Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Aug 12 2018 21:23:19

Ignore New eBay Tracking Requirements at Your Peril

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay continues to raise the bar for sellers as it tries to keep buyers happy, and the Fall Seller Update offers further evidence that eBay finds it a lot easier to just side with buyers when disputes arise.

To wit, a new requirement around tracking that takes effect on September 10. The crux of the issue: eBay won't protect sellers from claims of non-receipt unless they've uploaded tracking prior to the estimated delivery date.

What's changed is the timing and method of providing tracking information: even if sellers can prove their packages have been delivered to buyers by providing shipping carriers' tracking numbers, they're out of luck unless they've uploaded tracking by a certain date. Note that sending the tracking number to buyers via member-to-member messaging does not meet the protection requirements at all.

The text of the new policy follows:

Upload tracking to prevent "item not received" claims
Starting September 10, 2018, you will be required to upload tracking in the structured data field before the estimated delivery date has passed in order to appeal an "item not received" claim. eBay will not protect you from a claim if you send the tracking number to the buyer via email.

Without tracking information, eBay can't protect you because we won't be able to confirm your item was delivered. Tracking also benefits buyers by enabling them to track the status of their deliveries. We will also update the eBay Money Back Guarantee policy with the new guidelines.

There was much discussion about this on the eBay boards (though many sellers may have missed it in the onslaught of news in the fall update).

Did eBay really mean it would side with buyers if the seller provides tracking after an "Item Not Received" claim (INR) is filed?

An eBay moderator made clear the answer:

"Yes, if a seller doesn't upload the tracking by the estimated delivery date we cannot guarantee they will be protected. The seller will still have the opportunity to provide the tracking through the case but if the buyer still insists that they didn't get the item the case will be closed against the seller."

A reader wrote to us about the change and pointed out a related mandate: "eBay is now going to require that the proof of Delivery show the address it was delivered to. USPS only shows the zip code and that has always been adequate, but now they are saying that is not. Wow what a massive change that they just buried in with all the other minutiae."

The problem: no carrier provides buyer addresses in their tracking reports, which are visible to third parties, for obvious reasons related to privacy. Nevertheless, eBay spells out in several places, including its help pages, the need for buyer addresses in tracking:

"To be protected, the tracking information will need to show proof of delivery from a shipping company that clearly displays the delivery status of the item as "delivered," the date of delivery (which reflects that you shipped within your stated handling time), and the recipient's address."

Sellers asked over and over for clarification - would eBay side with the buyer if the tracking information did not include the full buyer address? 

But the moderator jech77 continued to obfuscate.

In responding to eBay seller bubbleman2010 who wrote, "Does tracking when the new features roll out have to display the buyers address if a INR dispute is open in order to be found in the sellers favor? YES or NO," the eBay moderator responded, "I want to reiterate, the only thing that has changed is the requirement to upload tracking before the estimated delivery date. The information that we look at to validate the tracking will continue to be the same. We have not made any other changes," leaving sellers to worry there was a reason eBay left itself lots of wiggle room. Is it possible jech77 isn't sure him or herself?

Update 8/13/18: A different eBay moderator also weighed in on the issue in this thread -excerpt follows:

"USPS does not disclose a full delivery address publicly and for good reasons. We also don't validate to the exact street address for the same reason - sorry, I wasn't clear about that. We do look for a matching zip code.

"International shipments can be a bit more challenging as standards of data quality differ across countries and shipping carriers delivering to those countries. We do our best to manage policies according to what the standards are in those countries, but for US shipments, the main thing is making sure that the item was delivered within the same zip code as the buyer indicated in Checkout."

Comments (66) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Ignore New eBay Tracking Requirements at Your Peril   Ignore New eBay Tracking Requirements at Your Peril

by: Slowest Learner This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 12 22:32:55 2018

Just a new way for ebay to make sure the buyer gets the merchandise for FREE

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by: Scotty This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 12 23:07:42 2018

How can something be mandated that no delivery service provides?

