Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue June 9 2015 23:11:48

Is eBay's Latest Feedback Test a Ding Waiting to Happen?

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay is running a new test of its feedback system by introducing a new question. But is it a ding waiting to happen? That's what some sellers fear.

As Wednesday's EcommerceBytes Newsflash explains, some buyer are seeing a question about delivery dates:

"Did the item arrive on or before (date)? Estimated Delivery Date: (date)" 

Buyers have the option to check a radio button for yes or no. (See a screenshot in the Newsflash article.)

"Just adding in more potential friction to the transaction," wrote one seller. Complicating matters is that eBay comes up with the estimated delivery date using a number of factors, including the sellers past history.

What do you think? Can anything good come of asking buyers about delivery dates on the feedback page? Is eBay considering replacing the shipping-time DSR with this question?

Let us and eBay know what you think by leaving a comment!

Comments (96) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Wed Jun 10 10:14:57 2015

Shipping dings can be removed with a phone call to customer service.

I just had one removed last night.

New eBayer with zero feedback bought an item and forgot to put the suite number in her address. The customer opened a case for INR. I got the package back and reshipped at my expense. eBay gave me a ding for item not received. I called and had it removed. Right now my account only has 1 defect and it was my fault. All other defects I've successfully had removed with a phone call.

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

Wed Jun 10 10:22:05 2015

@toolguy,

"A registered package lost?"

Maybe you should read the comment again; the inference is that the consignment was not permanently lost but went on an extensive tour of the U.S. be being delivered ...

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid … http://bit.ly/11F2eas  

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Wed Jun 10 11:32:49 2015

@ Philip

What am I reading wrong?

"This morning "PACKAGE IS LOST" in transit as last scan shows it left Chicago on June 8. Package was sent from Charlotte, NC to Grand Rapids, Mi."

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by: I Must be Crazy This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 10 11:38:57 2015

This is a worthless feature as there is tracking that provides up to the minute information as to the shipping date of the package.

To the people at Ebay that follow this blog: Get focused on the issues that matter! Search is broken, FIX it! Stop creating more useless features that confuses buyers and creates more problems for sellers.  

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by: wasteland-mechanic This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 10 11:53:10 2015

While the clowns at feebay dream up more and more of this beta BS, the site is more and more screwed up.

Yesterday when I clicked on an item in my watch list I got the error message with DUTCH written across the top. "Deze site maakt gebruik van cookies om uw gebruikerservaring te verbeteren. Door eBay te gebruiken, gaat u akkoord met ons gebruik van cookies"

A lot of other people are getting this too.

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by: serioussellers This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 10 11:54:31 2015

A DOOZY OF A USPS/EBAY SHIPPING STORY THAT UNFORTUNATELY IS NOT A FAIRY TALE ... AND HAS NOT YET ENDED

Quite a few of our Priority packages have been given ''vacations'' by the USPS.  Apparently the packages have won some type of contest, and they have been sent on ''trips'' of 7 to 15 days (not counting weekends or holidays). Some Parcel Select and Media Mail packages won contests that earned them month long trips to tour the scenic U.S.  Obviously none of these packages arrived by the EBAY pre-announced dates.

Diligent buyers and sellers who communicate with one another are aware of these delays.  The delays are exasperating and mind boggling, but the senders & recipients have no control over them. They can follow USPS tracking (or the tracking of the other shippers) and ''see'' the delays caused/experienced by the shipper.

What logical or reasonable person thinks that such a delay is the fault of the diligent seller? Perhaps each buyer should be asked ''Since the seller has no control over the performance of the shipping service used to deliver your package, do you think EBAY should eliminate its featured announcements of unrealistic expected delivery dates?''  Perhaps the buyers should also be asked (primarily to make them aware of the true culprit here) ''Did USPS delays and problems cause the package to be delivered to you much later than the number of business days usually required for the provided/purchased shipping service?''

