Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
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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: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 06:08:15 2018

@angryllama:  You're right.  There's nothing wrong with requiring that an immediate tracking no be input; but whoever at EB thought that the address would be included with the delivery comes from another planet!  I'm sure that's going to change.
"Cutting Ebay and PayPal out of the eCommerce loop is best for all.
Let the buyers and sellers deal directly with each other."  SOOO right.  AMZ wouldn't even do business with Paypal, so that tells you something.  I've been writing EB for months asking that they do something like AMZ and deduct the fees immediately when we sell vs. invoicing sellers once a month.  That's an old way of doing things.

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

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 06:41:45 2018

A few facts about USPS tracking services you may or may not know.  In case facts may actually matter.

Customers can obtain acceptance scan receipts at any retail counter.  Clerks who refuse to do so will be subject to discipline as soon as such is reported to the station manager.  This is a USPS customer service mandate.

Customers can arrange via on-line request to have packages picked up.  In that case a package pickup notice is generated at the delivery station and provided to the carrier on the morning of scheduled pickup along with a 'shipment accepted' barcode that is required to be scanned at the pickup point.  This automatically acts to apply an acceptance scan to every package associated for that pickup that has a preprinted paid shipping label.  

Carriers are instructed to scan deliveries at the time of delivery (not in the truck before starting a relay for example).  That isn't 'foolproof' of course, but it certainly is actionable in the case of lazy or defiant carriers with preexisting bad habits.  Every carrier scanner these days provides an exact GPS location of a delvery scan.  Location data is accurate to within 20 feet or so.  

Although publicly available tracking data doesn't 'prove' specific delivery address compliance, for any specifically questioned delivery, a call or visit to any PO station manager or supervisor (sometimes a clerk who has the time) can obtain it and provide a confirmation of that location to a customer.  

None of this may 'please' eBay to be sure, but that's not for lack of factually available data.  

Then again, facts rarely matter to eBay either, so there's that.

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: Rexford

Mon Aug 13 06:56:04 2018

I think eBay management start the day with "How can we stick it to the sellers today?".

If I were a criminal I'd head straight to eBay. They make it so easy.

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: iBuyers

Mon Aug 13 07:27:18 2018

Requiring proof of address is monumentally good. This prevents fraudulent seller
sorry from sending an empty box to a random address within the buyer's zip code.

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 07:46:33 2018

@ZZ ... Do NOT delay in RACING to send a  FORM LETTER  reply to ALL of those buyers who ASKED what was what while you were away on your MUCH DESERVED TWO WEEK VACATION.  Don't stint on giving FULL description that you took the steps that EBAY RECOMMENDED on how to put YOUR EBAY STORE on Vacation. .... and how EBAY let you down.   NOT seeing any Negatives does NOT mean that any of those Semi-Angry buyers might AMP up their unhappiness to enough to push them to neutral, negative or the Dreaded Double Strike of RETURN and NEGATIVE for the same sale.

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

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 07:54:57 2018

A Customer getting a Tracking # at the time of shipping is pretty much the standard , and I agree with that,

the problem is ebay gets a fail for not auto uploading some tracking numbers , there have been MANY TIMES they have been missing, and we have had to manually enter them into ebay.

now they blame sellers for their own glitch ,,,,

looser company, loosing more market share every day,

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 08:18:51 2018

@angryllama

What ZZ needs to worry about more than the feedback is what kind of DSR's they leave them as those are still vitally important in the search placement.  That is why Ebay got rid of that report you could run and see pretty much who was hitting you with anything but 5's by monitoring it everyday and then printing that report off.  I used to then see who left feedback on that day to determine who left a low number knowing full well that it hurts you in the search.  I would not be surprised to see your competitors doing that to you so they can move ahead of you in placement as i am sure they they have figured out how to game Ebay with this being known.  

The negative feedback is not really counted anywhere at this point in time, only the DSR's which now none of us can actually see.  So once again our fate is to be determined by information that we do not even have access to determine that it is correct.  That is my biggest complaint about the 40% feedback increase that is coming to sellers who are being compared to their peers and their peers numbers.  There is no way for an outsider to verify Ebays numbers which i do believe will be snatched out of thin air just like their increase in sales % if you follow one of their newly imposed rules.  The only way Ebay can know that already is if they manipulate yours and your peers numbers to come out just like they planned for it to work, which would explain the sudden forced usage of Sellers Hub on everybody that Ebay deems to be a business or professional selling business.  Ebay built things into Sellers Hub that allows the bots to manipulate everything that you see and do, which is why I have done all I can to stay out of the useless piece of programming.