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sun Aug 12 23:14:51 2018

Can it get any worse?

YOU BETCHA

Mark my words, our seller ID's will be hidden in the future, sellers will be nothing more then fulfillment shippers!

I see that coming as clear as eBay fee's are a risen. . .

Perminate Link for Ignore New eBay Tracking Requirements at Your Peril   Ignore New eBay Tracking Requirements at Your Peril

by: 1st Armored Div. 1971-1973 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 00:36:34 2018

To the first part. If a seller isn't uploading tracking as soon as they ship the item they got more problems than just worrying about ebay slamming them for not delivery of the item.

To the second part. I would assume that some photographic image with the address will be used to confirm delivery. In some cases I think this is already being done. So no big deal.

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by: Go tell the Spartans This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 00:38:21 2018

If everyone banded together that was bitten by these ludicrous new rules and filed a small claims complaint I think that might get eBay's attention. One or two complaints is merely the cost of doing business. Hundreds of claims will hurt eBay where it counts, it its pocket.

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by: 1st Armored Div. 1971-1973 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 00:39:35 2018

I would like to add one more comment.

Since tracking has been instituted my non-delivery rate has fallen to almost nothing. In other words, either the postman quit stealing packages or the customers quit. It has been a godsend in that department.

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 01:00:04 2018

You can tell there's been a major change in personnel making decisions.  Whoever came up with this stupid decision is brand new or from another country.  I would be curious to know HOW MANY SELLERS HAVE CLOSED STORES  OR DOWNGRADED because of the changes alnd decisions coming from San Jose?

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 01:03:35 2018

I have a question.  When we use Paypal or Ebay through Paypal to ship, at the end of the process when we print the label, a tracking # is immediately generated and sent to the buyer's account; right?  The buyer immediately has the tracking number.  Are sellers using another service like STAMP.com, that doesn't link to the buyer's account?  That's the only way I can see that a tracking number wouldn't be generated to the buyer's account.  THAT could be why this policy is being made, because the seller is NOT using PP or EB/PP to generate postage labels and is using another service.

Perminate Link for Ignore New eBay Tracking Requirements at Your Peril   Ignore New eBay Tracking Requirements at Your Peril

by: Bird Mad This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 01:23:40 2018

ShippingEasy both imports orders to ship and links the tracking numbers back to eBay. Plus, I can print 4 labels per sheet. Postage savings on 1st class package are the same as eBay.

Perminate Link for Ignore New eBay Tracking Requirements at Your Peril   Ignore New eBay Tracking Requirements at Your Peril

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Aug 13 02:04:31 2018

If a seller opts into the new payment system how does eBay expect them to pay for shipping labels?

Since the seller cannot accept Paypal and Paypal is the only way to pay for eBay shipping how will I fund my Paypal account?

I don't think eBay will deposit funds into Paypal, only your bank account.

I see a real mess for sellers who opted into the new payment system.

eBay called us and I told them NO WAY do I want to be any part of this.

Let's see what happens come Sept. 1st

Perminate Link for Ignore New eBay Tracking Requirements at Your Peril   Ignore New eBay Tracking Requirements at Your Peril

by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 02:09:43 2018

@Chicago48

I use Stamps.com and their program automatically interfaces with Ebay and uploads the tracking number as soon as I print the labels.  I prefer using their product because I can print labels throughout the day or weekend and still combine them onto one scan sheet where Ebay only prints a scan sheet if you use the bulk label program and then only for that batch, at least the last time i looked at it.

Stamps.com offers a free Ebay account to all Ebay sellers and it will interface with many other sites and combine them into one scan sheet or shipping process that cuts down my shipping time considerably.  I can also manually input addresses for my Facebook sales and ship those just as easily although there is no interfacing needed.  I like them because this is the focus of their business and so they don;t make silly mistakes like Ebay does, such as not warning customers that the International Shipping rates have changed on First Class Letters vs packages so many sellers are undercharging their buyers for shipping.  Stamps.com not only warned everybody about it but also came up with another category that is in between the Letter and Package prices in case that works for you.  Ebay has so many other issues to focus on I guarantee you that is nowhere near the bottom of page 2 on issues they plan on dealing with as it is not costing them anything out of their pockets, or at least they don't think it does.  They don't realize they are losing their 10% dip into the sellers pocket for the extra shipping that the Seller should have charged and they don't realize how many sales are getting cancelled by sellers when they see how much the postage is that they are having to pay for.

