Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed July 4 2012 10:39:15

eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes

By: Ina Steiner

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When eBay sellers printed out shipping labels beginning late last week, they were surprised to see a very different looking format. Some were concerned they might encounter problems at their local post office when dropping off their packages with the new label.

eBay made changes to the format of shipping labels without giving notice to sellers who purchase online postage through eBay's system. "There is a lot of confusion amongst eBay sellers as this change started appearing with no notice and no explanation," explained an EcommerceBytes reader. "There is also an inconsistency - the system appears to be switching back and forth from the old format to the new format for the last couple of days."

The reader, a Top Rated Seller, provided the following image of the new shipping label (we've obscured the seller and buyer information).



He described how the new label is different from the old one:

- Font size for addressee is smaller as is the return address.

- The class of mail letter designation now prints in an outline instead of a solid block letter. This will save ink/toner.

- The term "Delivery Confirmation Number" Has been replaced with "USPS Tracking number."

- Barcode is smaller and the "tracking number" underneath the barcode is smaller too.

- The detail at the bottom of the label is blank where it used to print "Electronic Rate Approved # XXXXXXXX."

- eBay and PayPal logos appear slightly larger.

Some sellers report they are having problems printing the new labels on certain printers.

"Sellers were promised advance notice of policy and system changes yet somehow not only was there no advance announcement, there is no information period," wrote a seller on the eBay discussion boards.

Some sellers like the new label because it uses less ink, others complain they are too big for the size of their packages.

Let us know what you think!

Comments (54) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes   eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes

This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly
Web Site

Sat Jul 7 02:12:18 2012

A decade ago I bought everything I could from eBa'al.

Now, I succumb to evil maybe once a year... most likely less.

Two orders ago the seller could not be bothered to tell me if the item was shipped or not... after a week and a half. 1 star shipping, 1 star communication.

On the last order ''Very Good'' meant the side being scuffed and marred was acceptable. False positive comment with 1 for description.

NO, NO, NO - NEVER AGAIN. NEGATIVES if it ain't right.

The star beggars nauseate me.

I was checking out the eBa'al cheerleader page and some of these folks don't even sell on eBa'al any more.

http://ebayinkblog.com/social-media-sellers/


Perminate Link for eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes   eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes

by: Long Time eBay Seller This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Sat Jul 7 09:23:34 2012

I wrote a new blog post today about the new labels, and will note that as of this morning eBay is including a splash screen notice about the new labels before they print, telling us they are valid and not to worry.
http://katydidscards.wordpress.com/2012/07/07/ebay-and-the-n
ew-usps-labels/

Perminate Link for eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes   eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes

This user has validated their user name. by: basset

Sat Jul 7 09:50:30 2012

Thanks, Long Time eBay Seller!

Mine had been back to normal. I don't mind the new label & look forward to saving some toner!

Note: Others have responded (again & again) as to why they still use eBay labels -

1) USPS click & ship site does not do USPS first class labels (unbelievable, I know). A lot of sellers primarily use first class shipping.

2) Some of us are small enough and do not wish to spend additional $$, for what I am sure are great postage sites / services. Maybe one day, but I for one have just taken on additional expense after giving up the eBay FVF discount by not chasing their ''refund'' and ''1 Day'' carrots.

--Why do some still sell on eBay? This has been answered several times in the past by regular posters here, but folks keep asking:
Because, for some, trying other venues are not producing enough sales to even call it an income. Promoting yourself (mandatory, really) is trial & error & can be full-time in itself, but results are not guaranteed.
One BIG reason: Not all venues are open to all categories of sales. Used items in particular.    

Perminate Link for eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes   eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes

by: JustTheFacts This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 7 13:58:44 2012

I do NOT understand what the big fuss is over the labels.

So what they changed them, it does not cost us anymore money for them and they ship the EXACT same way.  They just look different.

To make such a fuss over labels is a waste of time.