Oh well getting back down off my soapbox now and trying to live a normal life outside of Ebay...lol

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

by: Truk This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 08:23:57 2018

We ship a lot of LTL items all use a Pro numbers not tracking in the eyes of eBay a short time ago we could load the carrier and Pro number in the tracking details on eBay this has changed and will not longer accept a carrier that is not in the drop down list so no LTL carrier are on the list so we were told by eBay CS to just send a message to the buyer they are still telling us this are they now saying we would loose every case because they won't accept Pro numbers for LTL shipper because this is hundred's of thousand or dollars for us

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

by: OnlyPollyPocket This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 09:14:55 2018

I recently had an INR claim through Paypal so Paypal held the funds.  I had purchased the postage on Stamps.com and immediately entered the tracking in Paypal (item purchased on Bonanza, not ebay...paid through Paypal) so the tracking number was already a matter of record but provided it again in response to the claim.  

A few days go by and Paypal asks me to provide proof of the address to which I sent it and a copy of the postmark!

OK, so I did a screenshot of the shipping label from Stamps figuring that was the only "proof" I had of the address to which I sent the package but a postmark!?  Even if I hadn't bought the shipping online, in my world, the postmark happens AFTER the USPS has the package.  How in the world could I send a photo of that.

Don't know if the buyer never responded after that or what but after two weeks, Paypal found in my favor and released my funds.

So I wonder if these rules and decisions are being made by people who have never used our postal system?  I.e., children under the age of consent or people of foreign origin?

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

by: buffalochick This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 10:53:00 2018

One workaround that has been brought forward is to select Freight as your shipping method, no matter what you are shipping. This service does NOT post an estimated date of delivery on the transaction and will never give you or ebay a date.  Upon checking with ebay as to whether this is against any policy, it was confirmed by a supervisor (yes, in writing), that it does not.  Therefore with no EDD, according to ebay policy (internal secret policy), the earliest that a buyer can open an INR is 30 days post payment date.  That will give you 30 days to post a tracking number that shows Delivered.  Plus, if you upload a screenshot of the label that you printed or took a photo of before the item was mailed, you have proof of the actual address it was sent to, with the matching posted tracking number. Just thinking outside the box and sharing.

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

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 11:43:53 2018

Marie wrote

"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."

THAT policy is a copy of Amazons policy. it LOOKS like eBay will be copying Amazons policy of DC no longer being enough. IE that means that eBay is trying to cut down on those losses ... the "i never got it though it says delivered" BS.

I havent seen that in a policy update and I dont go to eBays boards (to have seen a blue idiot write that) so Im glad Marie - that you reposted it here.

When it becomes, IF it becomes policy - it means that every ones shipping costs go up by $2-3 for Signature Confirmation and of course - eBay gets more money (since they illegally charge FVF on shipping).

BTW - its actually NOT the sellers responsibility to insure that customers are home to take packages from USPS/UPS/Fed Ex, its NOT a sellers issue to insure proper mail box size (to accept packages), and its not a sellers fault to track the item 24/7 to make sure no one porch shops. Those are the BUYERS issues, not a sellers and not USPS.

As for the "new" eBay Tracking Requirements .... to those who are "all for it" .... OK WHY?

1) eBay is NEVER right
2) whats the mean difference when you upload the tracking
3) why cant the buyer email the seller if theres an issue
4) doesnt eBay with its slipping GMV have better things to do then bother sellers AGAIN?

If the item wasnt shipped or shipped with out tracking then its on the seller - same as always.

If its done same day - great - it should be done right away - but if its NOT - why does entering it in late mean you dont "get protected"?

If its entered 3 days later - so what? Its there if/when needed and the data proves the seller right (or wrong).

If the seller NEVER enters it and the customer opens a case of INR - and the seller THEN provides it and it shows delivered  ... so what? All that means is that they buyer is a liar - not new news on eBay - a good portion are. Its a mess, its a pain, but again the data is there - what ever it says - it says.

I fail to see why the 2 posters above - think its even important (and) why eBay has "the right to lie" about coverage. If it was delivered then it was delivered.

the end

eBay = lieing, thieving, stealing,conniving rat b@stards.

