you put in reminding buyers of this or that. It did't work for the bad faith ''FREE SHIPPING'' policy, as buyers were still putting less than five stars. Does anyone believe that this will be different?

eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays   eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays

by: Rick1313

Thu Sep 30 00:20:57 2010

Oh! And I also stated in the letter that I will take it less kindly if eBay,inc. would take ANY action on ANY of my accounts that is under the eBay,inc. brand name, due to any of their fraudulent policies (letter was not just about posted topic).

eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays   eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays

by: Tricia

Thu Sep 30 00:41:31 2010

Not only is eBay's new shipping policy confusing, it's also unfair to sellers. In order for a seller to get an automatic 5 star as promised by eBay, a seller has to count on the shipping service, whether it be USPS, UPS or FEDEX, to deliver the packages within 4 days, regardless, once the seller drops the package off. How a seller is supposed to be able to control the delivery time of the service, no one knows. This is so typical of eBay, to penalize sellers for something that they have nothing to do with. As a seller myself, I honestly believe it has more to do with lining eBay's pockets to keep a sellers dsr ratings down than it does to encourage sellers to provide good customer service to buyers.

eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays   eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays

by: GazLanNaThai This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Sep 30 00:48:32 2010

Here in Thailand, Expedited Shipping is an official post office service - it is chargeable, but can be added to any postal item, using any service, from Sea Mail Large Parcel, all the way through to EMS Air Courier Letters.

It costs just under $1 to add ThaiPost Expedited Shipping to a postal item (regardless of size or weight) - it guarantees that an item will leave Thailand on an appropriate ship or aircraft within 24 hours of posting.  That's it.  Nothing more.  Unlike eBay, the Thai Post Office understand they have no control over mail cargo carriers, nor foreign Customs and border control agencies, nor foreign Post Offices.

Therefore we can offer, using this term -
- Expedited Sea Mail (2-3 months into USA)
- Expedited Economy Airmail (3-7 weeks into USA)
- Expedited Airmail (5-21 days into USA)
- Expedited EMS (5-7 days into USA)
Those are ThaiPost's official transit times for items from here to the USA - yet Donahoe informs us that SE Asian sellers are to be held to the same shipping transit times as domestic deliveries such as  ... Bronx to Manhattan.  They're using a one hat fits all approach on the promoted shipping times, further stabbing the backs of cross border sellers who were so praised 2-3 years ago for bolstering eBay's balance sheets.

I am so glad I quit buying and selling on eBay last December.  Only mental masochists continue trying to build a business on that platform nowadays.

eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays   eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays

by: another side of the coin

Thu Sep 30 00:50:16 2010

@m

I usually ship within one day but like to state 2-day handling time so buyers have realistic expectations and if item gets delivered faster it is all the better. But showing both expediated and one day handling time puts even more undue pressure on sellers and I feel buyers will start knocking both the shipping time and the shipping cost DSRs since they will think they are paying for supersonic next day shipping.

eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays   eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays

by: Rick1313

Thu Sep 30 00:54:45 2010

Speaking of keeping down a seller's rating so as to pay out less discount credits...

In eBay,inc. 2nd quarter report, one of the two main factors for the 2% growth was due to less PS discounts being dished out.

This covered April to June.

The new discount program (which they heralded as a boom to sellers) went fully into place at the beginning of April.

Look who did the real booming.

eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays   eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays

by: Alex

Thu Sep 30 01:04:54 2010

No surprise here.

Just more of the same old, same old.

The last frontier known as the ''internet'' is no longer a free place to roam. It's nothing more then a controlled environment.
The good times have rolled my friends, the way you have grown to know and love has all been said and done.... it's over.

Gee... lets count the ways.

Charging sales tax for sales to other states?

Being 1099ed by paypal and merchant CC processing services?

Countless numbers of e-bay shenanigans;
Lope sided feedback, limited payment options, buyer protection w/ little to no seller protection, mystery search algorithm, DSR ratings controlled by many of e-bays ''walking wounded''.
And now, the introduction of the term ''Expedited shipping'' being used for first class mail? Yea... we all know how that is going to play out...

I've been selling on ebay for 10 years. Over 13K feedback, TRS, P.S. yada, yada. Good exposure doesn't even matter any more. Many eBay buyers are now spoiled rotten. They know they have the upper hand and will ''bully'' sellers to accept their demands or get hammered with not only Neg or Neutral feedback but four different DSR categories which are reviewed every 30 days.

The good times are long gone. Face it friends and comrades, there is no going back, the final frontier is now being occupied by hostels.

The party is over and the hangover is going to be a long one...

