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Tue July 10 2012 11:58:57

Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?

By: Julia Wilkinson

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eBay announced Monday that starting in mid-September, handling times longer than 3 days "will be clearly indicated on the Item page" so buyers can see which items may take longer to ship. "Please your buyers—ship promptly!" further reads the announcement.

I can certainly understand the push to have sellers ship as quickly as possible. But eBay acknowledges there are cases, such as with custom-made items, where this is just not feasible: "You may still choose any handling time for your listings -- sometimes longer handling times are appropriate, like if you’re shipping custom items -- and this new treatment of handling times helps set the right expectations for your buyers."

But, is the way they're calling out these longer-than-three-day handling times, with an orange flag, overly alarmist? Are the connotations of the orange flag too negative? And if you think so, how do you think eBay should handle these longer handling times?

(While buyers won't see the orange flag until September, sellers will start to see handling times greater than 3 days as "exception" handling times in the "sell your item" flow the week of July 9. As in this week).

How do you think this change will affect you as a seller, if at all? If you sell customized parts, do you agree with the seller who said eBay's new policies were making it difficult for sellers of custom goods to compete on the site? Post a comment here!




Comments (33) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?   Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?

by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 10 13:20:31 2012

No, because all makers of custom made good face the same ''problem'' where it is gonna take time.  

I actually think eBay pushing this handling thing, along with ''Fast and Free Shipping'' and all the rest is just insane.

Businesses have different handling requirements, it's not the same as having a bin containing 10,000 identical Chinese cellphone chargers.  

Some items are big and heavy and cost a fair amount (both in time and money) to pack properly and to ship.  We sell some items for $239 that are 60# and 18x24x30'' and we are shipping them free.  Without that we wouldn't sell them at all.  But clearly that is gonna cost at lease $75 to pack and ship anywhere.  The box costs over $13.

If you are customizing items and they take a couple days for the glue to dry, there's not much you can do.  

With eBay's broad policies and manipulative tactics today it's clearly not going to work for everyone.

Usually when this kind of thing happens with a company competition emerges.  I can't wait.  

Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?   Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?

This user has validated their user name. by: Island_Sam

Tue Jul 10 13:59:42 2012

Not fair for sellers of some items. It doesn't affect me personally. Is eBay setting the trend or getting pressure from competition? Maybe their search algorithm is not sophisticated enough to discern differences between item features? There's been eBay competition popping up for years now, why can't they "Compete" with eBay?  

Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?   Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Tue Jul 10 15:20:34 2012

Yes... the orange flag is a ''WARNING FLAG''. It's alarmist and I have no doubt that it's intended to scare away buyers, and therefore it's just a way to BULLY and COERCE sellers into complying with unrealistic shipping times.

If eBay's TRUE intent was to inform buyers and manage expectations, a completely different icon would be used.

This perhaps:

http://www.nyp.edu.sg/nyp/slot/u100/current%20students/calenda
r_icon.jpg

Or
this...

http://cdn1.iconfinder.com/data/icons/stuttgart/32/cale
ndar.png

Something
like that would be an easy way to differentiate (and manage expectations) without making it appear to be so ominous or risky.

Trust me, the choice of the warning-flag icon wasn't accidental.  

Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?   Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Tue Jul 10 15:36:34 2012

Another poorly thought through, shoot from the hip ebafia move. The wording of ebay's announcement sounded as if a middle school valley girl wrote it.

"sometimes longer handling times are appropriate, like if you're shipping custom items - and this new treatment of handling times helps set the right expectations for your buyers."

They're OUR buyers when it suits ebafia's schemes, and THEIR buyers at all other times.

In the minds of most buyers who can read, the issue isn't longer handling times required for custom made goods.

The issue is that longer handling times for custom made items disqualify some excellent sellers from TRS status.

I know one seller, however, who steals photos from websites and other ebay listings and lists that item complete with a cannibalized item description.

