Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Dec 30 2013 21:26:24

eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem

By: Ina Steiner

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It was a perfect storm this holiday season (pardon the pun) as retailers became bolder in offering expedited delivery to last-minute shoppers while winter storms and unexpected volume caused shipping carriers to be overwhelmed. While news outlets picked up the story that some online shoppers didn't receive their presents in time for Christmas, there was an unpublicized story that played out for eBay sellers.

Like other retailers and marketplaces, eBay gets aggressive about attracting holiday shoppers with promises of quick delivery - but some sellers said the company went too far and said they weren't sure if it was intentional or a glitch.

In late November, sellers began reporting on Ecommerce EKG that eBay was displaying estimated delivery times that were physically impossible. "I've had many listings showing the estimated delivery time to be the same day, even on International orders," wrote one seller.

Some said eBay completely discounted their handling time when displaying delivery estimates in their listings. On December 12, a seller who had a 3-day handling time specified in his listings wrote and said a customer informed him that eBay guaranteed they would have the item the next day.

Compounding problems was the fact that USPS was delivering mail slower than normal during the holiday shopping period, according to many online sellers and the postal workers' union.

I've sent multiple inquiries to eBay asking if the unrealistic delivery estimates sellers were reporting was a known glitch, and what eBay was doing to communicate with buyers and protect sellers' ratings, but it has not addressed the issue.

eBay posted on its announcement board Friday, "Due to carrier delays, a small number of buyers who placed orders for delivery by holiday deadlines did not receive their packages on time," but sellers are not reassured that their feedback will survive unscathed this holiday season. (See tomorrows Newsflash newsletter.)

And the problem continues - the same seller who wrote on December 12 wrote again on Friday to say his items were still displaying unrealistic delivery estimates.

Let us know what tactics you used to get your items to holiday shoppers quickly this year, and what problems you encountered.




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Perminate Link for eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem   eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem

by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 30 22:43:18 2013

Expect thousands of small sellers to take hits on the shippng DSR and expect the bots to suspend thousands of them, then expect the nightmare of these poor folks trying desperately to get reinstated on ebay. Meanwhile, for repuation management purposes, ebay will do press releases like they already just did claiming that none of this is happening, that they are protecting sellers from low shipping DSRs caused by the weather, the holidays. etc., blah, blah, blah...

Perminate Link for eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem   eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
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Tue Dec 31 01:59:29 2013

"Due to carrier delays, a SMALL NUMBER of buyers ..."—Undoubtedly another load of disingenuous nonsense direct from the eBay Dept of Spin ...

Perminate Link for eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem   eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem

by: andanotherthing This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 31 03:03:44 2013

I sell through ebay from the UK. As well as the unrealistic ebay deadlines (which treat as "guaranteed" Royal Mail "estimates"), it was clear from about mid December that Royal Mail was failing to meet it's own targets - even for 1st class Recorded Delivery. Add to that I live on an Island, so any courier items might have problems. So I put the ebay Shop on "holiday" from the  18th December!

Of course, I kept my own website open all over the Christmas period as there are no unrealistic deadlines there!

Perminate Link for eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem   eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Dec 31 03:12:48 2013

If a seller gets bad FB and/or DSRs that they feel are related to the delivery problems, they need to be proactive.  If they are just going to sit around and wait for Ebay to come to them and offer a fix, they are just going to be disappointed.

If it is important to the seller, they are just going to have to call.  Ask for a feedback specialist and work with them in a hope to get your FB corrected.

Waiting for some bot or some other form of Ebay identifying the problem is going to be a long process that could cause nothing but problems for sellers of most sizes.  Not just small sellers.

Perminate Link for eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem   eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem

by: DonC This user has validated their user name.
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Tue Dec 31 04:32:20 2013

Tactics used to get your items to holiday shoppers quickly this year?
The same as always, pack and ship within one business day.
FWIW; I advertise 4 day processing time. Better to under promise and over deliver. Oddly enough Ebay often estimates the processing and transit time at three days. In other words the customer may receive the purchase a day before I ship it!

On occasion I get an email asking when to expect their purchase. Typically an email showing it was shipped in a timely manner Does the trick. I still sometime get a 4 in my DSR's but that's just part of doing business.

Perminate Link for eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem   eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem

by: cosqueen This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 31 07:27:58 2013

Note to donc. what planet are you located? i pack and ship same day AND make 3 drops to USPS during the holidays. no one has control over this last fiasco. Ebay needs to understand and step up to protect their good sellers based on past performance.  

