Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon June 22 2015 12:32:45

eBay Seller Loses Case Due to Expired USPS Tracking

By: Ina Steiner

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Last fall, eBay sellers were upset to learn that PayPal was extending the time buyers had to make a claim from 45 days to 6 months. As we wrote at the time, sellers worried that they would not have information to defend themselves from claims.

Today, a reader said, "It is happening," pointing to a thread on the eBay discussion board. "PayPal is allowing cases after 120 days and no one has any proof of delivery existing any longer. PayPal refunding buyers - scary," the reader said.

Sellers had been worried they would lose claims because they would not have access to information proving details about the transaction after such a long time - including delivery confirmation from shipping carriers; records of their communication with buyers; and the original listing details to show they accurately described the items.

The thread on the eBay boards details a case where a buyer made a claim over 4 months after purchasing an item. After seeking advice and contacting PayPal, the seller provided an update:

I called PayPal and they told me they do not keep records of online tracking and only go by USPS, so if it is no longer available on USPS I am out of luck. They told me to call USPS and try to get them to "find" the tracking. They said if it's not online viewable tracking I will lose the case.

But some sellers said they were told in the fall that PayPal would keep such records in their files for such cases.

eBay's head of community Jeff Terrell had written on October 1st, "To answer your question, the tracking information is a service of the shipper, not eBay. You have the tracking number. You can search it using the shipper's information for as long as the shipper has it on their system. eBay reps can do the same."

But on the same day, an eBay moderator wrote on the boards, "eBay and PayPal will keep the information provided to us on file with the transaction details. USPS will remove the information after a time, but there is a process in place to request information that has been removed to be restored."

Let us know if you have had any issues with PayPal's new 6-month claims policy.

Comments (51) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Loses Case Due to Expired USPS Tracking   eBay Seller Loses Case Due to Expired USPS Tracking

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 23 06:42:57 2015

I keep my own records on my cloud. A copy of the page , with its own # for quick reference , I draw up the delivery page , copy , paste in its own file. My red book, so to speak.
^^
I also file my USPS records in an email folder, but will now click for an email alert when it is delivered.  Good advice.

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by: Teliperk1 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 23 06:51:09 2015

I will just pass on this bit of FYI - I use Stamps.com for my shipping, and I utilize an included feature whereas they send me a confirmation email upon delivery. Now, it only works for domestic (USA) shipments, and it relies on the efficiency of the USPS (!?) to update the tracking; but I save All those confirmations thanks to my Gmail account, I can look back several years if I have to and verify a delivery was made. like I said, just an FYI...

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Jun 23 07:16:52 2015

Eagle, I am sorry that happened to you.  I haven't had any issues with Stripe yet...fingers crossed.

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by: Jester This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 23 07:35:58 2015

Great, just another way ebay will not be protect the sellers.

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by: spooky This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 23 08:43:10 2015

I have now had my first experience with this problem, or I should call it a nightmare! January 2015 sold high end turntable part (almost $400) to buyer in China. 2 months later he sends message not received. For the record I believe the buyer as the customs number used for tracking shows it did get to China but nothing about delivery. Did not here anything more until June 2015 when I get message that the buyer opened up case in Paypal. I provide the customs number and a week later Paypal decides in the customer;s favor. OK this is where it gets really interesting - I opted for that eBay insurance called ShipCover. But Shipcover works with a link off your My eBay page and after 90 days that link is gone. At that point there is NO information about filing a claim with them. I had to find a phone number where the person asked why I was filing so late. I explained how Paypal now allows claims after 90 days and she sounded shocked. She told me I can try to file a paper claim through the mail or fax which I did and am now hoping for a good outcome but not really optimistic.

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by: doboy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 23 09:37:54 2015

I do not have an issue with Paypal over expired USPS tracking.  I do however, have an issue with Paypal.  

Please confirm your complaint again with Paypal.  Read the following and then see if you feel a similar complaint with your state's Office of the Attorney General would help.  Between the time I made the complaint in January of this year and the time the Executive Office at Paypal contacted me in May of this year, I had not heard a word from anyone and had received no email or any other type of correspondence.  I about fell off my chair when I heard.  Read the following and proceeding accordingly if appropriate.

