|Mon May 19 2014 20:18:55|
eBay Customer Service Reps Fault Sellers for Using USPS
By: Ina Steiner
eBay customer service reps are faulting sellers for using the U.S. Postal Service when shipments go awry. That's what readers have been reporting in emails to EcommerceBytes over the past few weeks.
With eBay's new defect rate breathing down their necks, sellers are calling eBay to ask why it will penalize them for late deliveries or missing packages, which are outside their control - and eBay is placing the blame directly on sellers for using the USPS.
Here are a few examples:
Seller says Post Office accidentally sent package mailed to Ohio to Puerto Rico instead: "Ebay rep tells me that it is on ME because it is I that chose to use the USPS as a shipper."
Seller said Post Office sent his package to 2 different sorting centers in the seller's own state, then to PA, to TN and finally arriving in LA, for a total of 11 days from shipment to delivery: "Do you know what Ebay said?..... I need to find a different carrier. As a business I am responsible for the carrier I choose."
And another seller said that after a case was opened for an item sent to France where the tracking number showed delivered and she was told it would count as a defect anyway,..."This is absolutely ridiculous that we should be punished for failures of the postal system or the whim of the person opening a case. When I pointed that out - I was told it is my fault because I chose USPS, I should ship with other more reliable carriers!"
Another seller in describing some shipping issues wrote in her email to me: "Another seller said eBay told them to use FEDEX."
I asked eBay's Ryan Moore what eBay's stance was on which shipping carriers sellers should use, and asked him if eBay told its reps to suggest sellers rethink their choice of carrier - "is it part of the script when sellers call in about shipping defect rates," I asked.
"We don't have any such talking points as you describe below for CS members," he replied. "The only time that we provide suggestions to one carrier over the other is on the listing flow if sellers would like their shipping service chosen for them."
I also shared the comments above with Ryan, as well as comments from an eBay moderator named Jeff who in a thread about defect rates last month wrote the following in response to a seller:
"Sellers have always been responsible for the delivery of their items. You control which shipping service you select. If the service you're using is causing chronic issues, you might want to look at other services."
Jeff later said in response to another seller:
"FedEx, UPS, and many other regional services ship items that weigh under a pound. Are they more expensive? Yes they are, but if the alternative is not being able to sell on eBay because you are getting too many defect transactions for "Item Not Received", it may be worth it. Personally, I have no issues with USPS getting items delivered on time, but if you are having that problem and it's so pervasive that you could fall below standard, I'd take a little time to work on a solution."
eBay has worked closely with the Postal Service, knowing that lower volume sellers depend on the USPS for package delivery because of the value. eBay is putting pressure on sellers to offer free, fast shipping with tracking, while at the same time, it's putting pressure on them to have 100% delivery performance.
Stamps.com recently published a report after putting the three most popular shipping methods used by online sellers through their paces: FedEx, UPS and USPS. Stamps.com sent 144 identical packages to addresses throughout the U.S. using the three carriers, and it measured reliability, delivery time and cost.
Here's what the study found:
- The number of total tracking scans was almost identical among all three carriers;
- The USPS was the fastest, with two-day delivery for nearly all packages on average;
- The USPS had the lowest shipping costs across all zones for lower weight packages, while UPS and FedEx offered cost savings for heavier packages.
So for sellers to change from USPS to FedEx or UPS for their lower weight packages would mean higher costs - but the higher the shipping costs charged to buyers, the more their listings will sink in search results. And eBay gives highest priority to "Fast n Free" shipping.
Frustrations were evident in the eBay thread about how eBay counted defect rates with regard to shipping delivery problems. One seller wrote: "There are way too many sellers with issues and concerns over this so I would hope you can see that there are problems with the system. We want to be heard. We just want the flaws in the system resolved in a professional and logical manner. The sellers are making Ebay money. I've never seen representatives of a company so argumentive with people who have legitimate concerns that can make or break a business. I have owned businesses and have never seen such a disruption of this magnitude."
Chime in with your thoughts and if you've been advised by eBay CSRs about what carrier to use - or what carrier not to use.