Perminate Link for eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem   eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Dec 31 07:47:24 2013

Coupled with the slow shipping fiasco this holiday by the carriers are the VERY UNREALISTIC expectations for delivery set up by both USPS AND eBay.

If the item is not in the hands of the buyer within 2 days they are contacting us with ''where is my package''.  We've been on eBay for many years and I have never seen such impatience nor have I seen expectations for delivery so out of sync with reality.   This just didn't happen on its on.  These expectations were set up by USPS AND eBay and they both need to get a grasp on reality.

Perminate Link for eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem   eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Dec 31 07:52:14 2013

DonC, do you really think your buyers look at your advertised 4 day shipping time?  Trust me, they don't.

Did you really think that sellers are not packing and shipping within one business day?  This is the norm these days.

Perminate Link for eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem   eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem

by: auctionguy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 31 08:39:07 2013

DonC, you will lose sales by having a  handling time longer than a day, and you lose your option to be eligible for the TRS discount. If you are posting a 4 day handling time, you aren't a TRS anyway, so that aspect wouldn't matter in your case.

On several occasions, I have purchased items on ebay from a seller a thousand or more miles away, rather than from one much closer, because the delivery time was shorter, apparently due to their shorter handling time. For some items, a few extra days won't matter, but if I need a part to fix an item that isn't working, I may look closely at the estimated delivery date when choosing which one to purchase.

Note that I said ''estimated'' delivery data, not ''guaranteed'' delivery date, as I am a seller, too, not just a buyer.

Perminate Link for eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem   eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem

by: giftcentral This user has validated their user name.
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Tue Dec 31 08:45:42 2013

Par for the course.  

Perminate Link for eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem   eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem

by: savingmom This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 31 08:45:57 2013

eBay's announcement was just rhetoric, as usual.  Every package I shipped after December 5 took anywhere from 2-7 days longer to arrive, with several arriving after Christmas.  The low DSRs I received are still on my account today.

Perminate Link for eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem   eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem

by: pebbles This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 31 10:32:50 2013

I am from Wyoming as well and never see any exception for bad weather or slow carrier delays. I was top rated until this month. Have been top rated for 2 years until recently. Christmas seems to reek havok for Wyoming. USPS advised me of up to weeks in delays in California the week before Christmas. They also advised me their Priority services are not guaranteed delivery times. Yet my delivery estimates in eBay for economy shipping are posted to buyers as 3 days! His am I supposed to meet that expectation? Even USPS next day service takes up to 3 days (1 for acceptance 1 for transit and 1 for delivery).
The feedback system in general is far to strict for sellers and far to lenient to buyers. Most buyers who don't receive packages on time will leave low DSR's in multiple categories regardless of the actual service provided.

Perminate Link for eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem   eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem

by: KathleenJohnson This user has validated their user name.
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Tue Dec 31 11:03:46 2013

What a nightmare claim: "they" will investigate and determine on an arbitrary and capricious model that is only known to eBay and eBay alone.

You sell there, you sell up to the "deadline" and the outcome comes down to this broad unattainable equitable solution.

Who is to blame here?

Perminate Link for eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem   eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem

by: sickandtired This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 31 12:13:03 2013

There is a perfectly simple and logical fix to this situation that never should have been instituted in the first place. The shipping DSR was a blatant move on ebay's part to keep the number of sellers who qualify for discounts down.

There is no way that any seller should be responsible for transit time of packages. If ebay wants to put an extra box in the feedback section asking buyers to rate the service given by Canada Post, USPS, UPS or whatever, then fine, otherwise get rid of that star altogether.

As a seller, I take responsibility for everything that is under my control.....transit time of items is not one of those things and I resent like mad being graded on that service. If there has to be a grading for mailing then the package goes out within the handling time that I specify, then it should be an automatic 5 stars - end of.

Perminate Link for eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem   eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem

by: Orwellwasright This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 31 12:17:11 2013

Ho Ho Ho
Santa brought JD a SWEET holiday suprise

No doubt there will be a massive wave of dsr dinging, thereby pushing inumberable sellers from above standard to below standard.

and the bay LOVES below standard sellers! no discounts, increased listing fees and license to sweep them into the garbage as soon as another purge is needed .