Believe it or not, I won a major victory against Paypal.

In January 2015, I phoned Paypal CS with a question regarding my Paypal Debit Card.  My Paypal account had less than $10 in funds.  I questioned the CSR about using my Paypal Debit Card for credit purchases at retailers accepting Paypal Debit Cards.  I wanted to spend about $100 for household items, etc.

The CSR told me I could use my Paypal Debit Card for credit purchases at retailers for personal purchases.  I repeated my question stating "You mean I can buy groceries at Wally World (sic) and use my Paypal Debit Card as a credit purchase and it would be a credit transaction on my Paypal account?"  The CSR again told me "Yes, you can.  Just make it a credit transaction."

Both my husband and I went on our merry little way using the card for credit transactions.  The result was $436 in overdraft charges to our checking account linked to the Paypal Debit Card.  While the retailer can process it as a credit transaction when I change the payment method at the checkout, Paypal processes it as a debit transaction.  Since we had less than $10 in funds, Paypal then reached into our checking account and took the money.  The result was overdrafts for any checks/transactions we had pending or about to be automatically deducted for automatic online bill payments.

More than one call to Paypal and more than one escalation at Paypal ended in nothing but lie, lie and deny.  Paypal told me "A PAYPAL DEBIT CARD CAN NEVER BE USED FOR CREDIT TRANSACTIONS."  

I gave up but did not give up.  A formal complaint to my STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL was made.  This morning at 10:15 AM Paypal called me personally and acknowledged their mistake after they listened to the taped phone call I had made in January.   They are now processing my $436 refund.  

Keep rattling cages!  The amount involved was significant to us and we were not about to let Paypal cheat us when it was their fault!

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by: songe-d-automne This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 23 10:09:40 2015

From now on any item over $50 gets a screenshot after I pull up the tracking info saying it's delivered. After 6 months, I can delete. Getting frigging ridiculous.

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by: a_c_green This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 23 10:30:23 2015

@Tiffee Jasso:
> You can ask for archived records from the Post Office. I have done this.

Unfortunately that option seems to have quietly gone away now. I know what you're referring to because I used it myself once or twice in the past, but when I went looking for it on the USPS website last week, using a 5-month-old tracking number as a test, I found that the option for requesting a retrieval of an archived tracking number was no longer there. My email to USPS about it has not been answered yet. If you can turn it up, PLEASE post the URL for it.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Loses Case Due to Expired USPS Tracking   eBay Seller Loses Case Due to Expired USPS Tracking

This user has validated their user name. by: Shop and Ship

Tue Jun 23 10:32:27 2015

Good point, DoBoy. The AG's office in most states is helpful in routing your issue to the proper department or agency. Complaining to eBay about eBay is futile. Instead, contact your state agency with jurisdiction over ecommerce financial transactions. It doesn't matter if it was the Buyer, USPS, or eBay that took your money from your account using the Internet. The critical factor is that they used the Internet to abuse you. The ''fraud resources'' link shown as a hyperlink in the left column of ecommercebytes home page might be a good checklist to follow.

On the main topic, we checked a USPS Click-N-Ship Priority Package Shipping Label tracking number for December, 2014 (off eBay site / beyond 90 days) and received the same message: ''The Postal Service could not locate the tracking information for your request.'' We know the package was delivered because we received it from family members.

We load the ''My eBay > Activity > Selling Manager > Sold > Shipping Labels'' page into our browser and save the web pages into folders each month when we pay our eBay Invoice. {eBay limits each page to 100 items) The web page is searchable and often the hyperlinks are still active once it is re-loaded into our browser. It's an easier was to find the sales record data as a place to start. Otherwise each 100 item web page prints out to about 5 pages as hard copies.

Still, even though the ''Shipping Labels'' summary shows the USPS Tracking hyperlink, the USPS Web Site does not produce results showing delivery.

