Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon July 29 2013 14:50:45

Online Sellers Worried over Priority Mail Delivery Estimates

By: Ina Steiner

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Sellers are concerned that USPS changes to Priority Mail delivery estimates will confuse buyers and lead to poor ratings and feedback. The USPS is now displaying an estimate of how long it will take PM packages to arrive at their destination. But the USPS had always advertised Priority Mail as a 2-3 day delivery service.

Effective July 28th, Priority Mail packages will display an estimated service of 1 day, 2 days, or 3 days - the estimate will be displayed on the payment receipt, online shipping label and in the USPS Tracking information. The estimate is based on the package's departure and ship-to location. More information about the changes can be found in this July 3rd Newsflash article.

A seller wrote today that the "new eBay Priority Labels now show on the label PRIORITY MAIL 2-DAY on it," and said, "Boy this will confuse my buyers when they receive the item in 3 or 4 days when on the label it states 2 day. I can see my DSR going down because of this."

Buyers will read the label and tracking information and believe that it is a guaranteed service, he fears. "I believe it's giving the buyer a false impression that this is a guaranteed to day service. I went back through my past month USPS priority mail packages in about half made it two day the rest made it three and four days."

Problem with Tracking Numbers
In addition to the concerns about Priority Mail estimated delivery times, sellers are also reporting that the post office is reusing tracking numbers, causing consternation among sellers' customers. "When I print a new label, it is relaying the old tracking info to the customer & on the eBay transaction. Then impatient customers are then filing cases against me."

The report, filed on Ecommerce EKG, went on to state, "I printed 1 & a customer emailed me the same day. "I live in NJ & it says it delivered to FL. You bought today, I shipped today. How could it have delivered to FL.""

Another seller confirmed the problem on EKG, writing, "I've had quite a few customers email me regarding this as well. Most of mine show delivered in October 2012 to different cities/states."

Tell us your shipping woes and if you're experiencing these problems. And is anyone considering adding notes to their emails or outgoing packages explaining the new Priority Mail delivery estimates to customers?




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by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Jul 29 15:47:18 2013

I'm more worried about the cost of postage.
It makes my products very dear.

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

Mon Jul 29 16:06:39 2013

Although slightly clumsy and more expensive, there's a workaround I'm willing to do to maintain DSRs as I have hundreds of thousands of dollars of inventory that must be sold.

Use Click n Ship, cut the top portion of the label to remove USPS's hallucinogenic shipping time, and take them to the Post Office yourself.

Since I refuse to give ebay one more red cent than I already do, I use the non paid shipping label Click n Ship. This way I can watch the package being scanned in and have very, very few misrouted or any other kind of delivery problems.

I'll check later tonight, but no estimated delivery time is showing when the tracking number is clicked on in My Ebay.

I don't know how other forms of labels are configured so I don't know whether cutting them to eliminate the delivery time is feasible on ebay labels or third party labeling/shipping services.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Mon Jul 29 16:07:04 2013

Gave my peeps a short message about reported problems with tracking due to the new USPS changes with Priority. This was included with my regular ''item shipped'' email.

They know their package is in USPS hands at this point.

On the 1 2 3 day thing - I didn't even go there.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon Jul 29 16:24:43 2013


We checked some of our recent shipments made by Priority Mail and have found a significant number - 40% which were not delivered within the promised time frame before they started displaying the new estimates on the label even though they were handed to USPS on the promised date.

The best way to avoid unrealistic buyer expectations is to communicate directly with them to their email address shown in PayPal.

In order to better establish realistic buyer expectations, we send every buyer a shipping confirmation to their PayPal email address. For purchases which will ship Priority Mail we have added the following to our shipping confirmation advisory with the hope buyers will hold USPS - not us - responsible for any delivery delays:


" Please note USPS is now displaying expected delivery dates on Priority Mail package labels. These quotes are estimates based solely on USPS expectations and may or may not accurately reflect the actual delivery timing of your package."

" Please know that your package has been shipped on the date promised, and that any unforeseen delay in receipt of your order reflects delays in USPS handling of your package."

"We apologize in advance in the event of any USPS delays which negatively impact the timely receipt of your order."


This change has the look and feel of something eBay manipulated the Postal Service into implementing. USPS may actually end up losing more business than they gain with this ill advised system change.

In the event we see our DSR's begin to suffer, we will immediately discontinue shipping via Priority Mail and switch those items FedEx shipping instead.

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by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 29 16:26:31 2013

Also worried that ebay is giving delivery windows that include SUNDAYS.
The post office does not deliver on Sundays JD.
MH

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by: Ed This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 29 17:58:50 2013

We ship 2 times a day and if ebay continues to play games with the DSR system they are going to lose our business. This is not a USPS problem because they are not the company that has set up the DSR Punishment system. If ebay gets their kicks off using punishment to hurt sellers we just hope they lose all the sellers.

ebay is not the kind of partner any seller need.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Mon Jul 29 18:00:34 2013

Like Ric, I use the email address on the PayPal receipt to notify their item shipped, etc...

Priority mail worked just fine before this change. Have no clue why they felt the need for this!  

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

Mon Jul 29 18:43:32 2013

@ Basset

"Priority mail worked just fine before this change. Have no clue why they felt the need for this! "

They felt the need because someone named Donahoe calls the shots at USPS.

JOHN Donahoe.

Anything to to reduce/eliminate seller discounts.

Where are our esteemed Seller Advocate Griff and Seller Protection Matsuura on Sunday USPS deliveries?

This is exactly why I have no confidence whatsoever in ebay's probable bait and switch changes in feedback policies.