As for who does not have the tracking numbers automatically uploaded, it is all of those people who go to their local PO and pay for the shipping at the counter, and there are a lot of them.  They keep the receipts so they can prove delivery but don't want to waste the time inputting it everyday they sell something.  This also allows them to see just how many buyers will try to rip the seller off by saying they did not receive their items even though the tracking shows they did.  But they quickly find it once the Seller inputs the tracking number and notifies them they will be contacting the buyers local PO and filing a stolen package report so the PO can investigate it.  I guess Ebay is not liking the comments from buyers who get caught and made to look like the scammers they are, so Ebay is now protecting them from the big, bad, bully seller who showed the class that the dog did not eat their homework and then adds them to their blocked list.

Perminate Link for Ignore New eBay Tracking Requirements at Your Peril   Ignore New eBay Tracking Requirements at Your Peril

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Aug 13 02:42:56 2018

I don't have any issues about uploading tracking.  I think that more comes from casual sellers or sellers that insist they must physically take their packages to the PO to ship.  Many of them don't upload tracking to Ebay until it becomes necessary, like an INR.  This rule would encourage them to stop doing that an upload right away.

As to this thing about the tracking showing the delivery address being shown on the online tracking.  Ebay knows darn good and well that not a single carrier out there does that.  Interestingly enough on the threads devoted to the Seller Update, at first a blue had said it was not a requirement and there was an error in the published release.  That was probably the blue using their own brain and realizing this just wasn't a reasonable requirement.

Then after that, the blues just flat out would not address the question in any way.  It was complete avoidance.  In fact on the last day the threads were open, the blues that were posting on threads was close to non existent.  They were rarely seen or heard from no matter how many questions were sent their direction.

There is another part of this that is of real concern as well.  From the seller update:

If I have tracking that proves an item was delivered even though there's an "item not received" claim

It's an unfortunate reality of ecommerce that items are sometimes stolen or lost on their way to the buyer. Ultimately, it's the seller's responsibility to ensure their orders make it into their buyer's hands, and it's important they plan for the occasional lost or stolen item.

We will always do everything we can to help mitigate this risk for our sellers and will even cover the cost of the item in certain situations. The best way to protect yourself is to upload tracking for each order you receive as soon as possible.

It is the second sentence in that first paragraph that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.  I've not seen anywhere [I may have missed it] that Ebay addressed this statement.  What the heck does it mean?  I know what it means to me, but what does it mean to Ebay as the two are often different.

Perminate Link for Ignore New eBay Tracking Requirements at Your Peril   Ignore New eBay Tracking Requirements at Your Peril

by: Eagle This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 03:08:30 2018

Does Ebay just make up their rules as they go? That's the most ridiculous thing I ever heard of? The tracking number is used mainly as proof of delivery and whether it's posted prior to delivery or afterwards it's still proof of delivery!

Perminate Link for Ignore New eBay Tracking Requirements at Your Peril   Ignore New eBay Tracking Requirements at Your Peril

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

Mon Aug 13 03:10:51 2018

I don't see how Ebay can have a peaceful symbiotic economic environment as long as it has PayPal, a diametrically opposed entity, residing on Ebay's platform.
Some buyers use PayPal specifically to play games with sellers. So, Ebay will always be at odds with PayPal, even with tracking.
Cutting Ebay and PayPal out of the eCommerce loop is best for all.
Let the buyers and sellers deal directly with each other.
Using a form of payment that generates a paper copy of proof is the best way to do business. Tracking also generates a paper copy of proof.