Perminate Link for eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes   eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes

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

Sat Jul 7 16:10:22 2012

--- ''To make such a fuss over labels is a waste of time.''

I'm inclined to agree... but only to a point. I think there's more to complain about here besides the aesthetics of the label.

The main issues are that eBay (again) makes a change without letting anyone know about it... AND... for something like this, the sellers really are entitled to some sort of notification.

At the very least, an ''after-the-fact'' acknowledgement that things have changed would be a thoughtful and professional touch. If for no other reason, than to re-assure sellers that their computer or printer had not fouled things up... and that the eBay/PB/USPS software was working properly.

The other consideration is this... our hard-working postal carriers and desk clerks are woefully undertrained. As a result, they may have never been told of any changes coming down the pike.

If a postal carrier/clerk's first encounter with a new format is first-hand (rather than in an official training manual or announcement) they're likely to assume it's forged or invalid.

When this happens, the item is almost CERTAINLY going to be returned to the sender, OR delivered with POSTAGE DUE. (This has happened to me on several occasions. The visible--and properly discounted--postage was flagged as having ''insufficient postage''. Until I started hiding my postage (ie: stealth postage) I'd frequently have items returned to me, or I'd have customers complaining about having to pay extra on delivery.

Surely I'm not the only one this has happened to... so it seems natural that sellers would be apprehensive about ANY change to the format or appearance of the label design.

If eBay was truly in-touch with the ''seller experience'' (which they aren't) but if they were, they would know about these types of concerns... what it means to us... and the consequences and penalties we must pay when new formats (or new prices) are encountered by untrained USPS employees.

At the very least, they could have offered SOME sort of reassurances that the new format IS indeed valid along with wording that says ''... and is approved by the USPS''.

But, no. Nothing. Not a word. Just typical eBay arrogance and indifference.

Perminate Link for eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes   eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 8 10:03:04 2012

Posted today on my eBay account when I print labels:

''We are updating eBay shipping labels in order to improve USPS' ability to provide better scanning and tracking. The updated label will look slightly different from the previous version. Please be informed that this new label format is valid and it will be accepted by US Postal Service. Sellers may see either version of the label but should continue with business as usual.''

Perminate Link for eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes   eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes

by: Terry in Texas This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 8 22:32:52 2012

i just got back from a blissful week of vacation to find the new, not so exciting shipping label issue. doesn't matter about shipping time (gave up  on TRS a long time ago) and i don't care if it says EBAY on the label, i DO care if the USPS WON'T deliver it. that's a hugely valid point/issue. and unless the USPS ITSELF issues the new changes, i don't really believe that Ebay is correct and that it will go smoothly.

i used Endicia for a long time (also stamps.com but i am on a Macintosh and their software is only for a PC) because there was no way on paypal to ship international first class, or prepaid return labels. since paypal has added international first class and the regional rate boxes, i'm using that more often. but with these shipping label changes i may go back to using Endicia for the majority of my shipping.

and as for JOY in seeing Ebay on my label of MY purchases, um, can't say i even notice that part or care. i just want to receive my item in the condition promised and in a reasonable amount of time.

@Basset  One BIG reason: Not all venues are open to all categories of sales. Used items in particular.    

it is the only BIG reason i am still on ebay. i did extensive research on amazon and the used clothing (my largest quantities of merchandise) i sell would be difficult on amazon (besides needing prior approval from amazon).  i'm getting ready to look at other venues like ecrater and ebid and possibly bonanza. my sales were down 52% from may to june on ebay.

i would love to start an alternative site. let me know!

Perminate Link for eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes   eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes

This user has validated their user name. by: basset

Mon Jul 9 13:46:09 2012

@Terry in Tx - You have had the same results in research as I have had. I sell (mostly) pre-owned clothing, too.

I recently commented that I would be spending  time taking some of the items I have on ecrater & putting them on eBay. They have just sat on ecrater with some views but no sales, last week I moved a couple items to eBay and they sold within the week. So I'm back at it. A while back I had stuff on ecrater for about 6-8 months & sold 2 things.  