I've been self employed since 1979 and have owned several cutting edge businesses. Been through all the profit choking limitations imposed by local city and state bureaucracies. Closed them down to do sales on the internet but now, it's become as hard to sell on line as it was to deal with the local bureaucrats red tape.

Truth be told, it's pretty much over. There will never be another convenient way to distribute merchandise again. The internet was the last frontier and now they are tightening the noose and we're feeling the pinch.

I don't know about the rest of you but I've had it. No more will I accept this business model.

I have a web site and have sold on e-bay as well as several other venues. Even during these hard times, I've managed to pay my bills but I've got to say... I'm tired... very tired and I think it's time to move on.

I'm going to sell my home, my inventory and hit the road with what ever I get.

I'm a very talented individual and can find work almost anywhere but since I've always been independent, I've never been pushed hard enough to want to offer my talent and business acumen elsewhere.

E-bay knew they wouldn't be able to shove all these changes down their seller throats at once so they did it slowly, hence... the three year plan.

Many of use tried to make it work, made adjustments to our business's but in the end, margins are cut to thin for any intelligent entrepreneur to settle for, it's become impossible to make it work. No better then having a bully, tyrant boss who gives you a hard time each and every day at work.

Yes, massive e-bay has squeezed every dime from their once precious sellers wallets and now some of their best clients will throw in the towel, more good talent will be laid to waste.

Those who are desperate, will carry on. Those who are not, will hang it up and go back to some of what has worked before or tackle new options.

I'll keep my web site but plan on only accepting money orders and personal checks. That's right... with the way electronic payments have become the norm, requiring a MO or check will certainly create a riff in sales but I've had it. Seriously, no more will I let them control my business.

I started small and I'll continue small but since I offer unique specialized one of a kind items, there will always be those who can wait.
And there will be less buyers on e-bay who come there just to buy from me.

Just knowing I have a plan has relieved a lot of stress and anxiety that has been a long standing part of selling on e-bay.

I'm no longer going to be part of the standard internet electronic, fast payment/shipping/High liability system and will no longer have to deal with today's ''me generation'' of spoiled internet buyer.

Tough times require tough measures and hard times have arrived folks.

How will each and every one of you deal with it?

Best regards, Alex

eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays   eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays

by: Rich

Thu Sep 30 01:23:08 2010

Expediated sounds like overnight--that's the first thing that pops into most people's head I would think.  The people who make Ebay policy should be long term Ebay buyers and sellers, but instead they're book smart college grads who never really used the product.  They took 6 months to realize the stupidity of 99 cent free auctions.  Every experienced seller told ebay back in March the free 99 cent listings was a bad idea.  And now they roll out this expediated shipping which will upse buyers when their first call package takes 3-5 days instead of just 1 or 2 days. Lay off the "ideas people" and keep it simple

eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays   eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays

by: unknown This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 30 01:54:29 2010

With ebay pushing sellers to offer a broad return policy, there will be lots of other interesting situations. Here's one from the CSA board on ebay

http://forums.ebay.com/db2/topic/Clothing-Shoes-Accessorie
s/Oh-Boy-This/510264325#1285760860634

eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays   eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays

by: Frank Hartzell
Web Site

Thu Sep 30 02:09:05 2010

Leslie's line; eBay has this "if it ain't broke fix it 'til it is" approach to their site. Is an excellent description.
Mine is Ebay is determined to transform the world's largest unique garage sale into the worlds largest repetitive Chinese junk store.
Im puzzled though about first class/expidited. First class at the post office is the terminology for packages up to a certain weight. Priority mail is EXACTLY same thing, only heavier.
I have never understood Next Day, Two Day and Expidited on Amazon either.  The site has no explanation of what Im supposed to do. Overnight?  Is the package supposed to get there the next day? There is no way to do that.
Ebay and Amazon have great name recognition but both have grown too big for their sellers and are confusing.  Im waiting for Etsy or  Bonanzle or somebody to do it right

eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays   eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 30 02:20:38 2010

"The only real issue I see with "expedited" vs. "standard" is being unable to spot the use of Media Mail for ineligible items."

ebay is now calling media mail "economy" when every other site i sell books on...  amazon, alibris, and abe call it "standard" shipping.  they say they are adopting "industry standards" but really they are just making up their own.

eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays   eBay's Expedited Shipping Confuses and Dismays

by: ebay nonsense

Thu Sep 30 02:55:33 2010

This really shouldn't come as shock or a surprise.

Every policy change or bug/glitch ends up in ebay's favor.  It's become predictable.

Click to view more comments
1 2 3  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.