Perminate Link for Ignore New eBay Tracking Requirements at Your Peril   Ignore New eBay Tracking Requirements at Your Peril

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

Mon Aug 13 03:20:11 2018

In addition:
ALWAYS upload the tracking number BEFORE actually sending the package out.
It only makes sense.

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

Mon Aug 13 03:21:01 2018

stamps .com

Perminate Link for Ignore New eBay Tracking Requirements at Your Peril   Ignore New eBay Tracking Requirements at Your Peril

by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 03:45:11 2018

100 Percent of my eBay sales SHIP OUT using PayPal labels no matter if it thru USPS or the 1 percent I send out using FedEx.  ALL of them.  NO exceptions.  I see NO serious drawback to eBay now MANDATING that goofballs who HAND WRITE their shipping labels and then STAND IN LINE at their nearby post office to PAY for the shipment and receive a paper receipt with the tracking number on it HAVE to promptly UPLOAD their tracking numbers.
I so... SO ... Rarely defend anything eBay says or does, but THIS TIME their CHANGE is justified, logical, and a GREAT IDEA.
I personally deliver ALL of my USPS packages to the post office and LINGER to see an actual counter employee, WITNESS them scan EACH of my packages AND walk away with the paper receipt that specifies EACH and EVERY ONE of my packages has been placed into the Loving Arms of the USPS.  
Saving 5 minutes by DROPPING prepaid, Pre-labeled, Pre-TRACKING NUMBERED packages through the security chute in the post office OUTER lobby or in a BLUE PICK UP BOX is sheer Folly.
I mean, COME ON,....  it takes 10 minutes PER shipment start to finish to PACKAGE, WEIGH, LABEL and (in my case take a photo) of EVERY outgoing package.  To be at least AVAILABLE to be PROTECTED against Real or Imagined NON DELIVERY is surely worth that extra 5 minutes to go INTO the post office INNER LOBBY and have all packages SCANNED, ACCEPTED, and VERIFIED.  The POOR communication in the way eBay NOTIFIED is of no matter as using PayPal labels AUTOMATICALLY records the SHIPPING ADDRESS.  Done and Dusted.
PS:  HandWriting shipping labels and return addresses is another example of SHEER FOLLY.  When one WRITES OUT the ship to and return to addresses THIS WAY it opens one's self up to Optical Character Reading equipment at the post office MIS-READING one's SCRAWL and making the package NEVER deliverable.  YOU *think* you know what YOU wrote for the addresses, but if the Idiot/Savant COMPUTER mis-reads it will likewise MIS-Route the package and if the RETURN address is screwed up... no HUMAN who matters will ever see the package again.  NOT the intended recipient and NOT the shipper, either.
The Post Office has a DEAD LETTER Department for a REASON.  
Back to my taking all my packages INSIDE to get scanned there is not ONE SINGLE WEEK when I don't Quietly Snigger at watching some NAIF standing there with a SHOEBOX tied up with STRING and CURSIVE used to address the TO and FROM addresses Scotch-Taped to the shoebox.  Such foolishness is just BEGGING for a BEATING.

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by: ZZ This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 04:22:39 2018

I'm curious if anybody else has had a problem with the accuracy of eBay's computer doing the math for figuring when a shipped item should be scanned and when it was delivered?
Recently I went on vacation for 2 weeks. I left on a Wednesday and set my handling time to 10 business days. Therefore any sales for the 1st day would need to be shipped on the Wednesday of my return 2 weeks later. Sales on Thursday could wait a day, etc.  