Perminate Link for eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes   eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes

by: Terry in Texas This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 10 21:37:29 2012

@basset.  thanks for the heads up with ecrater. i'm not making any moves until august as i will be out of town the latter part of july. however, my current july sales look to be the worst ever of the 4 years i've been on ebay. i have about 3300 of my 3600+ store items on sale and so far have sold TWO items.  it's getting tough to pay bills. and it's highly highly unmotivating. i'm wondering if business is so slow on ebay is it really going to ramp up on another, smaller site?

what to do.........

Perminate Link for eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes   eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes

This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Wed Jul 11 00:19:27 2012

I've been using Paypal for most of my eBay shipping, going directly to Paypal via the transaction page because I didn't like the eBay shipping interface. Last week, that Paypal shipping shoved me into eBay's shipping interface. I wasn't happy about that, so I checked my shipping configuration in Paypal, to see if I could change it. Something I noticed there that *really* concerns me is a little section titled "Display Return Shipping Label Link To Buyer" that is defaulted to "yes". This will "display a link to a return shipping label on the buyer's Transaction Details Page, enabling the buyer to print a return shipping label if dissatisfied with their purchase." Then below the pre-selected boxes, it says: "Note: Resolution of the payment of return shipping label is the responsibility of the buyer and seller. Paypal does not facilitate mediation between the buyer and seller."

Am I the only one disturbed by this? So now eBay/Paypal want to automate the scammers by completely bypassing communication with the seller with regard to returns? I've already had one buyer send something back with no communication whatsoever (though I don't know if they used a link such as this). I even contacted them to make sure it wasn't a postal return for some reason, but with no response. Do we really want to enable such buyers to pull this nonsense with no warnings to us? Kind of hard to manage a business when we don't even get any indication of a return until a package shows up at the door.

I already use Endicia for my international labels and for smaller-format labels I need for some of my items in smaller mailers, so I think I'll be doing most (if not all) of my shipping there from now on.

FYI, the "USPS Tracking number" text is used on my Endicia FC package labels, too.

Perminate Link for eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes   eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes

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

Wed Jul 11 02:22:50 2012

I love this new printing labels because it sure need less printer ink, since the F/P letter is not all black and the printing is less black. Yayy for new label

Perminate Link for eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes   eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes

by: Ed This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 13 00:27:50 2012

I care how many times they change the label as long as it does not affect our service or our cost. What I do find a little strange is my post office as us not to go below 70% of the old label when we printed them for small packages because the font get to small for the post men to read the tracking number if the bar code does not scan. If you compare the original font size of USPS and then compare it to the new label it is 1/2 the font size on a 100% label and on a 80% label it is about a size 8 font and on a 70% label who can read it.

ebay says improvement to label for USPS but I want to know when the Postman can't read the tracking number when he delivers the package and then can't process it showing it was delivered. What happens to the seller when we have no proof of delivery due to ebay improved label. Who get the bad feed back and bad DSR's when some one want to fraud us out of our money.

Can't ebay do any thing right? All they have to do is follow USPS font size. If USPS prints a label a certain size, isn't it the size they want to help process the mail faster?
 

Perminate Link for eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes   eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes

This user has validated their user name. by: TrentDep

Sat Jul 14 03:37:17 2012

Lovely - rather than the outlined letter as opposed to a letter that is filled in, that complete box is completely black in the handful of labels I printed this evening - Anyone else?...

Perminate Link for eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes   eBay Rattles Sellers with Unannounced Shipping-Label Changes

This user has validated their user name. by: TrentDep

Sat Jul 14 03:48:19 2012

Hah!  Was pondering the latest shipping label blunder, and what happened seems rather obvious ( and only likely within an org who strives for mediocrity ).

'' We need these letters to be solid black, not just outlined ''...

Programmer thinks to himself:  No problem - just a few keystrokes and that area will be solid black, as requested...

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