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

by: quirkyantiques This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 12:19:56 2018

I pay for signature confirmation out of my pocket for EVERY parcel valued more than $50. I have zero people claiming they didn't get a parcel because I have their physical signature which is viewable online. Not only that but I've had three instances where USPS delivered the box to the wrong address. Because of this extra service USPS sent people back to retrieve every one of those parcels, which they did. Any customer that insists they don't want to sign for a package should be avoided.

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

by: quirkyantiques This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 12:20:57 2018

On saying the above-I also ship any Ebay parcels through Ebay shipping which means the tracking number gets automatically uploaded.

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

by: JohnGermaine This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 12:36:28 2018

SMH - the craziness continues!

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

by: thievesBay This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 13:58:49 2018

Another eBay scheme to knock down sellers with defects and in turn taking away their benefits = eBay keeps more money. They're destroying themselves and are too stupid to realize it. If you haven't done so already, you need to put this eBay cesspool in your rear-view and try anywhere else, use multiple other marketplaces, and/or make your own site. Keep the seller exodus moving and we can help them along in their destruction. Bye bye eBay.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Aug 13 14:32:03 2018

@thievesBay

These changes don't affect "defects".  

Their new mandate about uploading tracking seems to me to be reasonable.  For those sellers that are not currently doing it, they have already know they can not become TRS because they can't meet some of the requirements to do so because they don't upload tracking.

While INR claims can be a concern, most sellers resolve them easily with online tracking.  There is always the few that the online tracking is incorrect or missing.  Fortunately those are not a frequent as the ones that have correct information.

Now the new stuff that they may or may not [it is uncertain at this point since no one at Ebay will admit it] be requiring the delivery address to show on the tracking / delivery confirmation.  Even if they actually follow through with this ridiculous requirement that we can't possibly adhere to, it doesn't increase "defects".

INRs are not counted in the Sept requirement that we will be eval'd on for number of claim vs what the average is in our peer group.  That is ONLY for SNAD Requests.

INRs have their separate calculation and it is on the mere fact that they are opened.  It has NOTHING to do with the outcome of the claim.  Just like SNADs, it has nothing to do with the outcome.  Only the fact that they were opened.

So while I completely agree that Ebay is implementing some rule changes that can benefit them financially and hurt sellers significantly, by pushing them into a 40% increase in FVFs.  I don't see this particular discussion as affecting that.  But just my opinion.

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by: thievesBay This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 15:05:30 2018

@Marie

Not sure how you think more INR cases that'll be opened isn't a problem? eBay is just escalating this further in the buyer's favor. If INR aren't currently counted heavily against sellers you can bet they soon will be. And then they'll hit you for all INR in the last year on top of it. eBay will never regress in seller punishment. As I've already read eBay's own shipping software sometimes doesn't upload the tracking number! If a seller isn't using a 3rd party shipping program that's connected to eBay tracking numbers aren't uploaded automatically. I'm sure many smaller sellers still don't use these programs and it's a hassle to upload every tracking number manually to eBay. If the buyer would open a case it shouldn't matter when the seller uploads tracking as long as it shows Delivered. eBay just keeps coming up with more anti-seller policies seemingly on a daily basis.

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by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 15:10:30 2018

As usual I now pay little attention to what eBay is doing or demanding these days. I find myself listing on my own website more often than not these days. I've jumped thru every single hoop ebay ever threw at me and it doesn't initiate sales now does it? Yesterday I sold one item at $17 on ebay - I sold one item on my website for $40 and got to keep all the money. Where are the ebay buyers? You know those millions of buyer they keep yelling about. If they come to end our relationship I'm glad I sell on other venues.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Aug 13 15:29:00 2018

@thievesBay

Oh, that would make a difference in our opinions.  I did not realize that you feel that this rule change will increase INRs.  IMHO it will have very little affect if any on increasing the amount of INRs.

There is always a problem with some buyers that are out to get whatever they can at the expense of others.  But fortunately that is a small fraction of buyers.  Most do not behave this way.  

INRs have a different way of being counted against us in the Fall Seller Update.  

NO, they are not going back a year.  They are going retroactive to June of this year.  It appears that enough sellers yelled loud enough and Ebay actually decided that it wasn't fair to go back a year.  So they are going back to the approximate date that they announced the upcoming changes for SNAD Requests.

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by: Will This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 16:18:16 2018

What if the time gone by since delivery is, say 45 days, and a buyer suddenly decides they have an INR.

The USPS has been known to flush their database after a short period of time. The tracking information will come up as "not found". Then, it wouldn't matter if tracking was entered before or after shipment.

What happens then?

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