After a week, I used the bulk editor to change handling time to 5 business days, making sure I waited until it was Wednesday in San Jose. (why there is no setting for 6,7,8,or 9 business days escapes me, but this is eBay, not NASA). Anything sold that Wednesday must again be shipped and scanned on the Wednesday of my return. I lowered the handling time on Thursday to 4 days, Friday to 3 Days, and left it there until I got home. In 2 weeks I had sold nearly 100 items (Who said July is slow for clothes?).
In the seller hub, eBay tells you which items need to be shipped in 24 hours. I shipped all those and got them scanned. The next day I shipped and scanned the rest of them. Curiously there weren't any under the 24 hour notice to ship; that seemed very unlikely, but why worry?
The next thing happened I got slammed with lots of defects for late scanning, followed by late delivery defects. So my TRS was projected to be lost next evaluation. I called eBay and got transferred twice to a nice lady who was a specialist. She agreed after getting permission, to change the late delivery defects. I asked about the late scan ones and she said she hadn't got permission for that since I was slightly under the 5% threshold and my TRS was ok (with no wiggle room for any more errors).
Well, here's the interesting parts. When she got done, not all the delivered late defects were gone: Just the ones where the delivery made it on time. Seems the computer assumed if it was scanned late, it would be delivered late. I had noticed some of these and was going to go over each one with her but when she said she was going to take care of it, I had assumed she was going to wipe the whole lot. So  maybe she went through each one herself after I was gone.
Also, by clicking on a sold item, eBay shows estimated delivery time as if it was an unsold item to be delivered to myself. That was no help, but I could check the updates I had made, just as I mentioned, except it only showed that I changed the handling time and when, but not to what number.
Starting a relist of one of the late shipped items, it showed the handling time was set to 2 days, That would account for the late shipping if I had made a mistake with that pulldown  selection when I was attempting to change from 4 days to 3 days. However, why after I returned home did Seller Hub not tell me that I had these items to ship in 24 hours, or I was late?
Anyways, it's all academic as I have opted out of the 30 day free returns and will not be getting any more discounts for being TRS. I also started charging shipping almost a year ago (yes I lowered by prices at the same time) and have not noticed any negative effects. For items over 1 lb with variable shipping costs, I do sell more to neighboring states than before. That's the way it should be and my margins are predictable.
While on vacation (2 weeks was the only time I've been gone that long), I got about 25 meaasges from buyers wondering why they hadn't received their item or asking when I was going to ship. I ignored all of them and haven't got any bad feedback yet.
One guy bought 2 shirts, individually. He sent me about 5 messages about shipping. Recently he did a return request saying the shirts were 'faded'. One was the most brightly multicolored shirt I have ever sold. So 2 days ago I get a notice from eBay saying they had been delivered and to refund his money. I hadn't got them back and looking at his tracking he had them shipped to "Front Desk" somewhere in Texas, a thousand miles from me.
Usually I call eBay, but there was a link on the returns page which invited me to let eBay step in and 'help' so what the heck, I did that for each one ( 2 separate cases). I figured eBay computers woud give him his money back, I would call in,, appeal, and eBay would give me my money back out of their slush fund.  Instead, almost immediately I got back a message saying the buyer won, but that eBay would pay him and I could keep the money and not get any defects.  
For the 2nd case (exactly the same) there has been no action yet and 2 days have passed.  My guess is eBay computers will let a buyer scam them once but after that, they will have a human actually look at what's going on, but that is just my guess.
BTW, the buyer isn't necessarily a scammer. Surely he was a buyer's remorse buyer and maybe just mad he didn't get his item immediately, but he didn't claim SNAD and bought his own labels. He must have been notified by eBay when I opened the cases, because he messaged me that he got his tracking numbers mixed up and that the ones he posted to eBay were for something else and that I would be getting the shirts back soon. We'll see.

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 05:18:33 2018

200% FRAUD

What’s the difference when u upload the info as long as it’s there.  

Either the item was delivered or it wasn’t.

Either the item was shipped or it wasn’t

Entering it in after eBays estimated ship date legally means nothing and is fraud.

What is there to protect? What does the time have to do with anything???

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This user has validated their user name. by: thehosst

Mon Aug 13 05:58:47 2018

A new way to get scammed by abusive "buyers" if only eBay could allow merchants to view the number or INR claims a "buyer" has opened in a lifetime or a particular address, it will solve this issue. I heard of an app that will count the number of INR claims from any particular address, I hope they release it soon.  

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