Yet, the fact that eBay or PayPal electronically took money out of your account is subject to state and federal regulation (here it is the state banking commission) and your complaint will be assessed by your state agency as was the complaint initiated by DoBoy.

I can also assure you that many state legislators are looking at eBay's participation in on-line sales and are of the opinion that by taking part of the sales proceeds of every sale eBay Corp. is subject to paying sales taxes whether the Seller actually pays owed taxes or not.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Jun 23 11:20:47 2015

Maybe the OP is wrong about the item being delivered!

Here's a tracking number of mine that's older than 6 months.

It's still in the system!

9410809699937224005258

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by: Tornad0sRul This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 23 11:24:47 2015

@heartjacksparrow, how do you have any sales on EBay without using Paypal?  I guess I was under the impression that Paypal was the only payment method used by EBay.

And yes it is sheer insanity to allow buyers to take 6 months to decide if something that they purchased is "not as described" or "damaged".  Because it's so ridiculous there is a 100% chance that the rule is crooked and designed to steal more money from consumers.  There is no other logical or sane explanation for such a ridiculous rule.  Not even Walmart allows someone to hold onto an item for 6 months and then return it.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Loses Case Due to Expired USPS Tracking   eBay Seller Loses Case Due to Expired USPS Tracking

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Jun 23 12:16:40 2015

@TornadOsRul - I don't use PayPal because I haven't listed a thing for sale on eBay since January 2008. My sales on eBay started going steadily downward after the 2006 holiday season, and once they announced the beginning of all the policies designed to ruin small sellers commencing in February 2008, especially the no negatives for buyers, I knew I had to move someplace else. I've been on eCrater ever since.

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Jun 23 12:20:32 2015

@toolguy - I just checked on the tracking number you provided. It was delivered January 14, 2015, so the six-month time period won't expire until July 13, 2015.

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

Tue Jun 23 12:54:58 2015

This is happening because John Donahoe has his hands in Paypal. This man has a vendetta against sellers, it is clear and could not be more obvious.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Shop and Ship

Tue Jun 23 13:01:31 2015

I question the supposition discussed in eBay forums that USPS ''reuses'' tracking numbers. The USPS tracking number is in part a code that identifies both the origin and the destination of the package. To ''re-use'' the tracking number would require another shipment between those 2 postal districts. It's not impossible, and may even be likely, but it can't be frequent enough to make the effort cost effective for USPS. I'm more inclined to believe that USPS purges its public on-line data base to save on search and maintenance efforts when dealing with millions of entries.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Jun 23 14:59:54 2015

@iheartjacksparrow

My mistake!

I should've said here's one of my tracking numbers that's older then 120 days.

The OP said:

"PayPal is allowing cases after 120 days and no one has any proof of delivery existing any longer."

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Jun 23 15:11:14 2015

@Shop and Ship - I think you are confusing that bar code thing with the actual tracking number (printed below).

According to USPS' site: "A barcode is a series of long and short bars that represent ZIP Codes, ZIP+4 codes, and delivery addresses. The Postal Service uses automated equipment that reads the barcode to process and sort mail. At the Postal Service, the barcode tells us where to deliver your mail."

I can almost guarantee that they reuse the tracking numbers, because on more than one occasion I'll be printing out a series of labels, and the numbers are increasing with each label, and then, suddenly, I get a tracking number that is lower than the first one.

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by: zyxwvut This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 23 16:37:00 2015

I have not accepted paypal for quite a few years. Please read my feedback as well as the feedback I have left for others.

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by: zyxwvut This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 23 16:38:10 2015

http://www.oldsodafountain.org/nopaypal.gif

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by: quirkyantiques This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 23 19:01:42 2015

You all are missing the point......
it doesn't matter WHAT tracking proof YOU have on your cloud, in emails etc-Paypal and Ebay won't accept it as evidence. It has to be VIEWABLE ONLINE or its an auto lose.
If the tracking isn't available online anymore you better dig yourself in for a long drawn out battle and don't expect to win no matter WHAT data your cloud can rain down.

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