Actually it should NOT be necessary to ask any questions about this in Feedback. Most reasonable buyers/sellers know that the USPS cutbacks, closings, layoffs, etc. have been causing monumental and well documented problems & delays.  Why would a sane person stir up an already adversarial relationship (that has been so successfully created and nurtured by the venue itself) between buyers and sellers?  

In this case those who are sane, experienced and very weary of escalating insanity ... can see that the shippers' screwups are being twisted into further statistical justifications for tightening the screws on the war weary veterans of the selling battlefield.  How clever!  Sadly it is another manipulation in the not so secret goal of silencing the ''noise'' of the diligent and experienced small sellers whose unique inventories and exceptional customer service and expertise created the legendary ''old eBay''.

Since the estimated delivery dates (declared by EB on each listing) do not consider the realities of the problems overwhelming and delaying many shipping services, either DO AWAY WITH THEM or show some common sense!

Why give the fraudster buyers more ammunition?  As it is, countless small sellers are dinged/destroyed by buyers (immediately screaming INR) whose Saturday or Sunday purchases (USPS Priority, Parcel Select or Media mail) are not delivered on Monday! Actually many of the fraudsters scream INR & SNAD as soon as EB fairy tale magic has not delivered their package the very moment after they click to buy it.  Some of the scammers/buyers are so trigger happy that they try to start every claim possible -- even before they have paid.

Due to minimal scans it is no longer as easy to monitor all the minute details of the bizarre extended trips of the delayed USPS packages.  Too many packages get taken on very long detours (even in cases where the destination is in the same state or just a state or two away).  Packages that were to have been delivered in a day or 2 or 3 instead get to spend weeks going on a circuitous route from one coast to the other and back!  As we all also know, the longer a package is getting moved around and handled, the chance for damage/destruction/loss exponentially increases.

Yesterday morning we learned of yet another serious USPS/EB challenge to our sanity.  We then spent most of the day on the phone with EB CSRs and with USPS CSRs thanks to a very big problem caused by an uninformed USPS employee a week ago (at one of the post offices we regularly use).  We purchase the postage & print out our labels online (as we always have). We never show the postage dollar amount on the label since we offer free shipping. Of course, one of the top line items on the label indicates that the USPS postage has been paid.  Apparently this USPS counter clerk decided (after we left the post office) that since the label did not show an amount that we had not actually paid.

Before she had scanned it in to give us the receipt we always get (to prove that we have turned the package over to them), she had asked if we measured it (when that employee measures packages we have previously noticed that she rarely starts the tape at zero & has to be politely reminded by numerous customers to move it from the 5'' or 8'' where she has begun... back to zero in order to get an accurate measurement that matches the customers' own numbers).

We had assured her that the box had been precisely measured.  We explained to her that the measurements and weight have to be entered online before the postage is calculated/purchased and the label is printed.  In fact, we are so cautious that we often up the measurements and the weight a bit -- sometimes to our detriment (when adding a few ounces kicked it above the next pound/price threshold).

We learned yesterday that the uninformed USPS employee (whose action a week ago has caused a ''big mess and mistake'' to quote the phone USPS CSR) covered up the buyer's/recipient's name and address with a blank label on which she hand wrote RTS and a note of the amount of postage to be paid (she assumed that zero postage had been paid -- even tho' she had scanned in the package and given us a receipt to prove that the USPS had it). After she had scanned the package into the system and after we had left the post office, her handiwork included writing ''stuff'' all over the box - her measurements (which actually were the exact measurements we had used when buying the postage online), the alleged full postage still due and RTS.  Both EB & the USPS confirmed that the package never left the metropolitan area where it had started. They both confirmed that the postage had been prepaid and the USPS confirmed that it was the correct online discounted amount for the weight, the measurements -- and for the ''dimensional weight''.  The extremely helpful USPS phone CSR was stunned at the dollar amount hand written all over the box.  He said it was far higher than the full retail postage price that would be charged for that box.  He even did calculations enlarging/exaggerating the size of the box and increasing its weight, and the price written all over the sidetracked box was much higher than the actual calculated postage.  We are all enduring the extra costs of the price increases caused by ''dimensional weight'' but the rogue actions and price calculations of crazy USPS counter clerks should not be tolerated.  