If and when an item sells, this seller then has to try to source the item from a few thousand miles away yet tells buyer that the item is being custom made just for them to explain the delay when no such "custom made" claim is made in the product description.

This seller avoids having to pay for inventory, steals from other sellers, and lies to buyers.

And, no, this isn't drop shipping because the seller often can't source what's been sold nor do they know where specifically the item will come from when sold.

When buyers get unhappy, they're told some cock and bull story. Believe it or not, this seller IS TRS!

The valley girl mentality runs deep in ebay middle management where lack of personal and business maturity reigns supreme.

Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?   Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?

by: Ron This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 10 16:28:22 2012

@Island Sam

I'll tell you why others can't compete.  Mass.  eBay got the benefit of first mover status because they started before there was anything similar at a time when the internet was a fairly new phenomenon.  Everyone gravitated there because there was nothing else.  And because they had both buyers and sellers, all in the same marketplace, the auction method was highly efficient, delivering results for both buyers and sellers in terms of choice and price.  eBay is still benefitting from being the first in, even though Donahoe has done everything possible to destroy the very strengths that eBay originally had.  A new competitive auction site cannot succeed now, simply because there wouldn't be enough of a concentration of both buyers and sellers to make the process efficient.  And that's where a lot of new competitors have gone wrong.

Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?   Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?

by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Jul 10 17:43:25 2012

@Ron
Well said.
Which is why I think that auction sellers and buyers should move to ebit.net.
It has auctions as well as buy now and it has been going for a long time and it is growing steadily.
And it has far more items listed than the next biggest auction site.

Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?   Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?

This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Wed Jul 11 00:26:25 2012

@Island_Sam: Another reason most other sites haven't gained traction is that they don't advertise. They do nothing to bring in the buyers and exhort the sellers to do all the advertising. Makes you wonder what you pay fees for. Even eBay brings in the buyers, such as they are.

Some sites are doing well, but mostly because of specializing in niche areas and doing some actual advertising. Etsy and ArtFire come to mind in that area. I've also done well with vintage goods on those sites. They are also good for custom-made or handcrafted items and are geared toward that category (thus avoiding the silly one-size-fits-all style of eBay).

Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?   Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?

by: blaumann This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 11 02:09:01 2012

Another insane Ebay decision. I will go from 10 days to 3 days. If an order takes longer, what can ebay do to me?  

Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?   Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 11 02:31:07 2012

Now if ebay was SMART they aould CELEBRATE the custom sellers on the site with some sort of BANNER or way to communicate---ooops,  sorry,  used a 4 letter word there--my bad---with the buyers to TELL them that their very special one of a kind item was being hand crafted just for THEM---and this takes more than 5 minutes.

Instead ebay makes enemies of BOTH the buyer AND the seller.

Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?   Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?

by: justpassinthru This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 11 02:31:23 2012

I agree with Annie, it's another example of Ebay trying to herd us but in this case they'll be doing me a favor, might save some dings on my shipping-time DSR.  I'll experiment with having that flag on every one of my listings, see how much it impacts sales.  

What I'd really like is for a gorilla to pop out of the pc or cell phone and force them to read the description.  The worst was those years when Ebay mislead millions of buyers by claiming that 1st class mail is expedited and would reach them in 3 days.  

Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?   Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?

by: spirit-of-shiloh This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 11 02:41:19 2012

Well yesterday ALL my listings that have 1 day handling have suddenly lost the handling time PERIOD? Also in my eBay,where my items have free shipping,is a blue CALCULATE? WTF??? Why the need to calculate? I posted this GLITCH on the Auction Listing board and others are having same issues. I had to go in,revise and even though the 1 day handling box was checked,I unchecked it,then rechecked it,then the handling time appeared in my listing. I am not going to revise 100 listings,after a couple I got frusterated. So now I am going to revise some items and get rid of the free shipping. I am tired of eating all the costs.:(

Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?   Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?

by: Tess This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 11 03:15:36 2012

Sick to death of the Control Ebay wants on my business.  I got rid of a husband who made my life miserable with control!!

Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?   Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Wed Jul 11 06:59:02 2012

Why do we bother commenting on the utterly illogical antics of these imbeciles at eBay; the fact is, the marketplace is on its way down the gurgler and nothing these fools could possibly do is going to reverse that situations. The second quarter results on the 19th should be interesting ...


eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?   Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Jul 11 07:53:12 2012

Buyers read listings?  LOL

Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?   Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?

This user has validated their user name. by: sba55

Wed Jul 11 08:27:22 2012

Some folks on here are just conspiracy nuts. Why would ebay do anything to prevent sales?

I wish all the people who bash ebay would take their items off (good luck with sales on the other sites). That would give more visibility to those of us who stay.

If you think ebay fees are high just try opening a real brick and mortar store. You'll see really fast that ebay remains an incredible bargain.

Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?   Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?

by: mylifeisgood This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 11 08:39:39 2012

Most buyers don't read below the first line....With an orange flag maybe they will notice it takes longer to ship.

I agree with Ebay.

Those people who have been complaining about the shipping times should be proud....You wanted something done and Ebay did something and now you are still complaining.  

Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?   Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?

by: frustrated This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 11 08:42:36 2012

The item doesn't have to REACH the buyer in 3 days. You have to PRINT THE SHIPPING TICKET within the stated handling time. (get it?)

And then they calculate the estimated arrival based on some arbitrary schedule they don't disclose, which is stupid, and doesn't account for ANY delay, be it weather, or the usual PO BDS or anything else.

IF ebay wanted to be fair to the sellers of hand-made goods, they would have a separate category under all the categories that need it, at the bottom with an asterisk, HAND MADE ITEM.

All of those categories would be exempt from the handling time requirements.

But of course ebay isn't interested in being fair, they are interested in being AMAZON.

Which they will N-E-V-E-R be, until they start stocking their OWN merchandise. And shipping, and listing it (who would they get, not ONE of the CSRs or suits have EVER used the site??)
and photographing it (now that would be good for laughs) and answering the 100s of stupid questions every day. Stuff that is right in the listing if you can READ.

Hint to ebay: Stop trying to be somebody else, and do your own thing WELL, and your stock price will escalate, DOOUH. Business 101.

Just flag a certain group as HAND MADE, and all this upset will stop.

ANYBODY AT EBAY ABLE TO READ??

OR CODE?

Hmm, I wonder.

Yeah but they all have MBAs.

Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?   Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?

by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 11 09:31:16 2012

Right on track for a CEO that is too stupid to see that his changes are not feasible for small businesses especially custom made items. Businesses in those custom made categories should be contacting their attorney  

Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?   Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?

by: JustTheFacts This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 11 10:10:04 2012

As a seller who is sick to death of having buyers NOT read the listings and see our handling time and then DEMAND next day shipping, I find this as a GOOD THING.

I do not care what COLOR they make the flag, I am just glad they point out we do NOT offer next shipping.

Now granted it often happens but we REFUSE to promise it because we cannot guarantee it.

If my handling time scares them off, fine, I would rather them  take thier IMPATIENT behinds to my competitors.

I have dealt with the ONE DAY DEMANDERS and they are almost always ROTTEN to deal with and usually find SOMETHING to complain about anyway, so GOOD RIDDENS!

I do fully agree that fast shipping is important to people including myself but one day is NOT the industry standard, as eBay again MAKES UP!

eBay may think that this will push sellers to do as THEY WANT you to do but people like me say, FINALLY you address a PROBLEM YOU CREATED for me.

Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?   Is eBay's Orange Flag for 3+ Day Handling Times Too Much?

by: JustTheFacts This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 11 10:17:04 2012

sba55.  Do you even KNOW what a Conspiracy IS?  
Have you EVER heard or read ebays own WORDS.  My guess is NO to both questions.

If you love ebay so much and it does so great for you WONDERFUL but if you think ebay gives two cents about you, I think you might also look up the word NUTS as well.  

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