 Remembering of course that even one tenth on one percent differntial in one catagory can mean the differance between above standard and below standard this should be a real windfall for the management

twas also truly unfortunate that there was ''glitch'' just in time for the holidays that misingformed buyers with anticipated ship times. Funny how their glitchs also seem to take money our of sellers pockets

Of course were the upper mangement not locked into their demented spiral of seller abuse , they could simply send out a mass email to all users informing them that shipping delays were out of control of their sellers, and further simply nullify ALL 1or 2 shipping dsrs for the remander of december and January

But that would be the act of a business partner who did not DISPISE their seller base and actively supported them  

Perminate Link for eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem   eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem

by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 31 12:23:05 2013

To comment on your experiences and opinions about this issue and other ebay issues, visit Former Ebay Sellers, an open group on FB: https://www.facebook.com/groups/formerebaysellers/

Perminate Link for eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem   eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Dec 31 12:36:21 2013

@savingmom

And they will remain there unless you take the time to call Ebay.  As I stated before, if a seller is just planning on waiting around for Ebay to correct problems with FB & DSR, they will be disappointed.

Besides why the heck would one just sit back and wait.  Every moment they are on your account they are doing harm.  I don't understand why not just pick up the phone and try to get it resolved.  You may or may not have success, but you won't know until you try.

Perminate Link for eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem   eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Dec 31 19:38:49 2013

In his efforts to impress Wall Street, John Donahoe has made it a practice to set buyer expectations artificially high and then leave sellers hanging out to dry in cases where carriers fail to meet their projected time frames. Compounding issues for sellers is that carriers also set their time frames at their most efficient levels in order to attract customers.

eBay sellers who want to have a fighting chance of surviving in John Donahoe's eBay need to take the practice of setting buyer expectations upon themselves and in so doing, use the opportunity to show buyers exactly how eBay is intentionally deceiving and/or misleading them.

To help accomplish this, we send a shipping confirmation to directly to every eBay buyers email address as shown in PayPal.

Why the PayPal address? Many buyers have assigned eBay email addresses to dead boxes because they have grown tired of the harassment of eBay's never ending marketing emails. As such, we find the PayPal email addresses to be more reliable and almost 100% deliverable.

This year, starting December 1, we added the following to our standard shipping confirmation emails:

 " Please note that the estimated delivery dates displayed by eBay are just that - estimates. As sellers we have no control over the estimated delivery dates eBay chooses to display."

 " Delivery dates displayed by eBay do not take into account Federal Holiday closures, high holiday volume, or winter weather complications which can result in delays in delivery by (insert carrier name). "

 " We apologize in advance if eBay's estimated delivery display fails to accurately represent the actual date of delivery by the Postal Service."

 " If you have any questions about or problems with your purchase, kindly reply to this email and anticipate a prompt response to address and resolve any concerns."



Now, just like almost every other seller, we had multiple packages in transit over the holidays which were impacted by delays from the various carriers.

The difference for us was that we have not received one "where is my widget" email, and our feedback thus far for holiday transactions has been 100% positive with 5 Star ratings across the board.

We attribute that zero communication rate to our direct email and our ability to reset buyer expectations to place the blame where it belongs - on eBay for their ultra conservative time frame displays, and on the carriers who grossly miscalculated necessary staffing to complete delivery of holiday packages.



Perminate Link for eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem   eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem

This user has validated their user name. by: Puck

Tue Dec 31 21:50:30 2013

eBay has a penchant for putting sellers' butts on the line to make themselves look good.

Perminate Link for eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem   eBay Exacerbates Slow Holiday Delivery Problem

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

Wed Jan 1 10:28:39 2014

Ebay continues its deceptive business practices that is unmatched by any other company I have ever dealt with.
They simply do not care if they are breaking laws, ruining lives and stomping on small business.
They make you agree to to their user agreement and then slip in things that you do not want to do, like the global shipping program.
If you think you can just go in and opt back out you are wrong. You cannot out for 24 hours after this deception is done to you.
They then claim you can go to your active listings and edit them if you need out right now,guess what their instructions are wrong! and on top of that it will not edit them all.
This is blatant deceptive business practices as usual.
What company does this and is positive that they can get away with it.
A company being protected by lawmakers,judges and politicians that is who it is quite obvious.
I am fed up with the unbearable and constant crap fed by ebay and the stake they have driven between buyers and sellers.
Please file complaints anywhere you can that is the only way.
Make sure you list items elsewhere because ebay is out to get you because of their 100% buyer guarantee and their love affair with big business, you will be squeezed out by this Ebay.
There are ethics and policies ebay, their executives and attorneys must follow.
File you complaints for the unethical behavior of their attorney and policy enforcer Robert Swan with the California Bar Association. File your cmplaint with about the unethical behavior of John Donahoe with the New York Stock Exchange.

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