The poor box was doomed after the obviously incompetent USPS counter clerk blocked out the recipient's name and address (with a small blank label) and with all of her hand written notes processed it as a Return To Sender package.  The box only went from the post office where we mailed it to its sorting center and then to the sorting center closest to our return address -- and then to our local post office -- and then to our return address.

Yesterday the USPS phone CSR told us to take the box to our neighborhood post office.  The smart counter clerk there was stunned at the insanity of the situation. She knew that a prepaid USPS/EB/PP/Pitney Bowes label meant that it was prepaid.  She confirmed that the postage amount written many places all over the box indicated that the accepting post office's clerk had mistakenly decided that the prepaid postage label was not proof of prepayment.  She knew that that online purchasers of postage often get price reductions so their paid price does not match the price paid by a retail customer walking into a post office.  She was apologetic about an uninformed USPS colleague at another branch defacing the box with crazy notes, circles, etc. -- and she spent a lot of time (while we stood there) very nicely erasing and covering up the ''graffiti''.  After discussing and calculating the cost of multiple options, she decided that she would scan it back into the tracking system so that the poor package could try to continue its insanely compromised journey.

Yesterday there were only two counter clerks at that small branch, and there was a very long line.  The thorough and attentive counter clerk's time spent researching the problem and resolving it seemed to be greatly appreciated by the entire stunned and patient ''audience''.  That employee's professionalism, work ethic and common sense were exemplary.  Those delayed in the line were very understanding. Later they were able to return home or to work with a ''doozy'' of a story about a USPS mess and how one of the youngest employees at their neighborhood post office resolved it.

Without going into all of the details of this box's trip so far, we will just say that its physical condition and the tracked details of where it has been (and for how long) are stunning and inexcusable.

Due to a USPS front desk clerk (with tenure in that job) who does not understand the world of ecommerce and online USPS postage purchases --- an important 2-day Priority package has not even left one coast to head to the other (a week after it was entrusted to the care of the USPS). The problem is even more glaring since we also sent a USPS First Class package to the same buyer on the same day that the Priority box was initially sent. The First Class package went coast to coast very quickly; the buyer received it in just two days!

We have been in constant contact with the buyer.  She buys a lot online, and she let us know that within the past two weeks our package is one of three packages scanned into the USPS tracking system (once the USPS had actual possession of each package) ... without ever making the complete trip to her address.  Apparently those other packages were also the ''winners'' of some type of USPS vacation contest!

So why in the world -- when we all (buyers & small sellers) know the daily challenges of dealing with overwhelmed & understaffed shipping operations (with some very poorly trained employees) -- would EB fan the flames by adding an insanely stupid question to the FF (Feedback Fiasco) ?????

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Wed Jun 10 12:03:00 2015

Woodjungle observes: " This is pointless.  Why would Ebay ask the buyer something that is shown in the tracking data? What purpose does this serve? "

This process further enables malicious buyers ability to unreasonably punish sellers since there is nothing included in the process which prevents the buyer from lying or making a simple error.

I can see it now.... Seller receives bad delivery rating from buyer.  Tracking proves the buyer is lying.  eBay will require seller to contact customer service in order to appeal the rating.  The highly untrained customer service agents will parrot eBay's official line that " it's the buyers opinion, the fact that tracking disproves the buyers opinion opinion of a late delivery is not reversible."

If eBay is determined to add yet another seller punishing metric, then there needs to be a process that weeds out incorrect ratings when delivery confirmation data differs from buyer input in order to prevent intentional or accidental inaccurate buyer ratings.

At eBay, " The seller beatings will continue until morale improves"

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by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 10 12:16:35 2015

Since we left ebay a month ago, our shipping has become a pleasant and joyful part of our business again, no worries, items get to the customer just fine, and any rare customer concerns are handled with ease,

ebay was making it a problem and no one else.