Maybe they have Sunday delivery in India where these insane delivery expectation dates are programmed, but not here.

More ebay lies, more ebay secrets.

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by: Truk This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 29 19:22:35 2013

At face value the fall updates sound great
But here's the but so did the last updates regarding cases and fee's

So I have had the first ever cases open against us in six years of selling on ebay and our fee's went up by over $1000.00 per month

I hate that my my mistrust of ebay to do the right thing for sellers and ebay is at an all time high
I really don't want to feel like ebay's become an unethical company but I have to consider the evidence and it all points to a business partner you really can't trust

I'm pretty sure when the real details are released most of us will be shak'in our head's

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by: juzsayin This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 29 20:19:51 2013

I give my buyers a choice of first class or priority...and they choose the least expensive, which is first class.  Also, I sell primarily jewelry, so it works out just fine.  6 in one hand, 1/2 dozen in another.  Buying my own mailers vs ''free'' priority boxes but alas, I have plenty of other worries ''trying'' to sell on the bay ie; views, sales, at risk of losing TRS.....and the band played on:(

I'm taking it all in as I build my own website and I've only been on the bay for less than a year but it only takes one b**ch slap for me to see the handwriting on the wall.  Not afraid to take the time to invest and the belief in self as opposed to ''their'' bs.

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This user has validated their user name. by: askalice59

Tue Jul 30 02:06:51 2013

We should all be calling USPS to complain and threaten to use other services.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Jul 30 07:39:31 2013

USPS promising what they can't deliver.  And yes, I do think they are including Sundays.  I shipped a Priority package on a Saturday and as I recall one of the dates they estimated delivery to be was the next day, which of course was Sunday.  Not going to happen.

I can not even worry about this stuff anymore.  Life is too short.

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by: Bethofvt This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 30 08:41:13 2013

I ship within 24 hours and upload tracking numbers so I get an automatic 5 DSR for shipping time.  If it arrives a day later than expected I don't foresee buyers leaving me a negative so I fail to see any impact on me with this.  And most of my packages do arrive as promised by PO.

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by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 30 09:21:15 2013

Ming beat me to it! There's a Donahoe in charge of USPS as well as at eBay. Someone needs to do a bit of genealogy research to find the connection!

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by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 30 09:22:42 2013

This will make the USPS look even worse in the publics eye. Makes you wonder if it was done by design to fail.  Just stating a 2-3 del time is good enough. If you need more info, and NEED it faster, go overnight fed ex and pay for it.
ebay has been quoting absurd del times from the first day they started the program. Unreal time frame. I believe they did this to drive a wedge between buyer and seller and eventually get rid of the small sellers (noise, I believe  was the word used). However, diamond sellers are protected to any type of negative feedback or dsr. They have the ability for it to ''magically'' disappear.
It is extremely clear in case anyone has not noticed. ebay no longer wants you to survive. Just die or go away.

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by: Ed This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 30 12:27:57 2013

A seller can't improve shipping time to the buyer if they ship in one day so what is the benefit of hurting sellers with bad feed back or low DSR's

I think ebay gets their kicks knowing they can do what ever they want to sellers and they can't do a thing about it.

Maybe that's why so many seller have left ebay.

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by: lalin This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 30 13:23:04 2013

It is amazing how many people, both Buyers and Sellers, and non-ebayers, still think priority mail is guaranteed to be delivered in 2 or 3 days. This goes back to the very beginning, when USPS started to advertise the service. At first I, too, thought it was guaranteed. When I got hit with a late charge for my mortgage payment, I learned the hard way.  I had a USPS employee actually scream at me on the phone that it was NOT guaranteed! So I see no benefit in their new practice, nor do I believe it, and whenever possible, avoid paying for it! My Buyers appreciate it, too.

As for ebay, I avoid it as much as possible, too. Sad to say when you've been buying and selling on a company for so long.  

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by: tb This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 30 14:23:56 2013

You know the only real problem I have with USPS is the doubling of international rates from the increase that took place several months ago.  Aside from that, I think the USPS does an incredible job moving packages quickly for far less than the commercial carriers. Sure there are occasional screwups, but I've used FedEx about 10 times this year, and 2 out of those 10 had problems. Compare that to the thousands of packages shipped this year via USPS and not a single one has had a problem. I must just be lucky.

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by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 30 23:57:16 2013

We should ALL be writing to Congress on the USPS promising ANOTHER service they can't "deliver".

And yes they DO tell you right up front that Pri Mail is NOT any sort of special--if there is ROOM after the top tier of packages (Express) etc then goes "Priority"  then somewhere wedged in goes the ineptly named "First Class".  If there is over crowding on these trucks---and remember--a LOT of the "United States Mail" is actually in fact moved by UPS.  Every day I see our local small town PO visited by the UPS truck.  No wonder we are paying TWICE what we did last year--we are not only paying for the retirement and health insurance of Postal Works not yet BORN but we are paying for the absurd UPS rates TOO!!!!!

I will have to add this new contact the buyer to my routine--something WE should NOT have to worry about!  As usual ebay will REFUSE to protect the sellers from any harm on this too I am sure.  I can see them rubbing their hands in glee.  

And for once we can't blame it soley on ebay!   They might just declare a company wide bonus for all!  Meaning:::   The Ho.  And--nobody.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Wed Jul 31 08:19:06 2013

Just printed my first priority label that included insurance!

Checked the box & took a minute of thinking ''Why isn't this insurance adding into the price?''
Then - Duh! Its included. Just saved about 3 bucks!

Now, hopefully it will make it there in 2 days like the label screams out!


Hmm… one question - If Priority, it is insured whether we check the insurance box or not when we make out the label???

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