 

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This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Wed Jun 10 12:41:47 2015

"eBay Tests Feedback, Asks Buyers about Delivery Dates"

ExcUSE me ?
It is Ebay who should have it's feet held to the fire while answering questions / being grilled about it's horrible protocol with the Sellers (Ebay's customers).

Who wants to be the HERO ?

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by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 10 13:07:20 2015

@ toolguy

Have Ina email me and I will give you the tracking number.  It is now  6 days since mailing.  It was sent from Charlotte, NC to Grand Rapids, Mi.  I could have driven round trip 6 times since it was sent.  

There is no excuse when two packages ( l priority and 1 registered ) at the same time from the same post office that one gets delivered as the post office states and the other is wandering around the country... Tracking is now showing package is in Detroit.  It took over 36 hours to get from chicago to detroit.

I don't care if the damn thing is taped to the under side of a postal inspector. It is now 4 + days overdue according the the PO.

In reality what has probably really happen was some postal jerk tossed it in the wrong cage. Thats if you want to believe registered mail travels in cages.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Jun 10 13:09:37 2015

I reminded myself this morning that I will no longer argue with idiots.

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by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 10 13:14:48 2015

@toolguy

I'm also a former postal employee.  In our small office registered and certified mail traveled in the same bright red bag with a yellow tag on it. Never in 15 years did I ever see any cage.  

The post office can hardly fix the light bulbs that are out in our local post office. I hardly believe that all this registered mail travels in a cage, as it would probably be a waste of room.

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Wed Jun 10 14:03:16 2015

@sasikat9

From wikipedia:

Registered Mail in the United States

Registered mail service is offered by the United States Postal Service as an extra service for First Class or Priority Mail shipments. Registered Mail provides end-to-end security in locked containers. Registered Mail custody records are maintained, but are not normally provided to the customer, unless a claim is filed.[11]

In the United States, registered mail may be used to send classified material up to the Secret collateral level.[12]

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by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 10 14:03:54 2015

step, by step, one policy after the other, rule by rule, ebay is slowly but surely on track to claiming the buyer as THEIR customer, in their mind sellers can be replaced with their own products, or with sellers that they fully control, this is JD's vision it couldn't be more clear,

If you don't fit their criteria your done, less a few bucks for the attempt, and they love stupid sellers who keep trying, the more you can give them, the better they like it,    

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by: moto-science This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 10 14:14:28 2015

Fortunately, stand alone web site now does 10x the business that I get on Fbay.

Ebay fading away....on the "SS Stupid Ass ideas"

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by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 10 14:46:48 2015

@toolguy

I don't give a hoot or holler what any manual says. I know what is happening to this package.  It is piss poor service when one pays top dollar to register something and the post office can't deliver that package on time.

You are trying to defend a poorly run operation.  We all know how bad things can get in the PO. So stop trying.

Oh and burn the manuel. If everyone at the po followed it mail would take days to be deliver across the street. You know it and so do I.

Now I have been things to do then try to converse with you.  

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

Wed Jun 10 14:49:01 2015

There is no end to Brian Burke stupidity.

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by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 10 14:49:20 2015

@ toolguy

Defination of locked container could be anything from a metal box 6" x 6"  to Fort Knox.   A red bag with a yellow tag with a snap lock on it would fit a locked container. Now go away

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

Wed Jun 10 14:59:07 2015

@toolguy,

So, indeed, the parcel is not actually lost, it's just on an extended tour of the country ...

A locked "container"? I suggest you look up the meaning of "container"; it is most likely a lockable canvas mail bag, eg (also from Wikipedia),

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flexible_intermediate_bulk_container

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid … http://bit.ly/11F2eas  

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by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 10 15:07:42 2015

I think sellers got the idea that "changes" meant Ebay would lessen the pressure on sellers....instead, it means the opposite...more pressures on sellers to jump thru hoops and appease buyers.  The real problem is none of this is necessary since most buyers are honest as are most sellers!  Ebay just keeps jumping in the wrong end of the pool to try to solve issues that barely exist.  They actually help no one!

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